Action-packed races highlight Round No. 6 of the LoanMart Open Series at the Madera Speedway By Ronald Montez

If fans couldn't attend the latest August show at the LoanMart Madera Speedway, then they missed a lot of suspenseful, competitive, and electrifying racing at the "Fastest 1/3 Mile of the West".

Each division brought a little intrigue to its respective race on Saturday night (August 30, 2014) in Round No. 6 of the LoanMart Open Series featuring the Open Late Model Series and the Open Hobby Stock Series along with the MST's, Toyota Sedans, 4-Bangers, and WSRA Mini Cups.

In the Open Late Model Series, the biggest question of the night was could anyone catch the speedy Matt Erickson in his signature No. 42 Late Model car.

Two laps into the main, fans got their answer as he stormed past the rest of the 11-car competition.

Erickson, who entered the event with four Open Late Model Series victories this season, picked up his fifth win out of six 100-lap races at the Speedway.

The official results of the Open Late Model race are pending for inspection to the cars.

While Erickson's first place finish is unofficial, his physical presence and dominance on the track couldn't be ignored by the Speedway spectators, who witnessed him finish 9.721 seconds ahead of runner-up Garland Tyler.

Tyler, who was the top qualifier (15.756), was in a steady second place for a majority of the race after he passed Madera's Emma Tucker on Lap 20.

Erickson was sitting comfortable before a spinout by Rick Thompson on Lap 29 brought the pack closer to him on the caution.

Erickson didn't hesitate to regain his enormous lead with blazing restarts on Lap 29 and again on Lap 44 after contact between Aaron Mullins and Tucker occurred.

With Erickson out in front, Tyler pulled away from Mike David to sit in second.

Heading into the break, Ryan Hart was riding in a consistent fourth place followed by Tony Schmitz, Rick Thompson, Mullins, Tucker, Del McIntosh, and Ronnie Roberts.

After returning from the pits, Erickson picked up right where he left off and began widening his lead again by lapping most of the field on the way to another sure victory.

He was followed by Tyler in second place.

When David went out of the main on Lap 85, Hart claimed the third position and finished out the final 15 laps in that spot to reach the top-three winner's circle.

A $10,000.00 will be on the line for these drivers in the October 18 Open Late Model Championship race.

Erickson wasn't the only driver on the evening who displayed his effective racing abilities.

In the Open Hobby Stock Series, it was Josh Whitfield who won his third straight main at the Madera Speedway.

Whitfield made it 3-for-3 in 50-lap Open Hobby Stock races there.

Just like he did on June 28 and July 26, Whitfield put a tight lock on the race after obtaining the lead.

"It's just about doing your homework," Whitfield said about the secret to his success on the asphalt track. "We race in Roseville every weekend and we come here once a month and we have to change the whole setup. Some drivers come here with the same setup but that's not how you do it. You have to change the setup and get faster and faster. This track is a lot flatter and going into the corners, you'll go up higher and higher each time you come out."

Not only did Whitfield record the fast time of the division (16.580), he also led for the first 30 laps before the cars retreated to the pits for a break.

On the Lap 31 restart, Whitfield shot out like a cannon ball after passing the green flag to inflate his lead while Richard Lavallee and Chuck Aguirre came in second, and third, respectively.

While Erickson and Whitfield ended all doubt early as to who was going to win in their respective races, it was Toyota Sedans points leader Tim Curtis who picked up an improbable 30-lap victory in his chase for the division's title.

Curtis, who qualified in first place with a time of 17.642, was essentially a non-factor early in the race as he started near the back.

Through the first 10 laps, Brennen Mankin had the lead with Chris Altuvilla in second and Dean Gould in third. Curtis began to creep up toward the front of the race with Mankin still ahead after 25 laps.

After a restart with three laps to go, Curtis was in the mix with Mankin and Altuvilla as all three were jockeying for the lead position rounding Turn 4. It was then when the crowd saw Mankin's car slam into the wall of the front straightaway, leaving Curtis in first place with two laps to go.

Despite another restart, Curtis continued to uphold his lead on the way to his sixth win of the year. Gould took second while Donnie Large Jr. placed third and Altuvilla finished fourth.

In the MST class, fans got to see a good old-fashion father/son showdown between John Bowersox and his son Jason.

Both Bowersoxes bolted past the rest of the cars and were in the first two positions with Jason ahead of John, who came into the main with a six-lap heat race win earlier in the day. While two cautions in the first 10 laps slowed the momentum down a bit, it was John Bowersox who ultimately passed Jason and won the 30-lap main. Jason Bowersox took second while Dave Lander was a third place finisher and also a six-lap heat race winner.

