Thompson, by inches, takes 100-lap race in eventful night at the LoanMart Madera Speedway
By Ronald Montez/The Madera Tribune

When it comes to preparing for races at the LoanMart Madera Speedway, it's all about making adjustments - minor or major ones - week in and week out.

Whether it's fine-tuning the car itself, figuring out how to properly maneuver on the sometimes unpredictable track, or even testing out a new racing strategy against quality competition, that's what having an eight-month season allows drivers and their crew members to do.

For Rick Thompson, that significant amount of time, dedication and attention to detail paid dividends for him and the Thompson Motorsales Racing Team on Saturday night (September 26) in Race No. 7 of the MavTV televised LoanMart Open Late Model Series 100-lap (split 50) main.

In front of the watchful eyes of zestful fans, Thompson beat out points leader Buddy Shepherd by the slimmest of margins (0.017 time differential) to earn his first LoanMart Open Late Model 100-lap victory of the season and career.

"It means the world," Thompson said of his hard-fought victory that saw him assume the lead with just four laps to go. "This team has worked so hard this year and we've come up short. Earlier in the year, we lost one like this. We got second by a nose, so to win one by a nose is just awesome."

One of Thompson's many supporters on hand included his brother Kevin, the defending MST champion.

"I'm so happy for him," Kevin said after the race in the pit area. "We've really poured a lot into this year. We got a new car for us and we've been working on it. We've been getting a little closer every week and this week, we were about as good as all the cars out there."

Heading into the main, it was hard to ignore Shepherd and his track record-breaking qualifying time of 14.901.

"There was only one car out there faster than us and that was the No. 22," Kevin said of Shepherd, who also has two main wins on the season. "It's hard to beat that car."

For Kevin, his brother's win was a significant one on many levels.

"It's big for our team," Kevin said. "We're working on some sponsors for next year, so this is a great win for us. To come out here as a lower budget team and to win one of these races against some of these bigger budget cars is just huge. To be that competitive and have a chance to win at the end was big-time, there's no doubt about it. He's won some of the local races but to get one of these is a substantial win for him. He's been running in these Open Late Models ever since they started them and he beat the big boys."

With the win, Rick is certainly ready for the Series' grand finale on October 10 with a $10,000.00 payout on the line.

"We have a lot of momentum, this is the best that the car has ever handled," said Thompson. "We tried some different things tonight, some guys helped me out and it worked. I'm excited, the car is fast and I think we can still have a little more improvement. I was running 260 degrees tonight, so if we can get the car down to 220, then that's horsepower."

Thompson was among five other drivers to claim main victories including Josh Whitfield (Open Hobby Stocks), Jeremy Wood (Legends of the Pacific), John Bowersox (MST), Tim Curtis (Toyota Sedans) and Ken Winland (Enduros) in a berserk night of racing that saw the Speedway's tow truck make several appearances.



For a majority of the first 50 laps, it was Bryan Herzog who led the 17-car field while Thompson started in the No. 7 position and worked his way into second after a Lap 35 restart.

Shepherd, who was in second before the race came to a complete stop on Lap 34, had to start from the back after making a trip to the infield.

After Lap 50, Thompson trailed Herzog heading into the break while Ronnie Roberts (third), Matt Erickson (fourth), and Shepherd (fifth) rounded out the top five on the leader board.

Just five laps into the start of the second half, Thompson was in the lead while Herzog, Erickson, Shepherd and Roberts were behind in the No. 2-5 spots.

After a caution on Lap 75, Herzog retook the lead and appeared to be heading for his fourth main win of the season.

With 10 laps to go, Herzog was still in front of Erickson while Thompson was rolling along in third.

On Lap 96, Herzog tried to make a move while ahead of Erickson but ended up drawing a caution instead that eventually costed him the almost sure-handed victory.

"Story of my life," Herzog said of his finish that damaged the front end of his car. "I thought I had 42 (Erickson) cleared but he got a heck of a run on the outside. My spotter was doing a good job of calling where everybody was and we didn't anticipate that he was going to get that kind of a run coming off. I thought I was going to be able to just barely clear him."

Although it wasn't the way he wanted to end his night, Herzog didn't feel slighted about his finish.

"Matt's a good driver, I don't fault him one bit," he said of the 2014 defending series champ. "It was just a racing incident and nothing intentional. It was no big deal, just two grown adults racing hard and no hard feelings afterwards."

With Herzog out, that left Thompson and Shepherd set to duel for first on the restart.

"I was running third and I saw the guys (Herzog and Erickson) in front of me," said Thompson. "I was faster than them earlier and was having to slow down for them. At the end of the race, right before the wreck, they were faster than me. So I was just following them, biding my time - not hoping, just waiting."

Thompson pulled ahead of Shepherd after the restart but knew he couldn't ease up on the pedal.

With one lap to go, Shepherd was trying to run down Thompson and nearly did after Turn 4.

The two crossed the finish line side-by-side with Thompson having the edge.

"Buddy was faster than me all day," said Thompson. "He set the track record today, so give the kid credit. He was driving a great race. He did an outside/in move and I saw nothing but orange (Shepherd's primary car color) on my left side. I really thought he had me. He made a great move. I think the outside line was just a little bit stickier and that made the difference in the end."

