From Mark Smith / The Madera Tribune
Madera, CA — (June 7, 2014) — First was the magic word Saturday night at the LoanMart Madera Speedway, as several drivers who had never won in Madera or ever in their car classes took home a golden trophy during the Pombo/Sargent Classic.
The evening’s wildest race came in the 30-lap USAC/BCRA Midgets, where Cody Gerhardt took the checkered from the pole position, but not without several lead changes and some intense, three-wide racing.
Almost immediately after the race began, Nick Chivello zipped from third to second in his 27b car that earned him a third-place finish the last time the circuit was in Madera on May 3.
Gerhardt worked to defend his top spot from Chivello but was surpassed by turn three of lap three.
For the next 20 laps, Chivello was in the lead but at times struggled to maintain it against Gerhardt, the top-qualifying 2k car of Darrin Snider, the lightning-quick Chad Nichols, and popular driver Tanner Swanson all nipping at his heels.
After Snider spun into the front-end wall and had to exit the race, Chivello and Nichols fought hard for first place with Swanson right behind.
In lap 23, for an unspecified reason, Chivello suddenly dropped out of the race leaving Nichols in the lead, Swanson behind, and Gerhardt in third hungry for that first Madera win.
The three drivers eventually started going three-wide around turns, blasting by corners with force that delighted the crowd.
As the trio entered lap 28, a mere two laps from the finish, Gerhardt backed off and then Nichols and Swanson got caught up with each other, which caused Nichols to spin out.
Swanson, who continued driving, looked to have the lead but was sent to the rear along with Nichols by referees for his involvement in the contact.
That left the door wide open for Gerhardt, who cruised on the final two laps and a hard-earned checkered.
“I wanted to stay at a distance but not go too far behind,” Gerhardt said of his strategy in victory lane. “They were racing each other pretty hard so I thought they might get into each other and give me a shot at the lead. It paid off � I feel great. I’ve been so close so many times so it feels good to finally get a win here.”
Other first-time winners on the night included: Jeff Collins in the Pabst Blue Ribbon Winged World Series; Jay Linstroth in a blistering Twisted Tea Open Modified Series win; and Shawn Buckley in the USAC HPD Midgets.
They joined Eric Humphries with a NCMA Sprints victory and Joel Rayborne in a restricted HPD Midgets class to round off a night of action-packed racing.
The Speedway will return June 14 for its Summer Kick Off 150 Lap Enduro. The LunkerDaddy Late Models, Hobby Stocks, MSTs, Toyota Sedans, 4-Bangers, and 18-Second Bracket Race will be a part of that event.
For information, go to www.racemadera.com, call (559) 673-7223, or visit the Speedway’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/maderaspeedway for free ticket giveaways and posts about upcoming events.
MAIN EVENTS (UNOFFICIAL, SUBJECT TO CHANGE):
Pabst Blue Ribbon Winged World Series (50 laps)
Steve Johns-(3 laps)
Marvin Mitchell-(9 laps)
Brandon Smith-(41 laps)
Donnie Large-(47 laps)
Art McCarthy-(49 laps)
Alan Beck-(50 laps)
Twisted Tea Open Modified Series (60 laps, 30 lap splits)
Trip Mojo Gaylord-(-3.135)
Rick Lindgren-(1 lap)
Rodney Tripp-(1 lap)
Eddie Wilcox-(5 laps)
Dave Campbell-(8 laps)
Elliott St. Jerne-(9 laps)
Brian Collins-(25 laps)
Kevin Nichols-(39 laps)
USAC/BCRA Midgets (30 laps)
David Pricketts-(1 lap)
Floyd Alvis-(1 lap)
Marvin Mitchell-(4 laps)
Nick Chivello-(8 laps)
Gary Conterno-(8 laps)
Darrin Snider-(11 laps)
JR Williams-(18 laps)
NCMA Sprints (30 laps)
Steve Amador-(1 lap)
Duncan Lee-(3 laps)
Mike Higgins-(11 laps)
Don Arriaz-(30 laps)
Ed Amador-(30 laps)
USAC HPD Midgets (30 laps)
Annie Breidingar-(1 lap)
Joel Rayborne-(2 laps)
Sheldon Cooper-(3 laps)
USAC HPD Midgets (Restricted, 15 laps)
Jesse “James” Burks-(-8.041)
QUALIFYING (2 laps):
360/410 Super Modifieds
Twisted Tea Open Modified Series
Trip Mojo Gaylord-15.459
Elliott St. Jerne-15.528
USAC HPD Midgets
Jesse “James” Burks-16.979
360/410 Super Modifieds (Heat 1, 8 laps)
360/410 Super Modifieds (Heat 2, 8 laps)
USAC/BCRA Midgets (Heat 1, 8 laps)
JR Williams-(1 lap)
USAC/BCRA Midgets (Heat 2, 8 laps)
NCMA Sprints (Heat 1, 8 laps)
Duncan Lee -(1 lap)
NCMA Sprints (Heat 2, 8 laps)
David Burcett-(5 laps)
USAC HPD Midgets (Heat 1, 4 laps)
Jesse “James” Burks-(-1.080)
USAC HPD Midgets (Heat 2, 8 laps)
USAC HPD Midgets (Heat 3, 8 laps)