by Gerald Laurie
The annual Al Pombo Classic at Madera Speedway on Saturday featured Supermodifieds and BCRA Midgets. The show was comprised of qualifications, trophy dashes, heat races and feature events for both classes.
The event started with Time Trials for the BCRA Midgets on the 1/3 mile banked asphalt oval. Tanner Swanson (10) set fast time with a lap of 14.235 seconds. He was closely followed by older brother Kody Swanson (15) at 14.341, and Nick Foster, Jr. (1) at 14.573.
Next to challenge the clocks were the 360 Supermodifieds. Fastest was Kenny Kinchen (5) at 13.555, followed by Kyle Vanderpool (1) at 13.726, and Lance Jackson (18) at 13.882.
The Open Supermodifieds were the final qualifiers and were led by Kody Swanson(72) at 12.776 over Jim Birges (32) at 12.858, and Lonnie Adamson (98) at 13.037.
The next order of business was the trophy dash sequence. The Bay Cities Racing Association Midgets lined up with Floyd Alvis on the pole flanked by Nick Foster, Jr. The back row included Kody and Tanner Swanson. At the drop of the green, Foster charged to the lead on the outside followed by Tanner and Kody Swanson, Alvis had trouble accelerating at the start and dropped to the back. Tanner Swanson made several attempts to pass down low and although he was able to pull even, he could not complete the pass. Foster took the hardware over the Swansons and Alvis.
The 360 Supermodified Dash featured Dan Vanderpool, Lance Jackson, Kyle Vanderpool, and Kenny Kinchen. Again, the outside line proved faster as Jackson led lap one over Kinchen, Dan Vanderpool and Kyle Vanderpool . Lap two saw Kyle pass his father for third and that was the extent of the passing. Finish or was Jackson, Kinchen, Kyle and Dan Vanderpool.
The Open Supermodified Dash had Lonnie Adamson and Jim Birges on the front row and Kody Swanson and Supermod Rookie Jeff Collins in the back. Once again, the high side provided the momentum as Birges beat Adamson back to the line with Swanson and Collins close behind. Adamson was all over the back of Birges’s car and then made a bonsai move down low on lap four to snag the lead at the checkers. Birges, Swanson, and Collins rounded out the field.
The first midget heat was paced by Lonny Alton, followed by Danny Parker, Mike Donaldson, Bill Lindsey, and Dillon Silverman. Silverman was a DNS with mechanical difficulties. The outside line surged forward at the green and Parker led lap one over Lindsey, Alton, and Donaldson. Donaldson pulled off on the backstretch on lap two. On the third go-around, Alton took second as Lindsey headed for the pits. And that was the race. Parker won over Alton with Lindsey and Donaldson in the infield.
The second eight lapper for the midgets lined up with Kody Swanson and Nick Foster, Jr. up front and Floyd Alvis and Tanner Swanson in the rear. Alvis elected to start at the back as he was still experiencing mechanical gremlins. Kody Swanson managed to break the string to take the lead from the inside. Nick Foster dropped in to second followed by Tanner Swanson and Alvis. Tanner made numerous attempts to get ahead of Foster, but Nick held the preferred racing line and was able to hold him at bay. They finished as they started with Kody leading Foster, Tanner, and Alvis.
The 360 Supermodified heat used a straight up start with Kenny Kinchen on the pole followed by Kyle Vanderpool, Lance Jackson, Dan Vanderpool, and Jeremiah Bearden. At the green, Kyle Vanderpool eked out an advantage to lead the first lap over Kinchen and Dan Vanderpool. Jackson held fourth with Beardon chasing the herd. Kinchen made numerous challenges but was unable to pass. On the seventh circuit, Kinchen went into turn three very hard and spun to a stop in turn four. Jackson, whose vision was affected by the setting sun, locked down the number 18 and stopped just shy of Kinchen’s stalled racer. The restart order was Vanderpool the younger over Vanderpool the elder, Jackson, Beardon, and Kinchen. When green flag racing resumed, Kinchen managed to move back to third by white flag time, but was able to advance no further. Winner was Kyle Vanderpool over Dan Vanderpool, Kinchen, Jackson, and Bearden
The Open Supermodified Heat was also started straight up with Kody Swanson and Jim Birges on the front. Lonnie Adamson and Jeff Collins occupied row two. George Greenway was scheduled to start fifth but scratched with some heat related issues. Birges took the lead on lap one with Swanson, Adamson, and Collins following. Adamson jumped around Swanson on lap three as the 72 started getting very loose. Birges extended his lead over Adamson until lap five when Adamson started eating some of the intervening territory. However, Lonnie was never able catch the pink 32 and Birges won over Adamson, Swanson, and Collins.