Thompson's narrow win reversed a down-to-the-wire loss to Shepherd on April 25.

"They told me earlier in the year that I lost the race by four inches to him," said Thompson of Race No. 2. "Buddy beat me by four inches, so to beat him by four inches was just great."

Erickson, who won Race. 5 on July 25, placed third while Roberts took fourth and Garland Tyler finished fifth.


Like the Open Late Model finish, Wood and Robby Czub battled all the way to the checkered flag in the Legends of the Pacific's final appearance on "The Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West".

While the two were trying to gain the advantage on the final lap, Wood was the declared the winner in the 35-lap main that saw the yellow flag being waved just before both were headed for the finish line.

"Unbelievable is definitely a way to describe it," Wood said of the finish that included a spinout after Lap 34 and a crash after Lap 35.

Czub, who posted the division's top qualifying time (16.144) and won an eight-lap heat race, was striving for his fourth main win of the season in Madera and nearly got it on the final lap.

For Wood, seeing the yellow flag on the last lap was a big break in the 15-car race that had five cautions including a Lap 4 crash that briefly halted the race.

"If we raced back to the checkered yellow, he (Czub) would've probably had it because I didn't get through (Turns) 3 and 4 the greatest," said Wood. "With our rules, we revert back to the last lap. Prior to that, we probably ran 10 laps side-by-side with me on the outside. Racing with Robby, he is the best in this division and to hold him off and race side-by-side like that is just a blast and a lot of fun."

It was Pete Pierce, an eight-lap heat race winner, who led early before Wood officially took the lead on a Lap 14 restart.

Despite qualifying last, Pierce ended up placing third overall in the main.

While Wood was driving steadily on the outside from laps 20-34, Czub was right behind trying to gain ground using the inside edge and appeared to be even with him heading into the final lap following a Lap 35 restart.

Because a crash ensued on that restart, the race was officially declared over after 35 laps even though Czub crossed the finish line first as the yellow occurred.

"The official came down and said they were giving the win to Robby," explained Wood, who received the first-place trophy during a post-race interview with track announcer Outback Andy Foster. "He (Czub) came back onto the track and we talked. We really had no doubts. At the white flag, him and I both knew that he wasn't along side or ahead of me."

Although there was some confusion about the finish, Wood still had another great time racing against Czub and the rest of the division.

"This was our last race out here," said Wood, who has 13 years of experience in the Legends class. "I've missed the last two or three races out here, so I was solely coming up here just to have a good time. I love racing in Madera. Kenny Shepherd and his staff always put on a tremendous show and treat us extremely well. To end our race this year like that, hopefully the fans enjoyed it and they'll come back to see us next year."


Although he only trailed by two in the overall point standings, Bowersox had another productive outing in the MST division.

Bowersox was the 25-lap main winner and also won an eight-lap heat race.

While Bowersox won the race, he was behind early to Zachary Cook, Kevin Thompson, and Bert Stephens - another eight-lap heat race winner, who was second in qualifying (16.686) behind Tyler Herzog's top mark of 16.618.

Thompson passed Cook to get into the lead before being spunout on Lap 6.

A few laps later, Bowersox was in the lead for good and kept ahead of Stephens despite three cautions including a three-car mix-up that Thompson was also involved in along with Cook and Herzog on the final lap.

"I didn't have as good as luck as Rick," Thompson said of his overall sixth-place finish. "I got taken out in the lead and somebody decided to try and make it three-wide on the last lap when I was in third. We're struggling with my car a little bit and Rick's is starting to come together. That's just how racing goes. Hopefully we'll be able to get mine a little bit faster for the next race and hopefully we can both come out with wins in the final."

While Stephens placed second, Dave Lander took third.

In the Toyota Sedans division, points leader Tim Curtis piled up more with a 25-lap main win and a six-lap heat race victory while setting the new track record fast-time of 17.295.

The same went for Open Hobby Stocks winner Josh Whitfield, who claimed the 50-lap (split 25) main and now owns the division's track qualifying record of 15.843.

Whitfield never trailed in the main and won his seventh straight Race to win $500.

Jillaun Holden (Toyota Sedans) and Howard Holden (Hobby Stocks) each took second while Thomas Magray (Toyota Sedans) and Kyle Fortney (Hobby Stocks) placed third.

October 10 is the championship night for those divisions.


When it was all said and done, Ken Winland was the 64-lap winner of the Barrel Extreme Enduro race.

"I had a great time racing with some real fast cars tonight," said Winland. "I love mixing it up with the barrel. It's fun and adventurous. Thank goodness for Madera having us Enduro guys. We love it."

In order to complete a full lap around the track, Winland and the rest of the drivers had to race around a barrel/tire placed on the front straightway while trying not to lose any ground or break momentum.

"What I found is that some of these cars are a little quicker than me but if I can get up to the barrel and take a nice smooth turn, I was actually able to gain some space there," said Winland. "It's really how you set the car up to go through the turn, not pushing the car too much and just letting it kind of flow through the turn. If you're going too fast and aggressive, you're going to plow into another car and that'll end your night. So it's really half patience, half aggressiveness."

Winland enjoyed competing against the likes of David Etheridge, who took second, and Rob Slagle, who finished third.

