Glorious night for drivers in Pombo/Sargent Classic By Ronald Montez The Madera Tribune Story

Madera, CA - Before drivers Nick Chivello, Justin Tuey, Denny Burell and Toni Breidinger posted impressive main wins, the LoanMart Madera Speedway took a journey back into time to honor those who made a gigantic splash in the world of short-track racing.

Recognizing the legacy of former late drivers Al Pombo and Marshall Sargent, fans in the grandstands got to see another Pombo/Sargent race that resembled the old battles between the two widely-known pioneers of the sport.

It was Sargent's oldest son, Mike, and Pombo's grandson, Anthony, who squared off in a 10-lap race on Saturday night (April 2) in the Pombo/Sargent Classic featuring the BCRA Midgets, 360 Super Modifieds, NCMA Sprints, USAC HPD Midgets along with the Vintage Midgets, Vintage Open Super Modifieds and Legends of the Kearney Bowl race.

"It's a great honor because Marshall Sargent and Al Pombo have more than earned it," Mike said of the annual race that is named after the two racing icons. "They were the ones everybody always wanted to be and they set the bar and how high it is for the generations to come."

Pombo, 42, was also glad to share the track with Sargent, 65 - two prominent last names in motor sports lore.

"It's huge and a lot of people don't get that opportunity," said Pombo. "My dad, Davey, actually raced with Mike and his brother Mark. I grew up watching those guys, so for me to race with them is an honor but at the same time I want to be beat them."

Both drivers took some time off before eventually getting back into a race car and putting on a showcase on "The Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West".

Sargent, who began pro racing in 1968 and made a big name for himself with on-the-track success including seven state NASCAR championships and numerous San Jose track titles, learned a lot by not only watching his dad, but also pit crewing for him.

"As I was growing up, even with racing, a lot guys said that I lived in Marshall Sargent's shadow," said Mike. "Let me tell, Marshall Sargent wouldn't allow it. That's the way he was.
I created my own shadow as the years went on. I miss my dad dearly and he was my influence. After he passed, that's when I retired because he was the last person in this world who I wanted to impress. Now I'm doing this because I'm having the time of my life. My grandkids get to come out and watch papa race - that's a great feeling."

Pombo, of Kerman, hadn't been in an open wheel car since 2003 before driving in one of the King of the Wing Sprints cars last season.

"I came out here to wrench for my brother Davey - he was going to drive in them but before the day was over with I was behind the wheel," said Pombo. "So I had a couple of races in the sprint car that turned into me driving this. There are some front end problems with it but the competitive part in me keeps me out there because I still have the drive to win."

For Pombo, it was appropriate to have a race featuring drivers with the same bloodlines as the honorees on a night that is dedicated to their memory.

"For (Speedway promoter) Kenny Shepherd to ask us to come back this year was great because there's no substitute for a relative carrying on the tradition and as long as I can continue to do it, I'm going to," said Pombo, who drove with the same circled No. 3 decal that his grandfather's car once displayed. "I've always run under straight up No. 3 but the circle represents my grandpa. I've always to tried make myself my own driver but the car owner followed my grandpa everywhere and wanted the circle No. 3. I said, 'let's do it'."



Although he wasn't leading for the first 27 laps of the main, Nick Chivello never lost faith in a screwy BCRA Midgets race.

"Where else are you going to go?," asked Chivello. "It's not like you're going to pull off the track and give up - anything can happen. Everything bad has happened to me and everything good has happened to me - so you really never ever give up."

By staying the course, Chivello's never-give-up attitude paid off in the 30-lap victory.

Despite following a pair of No. 17 cars for most of the race, Chivello eventually found himself in the front with three laps to go.

"After you inherit the lead, it's just about maintaining it," said Chivello, who got into the top spot following a Lap 27 yellow.

Chivello continued to stay in the No. 1 position but had company as Chad Nichols, who bounced back from a Lap 10 spinout, was gunning for the win.

After Turn 4, Nichols nearly caught Chivello before turning sideways roughly 10 yards away from the finish line.

"In the last three laps, something was off a little bit and the car didn't like the caution," said Chivello. "I heard someone there and I saw the orange nose. I was thinking, 'Oh God, not Chad, not him'. It was Chad there but he went in deep and I got him. I just stayed focused on the checkered flag."

Before Chivello was in the lead, Nichols and fast qualifier Scott Pierovich (13.874) occupied the top spots in the race - alternating in the No. 1 and No. 2 positions for the first couple of laps.

Nichols spun out on Lap 10, leaving Pierovich unrivaled in first place.

From Laps 11-27, Pierovich seemed to be headed to victory lane while Nichols, who was sent to the back of the race, made his way back to the top.

A Lap 27 yellow flag was waved and Pierovich was out of the race.

That left Chivello in first while Nichols was gaining his momentum back.

Nichols' spinout on the final lap allowed Michael Snider to come in second, and Cody Gerhardt in third.

Both Snider and Gerhardt each won eight-lap heat races earlier in the evening.


When the 28-lap 360 Super Modifieds race ended, there was some confusion as to who was the official winner.

Was it Justin Tuey, who was giving a post race victory interview to the fans, or was it A.J. Russell, who had the big first-place trophy in his grasp.

Russell, who had a sizable distance between him and Tuey, just had to finish out the final portion of the originally scheduled 30-lap race.

Even before the main, all signs pointed to Russell as the can't-miss winner, who also took the eight-lap heat race and was the division's top qualifier (13.104).

Because of several cautions that occurred throughout the main including a big crash involving three cars on the first lap, it was declared that if there was another stop to race then it would officially end.

With two laps to go, there was a loud pop heard before Russell's car began to leave a trail of smoke around the track which prompted another yellow flag.

While he technically was in the lead when the yellow/checkered flag came out, it was initially assumed that Russell was the winner and should have the trophy.

However, upon further review and after the cars cleared the track, Tuey was announced as the rightful winner - citing that in normal circumstances whoever is responsible for a caution is sent to the back.

In this case, it was Russell, who ended up in second overall.

Lance Jackson took third.


In the 30-lap USAC HPD Midgets race, Hillsborough's Toni Breidinger knew what she had to do in order to secure a victory.

