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Ryan Gustin Dominates at Mississippi Thunder; First WoO Win

Ryan Gustin

Ryan Gustin competing at Mississippi Thunder Speedway with the World of Outlaws (Photo: Emily Schwanke | World Racing Group)

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — Following the same format as Friday night, the World of Outlaws late models stayed at Mississippi Thunder Speedway for night two of the Dairyland Showdown.

During qualifying, Ryan Gustin earned quick time with a 13.417 second lap. He also broke the track record that was previously held by Dennis Erb Jr. as he made a 13.441 second lap on May 5th of 2022. 

That new track record proved to be a foreshadow of what was to come in the 50-lap race. Gustin and Tyler Erb led the 25-car field to the starting line in Turn 4. Immediately, Gustin went ahead of everyone else to keep the lead, but Bobby Pierce was coming up fast.

Five laps in, Chris Madden brought out a caution as he slowed in Turn 4 due to an issue. He went to the pits and completely bypassed the work area as he went straight to his trailer. This ended his night.

On the restart, Gustin shot out to the lead again but a spot back a battle was brewing. Pierce and Erb were going at it. Behind them, there was a three car battle for fourth with Cade Dillard, Nick Hoffman and Brandon Sheppard. 

Dillard and Hoffman got into a serious fight and traded paint and positions by sliding all over the track and around each other. Hoffman won this round though, because Dillard’s right rear exploded as he drifted up the track in Turn 3. Dillard limped back to the pits and over to the work zone where he got a new tire put on. Dillard came back out to join the tail end of the field.

Gustin rocketed out to the lead once again and Pierce and Erb went back at it. Pierce got by Erb to take over second and this allowed Hoffman to begin his charge after Erb. Sheppard was still waiting patiently to make his move as well.

Dustin Walker spun in Turn 4 to avoid contact with Jordan Yaggy and brought out the caution flag. Sheppard’s patience paid off on the restart as Erb slid up and hit Pierce going into Turn 3. Sheppard saw this and slipped by both of them…for a little while at least.

Pierce didn’t like being slammed into and so when he saw Erb again he slammed into him but didn’t get by. In fact, he fell back a little bit. But Erb knew that Pierce was right there and that he wasn’t too happy. Seeing this fight ensue, Hoffman and Sheppard backed off so the two of them could hash it out.

Pierce and Erb certainly hashed it out by slide-jobbing each other constantly throughout the turns and straightaways. Once Sheppard realized that they weren’t going to be violent anymore he started moving his way back up towards them to try and get a higher spot.

Cade Dillard

Cade Dillard checking out Mississippi Thunder Speedway with the World of Outlaws on his pit bike (Photo: Emily Schwanke | World Racing Group)

Hoffman, still lenient about going near Erb and Pierce, got passed by Kyle Bronson. This put him in sixth and Bronson in a direct firing line for Sheppard.

On Lap 23, Pierce caught up to Gustin. Gustin’s problems weren’t just lying with Pierce though, as traffic was now a factor for the race leader. Three laps later, Gustin lost the lead to Pierce by a slide job due to lap traffic. Pierce felt Gustin’s pain almost immediately though, as he got into some thicker traffic.

Gustin played cat-and-mouse with Pierce and chased after him for a little bit. A little further back, Hoffman and Sheppard battled for fourth. Sheppard went high and got the spot with 17 laps to go.

Walker brought out the caution flag once again, but this time it was due to his right rear being flat. Another driver, Shannon Babb, had a flat right rear as well. Following behind Walker, Babb entered the pits as well to get a new tire before returning to the race. Yaggy went in the pits as well, but he went back to his trailer and decided he was done for the night.

Bronson and Hoffman both went after Sheppard when the engines fired up again. Dustin Sorenson had entered the chat on this fight as well as he was trying for fifth. Eventually, Sorenson got by and Bronson was put back into seventh.

On Lap 37, Cody Overton went into the wall, drawing yet another caution. When they got going again, a three car battle for third began. Sheppard, Erb and Hoffman all fought with each for the position but Hoffman ended up being the victor. After that, Hoffman set his sights on Gustin who had his eyes on leader Pierce.

Erb got passed by Sheppard for fourth and Gustin passed Pierce on the low side for the lead on Lap 48. Hoffman, seeing Pierce get passed, shot up and tried to pass him for second. Pierce tried to get the lead back in a last gasp attempt, but he went too high. Pierce scraped the wall, drawing sparks and losing second to Hoffman who slid into the spot with no hesitation. Sheppard and Erb completed the top five.

“I was just being conservative,” said Gustin on his win. “I just knew that I had to pace myself. This means the world to me and my guys worked their asses off. It’s been a battle but thank you to all of our sponsors for putting in.”   

Finish Start Car No. Driver Sponsor Status
1 1 19R Ryan Gustin Mahle Running
2 5 9 Nick Hoffman NOS Energy Running
3 3 32 Bobby Pierce Allgayer Running
4 9 B5 Brandon Sheppard Valvoline Running
5 2 1 Tyler Erb Industrial Resourcing Group Running
6 12 19 Dustin Sorenson Heavy Hitch Running
7 8 40B Kyle Bronson Racecar Engineering Running
8 6 16 Tyler Bruening Bennett Explosives Running
9 10 3S Brian Shirley Bob Cullen Racing Running
10 21 49 Jake Timm Hurco Running
11 15 22* Max McLaughlin Mohawk Northeast Running
12 22 B1 Brent Larson Motul Running
13 13 18 Shannon Babb DynaGro Seed Running
14 4 97 Cade Dillard Mesilla Valley Transportation Running
15 25 20TC Tristan Chamberlain CKEG Running
16 17 28 Dennis Erb Jr. Vomac Truck Sales Running
17 16 22P Nick Panitzke N/A Running
18 18 28M Sam Mars Deppe Enterprises Running
19 19 22 Daniel Hilsabeck Banning Chiropractic Running
20 23 30 Todd Cooney Karl Performance Running
21 11 97C Cody Overton All About Doors Running
22 24 14W Dustin Walker Team Dirt Dog Running
23 20 77 Jordan Yaggy Arnie Ranta Motorsports Running
24 14 88 Chad Mahder Union Trailer and Power Equipment Running
25 7 44 Chris Madden Henderson Amusement Running

Brooke Johnpier is a staff writer at The Podium Finish covering NHRA and professional dirt racing, as well as a social media promoter. Besides TPF, Brooke is a part-time motorsports journalist with Speedway Illustrated magazine, and Race Pro Weekly, which is an outlet similar to TPF. Aspiring to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time automotive/motorsports journalist, Brooke is a freshman at St. Bonaventure University where she is majoring in Sports Media, and double minoring in Native American and Indigenous Studies and English. There, she is involved with all of the campus media, as well as the literary magazine. She is also an officer in two clubs. In her free time, Brooke loves reading, writing, going to the local racetrack, riding four-wheelers, working on cars, and riding in tractor trailers. Brooke is a music lover and percussionist, as well as a published author and women's rights activist.

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