"I've been racing Enduros for 30 years, I used to run the West Coast Enduro and I love it," Winland said. "I'm 49 years old and I'm still out there getting it done. To me, it's the best affordable style of racing out there. I love it and wouldn't want to do any other kind of racing. This is the best group of guys and best kind of fun you can have on four wheels. The fans love it and we want to entertain them. I hope we were able to do that."

After a week off, the LoanMart Madera Speedway will return on Saturday (October 10) for the 125 Lap $10,000.00 to WIN CALIFORNIA GOLD CLASSIC SHORT TRACK SHOOTOUT for the MAVTV televised LoanMart Open Late Model Series 125 laps! (race No. 8), Lucas Oil Modifieds $5,000.00 to Win 77 lap TV race! Race No. 8 of the Super Hobby Stock Series 70 Laps (split 35's), and Championship night for the MST & Toyota Sedans.



LoanMart Late Model Open - 100 Laps
1. Rick Thompson
2. Buddy Shepherd
3. Matt Erickson
4. Ronnie Roberts
5. Garland Tyler
6. Jason Aguirre
7. Emma Tucker
8. Bryce Napier
9. Ryan Hart
10. Larry Pasquale
11. Bryan Herzog
12. Gabe Herzog
13. Ross Strmiska
14. Alexander Mead
15. Joey Licata
16. Aaron Mullins
17. Loren Kutz

Open Hobby Stocks - 50 Laps
1. Josh Whitfield
2. Howard Holden
3. Kyle Fortney
4. Joseph Riechmuth
5. Shelden Cooper
6. Eloy Bazar
7. Thomas Suarez
8. Steve Schermerhorn
9. Bob Tilley
10. Jason Sitton

Legends of the Pacific - 35 Laps
1. Jeremy Wood
2. Robby Czub
3. Pete Pierce
4. Jason Figura
5. Josh Fleming
6. John Bowman
7. Johnny Morrissy
8. Clayton Travels
9. Tony Peffer
10. Nick Grossi
11. Cody Winchel
12. Sonny Cervelli
13. Bob Kuebler
14. Colton Page

MST - 25 Laps
1. John Bowersox
2. Bert Stephens
3. Dave Lander
4. Patrick Geiger
5. Zachary Cook
6. Kevin Thompson
7. Tyler Herzog
8. Darrell Herzog

Toyota Sedans - 25 Laps
1. Tim Curtis
2. Jillaun Holden
3. Thomas Magray
4. Brennen Mankin
5. Shirley Curtis
6. Stacy Evans (4-Bangers)
7. Jason Lawton

Enduros - 64 Laps
1. Ken Winland
2. David Etheridge
3. Rob Slagle
4. James Cooke
5. Jake Kirby
6. John Eyram
7. Antonio Mentzer
8. Robert Smith
9. Britt Wasson/Mike Robertson

Heat Races

Legends of the Pacific (Heat 1) - 8 Laps 1. Robby Czub 2. Nick Grossi 3. Jeremy Wood 4. Sonny Cervelli 5. Johnny Morrissy 6. Cody Winchel 7. Colton Page

Legends of the Pacific (Heat 2) - 8 Laps 1. Pete Pierce 2. Jason Figura 3. Tony Peffer 4. Clayton Travels 5. Bob Kuebler 6. John Bowman 7. Josh Fleming

MST (Heat 1) - 5 Laps
1. John Bowersox
2. Tyler Herzog
3. Darrell Herzog
4. Patrick Geiger

MST (Heat 2) - 6 Laps
1. Bert Stephens
2. Kevin Thompson
3. Zachary Cook
4. Dave Lander

Toyota Sedans - 6 Laps
1. Tim Curtis
2. Brennen Mankin
3. Jillaun Holden
4. Jason Lawton
5. Stacy Evans (4-Bangers)
6. Thomas Magray
7. Shirley Curtis

Enduros - 6 Laps
1. David Etheridge
2. Robert Smith
3. Jake Kirby
4. James Cooke
5. Britt Wasson/Mikey Robinson
6. Rob Slagel
7. Antonio Mentzer
8. Ken Winland
9. White Car

Qualifying - 2 Laps

LoanMart Late Model Open
1. Buddy Shepherd 14.901
2. Ross Strmiska 15.234
3. Bryan Herzog 15.251
4. Rick Thompson 15.277
5. Garland Tyler 15.340
6. Ronnie Roberts 15.351
7. Matt Erickson 15.364
8. Jason Aguirre 15.466
9. Ryan Hart 15.488
10. Emma Tucker 15.529
11. Gabe Herzog 15.713
12. Joey Licata 15.748
13. Alexander Mead 15.753
14. Aaron Mullins 15.761
15. Loren Kutz 15.842
16. Bryce Napier 15.879
17. Larry Pasquale 15.951

Open Hobby Stocks
1. Josh Whitfield 15.843
2. Howard Holden 16.007
3. Joseph Riechmuth 16.140
4. Shelden Cooper 16.194
5. Kyle Fortney 16.338
6. Thomas Suarez 16.573
7. Eloy Bazan 16.769
8. Bob Tilley 17.646
9. Jason Sitton 17.982