"I didn't get a very good start, so I knew I had to make some passes to get the win," said Breidinger, who started in the third spot. "After my first pass, I started catching the next person and by the time I got to first, I got a little worried because of traffic but I got through it. A good amount of time passed before we got through more traffic and I was able to get into first with four to fives laps to go. I don't mind when I'm out in front because I just focus on my driving and that's when I usually get my best laps. I just knew I had to stay focused. I knew I was quick if I just hit my marks well, so I just made sure to do that and get through the traffic."

Breidinger, 16, enjoyed her third career win.

"I was really happy," said Breidinger, who posted the division's top qualify time of 14.554. "I got second in the last race and I was quick, so I really wanted to get a win this time."

For Breidinger, relaxation and a determined mindset were the keys to victory.

"Honestly, when we're traveling to the track, I just like to sleep and get rest for the event but I'm always focusing on the race, even just days before it because I really want to win so bad and just try to think about it," she said.

Jesse Love IV was runner-up while Breidinger's twin sister, Annie, took third place

"I think it's fun racing against her," said Toni. "We're really competitive and she's a really great driver, so we're always super close and equal. We qualify really close all the time, so it's really fun."

Annie, who qualified second (14.719), had a mixed reaction to seeing her sister carry away the first-place trophy.

"It's kind of a happy and sad feeling," Annie said of the natural sibling rivalry. "I'm excited that she won because we're a team and it's better that one of us wins but it's also kind of upsetting because I want to win. But I love coming out here. It's a great track and the fans are great. It's just a lot of fun to come out here on the weekends."

Annie and Toni each won in their respective eight-lap heat race and showed that anyone - regardless of gender - can be successful in racing.

"I think it's great because we need more women in the motor sports and when we win, it kind of shows people that guys aren't the only ones who can do well in racing," said Annie.


Heading into the NCMA Sprints 30-lap race, Jerry Kobza was the car to beat.

Kobza was the No. 1 qualifier (14.803) and won an eight-lap race.

However in the main, Denny Burrell wouldn't let Kobza get a runaway victory.

Burrell stayed within a car's length of Kobza for the opening part of the race before getting even with him on Lap 14 near the back straightaway.

On Turn 4 of Lap 15, Burrell pulled completed ahead of Kobza on the way to a victory.

Kobza still had a successful evening with a second-place finish while David Burcett eventually passed Jeff Burrows to get into third for good.

After a week off, the LoanMart Madera Speedway will return on Saturday (April 16th) for Race No. 1 of the Enduro Extreme Series Barrel Race (40 laps), Madera Late Models, Madera Hobby Stocks, MSTs, Toyota Sedans, 4-Bangers, and Jr, Late Model 25 lap exhibition race presented by the Hampton Inn and Suites.



BCRA Midgets - 30 Laps
1. Nick Chivello
2. Michael Snider
3. Cody Gerhardt
4. David Goodwill
5. Chad Nichols
6. Bobby Wilson
7. Floyd Alvis
8. Scott Pierovich
9. JR Williams

360 Super Modifieds - 28 Laps
1. Justin Tuey
2. AJ Russell
3. Lance Jackson
4. Donnie Large Jr.
5. Austin Carter
6. Mike Funkhouser
7. Larry Hinz

NCMA - 30 Laps
1. Denny Burell
2. Jerry Kobza
3. David Burcett
4. Jeff Burrows
5. Whitey Janssen
6. Michael Higgins

USAC HPD Midgets - 30 Laps
1. Toni Breidinger
2. Jesse Love IV
3. Annie Breidinger
4. Austin Mero
5. Blake Brannon
6. Ethan Lesser
7. Antonia Boscocci
8. Adam Lemke

Heat Races

BCRA Midgets (Heat 1) - 8 Laps
1. Michael Snider
2. Scott Pierovich
3. David Goodwill
4. JR Williams
5. Floyd Alvis

BCRA Midgets (Heat 2) - 8 Laps
1. Cody Gerhardt
2. Nick Chivello
3. Chad Nichols
4. Bobby Wilson

360 Super Modifieds - 8 Laps
1. AJ Russell
2. Donnie Large Jr.
3. Justin Tuey
4. Mike Funkhouser
5. Austin Carter
6. Larry Hinz
7. Lance Jackson

NCMA Sprints - 8 Laps
1. Jerry Kobza
2. Denny Burell
3. David Burcett
4. Jeff Burrows
5. Whitey Janssen
6. Michael Higgins

USAC HPD Midgets (Heat 1) - 8 Laps
1. Toni Breidinger
2. Jesse Love IV
3. Ethan Lesser
4. Antonia Boscocci

USAC HPD Midgets (Heat 2) - 8 Laps
1. Annie Breidinger
2. Austin Mero
3. Blake Brannon
4. Adam Lemke

Qualifying - 2 Laps

BCRA Midgets
1. Scott Pierovich 13.874
2. Chad Nichols 14.048
3. David Goodwill 14.143
4. Nick Chivello 14.165
5. Michael Snider 14.231
6. Cody Gerhardt 14.246
7. JR Williams 15.075
8. Bobby Wilson 15.168
9. Floyd Alvis 15.259

360 Super Modifieds
1. AJ Russell 13.104
2. Lance Jackson 13.713
3. Justin Tuey 13.773
4. Donnie Large Jr. 13.873
5. Austin Carter 13.950
6. Larry Hinz 14.445

NCMA Sprints
1. Jerry Kobza 14.803
2. Jeff Burrows 14.811
3. David Burcett 15.141
4. Whitey Janssen 15.185
5. Michael Higgins 15.775

USAC HPD Midgets
1. Toni Breidinger 14.554
2. Annie Breidinger 14.719
3. Jesse Love IV 14.939
4. Austin Mero 15.031
5. Antonia Boscocci 15.247
6. Blake Brannon 15.321
7. Ethan Lesser 15.329
8. Adam Lemke 15.924

Erickson nabs Late Model win By Ronald Montez / The Madera Tribune Story

Plastic prized-filled eggs weren't the only hot item being searched for on Saturday evening (March 26) at the LoanMart Madera Speedway.

While determined children went around the infield searching for eggs - successfully finding them all, drivers in the Madera Late Models, Toyota Sedans, Mini Super Toyotas, Hobby Stocks and Jr. Late Models also went on a hunt of their own on the "Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West", hoping to capture points and hardware.

