Courtesy of Jason Wedehase
Sierra Jackson, middle, stands in victory lane after capturing the pink checkered flag winged sprint race Saturday.
The final race event for the winged sprint cars at Madera only lasted six minutes and 26 seconds because that is all the time Sierra Jackson needed to make 20 laps around the LoanMart Madera Speedway.
Sierra made history by becoming the first woman to win a winged sprint car race at Madera, joining winning non-winged sprint car driver Audra Sasselli as female open wheel sprint car winners.
Sierra won $3,000 for her 30 laps around the speedway, but it was not easy, even though the race went caution free.
The 2016 Madera Winged Sprint car champion, Cody Gerhardt, fought with Justin Kawahata for second early in the race and that allowed Jackson to pull out to a sizeable lead, but once Gerhardt cleared Kawahata, he used all of the remaining laps to close in on Jackson.
On the white flag lap, Jackson was slowed by traffic and Gerhardt made his move going into the last corner on the last lap, but as the cars crossed the finish line it was Jackson that was a tire length ahead of Gerhardt for the MAVTV televised victory.
Jackson and Gerhardt were followed by Kawahata, Dylan Nobile and Gorden Rodgers for the top five in the final race of the season for the winged sprint cars.
The LoanMart Madera Speedway replaced the green flag and the checkered flag with pink versions for the month of October for breast cancer awareness, but all the lady drivers must have thought this was telling everyone it was girls night as Annie Breidinger whipped the boys in the USAC HPD midget series, Jillaun Holden won her first championship in the Toyota Sedans, and Courtney Crone finished on the podium in third in the BCRA Midgets series.
Saturday was also the first-ever West Coast Sportsman series race event, presented by
iPull U Pull Auto Parts, and this series did not disappoint in its inaugural running. This new series features full-sized stock cars like fans see on television.
Derek Copeland led the first 50-lap segment, but only by a fender over LoanMart Late Model Series regular Justin Philpott, but the teams had another 25-lap segment to go after a two-hour pit stop and chassis adjustments.
When the West Coast Sportsman series lined up for the final main event of the night, fans were very interested to see if the second segment would be as competitive as the first had been. It did not take long to figure out from the drop of the pink flag that this segment would not only be as good as the first had been, but it was going to be even better.
Copeland, Bobby Hodges, Philpott, and Thomas Martin all went toe-to-toe to establish themselves as the driver to beat.
Race fans were thrilled with the door-to-door action in the final 25-laps, modeled after the popular LoanMart Late Model Series.
Philpott seized control of the lead with Copeland all over his back bumper, but Philpott looked as though he had figured out the high side of the track as Ryan Philpott had done in winning round No. 7 of the LoanMart Late Model Series on MAVTV the week prior to this event. That is until Philpott caught a lapped car with just one lap remaining and that was the opening that Copeland needed as he charged into the open door and took the lead, pinning Philpott behind the lapped car as the white flag went into the air.
With the crowd on their feet for the final lap, Copeland charged to the pink checkered flag taking the inaugural win in the iPull U Pull Auto Parts West Coast Sportsman Series race. Philpott was second followed by Martin, Matt Erickson, and Hodges for the top five.
Other winners on the night included Kyle Fortney in the Toyota Sedans, Bert Stephens in the MSTs with Kevin Thompson taking the MST championship, Austin Carter won the 360 super modified main event, and Scott Pierovich won the BCRA midget race.
The next race event is the Short Track Shootout at the LoanMart Madera Speedway on Saturday, and this is the biggest event of the season for the speedway and for most of the west coast. More than 50 late models are entered, 35 Lucas Oil Modifieds, 19 51FIFTY Jr Late Models, plus the Super Hobby Stock and Mini Cup.
Prices have been cut for the Short Track Shootout, thanks to sponsorship from LoanMart, 51FIFTY, and MAVTV. Adults are only $15, Seniors and military are $13, youth are only $7, and kids 5 and under are free.
For information go to www.racemadera.com