Nichols runs clean in Pombo/Sargent Classic at the LoanMart Madera Speedway
By Ronald Montez
The Madera Tribune
Madera, Ca - For Chad Nichols, there wasn't much down time in the pits for the BCRA Midgets driver.
Before Nichols could capture the 30-lap headlining win at the LoanMart Madera Speedway, he and his racing team were consumed with making last minute
adjustments to the No. 17 car.
While Nichols was understandably occupied in the back getting ready for his main, the loyal fans in the grandstands were treated to a mix of competitive open
wheel racing and a trip down memory lane with blast from the past race cars in the annual Pombo/Sargent Classic presented by Allied Storage and Containers
on Saturday night (March, 28).
Prior to the BCRA Midgets race, the crowd saw Audra Sasseli (NCMA Sprints), Dylan Nobile (USAC HPD Midgets), Lance Tatro (360 Super Modifieds), and
Ethan Lesser (USAC HPD Restricted Midgets) each earn victories on the night while the Vintage Open Super Modifieds, Vintage Midgets and Vintage 360
Super Modifieds also completed laps on "The Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West."
On a night that remembered legendary short track drivers, the late Al Pombo and Marshall Sargent, respectively, every driver in each class helped put on an
admirable show for the spectators.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NIGHT
After Michael Snider and David Goodwill each won an eight-lap heat race, there was a bit of a wait for Chad Nichols and the rest of the drivers heading into the
"I think I was so busy with the problems that we were having earlier in the night that I couldn't worry about timing or trying to keep a rhythm," Nichols
explained. "We just had a lot of fuel problems tonight trying to get the motor running and get the car better, so I think it probably worked to an advantage and
kept me busy enough."
Prior to the race going green, the division lost its top qualifier Cody Gerhardt (13.955), who made a trip to the infield with car problems and could only watch
the 30-lap main.
With Gerhardt sidelined, Nichols led the 12-car field out of the gates with Frankie Guerrini, Mark Maliepaard, Tanner Swanson and Goodwill following in the
Although Nichols led from the first lap to the final one, his grip on the lead was never secure.
Nichols had to fight to keep his lead on three restarts including one on Lap 14 when the race was momentarily stopped.
"The problem came when we were in the lead and kept getting yellows," he said of his biggest obstacle in the race. "I kept getting nervous because I knew I had
a good rhythm and kind of a decent lead but on the yellows, you never know. Anything can happen on the first few laps. That was more stressful than the
waiting around for the long night."
Because of the car's quick burst of speed, the exposed open wheels and close proximity to each other, Nichols had to keep a watchful eye out for cars spinning
around on the track.
"There were two right in front of me at the end, so that was a little close," he said. "I wasn't right up on them but I was maybe 25-40 feet behind them, so close
enough that if they got off the brakes wrong or spun the wrong way then they were going to collect me. That was a little nerve-racking but I didn't see the ones
behind me. I know some good cars got collected tonight behind me and unfortunately that's a bad luck night for them but it kind of works out for us."
Two spinouts that invoked cautions on Lap 5 and 21 didn't have an affect on Nichols' take-off on the restarts.
Even when Swanson and Snider's cars got into each other and tumbled sideways on Lap 14 that caused the race to go red, the veteran driver called on his
experience once it resumed to stay ahead of Goodwill, who made his way to second after passing Guerrini and Maliepaard from Laps 10-14.
"I know this track and it's my favorite," Nichols said. "I've been running it for 20 years, so I'm just trying to make sure I hit my spots and get off the corner well
for the first few laps and get in a rhythm. It just kind of worked out well tonight."
On the restarts, Nichols knew he had to time them just right to maintain his lead.
"Absolutely I was," Nichols responded when asked if he was concerned about getting clipped from the back on the restarts. "I've had it happen to me before.
The biggest time you worry about is going into Turn 1 after a restart because you're never quite sure how you get off a corner. If other cars really want to kind
of banzai in there, it's usually when they'll give it a shot. You can't give them too much room and leave it wide open but you don't want to pinch them off and
let them get into your left rear. I'm just trying to find a good rhythm on Lap 1."
After a caution on Lap 21, Nichols finished strong in the final nine while Goodwill took second.
"Early we were pretty down and had a really rough night with the car, so this win goes to the crew," Nichols said in a victory lane interview with track
announcer "Outback" Andy Foster.
Maliepaard got by Guerrini down the stretch to finish ahead of him in third while Snider bounced back from that early contact with Swanson to finish an
In the NCMA Sprint main, it was Audra Sasseli who prevailed despite trailing with eight laps remaining.
In her No. 77 car, Sasseli outlasted the rest of her competitors in the 30-lap main and finished ahead of runner-up Denny Burell and Pat Ariaz, who took third
and also won an eight-lap heat race.
Sasseli began the day with a strong start by posting the top qualifying mark (14.711) and also winning an eight-lap heat race.