Even in the youth racing of the WSRA Mini Cups, possible car troubles to points leader Cameron Legue opened up the doors for other drivers to contend for a 20-lap victory.

Coming into the event, Legue had won three out of four mains this season including three dominant wins in a row but couldn't get his car to function properly during the main. After two laps, Legue parked his No. 6 car in the infield while trophy dash winner Dillon Blaton led for the first couple of laps. Lawrence Massone swiftly passed Blaton to take the lead and picked up the 20-lap victory. Blaton took second and Jared Cronk placed third.

While Jadon Harrington opened the day with the top qualifying time (19.878) to go along with a six-lap trophy dash win in the 4-Bangers class, it was Ed Taranto who was victorious in the 15-lap main.

The LoanMart Madera Speedway will go dark this Saturday but will return with a big two-day event beginning on Friday, September 12 on Harvest Classic Night No. 1 ($5 Ticket Night) presented by Madera Auto Center featuring the LunkerDaddy Late Models, Hobby Stocks, 4-Bangers, MST's, Toyota Sedans, and the 18-Second Bracket Race. On Saturday, September 13, it will be the Harvest Classic presented by Midland Tractor and John Deere featuring Round No. 6 of the Super Modifieds vs. the Winged Sprints, NCMA/PBR Spec Sprints, BCRA/USAC Midgets, USAC HRD Midgets, Race No. 6 of the Twisted Tea Modifieds, Vintage Super Modifieds, Plus the Blown, Injected multi engine Pulling Tractors!

For information, call (559) 673-7223


Results

Main Events

Open Late Models - 100 Laps (unofficial results - pending engine inspection of the Matt Erickson car) 1. Matt Erickson 2. Garland Tyler 3. Ryan Hart 4. Tony Schmitz 5. Aaron Mullins 6. Emma Tucker 7. Del McIntosh 8. Ronnie Roberts 9. Rick Thompson 10. Mike David 11. Jason Aguirre

Open Hobby Stocks - 50 Laps
1. Josh Whitfield
2. Richard Lavallee
3. Chuck Aguirre
4. Sheldon Cooper
5. Howard Holden
6. Kyle Fortney
7. Erick Ray
8. Verg Beatty
9. Mark Blanton (DQ)

Toyota Sedans - 30 Laps
1. Tim Curtis
2. Dean Gould
3. Donnie Large
4. Chris Altuvilla
5. Thomas Magray
6. Matt Doran
7. Brennen Mankin
8. Sarah Vivian
9. Jason Lawton

MST'S - 30 Laps
1. John Bowersox
2. Jason Bowersox
3. Dave Lander
4. Tim Kammerer
5. Kevin Thompson
6. Patrick Geiger

WSRA Mini Cups - 20 Laps
1. Lawrence Massone
2. Dillon Blaton
3. Jared Cronk
4. Andrew Payne
5. Austin Herzog
6. Joshua Strandwold
7. Cameron Legue


4-Bangers - 15 Laps
1. Ed Taranto
2. Travis Tucker
3. Jadon Harrington
4. Kelly Brownell

Heat Races

Toyota Sedans - 6 Laps
1. Jason Lawton
2. Chris Altuvilla
3. Brennen Mankin
4. Matt Doran

MST'S (Heat 1) - 6 Laps
1. Dave Lander
2. Tim Kammerer
3. Jed Gilman
4. Kevin Thompson

MST'S (Heat 2) - 6 Laps
1. John Bowersox
2. Jason Bowersox
3. Patrick Geiger
4. Zackary Cook

4-Bangers - 6 Laps
1. Jadon Harrington
2. Ed Taranto
3. Kelly Brownell

Trophy Dash

WSRA Mini Cups - 4 Laps
1. Dillon Blaton
2. Austin Herzog
3. Joshua Strandwold
4. Lawrence Massone

Qualifying - 2 Laps

Open Late Models
1. Garland Tyler 15.756
2. Matt Erickson 15.863
3. Mike David 15.922
4. Tony Schmitz 16.018
5. Jason Aguirre 16.027
6. Ryan Hart 16.035
7. Emma Tucker 16.100
8. Aaron Mullins 16.111
9. Ronnie Roberts 16.194
10. Del McIntosh 16.253
11. Rick Thompson 16.496

Open Hobby Stocks
1. Josh Whitfield 16.580
2. Mark Blanton 16.760
3. Sheldon Cooper 16.927
4. Howard Holden 16.949
5. Paul Beaty 16.992
6. Erick Ray 17.046
7. Chuck Aguirre 17.067
8. Richard Lavallee 17.075
9. Kyle Fortney 17.250

