Zampa strikes Speed Fest gold

Fourteen-year-old Dylan Zampa made his Nut Up Pro Late Model debut on Saturday night and promptly scored the biggest win of his career, topping his 18-year-old brother for the $5,000 Speed Fest at Madera Speedway.

The brothers went side-by-side over a dramatic final 10 laps for MAVTV cameras before wet weather ended the event, prematurely.

Tanner Reif scored a shortened opener win in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models that attracted 20 drivers ages 10-16 years old. Both the Mini Cups vs. Bandoleros and Modified Super Toyotas were unable to run their features.

A grinding crash for the lead between Carlos Vieira and Blaine Rocha on lap 39 opened the door wide-open for the Zampa battle. Fast-time qualifier Vieira and Rocha slid off of turn four with Rocha spinning across the track into the inside wall with significant damage. Vieira drove away from the crash but with portions of Rocha’s nose piece lodged into his car. He was relegated to the rear for having it removed by officials.

Rocha had led all the way after starting outside Parker Malone on the front row of the 26-car feature. More than 30 cars attempted to qualify, with the field narrowed by a B-main earlier in the afternoon.

Dylan Zampa, the runner-up in the 2018 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models, slowly negotiated his way to second after starting sixth. The first caution flew on lap 18 for a spin. The caution flew again on lap 21 for Ryan Hart spinning and dropping fluid in turn one. Rocha picked the inside line against Zampa, pinning him into the dry sweep at the top of the first corner.

Through a series of mid-race cautions, Rocha continually maintained the lead over the rookie. A significant crash slowed the festivities when 2007 Altamont champion Ryan Philpott hit the turn one gate head on. He was uninjured and racing resumed after a brief red flag for clean up.

Zampa spun his tires on a lap 36 restart, which allowed the 10th place Vieira to shoot the gap up into second. Vieira immediately clamped down on Rocha. Two laps later, they slid through turn four before Rocha was hooked and hit the inside wall backwards.

The incident thrust Zampa into the lead, picking the inside against brother Logan. They staged a side-by-side battle over the next 10 laps with multiple lead changes. Logan led lap 39, before Dylan led lap 40. Logan edged forward for lap 41 but Dylan managed to lead until lap 45. Logan swung wide in turn four and Dylan danced to a one-car length advantage up to lap 49.

Dylan’s advantage was nullified by a caution for Malone spinning out of turn four. The race never restarted as a heavy sprinkle caused officials to count caution laps to carry the race to lap 56, just past halfway.

The halfway break began before the sprinkle turned into persistent rain showers to end the evening. Dylan Zampa Speed Fest victory with Logan Zampa in second.

Next up for Madera Speedway is Saturday night’s debut of the MAVTV-televised California Challenge Cup for steel bodied stock cars along with the new Madera Midget Series.

For information about Madera Racing on MAVTV, visit www.racemadera.com or www.mavtv.com. For more information on Nut Up Industries, visit www.nutupindustries.com and for information about 51FIFTY Energy Drink, visit www.51fiftyenergydrink.com