While Sasseli stayed in the top two for most of the main, it was a rocky start for the entire class.
Within the first seven laps, the race stopped twice after Justin Kawahata, David Burcett, and J.R. Brown were involved in scary crashes. All three drivers were
reported to be okay with Kawahata and Brown valiantly returning to complete the race.
Once track officials cleared up the raceway, it was Sasseli and Eric Humphries battling for the top spot on the restart.
After Lap 10, Humphries claimed the clear lead and set the pace for the rest of the race.
However on Lap 22, Humphries relinquished his position when he pulled into the infield which left Sasseli back in first.
Sasseli closed out the race strong with Burrell, Ariaz, Bud Trumble and Brown finishing in second, third, fourth and fifth.
USAC HPD MIDGETS
Although he was the division's No. 1 qualifier (14.866) and won the eight-lap heat race earlier in the day, drivers in the USAC HPD Midgets didn't make it easy
for Dylan Nobile to claim the 30-lap main.
It wasn't a runaway for Nobile, who had to work hard for his victory after trailing for 26 out of the first 30 laps.
However, once Nobile crossed the finish line and parked his No. 40 car in the winner's circle, he climbed to the top of it and showed those in attendance just
how excited he was with his well-earned win.
Nobile had plenty of reason to celebrate his comeback victory.
Tom Patterson, Annie Breidingar, Cody Jessop and Toni Breidingar all began the race ahead of Nobile, who sat in fifth.
In the first 10 laps, all five were in a group together going steadily around the track - no more than a car length apart.
Patterson started to create a little separation between the pack but Nobile, Annie Breidingar, Toni Breidingar and Jessop were still within striking distance.
After Turn 4 on Lap 26, Nobile caught up to Patterson before assuming the lead on the next lap.
For the final three laps, Nobile stayed ahead while Patterson finished in second and Annie Breidingar rounded out the top three.
360 SUPER MODIFIEDS
In the 360 Super Modifieds division, multi-winning track champion Lance Tatro showed his skill and control with a 30-lap main win over second place Lance
Tatro, the top qualifier (13.429) also bested A.J. Russell in the eight-lap heat race.
Although Russell kept it close early in the main, lap-by-lap Tatro began to create space and won by 12 seconds.
Jackson eventually passed Russell to finish second.
USAC HPD RESTRICTED MIDGETS
It was a classic 15-lap battle between winner Ethan Lesser and runner-up Jesse Love in the USAC HPD Restricted Midgets main.
Love began the main with the division's fastest qualifying time (15.894) and had a six-lap heat race victory under his belt.
He appeared to be heading to a main win too before Lesser, who refused to go away and stayed close to Love in the entire race, suddenly took the lead on the
final lap to finish in first.
The Madera Speedway returns to action on Saturday, April 4 with the Easter Egg Hunt for the Kids on the Race Track, Madera Late Models, Madera Hobby
Stocks, NCPRO 4 Modifieds, MST, Toyota Sedans, 4-Bangers, and the 18-Second Bracket Race.
BCRA Midgets - 30 Laps
1. Chad Nichols
2. David Goodwill
3. Mark Maliepaard
4. Frankie Guerrini
5. Michael Snider
6. Kevin Morris
7. Gary Conterno
8. Floyd Alvis
9. Marvin Mitchell
10. Alan Beck
11. Tanner Swanson
12. Lauren Snider
13. Cody Gerhardt
NCMA Sprints - 30 Laps
1. Audra Sasseli
2. Denny Burell
3. Pat Ariaz
4. Bud Trumble
5. J.R. Brown
6. Justin Kawahata
7. Eric Humphries
8. David Burcett
9. Jeff Burrows
USAC HPD Midgets - 30 Laps
1. Dylan Nobile
2. Tom Patterson
3. Annie Breidingar
4. Toni Breidingar
5. Cody Jessop
6. Ron Hazelton
7. Ashley Hazelton
360 Super Modifieds - 30 Laps
1. Lance Tatro
2. Lance Jackson
3. A.J. Russell
USAC HPD Restricted Midgets - 15 Laps
1. Ethan Lesser
2. Jesse Love
3. Blake Brannon
BCRA Midgets (Heat 1) - 8 Laps
1. Michael Snider
2. Chad Nichols
3. Mark Maliepaard
4. Alan Beck
5. Cody Gerhardt
6. Ron Hazelton
BCRA Midgets (Heat 2) - 8 Laps
1. David Goodwill
2. Tanner Swanson
3. Frankie Guerrini
4. Gary Conterno
5. Kevin Morris
6. Floyd Alvis
7. Marvin Mitchell
NCMA Sprints (Heat 1) - 8 Laps
1. Pat Ariaz
2. David Burcett
3. Jeff Burrows
4. Bud Trumble
NCMA Sprints (Heat 2) - 8 Laps
1. Audra Sasseli
2. Eric Humphries
3. J.R. Brown
4. Denny Burell