Legends of the Pacific
1. Robby Czub 16.144
2. Jeremy Wood 16.224
3. Cody Winchel 16.303
4. Colton Page 16.441
5. Johnny Morrissy 16.522
6. Garrett Fine 16.532
7. Nick Grossi 16.561
8. Sonny Cervelli 16.572
9. Josh Fleming 16.581
10. Clayton Travles 16.679
11. Bob Kuebler 16.796
12. John Bowman 16.891
13. Jason Figura 16.910
14. Tony Peffer 17.011
15. Pete Pierce 19.224

1. Tyler Herzog 16.618
2. Bert Stephens 16.686
3. Darrell Herzog 16.721
4. Kevin Thompson 16.853
5. John Bowersox 16.966
6. Zachary Cook 17.019
7. Patrick Geiger 17.352
8. Dave Lander 17.497

Toyota Sedans
1. Tim Curtis 17.295
2. Brennen Mankin 17.524
3. Jason Lawton 17.707
4. Jillaun Holden 17.871
5. Stacy Evans 17.952
6. Thomas Magray 17.998
7. Shirley Curtis 19.052

1. David Etheridge 27.775
2. Robert Smith 29.025
3. Jake Kirby 29.133
4. James Cooke 29.444


MADERA, CALIFORNIA (September 9, 2015) - A move several years in the making, Kenny Shepherd's LoanMart Madera Speedway will usher in a new era in 2016 with the ground-breaking Jr. Late Model division for drivers ages 10-16. The eight race super series will model the highly successful LoanMart Open Late Models rules but allow young drivers a chance to hone their skills in a full-bodied stock car.

Drivers will be in action starting in 2016 on the one-third mile asphalt oval in one of the nation's only youth development series of its kind.

Modeling after the Open Late Model rules will mean drivers can use economical cars with steel stocks, 602 or 604 crate motors or even built motors, on a Hoosier 970 treaded tire. A restrictor plate and RPM rule will be included to limit the performance of the cars within the abilities of the participating drivers. The series has already attracted the attention of regional racers from Quarter Midgets, Micro Sprints, Midgets, Bandoleros, and Mini Cups.

Series races will be 50 laps with a pair of 25 lap segments with a break in between. The races are tentatively planned to be televised much in the same way the eight race LoanMart Open Late Models have been in 2015 as well.

"We have been talking about this since 2007, and have been working on it since 2009 and it is now going to happen. This will give our racing youth a solid path that will provide major media coverage in motorsports," said promoter Kenny Shepherd.

For more information on the Madera Jr. Late Model Series go to or call Kenny Shepherd at 209-769-9581.

The LoanMart Madera Speedway hosts the LoanMart Open Late Models again with a 100 lap contest on September 26th, before the giant October Gold Classic on October 10th. That event will include a $10,000 to win 125 lap Late Model race and a $5,000 to win Lucas Oil Modified event as well to make one of the largest short track races in the West Coast.

For more information on Madera Speedway, race over to or follow them on Facebook.

Herzog hooks Open Late Model win at the LoanMart Madera Speedway
By Ronald Montez/The Madera Tribune

Although they are not exactly fishing, drivers in the 100-lap Open Late Model Series must show a great amount of patience when it comes to trying to catch the car ahead of them.

In Race No. 6 of the $1,000 to win LoanMart Open Late Model Series split 50's, Bryan Herzog did his best fisherman impression while waiting for the perfect time to reel in a win Saturday night (August 29) in front of an impassioned crowd at the LoanMart Madera Speedway.

After biding his time for a majority of the MAVTV-filmed race, Herzog casted his recognizable green and black No. 11 car out in front on a Lap 62 restart and, lap by lap, pulled in a big first-place trophy.

Along with collecting a $1,000 prize payout, Herzog earned his third Open Late Model Series win of the season after claiming the June 20 and May 30 races on "The Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West".

Herzog wasn't the only driver to net a main victory on the night as Josh Whitfield (Open Hobby Stocks), Jillaun Holden (Toyota Sedans), Kevin Thompson (MST'S) and Andrew Payne (WSRA Mini Cups) also wrapped up wins in their respective divisions.



When it comes to operating the Open Late Model cars, it takes a special breed of athletes to suit up, buckle in and race against others in a vehicle that can potentially top 100 MPH going around a sometimes heavily congested track.

Those brave 16 drivers included Herzog, Buddy Shepherd, Matt Erickson, Gabe Herzog, Ronnie Roberts, Joey Licata, Trevor Schlundt, Danny Guibor, Garland Tyler, Ryan Hart, Jason Aguirre, Emma Tucker, Rick Thompson, Larry Pasquale, Del McIntosh and Alexander Mead.

With fans watching in anticipation, Tyler made his presence known early on the track and led for the first 20 consecutive laps while Herzog, Licata, Hart and Shepherd were near by.

Because of contact on Lap 20, Herzog and Licata were sent to the back of the race.

While being sent to the rear could be a devastating blow to a driver's chances of winning, Herzog knew there was plenty of race left in the 100-lapper and did what he had to do to climb back to the top.

Although two more cautions would follow because of contact in the middle of the pack, Shepherd - the division's top qualifier (15.221) - used the restarts on Lap 27 and 30 to his advantage and took the lead ahead of Tyler.

Looking for his third win of the season, Shepherd came into the event trailing Hart by three in the overall point total lead while Herzog sat in third overall.

