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USMTS National Champion gets $100,000, Leon Ramirez Trophy in 2022

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February 21, 2022

From left to right: Crew chief Johnny Overgaard, 2021 USMTS National Champion Dereck Ramirez, Crewmember Marco Costa, Becky Ramirez and Leon Ramirez.

From left to right: Crew chief Johnny Overgaard, 2021 USMTS National Champion Dereck Ramirez, Crewmember Marco Costa, Becky Ramirez and Leon Ramirez.

No title is more sought after in Dirt Modified racing than that of being a USMTS National Champion. In fact, entering the 24th season for the series in 2022, only eight drivers have done so.

And now, with today’s announcement by USMTS officials, this year’s champ will earn the richest paycheck in series history as $100,000 is going to the Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt points champion.

The move is a homage to Leon Ramirez, who was laid to rest this past Saturday, Feb. 19, after a long, hard-fought battle with cancer.

“Few people this millennium have done more to support dirt track racers, their crews and their families than Leon Ramirez,” said USMTS President Todd Staley. “We love and will miss Leon dearly and we will be honoring him in multiple ways this season and beyond.”

The tribute to Ramirez is made possible by S&S Fishing & Rental owners Shane and Shelly Sprinkle, who were close friends with Ramirez and his family.

In addition, the USMTS will begin a new annual tradition of awarding a one-of-a-kind trophy to the USMTS National Champion which, tentatively, will be named the Leon Ramirez Trophy from now until the USMTS sees its final checkered flag.

USMTS National Champions 1999-2021: Although he was winless in his first two seasons, Fertile, Iowa’s Kelly Shryock was the first USMTS National Champion and scored his first of eight straight titles in 1999. He bounced back to notch his ninth title in 2009 after Minnesota racers Jason Krohn of Slayton and Tim Donlinger claimed the 2007 and 2008 crowns.

In 2010, Jason Hughes earned his first USMTS National Championship. Three more followed in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the Westville, Okla., pilot.

Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, recorded back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011 while Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, did the same at the conclusion of the 2013 and 2014 campaigns.

Sanders also took the titles in 2019 and 2020, but in 2018 Johnny Scott had a dominating season and registered his first and only USMTS National Championship—one that was worth a record $50,000 at the time.

After a pair of runner-up finishes behind Sanders in the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, Dereck Ramirez of Woodward, Okla., finally sealed the deal in 2021 and pocketed a record $70,000 for his team’s efforts.

2022 blasts off March 4-5 at Rocket Raceway Park: The Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt will invade the Rocket Raceway Park in Petty, Texas, on Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, for the 12th Annual Texas Spring Nationals.

The fast and wide quarter-mile high-banked dirt oval will also welcome USRA Stock Cars, USRA Limited Mods and USRA Factory Stocks both nights. An open practice for all competing divisions is slated for Thursday, March 3.

Most recently known as 82 Speedway, the track opened as East Texas Speedway in 2015 and hosted the USMTS on June 25 for the first and only visit by the series. Philip Houston was the winner that night.

The Rocket Raceway Park holds 3,400 spectators and its elevated grandstands offer superb viewing from any seat. The venue can be found in Lamar County—about 15 minutes west of Paris and 25 minutes east of Bonham. The physical location is 16369 US Hwy 82, Petty, TX 75470.

Learn more at RocketRacewayPark.com and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Visit usmts.com for schedules, points, photos, souvenirs, videos and more. Follow our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Click here to get USMTS news delivered to your inbox.

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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS:  American Racer Racing TiresBeyea HeadersChevrolet PerformanceCompstarDirt DraftFast ShaftsFK Rod EndsIntercompK1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers MotorsportsKSE Racing ProductsMalvern BankMesilla Valley TransportationMSD PerformanceNitroquest MediaPEM Racing Gears & DrivetrainRacinDirtSummit Racing EquipmentSuper CleanVP Racing FuelsWrisco Industries.

USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS:  ARMI ContractorsBoubin Tire & AutomotiveBrodix Cylinder HeadsHacienda MechanicalMel Hambelton Ford RacingMidwest Wrap Co.Miller WeldersPBM Performance ProductsRancho Milagro RacingRHRSwag.comS&S Fishing & RentalYouDirt.com.

USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS:  AFCO Racing ProductsAllstar PerformanceBigDeal Car CareBryke RacingBSB ManufacturingChamp PansDeatherage OpticiansEdelbrockHooker HarnessIntegra Racing Shocks and SpringsJE PistonsKeyser ManufacturingPenske Racing ShocksPerformance Bodies & PartsQA1Race Smart WrapsRacerWebsite.comReal Racing WheelsSimpson Performance ProductsSwift SpringsSybesma GraphicsTire DemonWehrs Machine & Racing ProductsWilwood Racing.

USMTS RACETRACKS: 81 Speedway, Arrowhead Speedway, Belleville High Banks, Casino Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Chateau Speedway, Dallas County Speedway, Deer Creek Speedway, Fayette County Speedway, Hamilton County Speedway, Humboldt Speedway, I-70 Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Lucas Oil Speedway, Mason City Motor Speedway, Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Ogilvie Raceway, Red Dirt Raceway, Rocket Raceway Park, Tri-State Speedway, Winneshiek Raceway.