From Steven Blakesley
MADERA, CALIFORNIA (April 1, 2017) – Courtney Crone and Toni Breidinger both won Midget main events on Saturday night to give the young ladies a sweep of the feature events in Saturday night’s Pombo/Sargent Classic at Madera Speedway. The race honored Al Pombo and Marshall Sargent, two of the all-time great racers in the history of California Super Modified racing primarily in the 1950s and 1960s.
Both Crone and Breidinger have larger racing plans on their horizons, adding to the intrigue of the exciting night on the fastest one-third mile in the west. Crone will compete in the Formula Car Challenge Series in 2017 after winning a scholarship through World Speed Racing. Breidinger aims to compete in select USAC Silver Crown races this year as well as the RPM Mortgage Pro Late Model Series at Madera Speedway televised on MAVTV.
Napa’s David Prickett started alongside Spanaway, Washington driver Shawn Breitsman for the start of the 30 lap BCRA Midget feature that capped the busy evening. Prickett led the opening lap while Crone charged forward in Jerome Rodela’s #25 entry to run second by the third lap. Crone challenged Prickett for several laps before leading the sixth lap of the race.
Fast-time qualifier Chad Nichols, 2016 BCRA Midget pavement champion, leapt up into third but spent several restarts trying to work his way past Prickett. All the while, Crone enjoyed open race track and ran the quickest lap of the weekend on lap 14 in the 13.5s. Nichols finally got around Prickett with ten to go but was unable to make up any ground on Crone.
Crone bobbled slightly on lap 25 when she lit up the left front tire in turn three, but she settled down and ran four flawless laps to take a 1.177 second win. Goodwill, heat race winner Scott Pierovich, and Spanaway, Washington’s Tony Seidelman rounded out the top-five.
For Toni Breidinger, her USAC Western US Midgets victory extends her mark as the winningest female racer in USAC history. She set the mark March 18th when she won the division’s pavement opener and is now two-for-two in 2017 on asphalt.
2017 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series season opener winner Jesse Love IV, age 12, is also the 2016 USAC overall champion. He led much of the early laps of the race with Breidinger hotly in pursuit. Breidinger, the 2016 USAC asphalt champion, was relentless in applying pressure including using her bumper several times to try to force the issue. Breidinger nearly made the pass at one stage in turn one but slid up the race in a slidejob type maneuver. Love was able to sail inside out of turn two and used a lapped car in turn three to hold onto the lead.
2016 Mini Cup champion Adam Lemke, 14 of Hollister, spun to bring out a caution and another caution flew on lap 24 when Tom Patterson tagged the turn one wall when he lost his brakes.
Toni Breidinger took off with the lead and eventually ran the fastest lap of the event on the 30th and final lap for a 1.815 second victory with Love second ahead of the surging Annie Breidinger. Lemke worked his way back up to fourth ahead of Blake Brannon.
In other action on Saturday night, Howard Holden is undefeated in Super Hobby Stocks as he won his second feature in that division in three weeks. Eric Humphries of Chowchilla added another victory at the speedway to his resume, this time in the CSS 360 Super Modified feature.
Nearly 30 Legends of Kearney Bowl and BCRA Vintage Midgets wowed the crowd along with Anthony Pombo and Mike Sargent honoring their family legacy in Vintage Open Super Modifieds at breakneck speeds. Ripon’s Denny Burell drove from last on the grid to win the NCMA Sprints feature as the series opened its 30th year of competition. He had a race long duel with fellow series veteran David Burchett of Tracy en route to the win.
Madera Speedway’s 2017 season continues next Saturday with the 75 Lap West Coast Sportsman race as part of the BIG EGG HUNT for the kids presented by Hampton Inn & Suites! Racing action also includes Race #1 of the Enduro Extreme Series Barrel Race (40 laps) & an Enduro Sprint Race (40 laps), Madera Late Models, Madera Hobby Stocks, MSTs, Toyota Sedans, 4-Bangers, and Jr. Late Model 25 lap exhibition race
For more information on the Madera Speedway, visit RaceMadera.com