Keller takes up Nut Up Short Track Shootout
Kyle Keller scored the biggest jackpot of his career, leading 148-laps of the ninth annual Nut Up Short Track Shootout for the $10,000 victory. The season finale for the Pro Late Model Series saw Jadan Walbridge win the championship at the one-third mile oval, as well.
Seth Wise led the opening two circuits from the inside groove before Keller drove past on the outside to lead lap three. Walbridge and Matt Erickson were some of the few cars trying to make progress from the inside line in the early stages.
Racin Vernon drew the nine card in the redraw, but had advanced to fifth by lap 19. Keller and Wise ran nose-to-tail as they approached traffic on lap 21. Erickson tried to reload as he looked inside Jason Aguirre for seventh behind them.
Wise showed his nose to Keller before the first caution on lap 44 for Glen Cook spinning in turn three. Keller restarted outside of Wise, allowing Vernon to charge into second on the outside line as well. 14-year-old Ethan Nascimento also looked outside Wise, but Wise successfully defended third.
Kercie Jung went up in sparks with a flat right front for a caution on lap 49 in turn three. The restart saw a mad scramble as Vernon went up the race track. Walbridge spun around backwards on the front stretch after contact from Howard Holden. Walbridge completed a 360-degree spin in front of the field. He was never contacted and droppedback to 10th position while the race remained green.
Carlos Vieira and Nascimento suffered a hard crash in turn three to end their evenings for the next caution flag on lap 74. The outside line was rolling on the restart, with Wise slipping back to fourth behind Keller, Howard Holden, and Erickson. Brody Moore emerged in fifth after starting 17th.
A caution for Cook spinning on lap 97 brought the race to its scheduled break three laps early with Keller leading Holden, Erickson, Wise, and Moore.
Barrett Polhemus spun on the restart after the break and collected Aguirre, ending both of their races with damage. Wise slid into the infield in turn one after jostling for position, but rejoined the field at the back.
Erickson tried to pass Holden on several different occasions for second, allowing Keller to pull ahead by a large margin. Erickson cleared Holden in turn two on lap 117 with a 2.2 second gap to make up on the leader. Linny White collided with Vernon exiting turn four in a three-wide battle for third on lap 130, requiring a caution. The caution erased Keller’s advantage, giving Erickson a look inside on the restart. Erickson spun the tires however and fell to third behind Moore as the green flag flew.
Keller was never opposed again in the closing laps, taking the coveted $10,000 victory in the Nut Up Short Track Shootout. Moore finished second with Erickson third. Wise passed Holden for fourth. A seventh-place finish clinched the championship for Jadan Walbridge, as well.
Robbie Kennealy became the latest winner in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series while Brody Armtrout pulled off a come-from-behind championship on Saturday night. The 70-lap race for drivers ages 10-16 years old had drama to the last lap with Armtrout and incoming points leader Jacob Smith.
A multi-car crash in turn one set up a green-white-checkered finish. The points leaders were tied in the standings as they drove to the green flag.
The top spot belonged to Kennealy while Armtrout made a bid on the outside to take over the second position. The exciting shuffling of the deck saw Smith knocked back to ninth at the checkered flag. Kennealy grabbed his maiden win in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series and Armtrout won the championship from second position.
Logan Chambers won his seventh INEX Bandolero feature to claim the series championship. Madera’s Joey Kennealy finished second for second in the standings while Caden Cordova finished third for third in the series as well.
Madera Speedway will stage the second annual Turkey Triple Open non-points races for MAVTV on Oct. 16. The event includes the Open Late Models, 602 Spec/Pro Modifeds, Open Hobby Stocks, and the Challenge Cup Series.
The 2021 season would not be possible without the support of Nut Up Industries, 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.