Erickson dedicates Madera win to mother
Madera Speedway’s winningest Late Model driver, Matt Erickson, scored an emotional win in the Madera Speedfest 100 to earn a $5,000 triumph for the MAVTV-televised Lunkerdaddy Pro Late Model season opener.
The Saturday night win was Erickson’s sixth in a season-opening Pro or Open Late Model event since 2012 at the one-third mile.
Erickson was joined by his mother Cathy in victory lane in an emotional celebration as she battles health issues.
Bradley Erickson won his first career Lunkerdaddy Pro Late Model fast-time award, then drew the pole for the extra distance affair with 26 starters. The battle of the Ericksons developed when Matt Erickson seized the lead on lap 25. Bradley Erickson retook the top spot on lap 32, then Matt Erickson challenged and took it back on the outside on a restart. Kercie Jung suffered an oil leak that brought out an extended red flag on lap 46.
Matt Erickson emerged from the race break for adjustments and MAVTV interviews at the front of the field. The 2021 Lunkerdaddy Pro Late Model champion, Jadan Walbridge, advanced into second past Kyle Keller and Bradley Erickson. Walbridge and Matt Erickson engaged in a duel of the blue cars, with Walbridge taking over the point on lap 93 but Erickson again battled back to lead lap 96.
A restart set up a sprint to the finish. Coming to the white flag, a multi-car skirmish in turn four enveloped multiple cars including 2021 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model champion Brody Armtrout, Eric Nascimento, Jason Aguirre and others.
Erickson was scored as the winner for his emotional triumph, followed by Walbridge, Keller, Bradley Erickson, and Tyler Herzog. The 2021 Jr. Late Model runner-up Jacob Smith debuted in seventh position The results were unofficial pending video review.
Brody Moore earned his first career 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series win against a field of 14 hungry young drivers, ages 10-16 years old. Moore had podiumed twice during the first half of the 2021 season and drove his Charlie Wilson-prepared entry to victory lane on Saturday.
The 2021 season finale winner Robbie Kennealy, the only prior race winner in the field, led qualifying by a scant .035 seconds over Ethan Nascimento. Moore drew the pole in the redraw then never relinquished it despite numerous challengers from the hotly contested second position. Hailey Liles qualified in the top-six for her first chance at a redraw, drawing the outside pole position.
She was passed by 2021 All American Speedway champion Kenna Mitchell on the outset of the 70-lap feature.
Kasey Kleyn tied Liles in time trials to narrowly miss the redraw from seventh. He charged forward, however, taking over second from Mitchell by lap 25. Moore led Kleyn, Mitchell, 2020 Bandolero champion Jeffrey Erickson, and Nascimento into the lap 40 break.
Kleyn was shuffled back to fifth on the ensuing restart with Mitchell driving back into the number two spot. Her main rival at All American Speedway, Lane Anderson, made his second career Madera start and moved into the second position. Kleyn steadily came back through the field to pass Anderson for second on lap 61.
A restart on lap 66 gave Kleyn a look at Moore for the lead but Moore held on for his first career Jr. Late Model victory. Kleyn and Anderson rounded out the podium. The Kennealy brothers of Robbie and younger brother Joey Kennealy, who started 12th in his series debut, rounded out the top-five finishers.
Madera Speedway races next on March 19 with the Smokey Hanoian Classic. The event features Madera Late Models, Challenge Cup Series 75 Laps, Madera Super Stocks, MST/Toyota Sedans, Jr Late Model Exhibition race, Madera Mini Stocks, and Legends of Kearney Bowl.
For information about the Madera Speedway including how to advertise with a race team on MAVTV visit www.racemadera.com or call the race office at 209-356-1968.
The 2022 season would not be possible without the support of Lunkerdaddy Fishing Lures, 51FIFTY LTM, Mission Foods, 805 Beer, Race 2B Drug Free, Competition Carburetion, Hoosier Tires, and Sunoco Race Fuel.
Madera Racing on MAVTV airs Monday nights at 4 p.m. The Short Track Shootout airs March 14.