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SPOTLIGHT ON SPEED: RYAN PHILLIPS

Osage City's Ryan Phillips can't predict how the rest of the 2009 Modified racing season is going to turn out, but he sure can't complain about how things are going at this point.

The 34-year-old Phillips currently leads the point standings in a Modified division that includes many of the drivers that Phillips has admired for years.

"All these guys I grew up watching,'' Phillips said. "It feels pretty good to be able to stay ahead of them. Every week we just try to stay out of crashes and just finish. So far it's working good."

"At the beginning of the season we came out here for wins, just hoping to get a win. Now we got our wins and we'll just have to wait and see (what happens). I've been real fortunate this season to stay out of stuff and keep my nose clean and finish every race.''

Winning a championship would be the career highlight for Phillips, now in his eighth year in the Modified class.

"The highest I ever finished was second,'' Phillips said. "At this point we're starting to look at it and say, "We've got an actual shot at this."

"We haven't been racing on our off weekends, just coming out here and trying to make a run at it.''

After working his way up to Modifieds, Phillips has found his niche in the division.

"I started in a Cruiser in '98, ran Factory Stocks in '99 and 2000,'' said Phillips, who works at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Ottawa. "In 2001, I made the jump to Modified and have been in Modifieds ever since.''

"It's a hobby and we do it for fun on the weekends. During the week we get together sometimes and work on the car, but we're just out here to have fun.''

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