While Shepherd was running a nice line, the defending series champ Erickson kept real close tabs on him in second place with Hart, Tyler and Guibor running in the first five spots on the leader board.

After sitting out the first four races, Erickson was coming off a Race No. 5 win on July 25.

On the last lap before the halfway break, Erickson pulled ahead of Shepherd to get into first while all 16 cars were still in one piece and on the lead lap heading into the pits.

To begin the second half of the race, Shepherd came out determined to get his lead back and didn't waste any time after the green flag was waved.

With Erickson riding high and Shepherd underneath, the two were right next to each other before Gabe Herzog's car got into the wall on the back straightaway just one lap after the green flag was waved.

Both leaders were jumpy on the restarts - trying to gain any advantage in the very even battle.

Once officials determined that the start was clean, Shepherd bolted out front ahead of Erickson.

Just as it appeared Shepherd was creating a little bit of distance from the rest of the field, sparks could be seen flying underneath Pasquale's car while McIntosh and Schlundt's cars were involved in a mess on Lap 61 after Turn 1.

Schlundt was able to continue for the rest of the race while, like for Gabe Herzog on Lap 51, the night came to a disappointing end for McIntosh.

After all the cars got grouped together for a restart, Herzog made a hard-charging, now-or-never move to get permanently into first ahead of Shepherd, Hart, Thompson and Erickson.

On Lap 75, Erickson passed Thompson to get into third behind Shepherd and Herzog.

Despite a restart with 10 laps to go, Herzog kept his cool and continued to press foward while Shepherd stayed in second.

While Herzog crossed the finish line, Shepherd was able to hold off a last-ditch effort by Erickson to take second.

Showing their durability, Tyler (fourth), Thompson (fifth), Roberts (sixth), Aguirre (seventh), Schlundt (eighth), Tucker (ninth), and Hart (tenth) all ran the complete 100 laps.


The last race of the night ended with Open Hobby Stock driver Josh Whitfield overcome with excitement.

In Race No. 6 of the $500 to win, Whitfield didn't hold back his emotion and visibly celebrated his 50-lap (split 25's) victory.

Although Whitfield posted the division's top fast time of 15.972 and had easily won the previous five Open Hobby Stock races - totaling $2,500 in earnings, he had a reason to bask in the glory this time around.

Throughout the race, Howard Holden proved to be fierce competition for Whitfield.

Right as the green flag was waved to start the main, Holden wasted no time getting ahead while Whitfield was in the middle of the eight-car race.

Holden, who was coming off a win in the Hobby Stocks race on August 22, built a noticeable sized lead while the rest of the group including Joseph Riechmuth, Whitfield, Shelden Cooper, Kyle Fortney, Paul Beatty, Thomas Saurez and Bob Tilley all followed behind.

A Lap 17 caution wiped away Holden's lead as the cars got lined up together for the restart.

With two laps to go before the end of the first half, Whitfield got around Holden to take the lead while Riechmuth sat in third.

Once the race resumed, Howard and Whitfield were side-by-side and it was anyone's race at that point.

While a spinout and a heavy smoking car caused a pair of cautions, both Holden and Whitfield were there to accompany each other on the restarts.

After Turn 4 on Lap 40, Holden's car got into the wall while it made contact with Whitfield's - causing him to spin around.

Holden's car had to be towed to the infield while Whitfield was sent to the back with 10 laps to go.

Whitfield eventually passed the remaining drivers including Riechmuth, Beatty, and Saurez to get back into first on the way to his sixth victory and eighth overall at the Madera Speedway this season.

"We're undefeated in the West (overall), this car is just built to win," Whitfield told tracker announcer Outback Andy Foster in victory lane.

Riechmuth took second and Beatty rounded out the top three.


She is woman, see her win.

That's exactly what the Toyota Sedan drivers saw Jillaun Holden do in the 30-lap main.

Throughout the entire race, Holden never dipped below the second position on the leader board.

"I couldn't believe it when I went across the checkered flag and I had won," said Holden, a rookie driver in the class. "I had no clue that we would win tonight. Coming out here in the heat races, practices and everything else, I was off and the car was loose."

Holden (17.939) qualified fifth while points leader Tim Curtis had the best time of 17.490.

While she was third in her heat race, Jason Lawton and Brennen Mankin each were winners.

With the likes of Curtis, Lawton and Mankin in the division, Holden knew she'd have her work cut out for her.

"They are very good competitors and fast each week," said Holden, who never finished in the top three prior to this race. "They'd come over to me every week and give me encouragement to keep coming out here. If it wasn't for them and my crew, we wouldn't be where we are now."

Holden was among the other female drivers who started the main in the front including Shirley Curtis, Candee McIntosh and Lucy Carmona.

"It's not just a guy sport, it can be for girls too," Holden said after signing an autograph for a youth girl fan. "I hope that the younger generation sees that, gets out here and tries it as well."

McIntosh was in the lead early with Holden in second, Lawton in third and Mankin in fourth.

Mankin and Holden would continue to switch the lead from Laps 12-20, which had two restarts including one where the race came to a halt after McIntosh and Eric Woods were involved in an accident.

They were announced to be okay afterwards.

