Gustin passed long-time race leader Cayden Carter following a restart with six laps left en route to his record-extending fifth tour win of the season. Carter was a lapped car ahead of Gustin before that yellow and still had the lead when the 20th circuit was scored. Gustin had a half car length advantage at the stripe the next two times around, however, then pulled ahead. VINTON, Iowa (Sept. 28) – Richie Gustin clinched the Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour championship by taking the green flag Saturday night. Richie Gustin capped his run to the Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour crown with the $1,500 IMCA Modified checkers Saturday at Benton County Speedway. (Photo by Jim Morrison) He became the 10th different driver to win the championship in as many years the tour has been held. The rest of Saturday’s IMCA program was rained out. Carter, early leader Tim Ward, Joel Rust and Jeff Larson completed the top five. Hard charger Al Hejna advanced a dozen spots from his original starting position. The all-time leader with 13 tour victories, Gustin had also won at the Vinton Bullring in 2014. Already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot, he’ll receive the lion’s share of the tour point fund, along with a Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite Pellet Grill valued at $700 courtesy of title sponsor Arnold Motor Supply. He earned $1,500 by taking the IMCA Modified checkers 25 laps later at Benton County Speedway. Feature results – 1. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 2. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 3. Tim Ward, Harcourt; 4. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 5. Jeff Larson, Freeport, Ill.; 6. Kollin Hibdon, Pahrump, Nev.; 7. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 8. Todd Shute, Norwalk; 9. Brock Bauman, Eureka, Ill.; 10. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 11. Al Hejna, Clear Lake; 12. Scott Hogan, Vinton; 13. Matt Werner, Colona, Ill.; 14. Ronn Lauritzen, LaPorte City; 15. Eric Barnes, Colona, Ill.; 16. Taylor Musselman, Urbandale; 17. Jason Snyder, Dunkerton; 18. Cody Bauman, Eureka, Ill.; 19. Scott Simatovich, State Center; 20. Bill Roberts Jr., Burlington; 21. John Emerson, Waterloo; 22. Jerry Dedrick, Vinton; 23. Rod McDonald, Manchester; 24. Tommy Belmer, Evansdale; 25. Patrick Flannagan, Cedar Rapids; 26. Brennen Chipp, Dunkerton; 27. Jordan Bacon, Luana.
Ward, who played the final few innings of Tuesday’s game in left, got the start in the position on Wednesday, with Justin Upton and Mike Trout both nursing injuries. Ward easily handled all the routine plays in eight innings, before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.Ward, the Angels’ first-round pick in 2015, has been on the move for two reasons. The Angels weren’t satisfied with his defense or offense when he was behind the plate, so last year they moved him to third, feeling that he may also hit better once relieved of the physical and mental toll of catching.“Offensively, not catching opened up the floodgates,” Ward said.Ward, 25, responded with a breakthrough season in 2018, hitting .349 with a .977 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A. That earned him a trip to the majors last August.In the big leagues, though, Ward had trouble on both sides of the ball. He hit .178 in 40 big league games last year. This spring he also made six errors at third, and two more in just 25 innings at third in the majors in April. Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros ANAHEIM — Taylor Ward keeps moving further away from the plate defensively while the Angels wait for him to unlock his potential at the plate offensively.Ward was in the lineup in left field on Wednesday night, his first major league start in the outfield.After being drafted as a catcher and moving to third base last year, Ward was moved to left field this year.“Outfield is very comfortable,” Ward said on Wednesday. “The infield for me is not as comfortable. For that reason, I’m really excited to have the opportunity out there.” Major league pitchers are much better at commanding the top of the zone, which is where they’ve gone increasingly to combat hitters looking to launch balls in the bottom of the zone.“I think last year at the end of the year when he was here, he was kind of really swinging uphill at the ball,” Manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s worked at that to lessen the steepness of that swing. He had an outstanding year at Salt Lake obviously. We’re hoping the results here will be better as well. We’ll see.”Ward hit .306 with 27 homers and a 1.011 OPS this year at Salt Lake, which he said was the result of a better approach to balls up in the zone.“I wasn’t able to do it the way I wanted in the spring or even early in Triple-A, but over the course of the year, I’m a lot smarter,” he said. “I know myself better.” After trying Ward at first base early in the Triple-A season this season, they moved him to the outfield. He played almost exclusively in the outfield over the final four months.“At third base, you are locked in and reacting to a ball that’s on you in a second,” Ward said. “In the outfield, you are still locked in, but your first move doesn’t have to be as perfect. That takes a little off your mind.”Ward’s issues at the plate were more than simply being distracted by his defense, though.Part of Ward’s swing retooling from 2017 to 2018 involved him increasing his launch angle. However, he did it in a way that worked in the minors, but not the majors.Related Articles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error