Drivers like Matt Erickson (Late Models), Jillaun Holden (Toyota Sedans), Bert Stephens (MST), Thomas Suarez (Hobby Stocks) and Ben Silliker (Jr.'s) all pulled in first-place trophies in the 10th annual Big Easter Egg Hunt.

After taking Race No. 1 of the LoanMart Open Late Model Series $5,000 to win 100-lap race in the season opener on March 12, Erickson made a return trip to victory lane with a 40-lap main victory.

"Yeah it's a good feeling," Erickson told track announcer Outback Andy Foster after the race. "We didn't do much to the car from the last race to this one. These are the same tires that we ran in the $5,000 race and it was the fastest time the car's ever gone, so hopefully we can keep on improving and make it even faster."

Although Erickson qualified with the top time of 15.164 and won a six-lap heat race, he started fourth in the main behind Rick Thompson, Justin Philpott and Garland Tyler.

Thompson led for the first four laps before Tyler and Erickson passed him to get into the top-two spots.

From Laps 5-14, Tyler stayed in the lead with Erickson, Thompson, Philpott and Dillon Tucker occupying the top-five on the leader board.

After a Lap 14 caution that saw Willie Guthrie head into the infield, Erickson fired out on the restart to pull ahead of Tyler.

While Erickson was looking to build up momentum, there was pandemonium all over the track on Lap 20.

Whether it was a number of cars leaking, sparking, or smoking - the yellow flag was mercifully waved while one driver was even black-flagged.

In all, four cars made temporary trips to the infield or permanent ones to the pits including Alexander Mead, who won a six-lap heat race earlier in the day.

When order was restored, Erickson and Tyler were crossed up before the restart.

On that restart, Erickson ran the high-outside line to stay in the lead ahead of Tyler, Philpott and Thompson for the remainder of the race.

On April 30th, Erickson will try to make it 3-for-3 in Race No. 2 of the $1,000 to win LoanMart Open Late Model Series 100-lap event.

"We should be there," Erickson added of the MAVTV televised event.

Despite finishing second overall, Tyler gave Erickson a nice run throughout the main.

"We tried a lot of stuff tonight and still have a little bit more to gain but I feel like we're getting closer," Tyler said to the fans.

Philpott, who took third, can't wait to return to challenge Erickson and the rest of the field.

"That's the plan," Philpott told Foster. "It's always fun racing with these guys. We're just using this race as a test. First off, to show off for the fans and do a great job. Second, we're trying to get all the bugs worked out and come back to try to beat the No. 42 car (Erickson). We've got a couple of more tricks up our sleeve."

Headlines of the evening


For a combined 50 laps, Stephens and Holden didn't have to worry about passing anybody to get into the lead.

Their challenge was maintaining it for their entire respective race.

"Sometimes it's more pressure but you just have to keep your head together," said Stephens, who never trailed on the way to the 25-lap MST main.

The same went for Holden.

"The guys told me to just get out there and go because there'd be knocking all over so I didn't want to look back at all the whole time - I just kept going," said Holden, who led for all 25 laps in the Toyota Sedans race.

Both Stephens and Holden knew they couldn't ease off the pedal especially with the talented drivers behind them.

"I just listened to my spotter, kept an eye on the rearview mirror and just hoped for the best," said Stephens, who had top qualifier (16.808) and six-lap heat race winner Kevin Thompson to worry about.

Thompson, who won the MST main on March 12, wouldn't leave Stephens' sight until he lost his No. 2 spot with two laps to go.

Stephens didn't let the restart keep him from giving up his positon in the front.

"I was nervous but I just had to keep it straight," said Stephens, who is in his second year of driving in the MST division.

Stephens finished ahead of Zachary Cook, who won a six-lap heat race, and third placer Tim Curtis, to win his first ever main.

"It feels awesome - just awesome," said an excited Stephens while hoisting the winning-trophy.

Holden, who drove flawless in the main, had to hold off late charges by Erik Woods, who posted the fastest qualifying time (17.623), and runner-up Jason Lawton, a six-lap heat race winner.

It was a rewarding moment for Holden, who took third in her previous race behind Lawton and Curtis on March 12.

"It was a lot of work and just patience," said Holden, who also won a six-lap heat race earlier in the evening. "Little by little, if you keep digging than hopefully you'll get up to the top front and it just happened to be a very good day today."

Although it was Holden's second career Toyota Sedans main victory, it was just as precious as the winning the first one last season.

"Every win is very special," she said. "It's exciting too and shows that your hard work pays off. Every time you get out here and do it then it'll benefit in the long run."

In the Hobby Stocks, Suarez was the 20-lap main winner, top qualifier (16.835) and six-lap heat race winner.

Despite an early crash involving three cars, Silliker escaped unharmed and won the special 25-lap exhibition race for the Jr. Late Model series featuring 10-16 year old drivers including Lilly Mead, Jarrett Gilmer and Seth Holman.

Silliker had the No. 1 qualifying time of 15.767 while Gilmer won the six-lap heat race.

The Madera Speedway returns on Saturday (April 2) for the Pombo/Sargent Classic presented by Allied Storage & Containers featuring the Senior Open Vintage Super Modifieds, BCRA Midgets, USAC HPD Midgets, NCMA Sprints, Vintage Super Modifieds, Legends of Kearney Bowl, BCRA Vintage Midgets, and the CSS/360 Super Modifieds, CVRA Vintage.