5. Justin Kawahata
USAC HPD Midgets - 8 Laps
1. Dylan Nobile
2. Cody Jessop
3. Toni Breidingar
4. Tom Patterson
5. Annie Breidingar
6. Ashley Hazelton
7. Ron Hazelton
360 Super Modifieds - 8 Laps
1. Lance Tatro
2. A.J. Russell
3. Lance Jackson
USAC HPD Restricted Midgets - 6 Laps
1. Jesse Love
2. Ethan Lesser
3. Blake Brannon
Qualifying - 2 Laps
1. Cody Gerhardt 13.955
2. David Goodwill 13.965
3. Chad Nichols 14.197
4. Tanner Swanson 14.247
5. Mark Maliepaard 14.367
6. Frankie Guerrini 14.377
7. Michael Snider 14.573
8. Gary Conterno 14.664
9. Lauren Snider 15.087
10. Floyd Alvis 15.104
11. Ron Hazelton 15.464
12. Marvin Mitchell 15.654
13. Alan Beck 15.662
1. Audra Sasseli 14.711
2. J.R. Brown 14.833
3. Justin Kawahata 14.881
4. Eric Humphries 14.905
5. David Burcett 15.176
6. Jeff Burrows 15.608
7. Bud Trumble 15.740
8. Pat Ariaz 15.776
USAC HPD Midgets
1. Dylan Nobile 14.866
2. Cody Jessop 14.904
3. Toni Breidingar 14.950
4. Tom Patterson 15.171
5. Annie Breidingar 15.195
6. Ashley Hazelton 15.564
360 Super Modifieds
1. Lance Tatro 13.429
2. A.J. Russell 13.912
3. Lance Jackson 13.915
USAC HPD Restricted Midgets
1. Jesse Love 15.894
2. Blake Brannon 16.210
3. Ethan Lesser 16.236
THE POMBO/SARGENT CLASSIC IS THIS SATURDAY at LoanMart Madera Speedway
Madera, Ca (3.23.15) - The Pombo/Sargent Classic is this Saturday night at LoanMart Madera Speedway and fans will get to see some great pavement open
wheel racing action at the fastest 1/3 mile in the west.
The headliner for this open wheel event is the BCRA midgets with a strong field of race cars. The undercard includes the USAC HPD midgets, the NCMA Sprint
Cars, the CSS 360 Super Modifieds, the Vintage Super Modifieds, the new Senior Super Modified Tour, and the Vintage BCRA Midgets!
We also have several of the Western King of the Wing Sprint car teams that are going to hot lap and run an exhibition race for fans in the middle of the
Pombo/Sargent Classic. Note, Davey Hamilton the series director of the Western Sprint Car Series has postponed their first race to the May 2nd Vukovich
Classic, please see the press release below.
The LoanMart Madera Speedway came flying out of the gate with the gas pedal WIDE OPEN on the 2015 racing season. Fans enjoyed the hammer down
MAVTV $5,000 to win LoanMart Late Model Series race on March 14th, then a BARNBURNER of a race in the tour race last Saturday night March 21st.
The March 28th Pombo/Sargent Classic open wheel event is the third of our three weeks of BIG season opening shows! Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for
seniors and military, $10 for youth ages 6-12, and kids five and under are free!
Pits open at noon, grandstands open at 3pm with races in the 6pm window.
First WSCS (Western Sprint Car Series) Event Postponed
March 23, 2015 - The Western Sprint Car Series (WSCS) has decided to postpone the opening event scheduled for March 28th at Madera Speedway to May
2nd. Several drivers have reported delays in receiving need parts to complete engine builds.
"I think Davey has made a good decision to delay the first Western Region event for his new series until May 2nd as part of our Vukovich Classic. Many of the
teams out west are still building cars and engines, plus we can get a some of the big named traveling drivers for the May 2nd WSCS kick off due to it being after
the Florida swing for the National series " stated Kenny Shepard, Madera Speedway Owner/Promoter.
Series Promoter Davey Hamilton said, "This series is just getting off the ground and building momentum, it is unfair to the fans, drivers and sponsors to put on
a show when several drivers are still waiting for parts from suppliers to finish their cars. By postponing the opener until May 2nd we ensure a great show for
The WSCS will headline the Vukovich Classic on May 2nd, this is also a National event for the USAC HPD midgets. The undercard includes a big line up of BCRA
Midgets, the NCMA wingless sprint cars, the 360 Super Modifieds, the Vintage Super Modifieds, and the Vintage Midgets!
Visit www.racemadera.com for more information about the May 2nd Vukovich Classic.
Southwest Tour showdown leads big night at the LoanMart Madera Speedway By Ronald Montez The Madera
Tribune Madera, Ca - How close was the Spears Southwest Tour's main finish between Bakersfield's Derek Thorn and Prunedale's Jim Pettit II?
Try less than one tick on the official scoring time - 0.255 was the difference to be exact.
It was by that slim of a margin that Thorn - last season's defending series champion - beat out Pettit II, a clear worthy competitor.
That heart-stopping finish was what the energetic racing crowd witnessed at the LoanMart Madera Speedway on Saturday night (March 21) in the West 125
presented by DC's RV Center.
Thorn's last-second victory capped a big evening of racing on "The Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West" that included the Twisted Tea Open Modifieds Series, the
Legends of the Pacific, SRL S2 stock cars, Mini Stock Toyotas and the Toyota Sedans division.
"This race was all about putting on a great show for great fans and I think we did," Thorn said while being interviewed in the winner's lane by track announcer
Andy Foster. "Jim raced me very well."
Like Thorn, other winners in the event included Kris Price (Twisted Tea Modifieds), Brandon Weaver (Legends), Trevor Huddleston (SRL S2), Tim Curtis
(Toyota Sedans) and Darrell Herzog (MST's).
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NIGHT
SPEARS SOUTHWEST TOUR SERIES
Although it wasn't the ideal start for the SWT after Blaine Rocha's No. 21 car was turned around by Laguna Beach's Ryan Cansdale (No. 31) to begin the race
with a caution, the toe-to-toe battle between Thorn and Pettit II certainly left the crowd in excitement.
Once the drivers officially took off to start the race, Goleta's Greg Voigt (No. 29) was in the lead with Manteca's Jacob Gomes and Thorn - the division's fastest
qualifier (14.449) - right behind.
Right after Turn 4, Thorn pulled ahead of Voigt on Lap 9 to take the lead position.
While Thorn continued to be out in the front, he had company after Lap 26 as second fast-time qualifier Pettit II (14.466) built up some momentum and began
to close in on his respected opponent.
For the next 15 laps, Pettit II stayed up with Thorn while both of them increased their distance from the remaining drivers - lapping cars and getting at least
seven seconds ahead of the third place driver Voigt.
However, a spinout forced a restart and wiped away the giant lead on Lap 45.
Once the green flag was waved, both drivers immediately broke away from the pack and continued to stay close to each other with Thorn taking the high side
on each turn while Pettit was low.
Even after another yellow flag was waved with 35 laps remaining, the result was the same after the restart - Thorn in first and Pettit II right behind while
getting further away from the other cars.
With 10 laps to go, Pettit II was so close that his front end would nudge Thorn a bit heading into the front straightaway.
Despite the brief contact, Thorn continued to keep steady as the race began to wind down.
Approaching Turn 3 on the final lap, Pettit II appeared ready to pass Thorn - riding along the side of the No. 43 car - but didn't have enough to get by him on
the bottom heading toward the finish line.
Staying slightly ahead, Thorn once again prevailed and won another great Madera Speedway battle between the two Southwest Tour drivers.
Tracy Bolin, of Valley Springs, took third while Voigt finished fourth and Livingston's Carlos Vieira placed fifth.
TWISTED TEA OPEN MODIFIEDS SERIES
In Race No. 1 of six in the Twisted Tea Open Modified Series, it was Kris Price - driving in the No. 51a - who emerged ahead of the 14-car field to win the 70-lap
main that was split into two 35-lap races.
As the second fastest qualifier (15.545), Price had the chore of beating out drivers Scott Alves, who took second while posting the fast qualifying time of
(15.407), and third place finisher Aaron Coonfield.
In the first 35 laps which included Brandon Jones losing a runaway tire on Lap 10 and drivers Ryan Mock and Micheal Ray sliding into the front straightaway
barriers 15 laps later, Price watched as Coonfield and Madera's Elliot Stjerne tussled up front for the lead with Alves and Terry Deal near by.
When the cars went back to the pits after 35 laps, it was Alves leading the way followed by Stjerne, Deal, Price and Coonfield.
After resuming the second half of the split 35's, Alves continued to uphold the lead with Coonfield, Stjerne, Deal and Price giving chase.
To wrap up the race, Price wouldn't be denied and eventually passed Alves and Coonfield to win the main.
LEGENDS OF THE PACIFIC
Due to time constraints and a number of stoppages including two red flags, the Legends of the Pacific main - originally scheduled for 35 laps - was reduced to
While it was tough for the 20 drivers to get into any rhythm with the amount of cautions in the race including one on Lap 8 that saw six cars get lodged
together against the fence after Turn 4, it was 14-year-old Brandon Weaver, a Bakersfield native and an eight-lap heat race winner earlier in the day, who
didn't let the restarts deter him from getting out in front with his No. 15b car.
After getting the Legends sorted out, the No. 6 car of Pete Pierce ascended to the front but was immediately caught up to by Weaver and Robby Czub.
