After a five week break, the MAVTV-televised LoanMart Open Late Models and 51FIFTY Junior Late Models continue their 2016 season with race No. 5 on Saturday at the LoanMart Madera Speedway.
In addition to the 150 laps of Late Model action, the one-third mile oval will also host Super Hobby Stock, Legends of the Pacific, Mini Cups, MSTs, and Toyota Sedans.
La Grange’s Matt Erickson enjoys a substantial points lead in the Open Late Models, helped by three wins to open the year followed by a runner-up finish in the last event on June 18. The margin is 67 points over Southern California truck champion Joey Licata with Altamont champion Ryan Philpott of Tracy seven points back. Both drivers finished outside the top 10 in the last event.
Bryan Herzog finally got his new car dialed in and finished second on Memorial Day Weekend and winning on last time out over Erickson. The races were nearly identical in their makeup but with swapped finishing orders.
The hottest driver in the series is Napa’s 15-year-old Logan Zampa. Zampa made the podium on May 28 before missing the June 18 race. On July 16, Zampa raced to his first career victory. Taking the win in front of the SRL Southwest Tour teams was an added bonus for the driver.
Dos Palos’ Ryan Hart rounds out the top-five in the points, ahead of Garland Tyler, Glenn Cook, Ronnie Roberts, Shelden Cooper, and Justin Philpott.
A much closer championship battle is unfolding in the 51FIFTY Junior Late Models with a tie at the top. Austin Herzog, 13 , has won three of the first four races in this first-of-its-kind series for ages 10-16. Herzog’s win on June 18 was perhaps his most spectacular, using an outside move on Southern Californian Ryan Vargas, 15, as the field came to the white flag for the win. Vargas bounced off the wall with a flat tire and finished 11th to fall to fourth in the points. He recently competed in the Late Models at Kern County Raceway Park, leading laps in his debut at the half-mile.
Las Vegas’ Dezel West, 12, has two fast-times, a second, a fourth, and two sixth place runs on his resume to rank in a dead heat with Herzog. Eleven-year-old Canadian Ben Silliker is third, just 21 points behind. Vargas is fourth followed by Micro Sprint racer Jarrett Gilmer. May 28 winner Austin Edwards occupies position sixth.
The Legends of the Pacific touring series makes its fifth appearance of the year at Madera and routinely draws from Northern California and Southern California for its Madera races. Rocklin’s Robby Czub and Tracy’s Jeremy Wood have held a firm grasp on the series with Wood getting the most recent win on July 16.
In the Super Hobby Stocks, Joseph Reichmuth has a win and two second place finishes for a seven-point cushion over June 18 winner Chuck Dozhier. Thomas Suarez, Eloy Bazan, and Ivan Scorsur rounds out the top-five.
Mini Cup rookie Jackson Dukes has been an instant success visiting victory lane in race two and leading the points over second-year driver Adam Lemke from Hollister, who won round one. Lemke also won the traveling Mini Cup races in Stockton and competes in the USAC HPD Midgets at Madera.
Kevin Thompson’s five main event victories has him leading Bert Stephens by 42 markers in Modified Super Toyota (or MST), with the balance of the top-five for the dimunitive Modifieds including Dave Lander, Zachary Cook, and Rian Bowman.
The Toyota Sedans have the females of Jillaun Holden and Lucy Carmona at the top of the standings. Thomas Magray, Mike Marley, and two-time winner Jason Lawton, round out the top-five. Tim Curtis has also picked up a pair of victories this season.
Race fans can catch up on LoanMart Madera Speedway, racing with another original episode of “Madera Racing.” The coverage will include both the June 18 round of Jr. Late Models and the June 11 race for the Madera Winged Super Sprints. “Madera Racing” airs Thursdays on MAVTV at 5 p.m.
Pit gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday with practice from noon to 3:00 p.m. Qualifying fires off at 3 p.m. with the grandstands open and ticket windows opening after qualifying. Heat races fire off at 5:15 p.m. with opening ceremonies and the first features set for 6 p.m.
Adult tickets are only $15, Seniors are $13, youth ages 6-12 are $7, and kids five and under are free. For information, visit www.RaceMadera.com