On Lap 21, Mankin cut in front of Curtis, Holden and Lawton to retake the lead.

Three laps later, both Mankin and Curtis were sent to the back after causing a caution.

That left Holden in first, who wisely took the outside line on the restart and took off to be the clear-cut winner.

"It was exciting to be out there up in front and do well," said Holden, whose husband Howard is a well-known Hobby Stocks driver. "To go out there and start where I started and finish where I finished was actually impressive and exciting. It just goes to show that it's anybody's game, it doesn't matter who you are when you're racing. Your adrenaline is going and you just go out there and do the best that you can."

For Holden, it will be a night to always remember as she was grateful for all who helped make it happen.

"I got remarkable support between my car owner, my crew and my family," said Holden, who also raced Hobby Stocks the past two seasons and was the division's Rookie of the Year. "Tonight after I won, everybody was standing up and cheering for me."

Finishing in second was Mankin while Carmona also worked her way up to take a respectable third place.


Although Thompson has enjoyed many hard-fought wins in the MST division, the multi-track champion found himself as the benefactor of a havoc-filled race.

While Thompson came back to make his way up into the top four, the three cars ahead of him got into a bit of a mix-up on Lap 19.

In a chain reaction crash involving Bert Stephens, John Bowersox, Darrell Herzog, Rian Bowman and Zachary Cook, officials warned drivers that one more caution would end the race.

With Thompson now leading the race, another yellow came out just four laps later.

That prompted officials to end the race on yellow-checkered which left Thompson as the 23-lap victor.

Although he didn't get to complete the full victory lap, Thompson did turn around his previous misfortune.

He was leading in the early portion of the race after passing Jed Gilman to take over the top spot.

On Lap 8, Thompson was spun-out and sent to the back of the race along with Tyler Herzog.

That left Stephens in front, who kept the lead after two restarts and stayed in it all the way until Lap 19 before the chaos ensued.

Darrell Herzog, who posted the fast time of 16.839 and won a six-lap heat race earlier in the day, took second while Bowerox, who also won a heat race, finished third.

In the WSRA Mini Cups, top qualifier Andrew Payne (17.705) was the winner in the 20-lap race.

In a main featuring the next generation of racecar stars, Payne led the entire way.

While Payne was way ahead in first place, Justin Scantlen - a four-lap trophy dash winner - eventually passed Austin Herzog late in the race to take second.

The Madera Speedway returns Saturday (September 5) with the Madera Late Models, Madera Hobby Stocks, NCPRO 4 Modifieds, MST money race, and the Toyota Sedans/4-Bangers money race.



LoanMart Late Model Open - 100 Laps
1. Bryan Herzog
2. Matt Erickson
3. Buddy Shepherd
4. Garland Tyler
5. Rick Thompson
6. Ronnie Roberts
7. Jason Aguirre
8. Trevor Schlundt
9. Emma Tucker
10. Ryan Hart
11. Larry Pasquale
12. Alexander Mead
13. Danny Guibor
14. Del McIntosh
15. Gabe Herzog

Open Hobby Stocks - 50 Laps
1. Josh Whitfield
2. Joseph Riechmuth
3. Paul Beatty
4. Thomas Saurez
5. Bob Tilley
6. Howard Holden
7. Shelden Cooper
8. Kyle Fortney

Toyota Sedans - 30 Laps
1. Jillaun Holden
2. Brennen Mankin
3. Lucy Carmona
4. Tim Curtis
5. Shirley Curtis
6. Nic Milanesi
7. Jason Lawton
8. Eric Woods
9. Candee McIntosh

MST - 23 Laps
1. Kevin Thompson
2. Darrell Herzog
3. John Bowersox
4. Bert Stephens
5. Zachary Cook
6. Tyler Herzog
7. Elliot Stjerne
8. Rian Bowman
9. Patrick Geiger
10. Jed Gilman

WSRA Mini Cups - 20 Laps
1. Andrew Payne
2. Justin Scantlen
3. Austin Herzog
4. Alec Acevedo
5. Sammy Nuno
6. Joshua Terry

Heat Races

Toyota Sedans (Heat 1) - 7 Laps
1. Jason Lawton
2. Tim Curtis
3. Jillaun Holden
4. Candee McIntosh
5. Nic Milanesi

Toyota Sedans (Heat 2) - 6 Laps
1. Brennen Mankin
2. Lucy Carmona
3. Eric Woods
4. Shirley Curtis

MST (Heat 1) - 6 Laps
1. Darrell Herzog
2. Tyler Herzog
3. Elliot Stjerne
4. Zachary Cook
5. Rian Bowman

MST (Heat 2) - 6 Laps
1. John Bowersox
2. Bert Stephens
3. Jed Gilman
4. Patrick Geiger
5. Kevin Thompson

Trophy Dash

WSRA Mini Cup - 4 Laps
1. Justin Scantlen
2. Austin Herzog
3. Sammy Nuno
4. Alec Acevedo
5. Joshua Terry

