Race Recap: Ebert, King, Kemp win at Rocket Raceway Park

PARIS, Texas (March 2, 2024) — Touring modified regular Dan Ebert; open-wheel sensation Cody King, and stock car master Neil Kemp all scored feature wins in their respective divisions, as officials hosted Night 2 of the 14th annual USMTS Texas Spring Nationals Saturday at Rocket Raceway Park. 

Ebert powered to victory in the 50-lap A Main for United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) teams; King prevailed in a talent-filled affair for USRA Limited Modifieds; while Kemp led all 20 laps of the Factory Stock feature in dominant style. 

Jeffrey Abbey (USRA Stock Cars) was also a feature winner on a nice night for racing in North Texas. 

Ebert, of Lake Shore, Minnesota, started second on a 27-car grid, drove around the outside of Tyler Wolff coming off Turn 2 to take command at lap 17 and hung on to earn top honors. Kyle Brown drove up from 15th on the grid to claim second, while Jake Timm filled out the podium. 

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Tanner Mullens (Wichita, KS) and Dereck Ramirez (Woodward, OK) completed the top five. 

“A lot of racers who are watching can understand, it’s not often when you have a race car this good, ” Ebert told Trenton Berry in Ballistic Trailer Sales Victory Lane. “We hit the setup perfect, it was really good no matter where we needed to run. 

“We started the night pretty good; the car just needed a little bit of tweaking and it was ready to go. The track went through some changes; hats off to Kevin and his crew, it was a big improvement over last night. You could run all over the place. This was one of those nights I’ll remember, for sure.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USMTS feature were Jason Hughes (who started 25th); Mike Hansen, Tyler Davis, five-time and defending series champion Rodney Sanders, and Alex Williamson. Six cautions slowed the pace (laps 17, 18, 20, 34, 34, 37), all for minor incidents. 

Ebert’s margin of victory over Brown was a comfortable 3.154 seconds, as he was clearly driving away. Ebert, Matthew Day, Terry Phillips, Sean Gaddis, Lucas Schott and Jake Timm won their respective qualifying Heats earlier in the evening, while Davis, Mullens and Brown won the B Mains. 

King, of Fanshawe, Oklahoma, started fourth on a 24-car grid, drove to the outside of Kort Morgan coming off Turn 2 to take control with just one lap remaining and pulled steadily away to earn top honors. Morgan settled for second, while Greenville, Texas native Jimmy Day filled out the podium. 

Boone Evans (Bullard) crossed the stripe in fourth, while Cody Smith, who swept Kennedale’s first two nights of the year in two classes, drove up from 18th to round out the top five with an impressive effort.

“I freed myself up on the top side, and nobody else did,” King said. “So I needed the top, and they were all hanging around the bottom. I kind of looked backwards there a little bit, wondering where they had gone. But it played out pretty well, and we’re glad to standing here in Victory Lane.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the 20-lap USRA Limited Modified A Main were Logan Smith, Gregory Muirhead, Chase Hatton, Dean Abbey and Daniel Tarkington (who started 23rd on the grid). Four cautions slowed the pace (laps 5, 5, 12, 13), one of which saw the entire crowd fall eerily silent. 

On lap five, the cars of Bobby Williams and Nik Morgan came together going down the front stretch, then barrel-rolled in one violent, synchronized motion, coming to a stop at the entrance to Turn 1. When the dust cleared, both drivers walked away unhurt. Their cars, however, sustained major damage.

King’s margin of victory over Morgan was a comfortable 1.018 seconds. 

Kemp, of Mineral Springs, Arkansas, started on the pole of a 23-car Factory Stock grid and led all 20 laps in convincing fashion. Ty Abernathy claimed the runner-up position, while Kyle Blanton drove up from fifth to fill out the podium. 

Austin Waters (Hooks, Texas) and Dallas Bourland (Fort Smith, Arkansas) completed the top five. 

“These are the conditions we kind of prepare for, smooth and slick,” Kemp explained in Victory Lane. “You don’t ever go to a big show and not have it turn out like this. But like last night, when the track was real heavy, I’m absolutely terrible, no matter what kind of car I’m in. I don’t ever prepare for it.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Factory Stock feature were Chase Hatton, Michael Smith, Chad Abernathy (who started 18th), Richard George Jr. and Justin Ingalls. Only two cautions slowed the pace (laps 0, 2), making this the cleanest race of the night by far. Kemp won it by 1.311 seconds. 

Night 2 of the 14th annual USMTS Texas Spring Nationals drew an impressive 142 entries spread across four divisions. Led by the ground-pounding Modifieds with 67, there was world-class talent all over the place in Kevin Sustaire’s pit area on Saturday. 

Fans were treated to two, three, and sometimes even four-wide action throughout the entire evening. Officials knocked out 15 qualifying Heats and five B Features in short order, took some time to get the track in great shape, then played host to four exciting feature races.  

You can replay every lap of Saturday night’s Texas Spring Nationals at Rocket Raceway Park with a subscription at Newly re-branded with a commitment to promote local racing, RaceON (formerly RaceON) has over 400 Live events on tap in 2024 from several states. 

When you sign up today, choose your favorite (or hometown) track and start enjoying great content while supporting your local track even when you can’t attend in person.  

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer