Courtesy of Jason Wedehase
The Nut Up Pro Late Models take the green flag two weeks ago to open the 2020 season after a three month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Late Models will be back in action tonight for a 80-lap main event.
Just two weeks after the season opener, the Nut Up Pro Late Models and 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models roar back to life at Madera Speedway this weekend for the second round of MAVTV-televised action.
A remarkable 26 Pro Late Models and 18 Jr. Late Models hit the one-third mile oval for the opening night, delayed by more than three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mini Cups vs. Bandoleros will also be in action on tonight.
The grandstands remain closed to race fans, but events will be streamed live to Short Track TV on YouTube for the race fans to enjoy. This coverage is courtesy of track partner Nut Up Industries. The live stream can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/3f6vAYb
Two-time Nut Up Pro Late Model champion Buddy Shepherd leads the series into tonight’s 80-lap contest, split across a 50-lap opening segment followed by a 30-lap run to the finish. The race serves as the final tune-up before the first round of the Race 2B Drug Free Big3 gets underway on July 25.
The Big3 Series opener pays $5,000 to win along with kicking off a run towards a combined $75,000 in bonuses being offered. A victory tonight would set up some crucial momentum for any of the challengers looking for either the Nut Up Pro Late Model nine-race title or the three-race Race 2B Drug Free title.
Shepherd was followed across the line in the season opener by Cole Moore and Ross Strmiska, a pair of second and third-generation drivers, respectively, each in search of their first series win on MAVTV.
A trio of youngsters from the Jr. Late Model ranks figure to be in the running for the 2020 title, but each stumbled in the opener. The 2019 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model champion Joey Iest finished eighth ahead of 2019 Nut Up Pro Late Model champion Austin Herzog in 11th. A crash relegated Dylan Zampa to a DNF. All three will look to reload on Saturday night.
Speaking of the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series, their 70-lap opener attracted 18 drivers ages 10-16 years old. Only one driver entered the race with a victory in his career — Seth Wise.
Wise remains the only active winner competing in the division after a strong win to kick off 2020. Jadan Walbridge scored his fourth career fast-time in the last five races before finishing second, while Bradley Erickson finished third. Holly Clark led a large contingent of female racers with a sixth-place finish.
The 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model races are run over two segments as well with 40 laps to open the race, a break for interviews and adjustments, and a 30-lap conclusion.
Rounding out the card will be the Mini Cups vs. Bandoleros. Jeffery Erickson avenged his brother’s third-place run in the Jr. Late Models by winning the 30-lap Bandolero grind. Jace “The Hammer” Hale debuted in the second position while Rebecca Dubie won the Mini Cup portion of the main event.
Pit gates open at noon today with practice beginning at 2 p.m. Qualifying will be at 3:30 p.m. with the Mini Cup and Bandolero heat races and a possible Nut Up Pro Late Model B Main to follow. Main events will begin at 6 p.m.
For information about Madera Speedway, visit www.RaceMadera.com The 2020 season would not be possible without the support of Nut Up Industries, 51FIFTY LTM, Race 2B Drug Free, Competition Carburetion, Hoosier Tires, and Sunoco Race Fuel.