Late Models - 40 Laps
1. Matt Erickson
2. Garland Tyler
3. Justin Philpott
4. Rick Thompson
5. Aaron Mullins
5. Dillon Tucker
6. Loren Kutz
7. Kent Cam
8. Kyle Fortney
9. Alexander Mead
10. Manny Gonzales
11. Quintin Harris
12. William Martyn
13. Willie Guthrie

Toyota Sedans - 25 Laps
1. Jillaun Holden
2. Jason Lawton
3. Erik Woods
4. Lucy Carmona
5. Thomas Magray
6. Shirley Curtis
7. Mike Marley

MST - 25 Laps
1. Bert Stephens
2. Zachary Cook
3. Tim Curtis
4. Rian Bowman
5. Kevin Thompson
6. Dave Lander
7. Patrick Geiger
8. DJ Landers
9. Dennis Brandon

Hobby Stocks - 20 Laps
1. Thomas Suarez
2. Steve Schermerhorn

Jr. Late Model Exhibition - 25 Laps
1. Ben Silliker
2. Lilly Mead
3. Jarrett Gilmer
4. Seth Holman

Heat Races

Late Models (Heat 1) - 6 Laps
1. Matt Erickson
2. Justin Philpott
3. Garland Tyler
4. Rick Thompson
5. Dillon Tucker

Late Models (Heat 2) - 6 Laps
1. Alexander Mead
2. Aaron Mullins
3. Manny Gonzales
4. Loren Kutz
5. Kyle Fortney

MST (Heat 1) - 6 Laps
1. Kevin Thompson
2. Dave Lander
3. Tim Curtis
4. Bert Stephens
5. DJ Landers

MST (Heat 2) - 7 Laps
1. Zachary Cook
2. Patrick Geiger
3. Rian Bowman
4. Dennis Brandon

Toyota Sedans (Heat 1) - 6 Laps
1. Jillaun Holden
2. Erik Woods
3. Thomas Magray
4. Mike Marley

Toyota Sedans (Heat 2) - 6 Laps
1. Jason Lawton
2. Lucy Carmona
3. Shirley Curtis

Hobby Stocks - 6 Laps
1. Thomas Suarez
2. Steve Schermerhorn

Jr. Late Model Exhibition - 6 Laps
1. Jarrett Gilmer
2. Ben Silliker
3. Seth Holman
4. Lilly Mead

Qualifying - 2 Laps

Late Models
1. Matt Erickson 15.164
2. Justin Philpott 15.221
3. Garland Tyler 15.297
4. Rick Thompson 15.361
5. Dillon Tucker 15.532
6. Alexander Mead 15.583
7. Manny Gonzales 15.680
8. Aaron Mullins 15.707
9. Kyle Fortney 15.908
10. Loren Kutz 16.078
11. Kent Cam 16.328
12. Willie Guthrie 16.352
13. Quintin Harris 16.630
14. William Martyn 17.116
15. Steven Overturf 18.361

Toyota Sedans
1. Erik Woods 17.623
2. Jason Lawton 17.625
3. Jillaun Holden 17.796
4. Lucy Carmona 17.962
5. Thomas Magray 18.150
6. Shirley Curtis 18.703
7. Mike Marley 19.062

1. Kevin Thompson 16.808
2. Zachary Cook 16.865
3. Bert Stephens 16.916
4. Patrick Geiger 17.111
5. Tim Curtis 17.157
6. Dennis Brandon 17.223
7. Dave Lander 17.242
8. Rian Bowman 17.436
9. DJ Landers 17.996

Hobby Stock
1. Thomas Suarez 16.835
2. Steve Schermerhorn 17.423

Jr. Late Models Exhibition
1. Ben Silliker 15.767
2. Jarrett Gilmer 16.032
3. Seth Holman 16.090
4. Lilly Mead 16.361

Gomes goes the distance in PCS Super Late Models win
By Ronald Montez / The Madera Tribune

Madera, CA - When drivers are in the lead of a long race, there's a fine line between knowing when to pace yourself and when to go all out.

The challenge for those in front is being able to preserve their car for the long run while not allowing others behind to gain ground.

It's an art form really and it was displayed for the fans on Saturday (March 19) night in the Smokey Hanoian Classic at the LoanMart Madera Speedway.

In the PCS Super Late Models main, Jacob Gomes was the artist and his masterpiece was a 75-lap victory.

"It's kind of tough there for 75 laps because you don't know what's going to happen," Gomes said while celebrating in victory lane. "We kept it together as much as we could in there. We just held on to it and didn't want to burn it up there too much early."

Crediting his experience and top notch equipment, Gomes remained steady for the final 70 laps while not jeopardizing his position.

"Running the Southwest Tour kind of gives you a good idea of what do and how to save your stuff," he said. "These American Racer tires are good so I just couldn't really burn it up. I could save it for the end and still come back and be fast."

For Gomes, staying in the lead also kept him out of trouble in a race that had seven cautions including a red on Lap 55 that briefly halted the main.

"It definitely helps," Gomes said with a grin.

Gomes didn't have the ideal start to the day - qualifying fifth overall.

"We were fast all day in practice but qualifying kind of had a disadvantage because you have two different rubber compounds going out first," said Gomes, who bounced back with an eight-lap Trophy Dash victory. "Qualifying was kind of a bummer but I knew if we could do well in the Dash, get up front and just kind of cruise it up there, then we'd have a good shot at it."

To start the main, Gomes passed the leader Ross Strmiska on Lap 4 to get ahead of him and fast qualifier Tracy Bolin (14.173).

Strmiska would continue to follow Gomes in second until he was passed by Jeremy Doss with 25 laps to go.

After Strmiska's car gave out on Lap 55 that caused chaos following Turn 1, Gomes and Doss were next to each other on the restart.

Gomes remained in the lead but Doss, who began the race in the No. 6 spot, continued to challenge him up to the final lap.

With a runner-up finish, Doss placed ahead of Jeff Bischofberger.

"To come home second - I'm stoked," said Doss. "It was big. This place is tough to pass, so to go from sixth to second is awesome for sure. We had a really good car and she came alive at the end. I think I just needed a couple more laps and we would've had him. But the car's not wrecked, so now we go home and just make her better. That's all that matters."

It was the second race of the night for Doss, who took third in the Legends of the Pacific main.

"It was a good night for sure," said Doss, who posted the Legends top qualifying time of 16.198 . "We played double duty. The Legend car didn't go as planned. We had a fast car and just got dumb."

In that edgy race, Luis Tyrrell was the 35-lap main winner after a long hiatus.

"I haven't been racing in three years," he said in victory lane. "It's the same old car with just a new body and new suspension components. It's the greatest feeling to be out here and I look forward to more races this year."

For the first 10 laps, Tyrrell trailed leader Hunter Corbett, who won an eight-lap heat race earlier in the evening.

On Lap 11, both Tyrrell and Doss bolted past Corbett to get into the top two on the leader board.

From Laps 12-29, Tyrrell led the way.

"With my car the way it was, I was glad I was out front because I don't think I could've got around anybody," he said. "If your car is fast and you can stay out front, it's hard for other cars to get around you."

