Courtesy of Jason Wedehase
Eric Holmes is doused after winning his third straight LoanMart Late Model Short Track Shootout and a $10,000 first prize purse Saturday at the Madera Speedway.
Eric Holmes became Mr. October by winning his third consecutive LoanMart Late Model Short Track Shootout for $10K to win at LoanMart Madera Speedway.
The 125-lap victory makes him 3-0 in the marquee event at the fastest 1/3-mile in the West, and he earned the victory in a green-white-checkered duel with 2016 track champion Matt Erickson.
Forty-four LoanMart Open Late Models joined 30 Lucas Oil Modifieds, plus season finales for the 51FIFTY Junior Late Models, Super Hobby Stocks and Mini Cups in the jam packed show. The Late Model, Junior Late Model, and Modified shows were each taped for separate tape-delay broadcasts for MAVTV.
After five heat races, a C-main event, and a B-main event, 26 cars were set for the feature. Adam Coonfield marched from last place in his heat race, through the C and B mains, and into the main event. Loren Kutz won the iPull-U-Pull $1,000 B-main prize after the 30-lap race.
Donny St. Ours drew the pole and led the first seven laps of the main event. The 2016 Irwindale Speedway runner-up Nick Joanides tagged the wall and was out of the race by lap three. Holmes began to charge hard from second on the grid, using the inside to get the lead from St. Ours on lap eight.
The 2013 Short Track Shootout winner and former NASCAR K&N West champion Mike David turned up the heat on the Austin, David and Bryan Herzog, overhauling Austin from the outside, then going inside Bryan. David and Bryan Herzog tangled on lap 18 for the first caution of the race with both drivers being forced to restart at the back.
Matt Erickson started the race in ninth after the redraw and already advanced to fourth by that point. The restart gave Garland Tyler a chance to roll the outside to get as high as sixth. Blaine Rocha spun after contact with Jason Aguirre for the second caution of the race.
Carl Pearce spun down the backstretch on lap 25, but the entire field managed to avoid him before Tyler spun in turn four with a flat left rear tire for a caution. Coonfield was up into the top 10 after coming through the C and B mains.
The 2015 Madera champion, Buddy Shepherd, took over second from St. Ours and then attacked Holmes. A lap 32 incident including Ross Strmiska, Coonfield and David Ross in a three wide duel in turn three sent Strmiska spinning. Glen Cook tagged Strmiska at the end of the spin to end Cook’s night.
Shepherd used the restart to take over the lead on lap 31 before Holmes fought to get it back on lap 33. Rick Thompson spun with contact from David causing several cars to come flying in for another yellow on lap 38. St. Ours got sideways on the ensuing restart from third position and tangled with Erickson, sending St. Ours spinning and Erickson to the back of the field for involvement.
The eighth caution flew on lap 40 when Aguirre’s night ended in high flying fashion as he flew over the top of Pearce on the front stretch. Both drivers were uninjured but were out of the race with heavy damage.
Shepherd fell out of the race under caution with distributor problems. Holmes had a rough restart and was bumped back to the fifth position with 2016 Irwindale champion Trevor Huddleston becoming the fourth different leader. Ryan Hart used the long green flag run to get into third with Dillon Tucker chasing him forward as well. Huddleston fell from the lead on lap 61 with mechanical problems and the surprise story was Jr. Late Model standout Austin Herzog, 14, taking over the lead position.
Herzog’s lead was short lived as he slid up the hill in turn three with a flat tire forcing him to fall outside the top-five at the end of the lap 75 segment, with Holmes, Hart and Bryan Herzog the top-three at the break.
Seventeen cars restarted for the finish several hours later with Erickson coming out of the sixth position. Erickson had a prolonged battle with Bryan Herzog for fourth, but finally took the position on lap 91 and quickly passed Zampa for third on the inside. Three laps later Erickson moved past Hart for second.
By lap 100, the race was on with Erickson hounding Holmes for the lead, taking several looks inside in turns three and four. Erickson’s pressure continued to mount until a late caution period set up a brief green-white-checkered finish. Holmes proved too strong as he stormed to his third Short Track Shootout $10,000 victory head of Erickson, St. Ours, Bryan Herzog, and Logan Zampa. Erickson’s second place finish was enough for the series championship in a perfect eight-for-eight races in the top two places with five wins and three seconds.
The 51FIFTY Junior Late Models crowned their inaugural series champion with Dezel West, 12, winning the series.
The 50-lap race was run in one single segment instead of the traditional split pair of 25 lap segments, which made for a different strategy for the series finale.
Lapped traffic became a factor in the race as Berry tried to pace Austin Herzog and West. Kolby Berry had to pit for a flat left front tire under a lap 36 yellow flag to surrender the lead in an unfortunate turn of events for him. That handed the top spot over to Austin Herzog. He appeared poised for a nice victory, but a caution for Kyle Keller spinning on lap 47 set up a three-ap sprint to the finish.
Herzog got the restart he needed to get the race win for his fourth win of the season while West finished second to come home with the championship. Austin Edwards finished third to unofficially to take third in the points as well with R.J. Smotherman and Berry the top-five.
Super Hobby Stocks also crowned a champion for 2016 on Saturday night with Joseph Riechmuth getting the title in a very narrow fashion.
Jesus Hernandez led the first 10 laps of the 30 lap main event before “Supermex” Eloy Bazan assumed the lead position. Britt Wasson had an incident on lap 20 and had to be towed off in turns three and four. The caution flag placed second in points Chuck Dozhier all over Bazan, with Dozhier taking the lead on lap 21.
Dozhier took the victory over Bazan and a hard-charging Jeremy Tucker, but Riechmuth’s fourth place effort was enough to win the points standings over Dozhier. Thomas Suarez was the balance of the top-five.
Kyle Tellstrom came awfully close to sweeping the pair of Lucas Oil Modified races at Madera Speedway this season after winning the June 11 75-lap contest and leading 25 laps on Saturday night. But it was former series champion Dylan Cappello from Arizona getting to victory lane in the coveted $5,000 to win feature. Thirty cars jockeyed for 26 starting positions with a B main earlier in the affairs.
The Mini Cups had their final Madera race for 2016 as the youngest drivers at the speedway raced on the big stage. Hollister’s Adam “The Bullet” Lemke completed the clean sweep taking qualifying, the six-lap dash, and the 20-lap main event. His rival all year long was rookie Jackson Dukes, who ran second in the main event. Lemke led all 20 laps over Dukes, Calvin Hegje, Aaron Thomas, and “Lil” Bruce Bivens.
LoanMart Madera Speedway continues on Oct. 22 with the 10th Annual Pumpkin Smash Halloween Bash and Blow up and haunted house.
The $2,000 to Win 250 lap Enduro, the Extreme Barrel Racing Series, a Haunted House and Trick or Treat thru the Pits and an on-track pumpkin smash for the kids will be on the agenda. Plus, a motocross extreme jumping and stunt show.
Race fans can catch up on LoanMart Madera Speedway action every Thursday with “Madera Racing” on MAVTV at 5 p.m.
For information, visit www.RaceMadera.com