Gremlins Abound in Super Saturday Five

Mdera speedway
Madera Speedway

From Gerald Laurie

There was no full moon aloft over Madera Speedway Saturday Night, but the happenings in the Supermodified Feature Event had everyone scanning the skies for a bright lunar orb. More on that later. Madera’s fifth big Open Wheel Event of the season featured the the Open Supermodifieds and the 360 Supermodifieds as usual. In addition, the Sprint Cars of the USAC Western States Series were added as a bonus to the fans. All of the open wheel groups ran a full program of time trials, dashes, heat races, and features.

The Sprints qualified first among the open wheelers with Tony Hunt fastest on the 1/3 mile oval at 13.628 seconds. Luis Ramos III at 13.674 and Scott Pierovich at 13.734 rounded out the top three.

The 360 Supermodifieds were paced by Kenny Kinchen with a lap of 13.359 seconds followed by Kyle Vanderpool at 13.649, and Willie Northammer at 14.066.

The Open Supermodifieds were the final challengers to the clock with Lonnie Adamson in control at 12.504, followed by Jim Birges at 12.572, and Kody Swanson at 12.710.

The Sprint Car Trophy Dash lined up with Tanner Swanson and Scott Pierovich on the front row and Luis Ramos and Tony Hunt in the back. Swanson got the jump at the green for any inside pass with Ramos following him through on the backstretch. Pierovich and Hunt rounded out the field after one lap. And the start was the gist of the race with the lap four checkers falling over the same order.

The 360 Supermodifed Dash line-up consisted of Willie Northammer, Kyle Vanderpool, Kenny Kinchen, and Larry Hinz replacing Lance Jackson who had loaded up to head for the shop for emergency repairs to a collapsed shock mount. Vanderpool led lap one over Northammer, Kinchen, and Hinz. Laps two and three looked the same. However, Northammer rolled to a stop in turn two after the white flag making the final order Vanderpool, Kinchen, Hinz, and Northammer.

The Open Supermodified Dash was paced by Jeff Collins followed by Kody Swanson, Jim Birges, and Lonnie Adamson. The outside line roared around Collins in the South turn complex to make the lap one order Swanson, Adamson, Birges, and Collins. Adamson made two major attempts to pass Swanson in the short four lapper but was never able to get completely alongside. Swanson held sway over Adamson, Birges, and Collins.

Heat Races were the next order of business. The first Sprint Car eight lapper featured Gordon Rogers, Jo Jo Helberg, Scott Pierovich, and Tony Hunt. Helberg took the point over Hunt Pierovich and Rogers as Gordon faltered on the start. Hunt was then all over the Helberg’s tail tank for the entire eight laps as tried numerous times to pass. All was to no avail as the eighth lap was scored the same as the first.

The second Sprint heat race included Justin Kawahata, Tim Skoglund, Tanner Swanson, Luis Ramos, and late arrival Marvin Mitchell(68). At the green, the second row leap-frogged the front row with Swanson leading over Ramos, Skoglund, and Kawahata as Mitchell headed for the pits with a stuck throttle. And once again, the race was settled on the first circuit with Swanson leading every lap.

The 360 Supermodified Heat lined up with Kenny Kinchen pacing Kyle Vanderpool, Willie Northammer, Dan Vanderpool, and Larry Hinz. Kenchin blasted off from the inside with Kyle claiming second followed by Dan, Northammer and Hinz. And sounding like a broken record, that was the extent of the passing. Kinchen won over the Vanderpool Clan (son, then father) Northammer, and Hinz.

The Open Supers lined up with Jim Birges inside Lonnie Adamson on the front row with Kody Swanson, Jeff Collins, and Ray Stebbins rounding out the field. With Birges holding a very tight line, he and Adamson ran three laps side by side before Birges finally cleared his adversary and pulled in front. At the end of eight laps, the finish was the same as the line-up with Birges besting Adamson, Swanson, Collins and Stebbins.

The United States Auto Club Sprint Cars were next up for their fifty lap feature event. Tim Skoglund held down the pole flanked by Jo Jo Helberg. Tanner Swanson, Scott Pierovich, Luis Ramos III ,and Tony Hunt rounded out the six car invert. Gordon Rogers, Justin Kawahata, and Marvin Mitchell completed the line-up. Swanason swept around the front row to lead Helberg, Pierovich, Ramos, and Hunt after one lap. Pierovich passed Helberg on lap four and Mitchell was lapped on the sixth go around. First Ramos on lap eight and then both Hunt and Skoglund on lap ten passed Helberg who had slowed dramatically. After ten laps, the order was Swanson, Pierovich, Ramos, Hunt, and Skoglund.

Helberg repassed Skoglund on lap twelve and then Pierovich stalled on the front stretch to bring out the yellow on lap thirteen. An inspection of the 3 car during the yellow sent Helberg(leaking oil) to join Pierovich in the infield . The restart order was Swanson, Ramos, Hunt, Skoglund, and Rogers. Hunt jumped around Ramos at the resumption of green flag racing and set out after Swanson. For the next 36 laps the distance between Swanson and Hunt waxed and waned as Hunt would push very hard and then cool the tires to try again several times. However, he was never able to move a head of Swanson who moved to the low line to protect his position. Both Skoglund and Rogers eventually were lapped, held on to top five positions. At the end Swanson was victorious over Hunt, Ramos, Skoglund, and Rogers.

With the 360 Supers and Open Supers combined for the fifty-lap Main Event, the gremlins suddenly launched Lunarly happenings into the inner workings of the planned sequence of events. Larry Hinz and Lance Jackson (after fabricating an entire right front shock tower and welding same to his venerable Beach Buggy) filled row one. Just behind were Willie Northammer, Kyle Vanderpoool, Kenny Kinchen, and Dan Vanderpool. The open cars completed the field with Jeff Collins and Kody Swanson in row four followed by Jim Birges, Lonnie Adamson, and Ray Stebbins rounding out the field.