Doss maneuvered around Tyrrell to get into the lead on Lap 30 before contact ensued.

With a few laps left, Doss was bumped sideways by Tyrrell while the race stayed green.

"No it wasn't intentional," Tyrrell pleaded. "I didn't know I had Cameron (Austin) behind me. I thought it was only me and Jeremy. I got a love tap from behind and then I hit Jeremy and he went around. I never want to have that happen but it's racing. We were all racing hard and bumper to bumper. If I remember, he was blowing every corner on entry so it was just hard racing."

Doss wasn't happy about the sequence of events but cooler heads did prevail.

"I have mixed emotions on it for sure," said Doss. "I feel like we kind of got chopped the whole race but then again I gave him the shot there to pass him and he gave it back - so it's racing."

Doss bounced back to finish third while Austin took second.

Nick Grossi, who also won an eight-lap heat race, placed fourth.

Like Doss, DJ Hamilton had an up and down night.

Hamilton was successful in the USAC HPD Midgets race that kicked off the main events.

Hamilton won the 30-lap main along with an eight-lap heat race.

For the first seven laps, Toni Breidingar was in the front before Hamilton passed her following a Lap 6 restart.

Breidingar took a very close second while No. 1 fast time qualifier Jesse Love IV (14.856) finished third.

With the top qualifying time of 12.540, Hamilton looked to duplicate his success in the Winged Sprints race but slammed into the wall after Turn 1 on the opening lap.

That left the door open for Chowchilla's Eric Humphries, who eventually passed Robert Stout, Tom Baker and the leader Cody Gerhardt on Lap 6.

From that point, Humphries never trailed on the way to the 30-lap victory.

"It's a team effort," Humphries said of the big win. "I can't say thank you enough to all the crew guys and the guys who own this car, Harvest Supply. We've been working on the setting for a few races now but we just never get to finish it because we have some mechanical problems or something really freaky happens. We just kept working with this and put a package together that we feel is good and I do think it's a good one. We just have to get better with it."

Despite having to deal with three restarts while in the lead, Humphries relied on his senses to get him to the finish line.

"You really don't know who is behind you because you have no spotters and don't know how far behind the other drivers are," he said. "You can hear the motors of the person behind you, so I just start pacing myself and figuring I better make consistent laps - that might gap them or leave them even more. That's what we ended up doing."

Humphries knew Hamilton's absence made a difference as well.

"I was really looking forward to racing with him," said Humphries. "Both of us were wheeling and seeing what we got. DJ's won around here before so it would've been really cool to see that. I just don't know what happened on the start but hopefully he's okay and he can get his car fixed and back out here again."

Gerhardt took second while third place belonged to Dylan Hutchison, who also won an eight-lap heat race.

Baker finished fourth while Stout was an eight-lap heat race winner.

Like Humphries, Michael Mitchell directed the attention to his pit crew after a 60-lap victory in the Twisted Tea Open Modified Series race.

Despite trailing in second place for the first 30 laps, Mitchell returned from the break with a purpose to lead for the final 30.

"I have to leave it up to my pit crew, they're the ones doing all the work on the car," Mitchell said of the halftime adjustments. "I know they did change of couple of things but nothing major."

Robbie Knittel, who entered the main as the division's top qualifier (15.031), was flawless as the leader in the first 30 laps while Mitchell was right behind.

"It was pretty good out of the first half, so my crew just made a couple of minor changes," Mitchell said of his No. 77 car. "I felt like it was close in the first race and if I just hit my marks then I'd be able to do it. That's all I tried to do in the second half."

To begin the second half, Mitchell had a big burst forward to get into the lead on the restart.

Whether it was trying to catch Knittel or hold him off, both positions had their set of challenges for Mitchell.

"For me, being behind and trying to catch up, you definitely have that character chase but being in front is also hard sometimes because you get bored out there," said Mitchell. "Then you see somebody start coming up behind you and so you start making little mistakes. Then you think, 'alright I got to push, keep hitting it clean and hitting my marks' to stay ahead."

Knittel took second overall while Paul Pedroncelli passed Aaron Coonfield on Lap 41 to end up finishing third.

The LoanMart Madera Speedway returns Saturday (March 26) for the BIG EGG HUNT for the Kids on the Track featuring the Madera Late Models, Madera Hobby Stocks, NCPRO 4 Modifieds, MST, Toyota Sedans, 4-Bangers and Jr, Late Model 25-lap exhibition race.



PCS Super Late Models - 75 Laps
1. Jacob Gomes
2. Jeremy Doss
3. Jeff Bischofberger
4. John Moore
5. Daryl Midgely
6. Chris Scribner
7. J. R. Courage
8. Danny Malfatti
9. Jimmy Stillman
10. Cole Moore
11. Ross Strmiska
12. Kyle Gottula
13. Shannon Mansch
14. Travis Milburn
15. Bobby Hodges
16. Tracy Bolin
17. Mike Beeler
18. Michael Hite
19. Adam Coonfield

Winged Sprints - 30 Laps
1. Eric Humphries
2. Cody Gerhardt
3. Dylan Hutchison
4. Tom Baker
5. Robert Stout
6. Justin Kawahata
7. Anthony Simone
8. Dylan Noble
9. Al Beck
10. Jimmy Hamilton
11. Bob Beck
12. Gordon Rogers
13. DJ Hamilton
14. Mike Anderson
15. AJ Russell

Twisted Tea Open Modified Series - 60 Laps 1. Michael Mitchell 2. Robbie Knittel 3. Paul Pedroncelli 4. Aaron Coonfield 5. Brian Collins 6. Ryan Philpott 7. Scot Alves 8. Rick Avila 9. Terry Deal

Legends of the Pacific - 35 Laps
1. Luis Tyrrell
2. Cameron Austin
3. Jeremy Doss
4. Nick Grossi
5. Cody Winchell
6. Pete Pierce
7. Eddie Garone
8. Jack Wood
9. Jason Figura
10. Kevin Travels
11. Hunter Corbett

USAC HPD Midgets - 30 Laps
1. DJ Hamilton
2. Toni Breidingar
3. Jesse Love IV
4. Ethan Lesser
5. Blake Brannon
6. Antonia Bosbacci