Two laps later, Weaver occupied the front with Czub in second and Cameron Austin in third.
When the track officials noticed leaked fluids on the asphalt surface, the race came to a complete stop before another caution prompted the main to be called
prematurely which left Weaver as the winner and Czub, in second in front of third place Austin.
Geoff Shaw and Clayton Travels each won eight-lap heat races earlier in the day.
SRL S-2 Stock cars
Although only seven drivers began the 35-lap main, there was no shortage of competitive driving between Trevor Huddleston, Johnny Butler, Todd Conrad,
Craig Yeaton, Brian Good, Nastasia Dodd and Cory Elliot.
While Huddleston did have the best qualifying time of 16.244, he had to work early to earn the overall SRL S-2 victory.
Nine laps into the race, Huddleston ended up passing leader Dodd along with Butler and Elliot to get into the front.
Huddleston sustained his lead the rest of the main while Butler took second and Conrad placed third.
In the Toyota Sedans division, it was Tim Curtis who was able to use some of his comeback magic that helped him win the 2014 track title.
The defending champ secured another 25-lap main win after trailing Jason Lawton for the first part of the race.
Early in the main, Lawton was rolling ahead of Brennen Mankin, Curtis, Donnie Large Jr. and Ed Rodriguez.
With cautions on Lap 12 and Lap 21 briefly slowing down the race, Curtis and Large Jr. benefitted from the restart as each passed Lawton and battled for first.
On the Lap 22 restart, Curtis and Large Jr. were side-by-side before Curtis pulled ahead with Lawton in third.
Curtis, who also earned a six-lap heat race win and had top qualifying mark of 17.711, recorded his second straight win to open the season while Large Jr.,
also a heat race winner and second best qualifier (17.763), finished runner-up. Lawton placed third.
To get the mains started, the MST's set the tone for what was to come on the night.
Despite trailing for the first 18 laps, Darrell Herzog stayed the course to win the 25-lap main over Chowchilla's John Bowersox.
From the first lap, it was Kevin Thompson who used his knowledge, skills and track experience to hold the early lead over Bowersox, who won the eight-lap
On a Lap 13 restart, Thompson stayed a tad ahead of Bowersox and Herzog, who was another heat race winner.
By the time Thompson and Herzog reached Lap 16, the two were next to each other. Two laps later, Herzog pulled away while Bowersox got into second.
After recording a fast time of 17.087 during qualifying, Herzog finished strong in the main to pick up his second victory of the year after winning in the season
opener on March 14.
"The whole reason why we got into this was so I could get out there and drive, have some fun and good family time," he said in a post-race interview with
Bowersox took second and Herzog's son, Tyler, rounded out the top three.
The Madera Speedway returns on March 28 with the Pombo/Sargent Classic presented by Allied Storage and Containers, The Pacific Region King of the Wing
Sprint Series, BCRA Midgets, USAC HPD Midgets, NCMA Sprints, Vintage Super Modifieds, Open Vintage Super Modifieds, BCRA Vintage Midgets, and the 360
Spears Southwest Tour - 125
1 Derek Thorn
2. Jim Pettit II
3. Tracy Bolin
4. Greg Voigt
5. Carlos Vieira
6. Ryan Cansdale
7. Jeff Bischofberger
8. Bob Lyon
9. Jacob Gomes
10. Brandon White
11. Parker Stephens
12. Keith Spangler
13. Blaine Rocha
14. Scott Sanchez
Twisted Tea Open Modified Series - 70 Laps 1. Kris Price 2. Scott Alves 3. Aaron Coonfield 4. Robbie Knittel 5. Terry Deal 6. Blaine Perkins 7. Dave Campbell 8.
Elliot Stjerne 9. Paul Pedroncelli 10. Kevin Nichols 11. TY Carlson 12. Ryan Mock 13. Micheal Ray 14. Brandon Jones
