Courtesy of Jason Wedehase/Madera Speedway
Bradley Erickson leads the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models into Saturday's race.
Both the Nut Up Pro Late Models and 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models continue their summer of MAVTV-televised racing with Saturday's fourth round of 2020 at Madera Speedway.
After the season was delayed for over three months due to COVID-19, the nine-race campaign has been rescheduled for an every other week format.
Teams have responded to the challenge with strong car counts in 2020. Those car counts are expected to continue in the 80-lap event for the Pro Late Models and 70-lap event for the Jr. Late Models. Mini Cups vs. Bandoleros and Legends of the Pacific are also scheduled to be competing.
Grandstands remain closed due to COVID-19 industry guidance, but Madera Speedway and Nut Up Industries will provide a free live stream. Race fans can tune in to Short Track TV on YouTube at 6p.m. for the coverage at https://youtu.be/9v-RlElQXmo.
Bradley Erickson, age 14, has wrestled the points lead away in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series after his first career victory on July 25. Erickson leads Seth Wise by five points in the standings. He also leads the series in laps led, with 101 laps spent at the top of the large pack of drivers ages 10-16.
“Well, it’s going to take some consistency (to win the championship),” Erickson said. “Of course we don’t want to have any bad finishes or any bad qualifying efforts. We’re going to try to win as many as we can. I am really confident after this first win that we can win some more races. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Wise ranks second in the championship on the strength of two wins, while Jadan Walbridge is third in the standings, just 17 points out of first. Cole Brown’s trio of top-five finishes have boosted him to fourth. Kercie Jung equaled a best finish in the series for a female with a second place run on July 25, moving the sophomore driver up to fifth in the standings. The Jr. Late Models compete for 70-laps with a break after lap 40 for adjustments and MAVTV interviews.
Buddy Shepherd has opened his drive for his third Nut Up Pro Late Model championship with two wins and a recent runner-up finish. Shepherd trailed 2018 Short Track Shootout champion Jeremy Doss across the finish line and will look to be one spot better this go around.
Shepherd enjoys a strong 31-point lead over third-generation standout Ross Strmiska with Blaine Rocha a further 15 points back in third. The 2007 Altamont Raceway Park champion Ryan Philpott is enjoying his best start to a Madera season from fourth in the points.
Matt Erickson is Madera’s winningest Late Model driver, but was kept out of victory lane throughout 2019. Erickson currently ranks fifth in the championship, aiming for his first Madera win since September 22, 2018. Defending series champion Austin Herzog is seventh in the standings while 2019 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model champion Joey Iest comes into the weekend from ninth.
The Nut Up Pro Late Models will compete for 80-laps including a 50-lap opening segment before a break for TV time and car adjustments.
Jeffery Erickson has won all three Mini Cup vs. Bandolero features and leads the Bandolero portion of the standings by 31 points over Joey Kennealy. Caden Cordova ranks third. Rebecca Dubie is a perfect three-for-three in the Mini Cup portion of the events and leads that championship over Harley Kennealy. Twenty-five laps of competition are scheduled for the youngest drivers at Madera.
Legends of the Pacific were an addition to the program and always bring tight competition to the one-third mile oval. The event will pay $500 to win thanks to several series sponsors with the main event scheduled for 35-laps.
Pit gates open at 11a.m. Saturday with practice beginning at 1 p.m. Qualifying will be at 3 p.m. with the Mini Cup, Bandolero, and Legends heat races to follow. Main events will begin at 5:15 p.m. with live streaming coverage beginning at 6.
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.
Madera Racing on MAVTV airs Monday nights at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. with new 2020 episodes now airing. Round No.1 of the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series airs Aug. 17.