Trophy Dash

PCS Super Late Model - 8 Laps
1. Jacob Gomes
2. Ross Strmiska
3. Cole Moore
4. Tracy Bolin
5. Bobby Hodges
6. Jeremy Doss
7. Mike Beeler
8. Jeff Bischofberger

Heat Races

Winged Sprints (Heat 1) - 8 Laps
1. Dylan Hutchison
2. AJ Russell
3. DJ Hamilton
4. Jimmy Hamilton
5. Gordon Rogers
6. Dylan Noble
7. Cody Gerhardt
8. Bob Beck

Winged Sprints (Heat 2) - 8 Laps
1. Robert Stout
2. Anthony Simone
3. Eric Humphries
4. Justin Kawahata
5. Mike Anderson
6. Tom Baker
7. Al Beck

Legends of the Pacific (Heat 1) - 8 Laps 1. Hunter Corbett 2. Jason Figura 3. Pete Pierce 4. Jack Wood 5. Kevin Travels

Legends of the Pacific (Heat 2) - 8 Laps 1. Nick Grossi 2. Luis Tyrrell 3. Jeremy Doss 4. Cameron Austin 5. Cody Winchell 6. Eddie Garone

USAC HPD Midgets - 8 Laps
1. DJ Hamilton
2. Jesse Love IV
3. Toni Breidingar
4. Blake Brannon
5. Antonia Bosbacci
6. Ethan Lesser

Qualifying - 2 Laps

PCS Super Late Models
1. Tracy Bolin 14.173
2. Cole Moore 14.196
3. Ross Strmiska 14.217
4. Bobby Hodges 14.236
5. Jacob Gomes 14.238
6. Jeff Bischofberger 14.247
7. Jeremy Doss 14.261
8. Mike Beeler 14.265
9. John Moore 14.313
10. Daryl Midgely 14.362
11. Travis Milburn 14.450
12. J.R. Courage 14.475
13. Chris Scribner 14.524
14. Shannon Mansch 14.533
15. Michael Hite 14.574
16. Kyle Gottula 14.760
17. Danny Malfatti 14.898
18. Jimmy Stillman 14.911
19. Adam Coonfield 15.053

Winged Sprints
1. DJ Hamilton 12.540
2. Eric Humphries 12.646
3. AJ Russell 12.775
4. Robert Stout 12.826
5. Cody Gerhardt 13.044
6. Tom Baker 13.046
7. Dylan Hutchison 13.072
8. Justin Kawahata 13.238
9. Dylan Noble 13.310
10. Mike Anderson 13.426
11. Gordon Rogers 13.507
12. Anthony Simone 13.739
13. Jimmy Hamilton 13.897
14. Al Beck 14.034
15. Bob Beck 14.281

Twisted Tea Open Modified Series
1. Robbie Knittel 15.031
2. Aaron Coonfield 15.091
3. Paul Pedroncelli 15.118
4. Michael Mitchell 15.150
5. Ryan Philpott 15.232
6. Scot Alves 15.256
7. Brian Collins 15.427
8. Terry Deal 15.428
9. Rick Avila 15.680

Legends of the Pacific
1. Jeremy Doss 16.198
2. Cameron Austin 16.287
3. Luis Tyrrell 16.323
4. Cody Mitchell 16.447
5. Nick Grossi 16.485
6. Eddie Garone 16.600
7. Pete Pierce 16.614
8. Hunter Corbett 16.626
9. Jason Figura 16.992
10. Jack Wood 17.358
11. Kevin Travels 17.845

USAC HPD Midgets
1. Jesse Love IV 14.856
2. DJ Hamilton 14.933
3. Toni Breidingar 14.954
4. Blake Brannon 15.557
5. Ethan Lesser 15.565
6. Antonio Bosbacci 15.738

Erickson wins big in LoanMart Madera Speedway opener By Ronald Montez The Madera Tribune

Madera, CA - For Open Late Model driver Matt Erickson, the racing season couldn't have come quick enough.

So when the LoanMart Madera Speedway officially began its season on Saturday evening (March 12), Erickson - like most drivers there - was glad to be back behind the wheel and competing for precious points, victories and a big money payout.

Following his driver's instincts, Erickson came out on top in the $5,000-to-win 100-lap Open Late Model race in the Spotter's 125 event that kicked off the 45th annual season of racing on "The Fastest 1/3 Mile in the West".

"It's pretty big," Erickson said of capturing the first race of the season. "I got laid off in November, so money's been tight. We got a sponsorship for this race and winning the $5,000 help us for the rest of the season, so hopefully we can keep it up and keep coming back."

Like Erickson, Austin Herzog (Jr. Late Models), Ben Lewis Jr. (Super Hobby Stocks), Kevin Thompson (MST) and Jason Lawton (Toyota Sedans) also posted main wins on the night.

Erickson won the race that was originally scheduled for 125-laps but was trimmed down due to time constraints caused by a number of cautions.

"You'd almost think it was a full moon or something," Erickson said the rough start that saw up to five yellow and two red flags in the first 19 laps.

Out of the 22 drivers, Erickson started in the 10th position and gradually worked his way up to the front - carefully avoiding spinning cars and crashes.

"I've been racing here since 2007, so I pretty much know the track," said Erickson, who began racing in 2003. "I think for a couple of these guys, it was the first time in the car."

While Erickson continued to move up spots, David Ross held the lead for the first 19 laps with veteran drivers Rick Thompson, Ross Strmiska and Ryan Philpot near by.

"With the front running cars, some of them are tour guys and they have good experience," said Erickson, who was the division's top qualifier (15.283) and eventually got into third before the cars retreated to the pits after 19 laps.

When the cars returned for the middle portion of the race, Strmiska quickly grabbed the lead away from Ross while Erickson got into second on Lap 24.

Four laps later, Erickson was in sole possession of first and relied on his familiarity with the track to stay in the lead.

"Mike David told me one time that when the sun is down on the straightaway, just close your eyes, count to three and hit the brakes," Erickson said. "That's how long it takes to go down the straightaway."

Despite a number of restarts that would bring the cars close together, Erickson continued to pull away while building a six-second lead over runner-up Philpott and third place Ross.

"The first segment, you want to save your stuff but in the last 25 laps or so, you just better give it everything you have and I almost did that," said Erickson, who didn't let up when the cars returned to do the final 28 laps. "There was probably a little bit left in the car that if I needed to use it, then I could've but I was able to pull away from Philpot there, just keep a steady pace and hold off for the win to get the big $5,000 check."

