Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Analyzing the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Tucson Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 15, 2017) — The 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West begins with the NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 at Arizona's Tucson Speedway on Saturday, March 18. Below is a look at the NAPA Auto Parts 150 and some of the selected participants.

NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 Race Setup:
• For the first time since 1999, Tucson Speedway hosts the opening race of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season.
• Tucson becomes the third different track in as many years to host the season-opening event, and it is the first race in the four-race NAPA Challenge 500 series.
• Ryan Partridge swept the pole and the race win at the track last year.

At Tucson Speedway:
• Tucson Speedway was built in 1968 and the surface was originally clay.
• Was named Raven Speedway from 1968-93 and then Tucson Raceway Park from 1993-2010.
• The track was closed in 2010 and was re-opened in 2013 at Tucson Speedway.
• Tucson re-joined the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2014.
• For several years, Tucson was the host of the “Winter Heat” series that launched the careers of such future NASCAR national series drivers as Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Matt Crafton.

• This is the series’ 14th event at Tucson and the third since 2001.
• Thirteen different drivers, led by Ron Hornaday Jr. with two victories, have won at Tucson.
• Nine different drivers, led by Butch Gilliland with five, have earned the pole award at the track.
• The most cautions for a K&N Pro Series West race is nine and occurred in June 1993 and January 1995, while the fewest cautions is two in May 2016.
• The most caution laps for a race is 51 in November 1994 and January 1995, while the fewest is 15 in May 2016.

Tucson Data:
Race: #1 of 14 overall
Race Date: Saturday, March 18, 8:30 p.m. MT
Broadcast Date: Friday, March 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT
Track Layout: .375-mile paved oval
Banking/Corners: Variable, between 8 and 12 degrees
Race Length: 150 laps (56.25 miles)

Qualifying/Race Data:
2016 Winner: Ryan Partridge
2016 Pole Sitter: Ryan Partridge
1-lap Qualifying Record: Butch Gilliland, Chevrolet, 15.284 seconds (88.328 mph), June 1996.
150-lap Race Record: Ryan Partridge, Ford, 54 minutes, 26 seconds, (64.483 mph), May 2016.

Category Leaders at Tucson:
Ron Hornaday Jr. … 2
Johnny Borneman … 1
Mike Chase … 1
Gary Collins ... 1
Butch Gilliland … 1
Doug George … 1
Noah Gragson … 1
Mark Krogh … 1
Ryan Partridge … 1
Bill Sedgwick … 1
Gary Smith … 1
Dirk Stephens … 1
Sean Woodside … 1

Butch Gilliland … 5
Ron Hornaday Jr. … 2
John Baker … 1
Jerry Cain … 1
Gary Collins … 1
Ron Norman … 1
Ryan Partridge … 1
Jason Small … 1
Gary Smith … 1
Laps Completed
Butch Gilliland … 1725
Scott Gaylord … 1395
Wayne Jacks … 1379
Bill McAnally … 1362

Laps Led
Ron Hornaday Jr. … 383
Butch Gilliland … 361
Mike Chase … 215
Ryan Partridge … 214
Gary Smith … 200

Selected Driver Highlights:
Nicole Behar (No. 33 Custom Welding & Fabrication Toyota)
• Finished 10th in the final K&N West standings in 2015, her only full season in the series, with two top fives and nine top 10s in 13 races.
• Finished fifth at Tucson in her only career start at the track.
• Qualified ninth in her only race at Tucson.

Chris Eggleston (No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota)
• Has five career K&N West wins with 19 top fives and 22 top 10s in 31 career starts.
• Was the 2015 series champion as a rookie for Bill McAnally Racing.
• Finished third at Tucson last season for his best career finish at the track.
• Has two career top five starts at Tucson in as many races.

Todd Gilliland (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
• Won six of 14 races last season with 11 top fives and 13 top 10s en route to the K&N West championship, becoming the youngest champion in NASCAR touring series history at 16 years, five months, and joined his grandfather Butch Gilliland as a K&N West champion (1997).
• Started fourth and finished second in his only career start at Tucson last season.
• Plans to run both the K&N West and K&N East schedules in 2017.

