Courtesy of Jason Wedehase
RPM Mortgage Pro Late Models line up at The Madera Speedway before a June 17 race in a MAVTV-televised race.
The sixth night of MAVTV-televised Late Model racing at Madera Speedway hits the track tonight with the RPM Mortgage Pro Late Models 100 and 51FIFTY Energy Drink Jr. Late Models 75.
Joined by Legends of the Pacific, Mini Cups, and Modified Super Toyotas, nearly 300 laps of competition is on tap on the fastest one-third mile in the west.
The RPM Mortgage Pro Late Models will be competing for $2,000 to win in their most wide-open field of the season. Current points leader and 2015 champion Buddy Shepherd will be absent to compete in a K&N West Series event.
With Shepherd out, arguably the driver to watch will be Jeremy Doss. Doss, a two-time Pacific Challenge Series champion, will make his first points paying start at Madera after showing impressive lap times in testing last October.
The 19-time PCS race winner is also a four-time SRL Southwest Tour winner and 2013 SRL Rookie of the Year.
June 17 winner Logan Zampa is second in series points and trails Shepherd by 47. With a 46.8 point average over the course of the season, Zampa has a strong chance to take over the points lead. Zampa finished 14th to open the year but has followed that with a win, two seconds, and a third place.
Trailing Zampa by just nine points is Garland Tyler. Tyler has not yet won a feature in the series but has two seconds and two thirds this year.
Fourth in the standings is Dillon Tucker with a third place finish in the season opener as his highlight. The 2016 champion and winningest driver Matt Erickson ranks fifth on the strength of the season opening win. Erickson has not finished better than fourth since then, however. Sixth in the standings is Austin Herzog with five career 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model wins. Twice Herzog has run in the top-five late in a race only to finish deeper in the pack.
Ryan Hart, Howard Holden, Glen Cook, and former track champion Rick Thompson make up the rest of the top 10.
The 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models has been dominated by 12-year-old Jesse Love IV. Love opened the year with three consecutive wins before a third place finish in June. He finished seventh in July after a mix-up with race leader Kolby Berry. The two hiccups have not stopped Love from commanding an impressive 45-point lead over teammate Hailie Deegan. Berry is third in the order on the strength of four fast-times in the five races so far. April 2016 winner Austin Edwards is fourth overall.
Eric Nascimento, Jr. claimed the July 29 race and also finished in the top-five with the Pacific Challenge Series at Madera two weeks ago. The 16-year-old has moved up to fifth in the Jr. Late Model standings.
Two out-of-state female drivers will compete with the series with North Carolina Legends standout Gracie Trotter driving in place of Deegan in the #88 Toyota-backed entry this weekend. Vermont’s Peyton Lanphear is expected to make her second start in the series, driving for Nascimento Motorsports this time around.
The popular Legends of the Pacific will return for the fourth time this year. The Legends have not had a repeat winner in 2017 at the speedway with Luis Tyrrell winning most recently in July. A 35-lap main event is scheduled.
Tyler Reif has been impressive in his rookie Mini Cup campaign and will look to extend his winning streak to four in their 20-lap main event. Joey Stearns gave Reif a strong challenge in July that thrilled the crowd.
The Modified Super Toyotas are led by Zachary Cook, who also competes in the Late Model division on a part-time basis. Cook leads Dave Lander by just five points with fellow Late Model rookie Patrick Geiger in third. MSTs are scheduled for a 25-lap main event.
Pit gates open today at 11:30 a.m. with practice from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Qualifying will follow with B Mains and Heat Races beginning at 5 p.m. Opening ceremonies and main events will follow at approx. 5:30 p.m.
Tickets for this great night of racing are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and military, $7 for youth ages 6-12, and kids 5-and-under are free.
For information about Madera Racing on MAVTV, visit www.racemadera.com.