Joey Licata (fourth place) and Danny Guibor rounded out the top five finishers.



With a 50-lap victory, Herzog became the first ever winner of the Jr. Late Models race.

"It's amazing," said Herzog, who ran in the WSRA Mini Cups division last season before making the transition to the brand new class. "The Mini Cups didn't have much power and then you get into these and it's just a night and day difference. We went to practice on Thursday and we did pretty well. We came here and ended up winning the main, so it wasn't that bad of a jump up."

Like the Open Late Models race, the Jr.'s had a shaky start that had different cars tumbling into each other, hitting the wall, or, in one instance, catching fire.

Throughout the mess, Herzog was able to maintain the lead while showing good command of the car.

"It's pretty easy to drive," said Herzog, who posted the top qualifying time of 15.528. "The only thing is usually the rack is super fast, so if you steer, it's kind of out of control but you get use to that later on down the road."

Herzog, 13, had a great time and expects many more celebrations this season.

"It's really cool to be back on the track in a big car," he said. "We're going to make some changes, come back and try to win the next one."

While Herzog took first, Ben Silliker finished in second while Ryan Vargas took third.


Despite not leading for a majority of the Super Hobby Stocks main, Lewis was in front when it counted the most - crossing the checkered flag.

With 11 laps to go, Lewis passed previous leader Joseph Riechmuth and stayed ahead of him to win the 30-lap main.

For Lewis, getting to compete on the track was also a victory in itself.

"It's was cool to just come out here and have some fun and get some good racing in," he said.

While Lewis enjoyed his time on the track, the Stockton 99 champion also expected to get a first-place trophy.

"That's any racers plan, I would hope to come out here and win," he said. "I just had to be calm, smooth and relaxed and drive. This division is a little different than what I ran in Stockton. It's more like the Late Model style."

If trying to catch Riechmuth - who had the fast time of 16.314 - wasn't enough, figuring out the track was another task.

"The track is totally different," said Lewis. "It drives way different and we have to run different tires. But I can go to any track and get this car working right. I've had this car for five years now and I'll most likely race here for the rest of the season."

Riechmuth, who led for the first 19 laps, ended in second while Chuck Dozhier placed third.


When it comes to the MST division, past track champion Kevin Thompson has a knack for reaching the finish line first.

Thompson once again found a way to victory lane in the 30-lap MST race.

However, drivers like Tim Kammerer, Zachary Cook and Bert Stephens didn't make it easy for Thompson.

Thompson had to wait 12 laps while Kammerer and Cook each held the lead at one point.

On Lap 13 restart, Thompson got a big jump and pulled ahead of Kammerer, who seemed to stall just enough when the green flag was waved.

Thompson, who also won the six-lap heat race, stayed ahead of Stephens for the rest of the main.

Stephens, who had the best qualifying time of 16.941, took second place while Dave Lander, who started second to last, finished third.


In the cleanest race of the night, Jason Lawton was a victor in the 25-lap Toyota Sedans main.

Lawton was eager to get back on the track after a four-month wait.

"It's been long but it's great to be back out here," he said. "We've been anticipating running this year."

During the offseason, Lawton had plenty to keep his hands tied while gearing up for another year on the track.

"I work a lot, so that definitely takes up most of my time," he said. "To get ready for the season, I guess would just be wrenching on the cars. I've got three cars in my shop, so every day when I walk into it, there are three cars that I look at and I'd say, 'oh-oh, I've got to work on those'."

Lawton beat out Tim Curtis, the two-time defending track champion.

Curtis, who won the six-lap heat race and posted the No. 1 fast time of 17.519, was happy for Lawton's success.

"We've worked on his (Lawton) car a lot in the offseason to get it ready and just keep building new cars to come out here," said Curtis, the runner-up.

"We come out here to have fun, that's the biggest thing," said Lawton.

Jillaun Holden took third.

According to Lawton, it was no accident why the eight Toyota Sedans drivers had a mainly incident free night which made for an enjoyable 25 laps.

"It's about safety," said Lawton. "That's one of the things that we all really look at is we want to make it safe. We want to make sure our cars are safe. With the group that we have out here racing tonight in the Sedan class, we're all a very tight-knit family. We'll work and help anybody out. If they ask for help, we'll do it."

Curtis also emphasized preparation.

"Any race car practice is extremely important," he said. "If there was a practice, normally we're out here - even in our Toyotas - making sure that they're top notch."

Joining with Curtis, Lawton will also debut in a Late Model car this season.

"Tim's my crew chief for the Fresno Vapor 23 Late Model this year," said Lawton. "So we're all kind of stepping into this division. We're not completely done with it yet, but we're getting close. Tim and I have been working hard on it to get it done. We'll have it out there in a couple of months."

Lawton wants to make sure the car will be at top notch when it rolls on to the track.

"It'll be my first time in a Late Model, but we're also making sure we take our time," he said. "We're going to build it 100 percent correct. We bought a great car from Nascimento Motorsports, so we got something great to start with. We're running a different engine package than everybody else, so it's going to be really cool."

Lawton also saw the chaotic beginning of the other Late Model races.

"A lot of people out there tonight were new," said Lawton. "With the rain and weather and (Speedway promoter) Kenny Shepherd doing everything he can to get enough seat time, I think practice is 100 percent important. I know we'll be doing a couple of practice sessions and private ones also to make sure we have the experience to go out there and run with those guys."

The LoanMart Madera Speedway returns Saturday (March 19) for the Smokey Hanoian Classic featuring the MAVTV 75 Lap PCS Super Late Model Series, MAVTV Western Winged Super Sprints, Legends of the Pacific, Race No. 1 of the Twisted Tea Open Modified Series, the HPD Midgets and 4-Bangers.