Legends - 14 Laps
1. Brandon Weaver
2. Robby Czub
3. Cameron Austin
4. Jeremy Wood
5. Tony Mangini
6. Geoff Shaw
7. Pete Pierce
8. Sonny Cervelli
9. Clayton Travels
10. Eddie Garone
11. Bob Kuebler
12. Codi Winchel
13. Jason Figura
14. Seth Holman
15. Nick Grossi
16. Brian Hill
17. Matt Ewing
18. Kevin Cadieux
19. Tim Mangini
20. Braden Rogers
SRL S2 Tour - 35 Laps
1. Trevor Huddleston
2. Johnny Butler
3. Todd Conrad
4. Craig Yeaton
5. Brian Good
6. Nastasia Dodd
7. Cory Elliott
Toyota Sedans - 25 Laps
1. Tim Curtis
2. Donnie Large Jr.
3. Jason Lawton
4. Brennen Mankin
5. Kyle Fortney
6. Ed Rodriguez
7. Tyler Johnson
8. Jillaun Holden
9. Lucy Carmona
MST's - 25 Laps
1. Darrell Herzog
2. John Bowersox
3. Tyler Herzog
4. Dave Lander
5. Tim Kammerer
6. Zachary Cook
7. John Benedict
8. Patrick Geiger
9. Kevin Thompson
Legends (Heat 1) - 8 Laps
1. Geoff Shaw
2. Seth Holman
3. Braden Rogers
4. Nick Grossi
5. Matt Ewing
6. Bob Kuebler
7. Jason Figura
Legends (Heat 2) - 8 Laps
1. Clayton Travels
2. Eddie Garone
3. Kevin Cadieux
4. Pete Pierce
5. Brian Hill
6. Codi Winchel
7. Sonny Cervelli
Legends (Heat 3) - 8 Laps
1. Brandon Weaver
2. Jeremy Wood
3. Cameron Austin
4. Tim Mangini
5. Robby Czub
6. Tony Mangini
Toyota Sedans (Heat 1) - 6 Laps
1. Tim Curtis
2. Brennen Mankin
3. Tyler Johnson
4. Kyle Fortney
5. Lucy Carmona
Toyota Sedans (Heat 2) - 6 Laps
1. Donnie Large Jr.
2. Jason Lawton
3. Ed Rodriguez
4. Jillaun Holden
MST's (Heat) - 6 Laps
1. Darrell Herzog
2. Tyler Herzog
3. Tim Kammerer
4. John Benedict
5. Zachary Cook
MST's - Heat 2
1. John Bowersox
2. Dave Lander
3. Kevin Thompson
4. Patrick Geiger
Qualifying - 2 Laps
1. Derek Thorn 14.449
2. Jim Pettit II 14.466
3. Jeff Bischofberger 14.574
4. Brandon White 14.604
5. Jacob Gomes 14.605
6. Ryan Cansdale 14.663
7. Greg Voigt 14.701
8. Blaine Rocha 14.726
9. Carlos Vieira 14.762
10. Tracy Bolin 14.812
11. Parker Stephens 15.025
12. Keith Spangler 15.191
13. Bob Lyon 15.257
14. Scott Sanchez 15.262
Twisted Tea Open Modifieds Series
1. Scott Alves 15.407
2. Kris Price 15.545
3. Blaine Perkins 15.561
4. Aaron Coonfield 15.572
5. Elliot Stjerne 15.572
6. TY Carlson 15.606
7. Terry Deal 15.642
8. Ryan Mock 15.655
9. Paul Pedroncelli 15.667
10. Dave Campbell 15.702
11. Robbie Knittel 15.789
12. Brandon Jones 15.922
13. Micheal Ray 16.027
14. Kevin Nichols 16.418
Legends of the Pacific
1. Jeremy Wood 16.547
2. Tony Mangini 16.626
3. Tim Mangini 16.639
4. Cameron Austin 16.669
5. Robby Czub 16.703
6. Brandon Weaver 16.772
7. Brian Hill 16.803
8. Codi Winchel 16.804
9. Eddie Garone 16.804
10. Pete Pierce 16.925
11. Sonny Cervelli 16.965
12. Clayton Travels 17.009
13. Kevin Cadieux 17.025
14. Geoff Shaw 17.097
15. Seth Holman 17.390
16. Jason Figura 17.415
17. Braden Rogers 17.441
18. Matt Ewing 17.978
19. Nick Grossi 18.020
20. Bob Kuebler 18.071
1. Trevor Huddleston 16.244
2. Cory Elliot 16.393
3. Johnny Butler 16.533
4. Nastasia Dodd 16.618
5. Craig Yeaton 16.628
6. Todd Conrad 16.848
7. Brian Good 18.474
1. Tim Curtis 17.711
2. Donnie Large Jr. 17.763
3. Brennen Mankin 17.895
4. Jason Lawton 17.926
5. Tyler Johnson 18.235
6. Ed Rodriguez 18.282
7. Lucy Carmona 18.421
8. Jillaun Holden 18.577
9. Kyle Fortney 18.604
10. Thomas Magray 18.639
1. Darrell Herzog 17.087
2. John Bowersox 17.163
3. Tyler Herzog 17.228
4. Kevin Thompson 17.273
5. Tim Kammerer 17.559
6. Dave Lander 17.704
7. Zachary Cook 17.708
8. Patrick Geiger 17.864
9. John Benedict 18.501
Shepherd earns first Late Models win in Speedway season opener
By Mark Smith
The Madera Tribune
The roar of racing powerhouses came back to life Saturday night as the LoanMart Madera Speedway revved up its 2015 season with a slew of high-flying
No race lived up to the expected action of a season-opening event more than the Open Late Model Series, where a $5,000 prize was earned in Buddy
Shepard's first-ever win at only 15 years old, but not without major costs.
