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)