Toyota Sedans
1. Tim Curtis 17.642
2. Jason Lawton 17.913
3. Donnie Large 17.973
4. Chris Altuvilla 18.009
5. Dean Gould 18.062
6. Brennen Mankin 18.063
7. Sarah Vivian 18.364
8. Matt Doran 18.540
9. Thomas Magray 18.564

MST'S
1. Kevin Thompson 17.200
2. John Bowersox 17.212
3. Dave Lander 17.431
4. Jason Bowersox 17.459
5. Tim Kammerer 17.600
6. Zackary Cook 17.655
7. Jed Gilman 17.702
8. Patrick Geiger 22.657

WSRA Mini Cups
1. Andrew Payne 17.955
2. Lawrence Massone 18.203
3. Jared Cronk 18.230
4. Austin Herzog 18.349
5. Dillon Blaton 18.502
6. Joshua Strandwold 18.761
7. Cameron Legue 20.083

4-Bangers
1. Jadon Harrington 19.878
2. Kelly Brownell 20.609



Slips and spills during Speedway's eventful Saturday
By Mark Smith
The Madera Tribune

The Mountain Man 150-lap Enduro race at the LoanMart Madera Speedway Saturday night lived up to its name, as more than a dozen drivers showed true grit while racing through multiple spills, skids, bumps and thumps.

Working almost like a demolition derby with a lap count, drivers battled for position while trying to keep control of their squirrely vehicles on a soaked track.

Within 11 laps, prominent Enduro driver Robert Reagan jumped into the lead over points leader David Etheridge with a skilled sweep move.

Police lights flashing away on the top of his 810 car, Reagan kept solid control of the lead through lap 75, even as Etheridge attempted to work back onto the inside line and steal back the top spot.
Meanwhile, other drivers provided a host of sights for cheering fans, including the sight of the 49 car of Robert Smith and 11R of Rick Anderson get tangled up and slide down the front-end straightaway almost into a wall.

After the race switched direction and restarted, Reagan continued to prove unstoppable until lap 103, when Etheridge again attempted to snatch the lead.

Both drivers zipped and slid around lap traffic, often going three-cars-wide into turns and straightaways as they gave fans arguably the best Enduro battle all year.

Back and forth the two drivers went: in lap 117, Etheridge took the lead; in lap 119 Reagan stole it back; in lap 131 Etheridge again had the top spot, but in lap 146 Reagan again took back his lead and held it the rest of the way for the checkered flag.

In the winner's circle - and his car spewing out steam in the background - Reagan said his path to victory meant he had to switch gears as his vehicle began to overheat.

"I changed gears in the car to try and cool it off," Reagan said. "I was running hot. He got around me, so I pulled it back down into second and did what I do."

Etheridge said he was disappointed in the loss but he hoped fans enjoyed the show.
"I wish I would have won," Etheridge laughed. "But I think that was the first time I've raced side by side with Robert and it was a heck of a lot of fun even though I'm disappointed I'm still super pumped up with this one."

Other winners on the night included: Jason Lawton in his first Toyota Sedans win ever; Stacy Evans in a decisive 4-Bangers victory; Sheldon Cooper in the Open Hobby Stocks series; Thomas Magray in the 18-Second Bracket Race; and Kevin Thompson in the MST's.

Lawton beamed in the winner's circle as he talked about his first-ever sedans victory, which he won in a hard-fought race that saw several lead changes.

"It was a good run and a great race," Lawton said. "That's the best I've ever run out there. I'm really happy with the car and the win, everything's going good right now."
In the MST's, Thompson increased his points lead after an incredible back-and-forth battle perhaps symbolic of the class itself, where top drivers have been separated by as little as two points this season.

Thompson and his next closest competitor, Jason Bowersox, began the race side by side, each man hungry for the green starting flag and as many points as possible.

After their engines roared to life, the rivals zipped around turns, practically rubbing the sides of their vehicles against each other as they struggled for first.

By lap 3 Thompson managed to move into the lead alone, but Bowersox had other plans as his father and last year's MST champion, John Bowersox, attempted the infamous "Bowersox bump" seen the last time the class was at the track.

On straightaways, John moved up behind Jason and gave him a bump from behind for an extra speed boost, bringing cheers from the crowd.

However, race officials immediately signaled John Bowersox to stop the illegal maneuver, and when he - perhaps accidentally - did it again, he was given the black disqualification flag and forced from the race.

It turned out Jason Bowersox didn't need the extra help, though, as he moved up on Thompson and took the inside line, putting up the fight of his life for first.