Instead of a night where races were mostly defined by clean driving, the last 12 laps of the Open Late Model class could best be called a chaotic frenzy, as even
crossing over the finish line fans saw Shepherd and other drivers spinning across the "Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West" and responded with huge cheers.
In lap 113 of the event's 125 laps, then-leader Brian Herzog - who finished the first two 50-lap splits in the lead - refused to be denied victory as Shepard, with
the third-top qualifying vehicle out of 19 entries, continued to press for the lead on the outside line for numerous previous laps.
As Shepherd looked to again take the lead after numerous caution flag restarts, it appeared that Herzog purposely pushed Shepard into the front-end
straightaway wall which sent both Herzog and Shepard spinning down the line.
Shepherd managed to regain control of his car as it spun, but Herzog's momentum - in the race's second-top qualifying vehicle - caused him to flip around and
slam into the 90 car of Toni McCray, who was then forced from the race.
Cheers from the crowd exploded when race officials announced Herzog, a driver with a local history of turbulent driving, would be sent to the back of the pack
and essentially forced from victory.
At that point, it looked like the $5,000 was Shepard's to win, but Kyle Gottula made an incredible entrance to the top of the pack.
In lap 120, when the 3 car of J.R. Courage sent sparks into the air on a yellow-flag restart, it appeared Shepard chose the outside line while Gottula was on the
inside track of a double lineup.
Immediately, with five laps to go, Gottula appeared to drive as focused and furious as Herzog, squeezing Shepard close to the wall on the outside lane.
The final lap lead to such intensity.
As Gottula and Shepherd went into the final turn - after the 73 car of Garland Tyler tried to squeeze into the middle of the two drivers but backed out - it
looked like Gottula and Shepherd slammed into the wall for the second time.
But Gottula's car held Shepherd in place as the two went across the finish line, and Shepard finished ahead by less than a tenth of a second, only six hundredths
in the lead for the checkered flag and less than three tenths in front of Tyler.
As all three cars went three-wide over the finish line, numerous drivers spun out and Shepherd, still trying to keep control, bashed into the turn two wall on
his driver's side.
All the damage to his car - multiple scrapes and a crushed rear end - did little to dissuade Shepherd from celebrating his first-ever Open Late Models victory
after a rookie season in 2014.
"I feel great," Shepherd said. "I can't do it without my good group of guys. They've been working their butt off on this car and I was finally able to do this for
them. It's awesome."
Coming into the final lap, Shepherd said his car actually almost cost him the victory.
"That last lap, going into turn two, the cat got all weird and funky on me going into the corner," Shepherd said. "It got loose, and I thought, oh, it might be over
from here. But I was able to pull it off, and pull it off for the win."
Gottula said after the race his move wasn't intentional, it was simply a product of short-track racing.
"I thought I could do something to get the win over (Shepard) on that last-race restart but I gave him some room on turn four," Gottula said. "I guess people
saying stuff about it haven't been around short-track racing much."
Other winners included: Andrew Payne in the WSRA Mini Cups; Darrell Herzog in a close MST's win; Josh Whitfield in a dominant Open Hobby Stocks
performance; and Tim Curtis in the always-popular Toyota Sedans.
The sedans provided an excellent race as Curtis, the 2014 champion and 2013 champion Donnie Large fought for first and second place.
Large's main opponent came in last-year rookie Jason Lawton, who held the lead for nearly the entire race before Curtis zipped ahead in lap 25 as he shaved
off more than four-tenths of a second time each lap.
Lawton then attempted to fend off Large from second place as they finished neck-and-neck for their final spots after a couple caution flags.
In victory lane the third-place Lawton grinned as he discussed the fun of the Toyota Sedans class.
"Better racing means a better show for the fans," Lawton said of Large's second-place finish. "It's better for us too. We'll all be testing and tuning up our cars for
the next one, for sure."
Curtis - who won last year by nearly 200 points - agreed but said he didn't expect to win out as easily as before.
"We're starting a good year," Curtis said. "A lot of people rebuilt their motors last year and they're getting a whole lot faster. I definitely won't have a track
record like I did. I mean, once I got out in front tonight, it was easy, but their stuff isn't broken in yet. Once it is, it's going to be a totally different story out
Large said he felt he had a chance at beating Curtis, but his tires needed to be replaced.
"Tires would have made a tremendous difference," Large said. "By the end on the bottom they wash up every time and I couldn't hold it down, so I took it to
the top and held it."
Despite that, Large smiled as he noted the sedans were going to be a great class this year.
"(Curtis) is the '14 champ, I'm the '13 champ," Large said. "We'll settle this deal."
In the WSRA Mini Cups, some of the track's younger drivers - starting around 8 years old - provided a strong show as drivers went three-wide around several
turns, and finished when Payne took the lead on turn 3 into lap 16 and held it for the checkered flag.