Qualifying - 2 Laps

LoanMart Late Model Open
1. Buddy Shepherd 15.221
2. Matt Erickson 15.384
3. Bryan Herzog 15.397
4. Gabe Herzog 15.519
5. Ronnie Roberts 15.536
6. Joey Licata 15.537
7. Trevor Schlundt 15.570
8. Danny Guibor 15.577
9. Garland Tyler 15.659
10. Ryan Hart 15.712
11. Jason Aguirre 15.735
12. Emma Tucker 15.740
13. Rick Thompson 15.795
14. Larry Pasquale 15.850
15. Del McIntosh 15.933
16. Alexander Mead 16.050

Open Hobby Stocks
1. Josh Whitfield 15.972
2. Howard Holden 16.160
3. Joseph Riechmuth 16.199
4. Paul Beatty 16.352
5. Kyle Fortney 16.515
6. Shelden Cooper 16.761
7. Thomas Saurez 17.701
8. Bob Tilley 19.679

Toyota Sedans
1. Tim Curtis 17.490
2. Brennen Mankin 17.636
3. Jason Lawton 17.723
4. Eric Woods 17.907
5. Jillaun Holden 17.939
6. Lucy Carmona 17.972
7. Candee McIntosh 18.135
8. Shirley Curtis 18.326
9. Nic Milanesi 18.477

1. Darrell Herzog 16.839
2. John Bowersox 16.977
3. Elliot Stjerne 16.985
4. Kevin Thompson 17.061
5. Tyler Herzog 17.064
6. Bert Stephens 17.106
7. Zachary Cook 17.288
8. Jed Gilman 17.290
9. Rian Bowman 17.437
10. Patrick Geiger 28.610

WSRA Mini Cups
1. Andrew Payne 17.705
2. Justin Scantlen 18.098
3. Austin Herzog 18.151
4. Alec Acevedo 18.308
5. Sammy Nuno 18.363
6. Joshua Terry 20.102

Erickson wins 100-lapper in comeback fashion at the LoanMart Madera Speedway
By Ronald Montez / The Madera Tribune

In the 100-lap race of the LoanMart Late Model Series, winning driver Matt Erickson delivered a simple yet powerful message to the fans and fellow competitors: never give up hope, no matter what the situation is.

Despite trailing for all but three laps on Saturday night (July 25), Erickson kept at it and stayed in a close enough distance to position himself for a comeback win in Race No. 5 of the $10,000.00 to win LoanMart Open Late Model Series 100-lap (split 50's) main event.

"At the halfway break, I thought I wasn't even going to come close to winning," said Erickson, who was in third place after 46 laps. "I was going to settle for a top-five finish. We worked on the car and made a couple of adjustments, it actually woke the car up."

It was the first race of the season for the defending Open Late Model champ, who had to sit out the first four events for disciplinary actions stemming from last year's series finale.

Back racing on the "Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West", Erickson gave the loyal Speedway fans a memorable finish as he passed fellow competitor and runner-up Bryan Herzog in the closing moments of the 100-lap saga.

The veteran driver Herzog was aiming for his third straight win after posting victories on June 20 and May 30.

"I think we have the same amount of laps on this track," said Erickson. "I've lost count on how many I've ran but he's been racing here probably his whole life and I've been here since 2007. We know how this track works. He's what they call a bottom feeder because he likes to stay on the bottom (part of the racetrack). I'll move around and go to the high-side or I'll go wherever and do whatever I have to do to at least try to win the race. It's either win or go out trying."

In a battle of strong wills, it was those in the grandstands who got to witness the electrifying made for MAVTV finish between the two drivers.

"That's what we try to do," Erickson said about giving the crowd an exciting and fierce show. "Without them, we wouldn't be here and the place would be closed down. So hopefully the fans liked that race and next month, they'll bring some more of their friends out and we'll have even more people out here."

That race is set for August 29.

With the 100-lap victory, Erickson joined a list of winner's on the night including Josh Whitfield (Open Hobby Stocks), Robby Czub (Legends of the Pacific), Ronnie Davis (Southwest Tour Trucks), Tim Curtis (Toyota Sedans), Tyler Herzog (MST's) and Andrew Payne (WSRA Mini Cups).


Before Erickson could claim the 100-lap main, he and Herzog had some ground to make up in the 22-car field.

"Obviously a full field is better," Erickson said of the big car count. "It makes it more interesting for the fans and gives you more cars to race against. When you come up to lapped cars, it's like going past traffic on the freeway. You have to dice and hopefully you pick the right lane. You have to have a lot more strategy out there."

Chad Holman, Ryan Hart, Joey Licata, Emma Tucker, and Buddy Shepherd were among the number of drivers who didn't make it easy for Erickson or Herzog early on.

Holman was the leader to start and continued to hold that position despite three restarts including one where the race came to a complete stop because of a seven-car mix-up caused by Shepherd, who turned Hart around on Lap 5.

"The first part of the race was a little frustrating because it seemed like we were going three laps and then there was a caution, then three more laps and another a caution," said Erickson, who eventually got into fourth after the restart. "It's like, 'come on guys, get your head on straight'- type of a deal."

Once Speedway officials sorted out the jumble, Holman still led with Licata, Tucker, Erickson, and Herzog behind in the top five.

Herzog built his way to third to only trail Holman and Licata before passing each of them following a Lap 26 restart.

Using his inside line, Herzog passed Holman on Lap 28 and didn't let three more yellows cost him his lead heading into pits after 46 complete laps.

