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Birges and Vanderpool are Super Winners at Madera

by Gerald Laurie

June was 12 was Super Saturday Number Three at Madera Speedway. The Premier events involved the 360 and Open Supermodified Classes.

First up were time trials. Kenny Kinchen was the fastest of the 360’s at 13.472 seconds followed by Dan Vanderpool at 13.616, and Kyle Vanderpool at 13.793.

The open Supers were paced by Jim Birges at 12.694. He was pursued by Troy Regier at 12.967 and George Greenway at 13.296.

The 360 Trophy Dash featured Lance Jackson, Kyle Vanderpool, Dan Vanderpool, and Kenny Kinchen. At the green, Kyle took the lead from the outside followed by pole sitter Jackson, Kinchen, and Dan Vanderpool. And that was really the race. Although Jackson made some attempts and Kinchen hounded Jackson, no one could make a pass stick after the first lap.

The open Supermodifieds lined up for their trophy dash with A.J. Russell on the pole followed by George Greenway, Troy Regier, and Jim Birges. The inside row surged forward with A.J. leading Regier, Greenway, and Birges. Birges took third on lap two and Regier snagged the lead on lap three. Birges put Russell behind him after the white flag, but could not get up to Regier. Finish was Regier, Birges, Russell, and Greenway.

The 360’s lined up for their eight lap heat race with Kenny Kinchen and Dan Vanderpool in the front row. Kyle Vanderpool and Lance Jackson occupied the second row. Carl Johnson and Larry Hinz rounded the field. Lap one had the entire field side by side through one and two, but Dan Vanderpool led at the line over Kinchen, Jackson, Vanderpool the younger and Johnson. With much slicing and dicing in the eight lapper, the finish was still Vanderpool the elder, Kinchen, Jackson, K. Vanderpool, and Johnson.

The open cars lined up straight up for their heat with Birges and Regier up front followed by Greenway and Russell. Predictably in a short race with a straight up start, they finished as they started except Greenway headed to the pits after two laps with a vision problem from the setting sun.

The combined 360 and open Supermodifed fifty lap feature lined up with a full invert. Carl Johnson, Lance Jackson, Kyle Vanderpool, Dan Vanderpool, and Kenny Kinchen made up the front half of the field. The back half was comprised of A.J. Russell, George Greenway, Troy Regier, Jim Birges, and Willie Northammer (substituting for Larry Hinz).During Warm ups, Johnson broke the driveline and smacked the turn one wall head on, bringing out the red flag and ending the night for Carl. The entire inside line moved forward for the second start putting Kyle Vanderpool on the pole.

When the green flew for real, Jackson led over Dan, Kinchen, Kyle and Russell. Lap two was Dan over Kinchen, Jackson, Russell and Kyle. Lap three had Birges up to fourth with Jackson in fifth. Russell brought out the only yellow of the race on lap four when he spun off turn two. Restart order was Vanderpool, Kinchen, Birges, Jackson, Regier, Vanderpool, Greenway, Northammer, and Russell. Regier took fourth on the restart, and Birges took second on lap five. Birges snagged the lead on lap six with Regier advancing to third. Lap seven saw Birges leading over Regier, D. Vanderpool, Kinchen, and Jackson. Birges and Regier took off for the hinterlands while Vanderpool and Kinchen battled it out for third. Russell was up to sixth but could not get around Jackson. Birges lapped his first car on lap fifteen Russell finally passed Jackson when they encountered lapped traffic on lap eighteen. Jackson immediately headed for the pits to join Northammer who had hit the infield two laps earlier. Order after twenty laps was Birges over Regier, Dan Vanderpool (all on the lead lap), Russell and Kyle Vanderpool, now both a lap in arrears.

The interval between Birges and Regier waxed and waned as they encountered lapped cars, but Regier was never able to mount a serious charge on the pink 32. Russell pulled out on lap twenty seven with a flat tire and Birges finally lapped Dan Vanderpool on lap twenty-eight. Birges and Regier continued to circulate running laps in the 12.8 and 12.9 second bracket consistently. They continued to lap traffic with both gaining and losing the advantage as differing passing situations presented themselves. However, after fifty laps, Jim Birges took the checkers by two seconds over Regier, Vandrpool, Vanderpool, and Greenway. Top three 360’s were Vanderpools, father and son, and Kenny Kinchen.

Although the car counts were light in both classes, the racing was fast and furious. Several walking wounded Open and 360 Supers will return for the Pombo classic in July and the racing should be even better.

An added treat for the Madera fans was an exhibition race featuring vintage Supermodifieds from the 1960’s through the early 1980’s. The feature was won by the ageless Leroy van Connett who was being pursued by legend Everett Edlund. There are about fifteen of these cars in Northern California that have been restored and there are several more under construction. It was a wonderful sight for us old timers to see the cars and some of the stars we grew up with on the 1/3 mile banking. And let me tell you, some of these guys still have fire and can’t stand to see another car in front them. It also introduced some younger Supermodifed fans to the heritage of the division. It was fun to see the vintage cars lined up side by side the today’s winged sidewinders.

From the agribusiness capital of the world, I’ll see at the next Super Saturday Event.

Madera Speedway, June 12, 2010.

360 Supermodifieds

Qualifications: 1. 5 Kenny Kinchen, 13.472; 2. 17 Dan Vanderpool, 13.616; 3. 1 Kyle Vanderpool, 13.793; 4. 18 Lance Jackson, 13.863; 5. 07 Carl Johnson, 14.168; 6. 4 Larry Hinz, 14.618.

Dash: 1. K. Vanderpool,; 2. Jackson; 3. Kinchen; 4. D. Vanderpool.

Heat: 1. D. Vanderpool; 2. Kinchen; 3. Jackson; 4. K. Vanderpool; 5. Johnson; 6. Hinz.

Open Supermodifieds

Qualifications: 1. 32 Jim Birges, 12.694; 2. 98 Troy Regier, 12.967; 3. 8 George Greenway, 13.296; 4. 7 A.J. Russell, 13.485.

Heat: 1. Regier; 2. Birges; 3. Russell; 4. Greenway.

Heat: 1 Birges; 2. Regier; 3. Russell; 4. Greenway.

Combined Feature: 1.Birges; 2. Regier; 3. *D. Vanderpool; 4. *K. Vanderpool; 5. Greenway; 6. Russell; 7. * Kinchen; 8. * Jackson; 9. * Northammer; 10. * Johnson.