When the green flew for the first time, the inside row backed up a bit sending Willie Northammer into no man’s land between the inside and outside rows. The ensuing wheel banging sent Willie into the left front corner of Adamson’s mount sending Adamson to the wall. Both were done for the evening. A red flag clean up ensued.

With a complete restart sans the victims, Hinz was still on pole flanked by Jackson. K. Vanderpool, Kinchen, D. Vanderpool, and Collins made up rows two and three. Birges and Stebbins made up the rest of the field. Before the green, Collins headed for the infield with a u-bolt failure in a driveline joint. On the second green flag, the inside line again backed up with Kinchen dropping very low to come alongside Hinz at the line. There was contact between the two sending Hinz into the front stretch wall and Kinchen grinding to halt as well. The second red hanky of the evening was blowing in the breeze. Hinz was the main victim in this one as Kinchen was able to continue. The third starting line-up for this event got shorter and single file still with Jackson pacing over K. Vanderpool, Kinchen, D. Vanderpool, Swanson, Birges, and Stebbins.

The third time was a charm and Jackson led lap one over Kinchen, Kyle, Swanson, and Birges. On lap two Swanson went outside and Birges went inside to make 360 sandwiches with Kody leading lap two over Jackson, Birges, Kinchen, and Vanderpool the younger. Birges and Kinchen both got Jackson on lap three and the race settled down as it began to string out. Stebbins headed for the pits after eight laps with thirty car appearing to be steam powered rather than methanol powered. The yellow flew on lap ten when Swanson rolled to a stop on the back straightaway. When the engine refused to fire (suspected magneto problem), Swanson was pushed to infield and the race restarted with Birges leading lap ten over Kinchen, K. Vanderpool, Jackson, and D. Vandrpool.

With but five cars remaining and Open Supermodified of Birges in the lead, the race went into long term cruise mode. Birges left the local area code and sprinted away. And the remaining characters stayed in their roles .Birges lapped D. Vanderpool on lap 22, Jackson on lap 23, and Kyle Vanderpool on lap twenty five while building nearly 2/3 of a lap lead over Kinchen. By lap thirty, Birges had Kinchen’s second place car in sight and planning his lapping policy when the water temp went to 250 degrees. Birges slowed a bit and the temp stabilized. He then put the pink 32 on cruise control and kept the second place car in sight but decided better of pushing the pursuit. When the fifty lapper was complete, the winner was Birges with Kinchen second (the top 360 and the only other car on the lead lap), follwed Kyle Vanderpool, Dan Vandrpool, and Lance Jackson. Everyone else already had a party (more like a wake) going in the infield.

After running a non stop green white checkers fifty lapper in July in just over twelve minutes, the supers could not seem to get this feature event started. Between a slow acceleration away from the green flag and the racer’s never ending quest to win, there were some silly moves on lap one that eliminated some very competitive cars early on. I don’t know where the gremlims were hiding all night, but they became abundantly evident during the Super Feature.

The car count concern continues in Western Pavement Open Wheel ranks. Fans are starting to get angry and the racers are getting angry at their counterparts who saying parked for economical or political reasons. Anyway, my next event coverage is planned for Roseville. CA in two weeks.

Madera Speedway Super Saturday No. 5, Aug. 7, 2010

USAC Western states Sprint Cars.

Qualifications: 1. 56 Tony Hunt, 13.628; 2. 21 Luis Ramos III, 13.674; 3. 14 Scott Pierovich, 13.734; 4. 15 Tanner Swanson, 13.772; 5. 3F Jo Jo Helberg, 14.018; 6.50 Tim Skoglund, 14.295; 7. 94 Gordon Rogers, 14.589; 8. 15X Justin Kawahata. 15.196;

Trophy Dash: 1. Swanson; 2. Ramos; 3. Pierovich; 4. Hunt.

Heat 1: 1. Helberg; 2. Hunt; 3. Pierovich; 4. Rogers.

Heat 2: 1. Swanson; 2. Ramos; 3.0 Skoglund; 4. Kawahata; 5. Mitchell.

Feature: 1. Swanson; 2. Hunt; 3. Ramos; 4. Skoglund; 5. Rogers; 6. Mitchell; 7. Helberg; 8. Pierovich; 9. Kawahata.

360 Supermodifieds.

Qualifications: 1. 5 Kenny Kinchen, 13.359; 2. 1 Kyle Vanderpool, 13.649; 3. 29 Willie Northammer, 14.066; 4. 18 Lance Jackson, 14.188; 5. 4 Larry Hinz, 14.416; 6. 17 Dan Vanderpool, N/T.

Trophy Dash: 1. K. Vanderpool; 2. Kinchen; 3. Hinz; 4. Northammer.

Heat: 1. Kinchen; 2. K. Vanderpool; 3. D. Vanderpool; 4. Northammer; 5. Hinz.


Qualifications: 1. 98 Lonnie Adamson, 12.504; 2. 32 Jim Birges, 12.572; 3. 72 Kody Swanson, 12.710; 4. 89 Jeff Collins; 13.691; 5 30 Ray Stebbins, 14.168.

Trophy Dash: 1. Swanson; 2. Adamson; 3. Birges; 4. Collins

Heat: 1. Birges; 2. Adamson; 3. Swanson; 4. Collins; 5. Stebbins.

Combined Feature: 1. Birges; 2. Kinchen*; 3. K. Vanderpool*; 4. D. Vanderpool*; 5. Jackson*; 6. Swanson; 7. Stebbins; 8. Hinz*; 9. Nothammer*; 10. Collin; 11.