Two names that are commonly found at the top of the finish order at the Madera Speedway are Buddy Shepherd and Scott Winters, but in 2019 neither visited the hallowed ground that is victory lane at Madera Speedway.
That all changed Saturday night as both drivers found their winning ways with Shepherd winning the Madera Late Model event and Winters taking home the honors in the North State Modified race.
The Madera Speedway Late Model program is one of the strongest in the nation with more than 111 different drivers competing in 2019 and many more on the way for the big end of the year Short Track Shootout on October 5. There has been 28 different drivers compete in the 51FIFTY Jr Late Model Series, 47 different drivers compete in the Nut Up Pro Late Model Series and 36 different drivers compete in the Madera Late Model Club races.
The Madera races have become something special with a big barbecue on Friday night after practice to kick off the weekend that ends on Saturday night with most every car rolling into the trailer.
Last Saturday night, every car in the pits rolled on the trailer in good condition except for one MST. These club nights are also events were you will find some of the best set up crew members in the business helping out the teams that are learning and improving their skills creating a pit area with the best camaraderie found anywhere in the nation.
The green flag flew in the Madera Late Model Club race with Austin and Tyler Herzog leading the 23-car field charging into turn one of the 40-lap main event. Shepherd started in the third position and he worked his way past Austin Herzog and was tracking down the extremely fast Tyler Herzog when the 41 car of Joey Brazil spun in turn three on lap five bringing out the caution flag.
Shepherd and Herzog battled after the restart with Shepherd eventually gaining a narrow lead when the caution flew on lap eight for Trevor Schlundt who came to a stop in turn three.
Shepherd was driving the brand new Eshleman prepared Fury late Model with a 602-crate engine and he was the leader on the lap eight restart, but he missed a shift at the flag stand on the restart and to the ninth position.
The Herzog verses Herzog battle for the lead developed in an intense manner as the cousins were leaning all over each other fighting for the front spot while the battle from third to 10th raged in side-by-side fashion throughout the entire field.
By lap 25, Austin Herzog had taken control of the race with Tyler Herzog running a close second, but right behind was a huge battle for third to 10th between Jarret Gilmer, Glen Cook, Henk Gaalswyk Jr, Del McIntosh, Elliot Stjerne, Garland Tyler, David Lewellen and Eloy Bazan. The caution flew on lap 27 for a solo spin by the 27 car of Greg Lowhorn cooling off the intense side-y side-action.
This turned out to be a timely caution that helped Shepherd. With the field grouped up again, Shepherd made short work of the opportunity to overtake the second position after the restart on lap 27 and he set his sights on race leader, Austin Herzog.
Shepherd worked Herzog for several laps and he took the lead on lap 32 with Herzog right behind him.
The caution flew on lap 36 for a solo spin by Tim Menneke setting up a late race shootout by Shepherd and Herzog, not to mention the intense battles from third to 10th that would continue.
Fans were on the edge of their seats when the green flag flew for the final time in the race on the restart and it was Shepherd that had the lead but with Austin Herzog glued to his back bumper.
Jarret Gilmer charged past Tyler Herzog on the outside to wrestle the third spot away from Herzog with Cook, Gallswyk, Stjerne and McIntosh locked in a battle that you could cover with one blanket.
The white flag flew on lap 39 with Austin Herzog pushing Shepherd into turn one and, as they flew down the back straight of the track, tension was high as Herzog was all over the bumper of Shepherd as they rolled through turns three and four. Shepherd beat Herzog to the finish line with young Jarret Gilmer holding off the hard charging pack for third.
Tyler Herzog fought off Glen Cook for fourth followed by Henk Gaalswyk Jr, Del McIntosh, Elliot Stjerne, David Lewellen, Eloy Bazan, Aaron Mullins, Garland Tyler, Loren Kutz, Trevor Schlundt, Jeff Mead, Greg Lowhorn, Tim Menneke, Ryan Philpott, Matt Kutz, Joey Brazil, Kent Cam, Zachery Cook and Hailey Liles (DNS).
Twelve cars took the track for the North State Modified main event and it was Scott Winters that was able to out duel Cameron Austin for the victory by using the low side of the race track to take the lead when everyone else was on the top side of the track. Jason Philpott rounded out the podium followed by Darrin Knight and Brian Collins for the top five.
Howard Holden won the championship in the North State Hobby Stock Challenge by winning the race over Chuck Dozier, Chuck Aguirre, Richard Herzog and Steve Schermerhorn for the top five.
Ryan Reynolds won the MST race with Kyle Labrie and Shaun Reynolds filling the podium. The top three in the Toyota Sedans was Andrew Parr, Andrew Davidson, and Kurt Davidson.
The next event at the Madera Speedway is the first-ever Jr Late Model Challenge Camp on August 16-17. The pits will be open for free so fans can meet the top 15 Jr Camp drivers that are coming from all over the USA and even the UK.
For information about Madera Racing on MAVTV, visit www.racemadera.com or www.mavtv.com.
Madera Speedway is presented by major partners Nut Up Industries, 51FIFTY Energy Drink, iPull-uPull, and Color Fast Industries. Contingency sponsors include Five Star Bodies, Maita Motorsports, McAllister Precision Marketing, Shenanigan’s Restaurant and StopTech Brakes.
Madera Racing on MAVTV airs Thursdays every week. The show airs at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and is also available on the Lucas Oil Racing TV app.