Following Herzog in the No. 2-10 spots was Licata, Erickson, Holman, top qualifier Ryan Philpott (15.441), Rick Thompson, J.R. Courage, Bryce Napier, Shepherd, and Gabe Herzog.

When the cars returned to the track for the final 50 laps, Herzog stayed in front of Licata, Philpott and Erickson.

A flat tire by Licata, a piece of debris on the track and a spinout by Dennis Byers didn't keep Herzog from losing any momentum in the top spot.

According to Erickson, Herzog was tough to get around on the restarts.

"He just has a big motor in that car of his, he's running an open motor and we're running a crate motor," said Erickson, who was in fourth behind Herzog, Philpott and Shepherd before getting into second on Lap 83. "We're 200 pounds lighter but on the restarts and all that, it's hard to get position. Then when you get on the outside of him, you get the position in the middle of the corner but by the time you're coming off, they clear you with the big motor that they got, so you're still behind them. To do it (pass Herzog), you have to be side-by-side with him the whole time in the corner. It's just real hard to beat, you have to let your car roll. After that adjustment, it was rolling pretty good for us. With 25 to go, I was reeling him in on the outside and passing the second place car and I was thinking that I may have a chance to win this deal. "

After the cars of Garland Tyler, Gabe Herzog and Tucker got crunched together to force a red flag with 10 laps to go, Erickson caught up to Herzog on the restart as the two were neck-and-neck followed by Philpott and Shepherd.

"That was an upbeat pace that we were doing," said Erickson. "The top four of us were bumper to bumper. I think we were touching each other and you couldn't fit much between us."

On the Lap 94 and 96 restarts, the two continued to battle before Erickson grabbed the lead with three laps remaining.

Herzog didn't back off in the down-to-the-wire finish before Erickson could breathe a giant of sigh of relief once crossing the finish line.

"Those last two restarts helped me," said Erickson. "I got the jump on him and he raced me clean. We were able to pull out a win by a car length or so."

After Herzog was Philpott in third, Shepherd in fourth and Trevor Schlundt in fifth.



Like Erickson, another defending champion had to patiently climb up the position ladder.

Although he was the fastest qualifier (17.519) and a six-lap heat race winner, Curtis didn't reach the front of the Toyota Sedans race until there were 10 laps to go in his 25-lap main win.

While Curtis had to produce yet another come-from-behind victory, he got a strong challenge in the beginning of the race from Matt Doran, Jillaun Holden, Donnie Large Jr., Lucy Carmona and Jason Lawton, who also won a six-lap heat race.

With Doran and Holden battling in the top two spots, Curtis trailed Large before passing him on Lap 7.

Following a restart, Curtis began to close in on Doran, who was staying on the outside.

Running on the inside of him, Curtis pulled ahead for good on Lap 15.

Even though a restart with three laps to go lined the cars back together, Curtis held onto his lead while Large was runner-up, Doran placed third, Carmona took fourth and Holden rounded out the top-five.


Although it took some laps to do, Whitfield and Czub inevitably made their way to the front and finished strong in their respective races.

It was no coincidence that both drivers posted the top qualifying mark in those divisions as Czub (16.311) and Whitfield (16.049) have combined for nine main wins on the Speedway's track this season.

Whitfield, who began the 50-lap main in the fifth position, trailed early behind Kyle Fortney, who led for the first nine laps.

Whitfield passed Paul Beatty and Eloy Bazan to get into third behind Fortney and Howard Holden.

On Lap 10, Holden and Whitfield passed Fortney before a spinout and a couple of flat tires caused yellows to be waved with five laps to go in the first half of the race.

From that point, Whitfield went into the break ahead of Holden, Shelden Cooper, Joseph Riechmuth, Justin Lovelace, Fortney, Thomas Saurez and Beatty.

In the second half, Whitfield began to pull away while him and Holden created a distance between them and the rest of the field.

Behind Whitfield and Holden's finish was Cooper, who took third.

Before Whitfield's win, Czub had to track down Pete Pierce in 35-lap Legends race.

Once he got past the early leader, Czub was tough catch as Cody Winchel (2nd) and Josh Fleming (3rd) all made trips to the top-three winner's circle.

Czub and Bob Kuebler each won an 8-lap heat race earlier in the day.


MST driver Herzog got the fantastic evening started on the right foot with a win in the 25-lap main.

Herzog outlasted six-lap heat race winner John Bowersox, who took second.

Darrell Herzog also had a big outing as the top qualifier (16.829), six-lap heat race winner and third place finisher.

Although he didn't qualify first, Davis saved the best for last and led the entire 30-lap main in the Southwest Tour Truck Series.

Fast qualifier Ron Nava (16.164) took second despite being spun out by Ed Cutler on Lap 20.

Cutler also bounced back and took third while Zack St. Onge was fourth and Roger Harder - the six-lap heat race winner - was fifth.

Just as Davis did, Andrew Payne led from the first lap on in the 20-lap WSRA Mini Cups main.

Payne was also the No. 1 qualifier (17.803) and four-lap trophy dash winner before building a giant lead in his main.

The Madera Speedway is back this Saturday (August 1) for Children's Hospital Kids Night Presented by JBT FoodTech featuring the Madera Late Models, Madera Hobby Stocks, 4-Banger, Toyota Sedans, and MST's.