Open Late Models - 100 Laps
1. Matt Erickson
2. Ryan Philpott
3. David Ross
4. Joey Licata
5. Danny Guibor
6. Ryan Hart
7. Garland Tyler
8. Rick Thompson
9. Howard Holden
10. Ronnie Roberts
11. Alexander Mead
12. Bryan Herzog
13. Jason Aguirre
14. Shelden Cooper
15. Loren Kutz
16. Gudio Bindi
17. Ross Strmiska
18. Tyler Herzog
19. Dominic Lopez (RK)
20. Tanner Mah (RK)
21. Brandon Weaver
22. Dillon Tucker

Jr. Late Models - 50 Laps
1. Austin Herzog
2. Ben Silliker
3. Ryan Vargas
4. Jarrett Gilmere
5. Ali Gay
6. Austin Edwards
7. Dezel West
8. Seth Holman
9. Jaden Rocha
10. Lily Mead
11. Jesse Burks
12. Cameron Legue
13. Kolby Berry

Super Hobby Stocks - 30 Laps
1. Ben Lewis Jr.
2. Joseph Riechmuth
3. Chuck Dozhier
4. Thomas Suarez
5. Kannai Scatlen
6. Eloy Bazan
7. Steve Schermerhorn

MST - 25 Laps
1. Kevin Thompson
2. Bert Stephens
3. Dave Lander
4. Tim Kammerer
5. Zachary Cook
6. Patrick Geiger
7. DJ Landers
8. Dennis Brandon

Toyota Sedans - 25 Laps
1. Jason Lawton
2. Tim Curtis
3. Jillaun Holden
4. Thomas Magray
5. Lucy Carmona
6. Shirley Curtis
7. Erik Woods

Heat Races

Toyota Sedans - 6 Laps
1. Tim Curtis
2. Jason Lawton
3. Thomas Magray
4. Jillaun Holden
5. Erik Woods
6. Lucy Carmona
7. Mike Marley
8. Shirley Curtis

MST - 6 Laps
1. Kevin Thompson
2. Bert Stephens
3. Dave Lander
4. Tim Kammerer
5. Patrick Geiger
6. Zachary Cook
7. Dennis Brandon
8. DJ Landers

Qualifying - 2 Laps

Open Late Models
1. Matt Erickson 15.283
2. Garland Tyler 15.393
3. Ryan Hart 15.403
4. David Ross 15.456
5. Ryan Philpott 15.497
6. Ross Strmiska 15.513
7. Joey Licata 15.595
8. Bryan Herzog 15.605
9. Rick Thompson 15.632
10. Jason Aguirre 15.731
11. Alexander Mead 15.737
12. Danny Guibor 15.787
13. Ronnie Roberts 15.852
14. Brandon Weaver 15.858
15. Dominic Lopez (RK) 15.863
16. Dillon Tucker 15.900
17. Tyler Herzog 16.067
18. Gudio Bindi 16.077
19. Shelden Cooper 16.179
20. Loren Kutz 16.467
21. Howard Holden 16.568
22. Tanner Mah 16.649

Jr. Late Models
1. Austin Herzog 15.528
2. Ben Silliker 15.616
3. Dezel West 15.779
4. Ryan Vargas 15.786
5. Jarrett Gilmere 16.015
6. Kolby Berry 16.048
7. Lily Mead 16.121
8. Seth Holman 16.195
9. Austin Edwards 16.571
10. Jesse Burks 16.634
11. Ali Gay 16.755
12 Anthony Gumimano 17.244
13. Cameron Legue 19.563
14. Kaden Rocha

Super Hobby Stocks
1. Joseph Riechmuth 16.314
2. Ben Lewis Jr. 16.503
3. Thomas Suarez 16.574
4. Chuck Dozhier 16.765
5. Eloy Bazan 16.857
6. Kannai Scatlen 17.062
7. Steve Schermerhorn 17.374

1. Bert Stephen 16.941
2. Kevin Thompson 17.050
3. Dave Lander 17.406
4. Tim Kammerer 17.441
5. Patrick Geiger 17.486
6. Zachary Geiger 17.531
7. Dennis Brandon 17.752
8. DJ Landers 18.298

Toyota Sedans
1. Tim Curtis 17.519
2. Erik Woods 17.870
3. Jason Lawton 17.975
4. Thomas Magray 18.386
5. Jillaun Holden 18.555
6. Mike Marley 19.073
7. Shirley Curtis 20.144
8. Lucy Carmona

Celebrating 45 years of Racing Excellence with the release of the 2016 LoanMart Madera Speedway Schedule

Madera, CA. (12-24-15) - The quest to complete 45 consecutive years of racing at the LoanMart Madera Speedway begins today with the release of the 2016 racing schedule, and this schedule is loaded with high quality motorsports entertainment.

"Our goal is to pay tribute to the great traditions and past history of our speedway while standing hard on the gas pedal driving towards the future of motorsports. I'm very proud of where the LoanMart Madera Speedway is today, and we are very excited about the 2016 season" Kenny Shepherd.

Here is a summary of the 2016 LoanMart Madera Speedway Schedule;

" Eight televised LoanMart Late Model Series races featuring a $5,000 to win kick off race and a $10,000 to win final event, plus the new Jr. Late Model Series on the same nights.
" Six big open wheel shows with the new MAVTV televised Winged Super Sprints as the headliner.
" Three big Super Late Model Shows featuring the PCS or the Spears Southwest Tour
" Six Twisted Tea Modified Series events.
" Two Lucas Oil Modified events
" Two North State Modified events
" A five race Enduro Extreme Championship Series
" A huge Monster Truck show
" The 45th Annual Harvest Classic with Truck and Tractor Pulls
" The 10th Annual Pumpkin Smash
" The Big 4th of July Fireworks celebration
" Mini Cup National Event
" Plus a solid schedule of local racing action

The television productions from the LoanMart Madera Speedway will also grow in 2016. In 2015 there were a total of ten TV shows produced from the speedway. This included two one hour shows on the Lucas Oil Modifieds and eight ½ hour shows on the LoanMart Late Model Series.

After a busy off season of sponsorship and production meetings, the 2016 TV deal is in place to produce sixteen 1 hour episodes from Madera, California that will air on MAVTV and the new Lucas Oil TV program. Plus the MAVTV Lucas Oil Production team will produce two additional 1 hour shows of the Lucas Oil Modifieds from Madera bringing the total TV productions from the speedway to eighteen!

The headliner on the Madera TV program will be the eight races in the LoanMart Late Model Series, but for 2016 we will also feature two Super Late Model races, the Winged Super Sprint Car Series, and the new Jr, Late Model Series in the TV show produced from Madera that will air on MAVTV.