Whitfield made the Open Hobby Stocks look easy, as he started from the pole as the top qualifier and finished with the victory.
In the MST's, Darrell Herzog managed to fend off approaching 2014 champion Kevin Thompson and 2013 powerhouse John Bowersox.
"I have great competitors bringing some great racing," Herzog said. "I saw Thompson chasing me down, but the camaraderie, the racing here, it's all been great
Numerous drivers repeated that theme and said they couldn't wait to race again at the LoanMart Madera Speedway after what appears to be an amazing
On Saturday, March 21, the Spears Southwest Tour returns to the Speedway for one of the top yearly events. The Legends of the Pacific, SR2 Late Model
Series, Toyota Sedans, MST's, and Race #1 of the $1,000-to-win Twisted Tea Open Modified Series join the Spears tour on the schedule.
For information, go to www.racemadera.com, call (559) 673-7223, or visit the Speedway's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/maderaspeedway for free
ticket giveaways, photos from the track, and posts about upcoming events.
Open Late Models Series (125 laps, two 50-lap splits and 25 sprint lap finish)
J.R. Courage-(5 laps)
Toni McCray-(12 laps)
Justin Philpott-(58 laps)
Blaine Rocha-(65 laps)
Emma Tucker-(65 laps)
Loren Kutz-(66 laps)
Del McIntosh-(75 laps)
Ryan Phillpott-(89 laps)
Parker Stephens-(112 laps)
Justin Westmoreland-(120 laps)
Open Hobby Stocks (70 laps, 35-lap split)
Ben Lewis Jr.-(-0.819)
Nick Silva-(1 lap)
Jim Earl-(1 lap)
Les Wasson-(2 laps)
Richard Herzog-(15 laps)
Joseph Riechmuth-(34 laps)
Howard Holden-(45 laps)
Toyota Sedans (30 laps)
Sarah Vivian-(1 lap)
Lucy Carmona-(1 lap)
Jillaun Holden-(2 laps)
Larry Alarcon-(9 laps)
MST's (30 laps)
Zackary Cook-(1 lap)
Dave Lander-(1 lap)
WSRA Mini Cups (20 laps)
Larence Massone-(4 laps)
Joshua Terry-(6 laps)
Toyota Sedans (Heat 1, 6 laps)
Toyota Sedans (Heat 2, 6 laps)
MST's (Heat 1, 6 laps)
MST's (Heat 2, 6 laps)
Patrick Geiger-(1 lap)
WSRA Mini Cups (Race, 4 laps)
LoanMart Open Late Model Series
Joey Stearns - No Time
Open Hobby Stocks
Ben Lewis Jr.-16.779
WSRA Mini Cups
BIGTIME TV TIME, ALL 2015 LOANMART LATE MODEL SERIES races from Madera will air on
Madera, Ca (1.23.15) - It's official, all eight of the 2015 LoanMart Late Model Series races from LoanMart Madera Speedway will air on MAVTV! There will be a
ninth episode in the TV series and this show will be a documentary about our 2015 LoanMart Late Model Series champion.
The LoanMart Late Model Series is in its fourth season, and it has become the place to be for a driver on a budget that wants to build a name and have a lot of
fun behind the wheel of a late model. In 2015 drivers will have another benefit from competing in the LoanMart Late Model Series at Madera, TV time.
The LoanMart Late Model Series season begins with a $5,000.00 to win race on March 14th and ends with the big $10,000.00 to win LoanMart Short Track
Shootout on October 10th. There are six races in between the season opener and the big end of year show, they will be held on April 25th, May 30th, June
20th, July 25th, August 29th, and September 26th.
There will be a total of nine episodes in the LoanMart Late Model TV series airing on MAVTV, eight races and a feature show on our 2015 champion. When
you include the two Lucas Oil Modified races, and the King of the Wing National Sprint Car race we will have a total of twelve races televised from the
LoanMart Madera Speedway in 2015!
"We are excited about the TV Series for the LoanMart Late Model Series, and we are very appreciative of our relationship with our marketing partners that are
helping us make this show a reality, partners like LoanMart, Lucas Oil, and MAVTV. MAVTV is the go to place for grass roots racing, and we feel our speedway
produces some amazing pavement short track racing that is made for TV." Kenny Shepherd
The hallmark of the series is close competition, fans will see big name drivers like former NASCAR champions Eric Holmes and Mike David, local stars like
Jason Aguirre and Garland Tyler going wheel to wheel with up and coming stars like Buddy Shepherd, Trevor Huddleston, Emma Tucker and many more.
Kenny Shepherd adds "the series provides a place for drivers on a budget to compete with well-funded teams, and this gives the ability to measure a driver's
true talent level. Now we are putting the drivers on the best racing TV channel for everyone to see that talent level."
For more information on the LoanMart Late Model Series go to www.racemadera.com, or contact Kenny Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on his
cell phone at 209-769-9581.