Matt Erickson pretty much made a home out of victory lane at the Madera Speedway in 2016, but that has not been the case in 2017. His trips have been far and few between this year.
Erickson lost the early race lead Saturday night to a hard-charging Dillion Tucker and found himself under big pressure from rookie Adam Lemke and Jason Aguirre in the Madera Late Model main event.
But as Erickson often does, he finds a way to position himself just right in a race as if it were a chess match to make his big game ending move. Tucker and Erickson went door-to-door fighting for the lead for most of the race with Aguirre and Lemke right on their bumpers.
When the checkered flag flew, it was Erickson who rolled into victory lane without a smoke show. Tucker locked down second place with Aguirre coming home third.
Lemke was one of several drivers to make their late debut that featured some serious competition. He was as impressive as any driver has been in their first start. Lemke ran up front with the big three in the race and finished a solid fourth place in his debut. Kayla Eshleman was very impressive in her first start, as well.
Howard Holden brought home fifth place with Henk Gaalswyk Jr, Mike Shipero, Ray Mayer, Lucay Carmona, Jodies Robinson, Eloy Bazan, Jon Schlundt, Kayla Eshleman, Aaron Mullins, David Lewellen, Kent Cam and Zachery Cook making up the balance of the drivers competing in this big late mod tune up race.
Eloy Bazan Locked up the Madera Hobby Stock championship with an impressive showing.
The MST race started off with a huge crash in turn one that was a result of a stuck throttle on the car of Patrick Geiger. Shaun Reynolds was caught on the outside of Geiger and their two cars crashed hard into the wall, destroying some serious equipment. Reynolds suffered a broken right leg in the accident.
Once the track was cleared after a long red flag, the race resumed and it was Dave Lander that picked up the victory followed by Zachery Cook, Bert Stephens, Ryan Reynolds, Dennis Brannon, John McCullum Jr, DJ Lander, and Rian Bowman.
Mike Marley picked up the win in the Toyota Sedan class after some post-race drama in an event that was originally won by Jason Lawton. The top three in the sedans ended up being Marley, Jason Kerns and JJ Brandson.
Dylan Zampa picked up his first win in a Jr Late Model in the exhibition race followed by Eshleman, Calving Hejie and Hailey Liles.
Next up for the Madera Speedway is the PCS Tour race on Aug. 12, featuring Austin Herzog taking on the touring drivers with the big engines and big tires. Go to www.racemadera.com for information.