Naciemento claims Pro Late Model victory
Eric Nascimento, Jr. muscled past California State champion Trevor Huddleston, then fended off 2019 Nut Up Pro Late Model champion Austin Herzog on the way to his first career MAVTV-televised Pro Late Model win at Madera Speedway.
Nascimento was joined by 16-year-old Jacob Smith in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series as another first-time winner in his respective division Saturday night.
The event marked the first in 18 months with fans in attendance as well at the one-third mile speedway.
Nascimento started on the pole position with fast-time qualifier Herzog advancing from sixth to fourth quickly at the start while Huddleston moved up from 10th to fifth by lap 16. Dylan Zampa and Howard Holden spun in turn one for a caution on lap 17 while racing for 10th. Third starting Jason Aguirre used the outside line to move past Nascimento for the lead on the restart with Herzog sticking his nose inside Nascimento for second by lap 23. Cassidy Hinds hit the turn four wall head-on requiring a red flag stoppage on lap 24. Hinds was uninjured.
A two-by-two duel for the top spot ensued on the following restart when Aguirre, Nascimento, Herzog, and Huddleston stayed under a blanket for numerous laps. The thrilling battling saw Nascimento take over the top spot by a nose on lap 28 before Aguirre led lap 30. A caution on lap 31 for Holden in turn four set up another restart.
Aguirre picked the inside, allowing Nascimento to sweep past to lead lap 32. Three-wide racing ensued for second behind Nascimento. Aguirre worked Huddleston up the hill on several occasions, allowing Herzog to peek his nose inside. Both Huddleston and Herzog eventually moved ahead of Aguirre.
Huddleston then reeled in Nascimento for the lead by lap 41. Nascimento persevered before a lap 48 caution drew the scheduled lap 50 break two laps early. Nascimento led Huddleston, Herzog, Aguirre, and Kyle Keller as the top-five at the break.
When racing resumed, Nascimento picked the outside line and Huddleston capitalized to lead lap 49. They raced side-by-side for the lead through lap 56 before Nascimento cleared Huddleston.
Huddleston then dove back underneath on lap 58, eventually getting the lead coming to a caution on lap 61. The caution reverted the field back a lap, handing the position back to Nascimento.
Herzog and Nascimento had a furious battle for second with heavy contact in turn four on lap 73. Behind them, Colby Potts and Aguirre tangled causing a spin for Aguirre and a caution flag. With seven to go, Huddleston restarted outside of Nascimento in the shootout for the win. Nascimento worked Huddleston up the race track, knocking him back to fifth with Nascimento driving ahead for the lead.
Shelden Cooper spun on the next lap and Huddleston chose to retaliate on Nascimento under caution. Huddleston was parked into the infield by officials while Nascimento kept his place at the front.
Nascimento defended a run up the inside by Herzog on the final turn to take the checkered flag for his first Nut Up Pro Late Model win. Zampa returned to the frame in the closing laps with a strong third place finish followed by Jay Juleson and 2020 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model champion Bradley Erickson in fifth. Adam Lemke rounded out a top-six of all-Jr. Late Model graduates.
Jacob Smith won his first 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series feature in just his second career start, with the 16-year-old guiding his No. 11 car to victory lane. Smith led all 70-laps throughout a difficult night for the drivers ages 10-16 years old.
Kercie Jung ran down Smith for the lead, using a bump to get inside of him on lap 59. Jung spun entering turn three, costing her a shot at the top position. The last caution on lap 68 set up a green-white-checkered finish where Smith topped Polhemus, Moore, Brody Armtrout, and Erickson at the finish.
Logan Chambers won his second consecutive Bandolero main event while Sam Wedehase won the Mini Cup portion of the combined 30-lap contest.
Madera Speedway returns on April 17 with Hampton Inn and Suites night. Madera Late Models, Southwest Tour Truck Series, Madera Hobby Stocks, MST/Toyota Sedans, Madera Mini Stocks, and a 30 Lap Jr Late Model Exhibition race will be in action. Grandstand seating will be available through advance ticket sales, with information coming soon.
For information about Madera Speedway, visit www.RaceMadera.com 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. with new 2020 episodes now airing. The California Dream 100 for the Mini Stocks airs on April 12.