In lap 24, Bowersox managed to wrest a tiny lead from Thompson and held it until a lap later, when Thompson pulled what he later called "the best move of my life."

As the two came out of turn four, Bowersox slid onto the outside line so Thompson slowed down slightly, moved back, then criss-crossed onto the inside track and accelerated into the lead.

From then on, it was all Thompson's race as he cruised to the checkered flag and victory lane, where he had nothing but praise for his competitor.

"Jason ran really great tonight," Thompson said. "He made some great moves on me and gave me a real battle. This whole division is full of excellent drivers, so I'm really happy to get this win and it was just incredible that was the best race I've ever had in my life and the most fun I've ever had on a track."

The Speedway will go dark next week and return Saturday, Aug. 30 with a full racing docket.
Events scheduled for that night include: a 100-lap sixth round of the $1,000 to win LoanMart Open Late Model Series; the Open Hobby Stock series; MST's; Toyota Sedans; 4-Bangers; Mini Cup; and the 18-second Bracket Race.

For information, call (559) 673-7223.


RESULTS

MAIN EVENTS:

Mountain Man Enduro (150 laps)
Robert Reagan
David Etheridge-(-9.455)
Jason Sitton-(1 lap)
Steve Schermerchorn-(1 lap)
Loren Chitwood-(2 laps)
Rob Slagle-(2 laps)
Ryan Hart-(2 laps)
Rick Anderson-(5 laps)
Jacob Robert-(5 laps)
Robert Smith-(16 laps)
Marisa Odgers-(18 laps)
Richard Herzog-(19 laps)
James Cooke-(22 laps)
Michael Jarrell-(49 laps)

Toyota Sedans (30 laps)
Jason Lawton
Dean Gould-(-3.262)
Donnie Large-(-4.299)
Tyler Johnson-(-5.695)
Tim Curtis-(-5.899)
Brennan Mankin-(-6.326)
Thomas Magray-(-8.122)
Chris Altuvilla-(-10.681)
Sarah Vivian-(-11.408)
Joe Humphries-(-19.145)

MST's (30 laps)
Kevin Thompson
Jason Bowersox-(-0.402)
Zackary Cook-(-10.413)
John Benedict-(1 lap)
Elliott St. Jerne-(1 lap)
John Bowersox-(Disqualified)

Open Hobby Stocks (20 laps)
Sheldon Cooper
Chuck Agurrie-(-2.539)
Don Selsor-(4 laps)
Howard Holden-(12 laps)

4-Bangers (10 laps)
Stacy Evans
Kelly Brownell-(-12.923)

18-Second Bracket Race (30 laps)
John Benedict-17.962
Thomas Magray-18.201, winner
Tyler Johnson-18.040
Elliott St. Jerne-17.904
Sheldon Cooper-17.888
Kevin Thompson-17.828
Sarah Vivian-18.215
Dean Gould-18.062
Stacy Evans-18.405
Joe Humphries-1 lap


QUALIFYING:

Toyota Sedans
Donnie Large-17.911
Jason Lawton-17.957
Brennen Mankin-18.008
Tim Curtis-18.135
Chris Altuvilla-18.160
Dean Gould-18.163
Tyler Johnson-18.273
Thomas Magray-18.348
Sarah Vivian-18.436
Joe Humphries-18.822

MST's
John Bowersox-17.077
Kevin Thompson-17.182
Jason Bowersox-17.259
Zackary Cook-17.667
John Benedict-17.803
Elliot St. Jerne-18.864

Open Hobby Stocks
Chuck Agurrie-16.835
Sheldon Cooper-16.963
Howard Holden-17.003
Don Selsor-19.563
Kyle Fortney

4-Bangers
Stacy Evans-18.665
Kelly Brownell-20.183

HEAT RACES (6 laps):

Toyota Sedans (Heat 1)
Donnie Large
Chris Altuvilla-(-1.644)
Brennen Mankin-(-2.139)
Tyler Johnson-(-2.426)
Sarah Vivian-(-3.942)

Toyota Sedans (Heat 2)
Jason Lawton
Dean Gould-(-1.012)
Thomas Magray-(-3.674)
Joe Humphries-(-5.837)

MST's (Heat 1)
John Bowersox
Kevin Thompson-(-0.381)
Jason Bowersox-(-0.525)
Zackary Cook-(-1.276)
John Benedict-(-2.959)

Open Hobby Stocks (Heat 1)
Sheldon Cooper
Howard Holden-(-0.812)
Chuck Agurrie-(-1.799)
Don Selsor-(1 lap)

4-Bangers (Heat 1)
Stacy Evans
Kelly Brownell-(-6.645)