It was now Main Event time. The BCRA Midgets of Mike Donaldson, Bill Lindsey, Floyd Alvis, and Nick Foster, Jr. made up the first two rows. Kody Swanson, Tanner Swanson, Danny Parker , Lonnie Alton, and Dillon Silverman completed the field. Donaldson led lap one over Foster, Alvis, K. Swanson and T. Swanson. Silverman beat feet for the pits and the end of the opening lap. By lap two, Foster led over Kody, Donaldson, Alvis, and Tanner. Tanner moved to third on lap three at the expense of Donaldson and Alvis. Kody took the lead from Foster on lap four and started building his lead. Tanner was third by the fifth circuit. Meanwhile, Lindsey was having problems and dropping back. On lap nine, the leaders caught him on the backstretch. Tanner Swanson and Donaldson made contact with Lindsey as he tried to exit to the infield. All three cars were eliminated and the red flag flew while the Ambulance Crew checked out those involved. On the restart, Kody Swanson led over Foster, Alvis, Parker, and Alton .
With the exception of Alton getting lapped on the eighteenth lap, that was the race. Swanson won over Foster, Alvis, Parker, and Alton.
Madera Speedway combines the 360 and Open Supermodifieds for the fifty-lap feature on these Super Saturday programs. With the rookies (Bearden and Collins) electing to start in the rear, the inverted line-up looked this. Dan Vanderpool, Lance Jackson, Kyle Vanderpool, and Kenny Kinchen made up rows one and two. George Greenway, Lonnie Adamson, Jim Birges, and Kody Swanson occupied rows three and four. Jeff Collins and Jeremiah Beardon occupied the tail end. After the warm-ups, Greenway opted to start near the back and swapped places with Birges.
On lap one, Vanderpool led Jackson, Kinchen, Birges and Adamson. Birges split the 5 and 18 cars to move to second on lap two. Birges blew by Vanderpool for the lead a lap latter and Kinchen followed him through. Order at three was Birges, Kinchen, D. Vanderpool, Adamson, and Kyle Vanderpool with Greenway headed for the pits. Kody Swanson entered the top five at the younger Vanderpool’s expense on lap four. Meanwhile, Birges was headed out of the local time zone. Beardon went down a lap on the sixth circuit. Adamson finally passed Kinchen using the lapped car as a pick and the order was Birges, Adamson, Kinchen, Swanson, and Dan Vanderpool. Beardon headed for the pits on the leader’s ninth lap with the engine going off song.
Collins fell victim to the flying pink cloud of Birges on lap eleven with Jackson being lapped three laps later. Order at lap fifteen was Birges over Adamson, Kinchen, Swanson, and both Vanderpools (Dad over son). Birges lapped the Vanderpool family on the eighteenth go-around as Adamson started to slowly make up a portion of the 1/3 lap distance between himself and Birges. Lap nineteen saw Swanson finally overcome Kinchen’s blazing hot 360 and Collins headed for the pits with a failed tie rod causing the left front to point south with the rest of the car headed west.
Birges began slowing noticeably as the water temp headed upwards of 260 degrees and he tried to cool the engine. When he realized Adamson was putting down some very fast laps, he took off again only to see the temp spike and he headed for the pits on lap twenty-seven to keep from burning down the power plant. At this point, the order became Adamson over Swanson and Kinchen, all on the same lap, with Dan and Kyle Vanderpool filling the top five, albeit a lap down. Kyle finally passed the old man on lap twenty-nine to move into fourth.
Adamson continued to lap cars at will, finally making Kinchen his victim on lap thirty-one. The next ten laps were more of the same with Adamson on cruise control and Swanson desperately picking through the lapped traffic to keep from being lapped himself. And then it was over. The Supermods completed the fifty laps in 11 minutes, 1.862 seconds with what has to be a new track record. I think this was the first non-stop, no yellow fifty lapper ever at the Central California Speed Plant There is forty-lap non-stop record held by Mike Swanson (Kody and Tanner’s father), that dates back to the late 80’s or early 90’s.
Lonnie Adamson and Kody Swanson completed the fifty laps with Kinchen in third two laps back, and Kyle and Dan Vanderpool and Lance Jackson fourth through sixth, three laps in arrears. The race was very fast, very clean, and very exciting for the fans and participants alike. Lonnie Adamson has stepped into the number 98 S&S Motorsports Silsby and immediately returned to his championship style of the 2000 and 2001 seasons.. Three wins in the first three outings is very impressive. Kody Swanson has bagged two second place finishes in his first rides in Lance Tatro’s Thornton Chassied Supermodified. He has won in virtually everything he has driven and a Super win cannot be far away. Kenny Kinchen set a blistering pace in his 360 and stayed with the open cars for thirty laps. His top 360 position by over a lap shows the strength of his team and Kenny’s driving skill. Jim Birges just got faster and faster as the afternoon and evening went on, only to be done in by the 106 degree temps. He says there is a major revamp of the cooling system coming for the number 32.
All in all, the evening had some great racing, a little excitement, and a safe ending. Super Saturday number five is on August 7th.