Julia Landauer (No. 6 Lucas Oil/Eibach/Sunrise Ford)
• Finished fourth in the final standings last season to become the highest finishing female driver in K&N West history.
• Posted seven top fives and 13 top 10s in 14 races as a rookie.
• Finished fifth in her only career start at Tucson after starting 12th.

Derek Kraus (No. 19 Carlyle Tools Toyota)
• Made his K&N Pro Series debut with the East at New Smyrna and finished third.
• Will run full-time as a rookie in the K&N West this season for car owner Bill McAnally.

Ryan Partridge (No. 9 Lucas Oil/Eibach/Sunrise Ford)
• Finished second in the final K&N West standings last year with three wins, 10 top fives and 13 top 10s in 14 races.
• Won both the pole and the race at Tucson, where he has two top fives in two career starts.
• Has led 214 of the last 312 laps contested at Tucson.

Vanessa Robinson (No. 55 Jefferson Pitts Racing Ford)
• Competed weekly in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model division at Tucson.
• Won the 2015 NWAAS Arizona state Rookie of the Year title.

Will Rodgers (No. 7 Solvang Brewing Company Ford)
• Competed in six races a year ago and will run for K&N West Rookie of the Year this season.
• Posted career best finishes in back-to-back races at Utah Motorsports Campus last year.

Up To Speed:
• The 2017 season is the 64th for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
• The 2017 schedule features 14 races at 12 different tracks across the United States.
• Third-generation driver Todd Gilliland won the season opener last year at Irwindale Speedway, the first of two straight wins to open the year.
• This marks the first time since 1999 that the K&N Pro Series West season begins at Tucson Speedway.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West News & Notes: Tucson

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Third-generation racer Todd Gilliland leads another talented field in his quest to repeat as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion when the 2017 season takes the green flag in the NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 at Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway on Saturday, March 18. Gilliland, who won six races a year ago and finished in the top 10 in 13 of 14 starts, will try to become the first repeat K&N Pro Series West champion since Mike Duncan went back-to-back in 2004-2005.

Gilliland will have his work cut out for him. 2015 series champion and Bill McAnally Racing teammate Chris Eggleston is also back this year to pursue the title, as is Ryan Partridge for car owner Bob Bruncati. Partridge finished just 13 points behind Gilliland in the overall standings last season, one year after finishing 13 points behind Eggleston for the championship, and won the Tucson event last year from the pole. In each of the two previous seasons, Partridge held the points lead late in the season before being chased down.

And while those three drivers have combined to win 11 races over the last two seasons, they are hardly the only ones who have hopes of holding the title trophy following the season finale in November.

Julia Landauer, who was the highest finishing female driver in West history a year ago, has joined forces with Partridge in the Bruncati camp. Nicole Behar is back to full-time competition this year following a year spent racing select events elsewhere in 2016, and Derek Kraus will compete out of the BMR stable following an impressive third-place finish in his debut with the K&N Pro Series East at New Smyrna Speedway last month.

RACE: NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Interstate Batteries
PLACE: Tucson Speedway, Tucson, Arizona
DATE: Saturday, March 18
TIME: 8:30 p.m. MT
AIRDATE: Friday, March 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT
TRACK LAYOUT: .375-mile asphalt oval
2016 WINNER: Ryan Partridge
2016 POLE WINNER: Ryan Partridge
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, March 18 – Garage opens: 11:30 a.m.; Practice: 3-3:45 p.m.; Final practice: 4:15-5 p.m.; Group qualifying: 5:30 p.m.; Driver autograph session: 6 p.m.; NAPA Auto Parts 150: 8:30 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Tim Rominger, (520) 248-0582,
TWITTER: @TucsonSpeedway
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Brooke Franceschini, (386) 631-6142),

The Race: NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 presented will be the first of 14 races on the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 20 cars will secure starting positions based on the group qualifying process. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (56.25 miles) with a five-minute break occurring at or near the conclusion of lap 75.

NAPA 500 Challenge: The NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 is the first race in a four-race “NAPA 500 Challenge Series.” With the K&N West competing in four events over an eight-day stretch to begin the season, NAPA is offering a $100,000 bonus to any driver to win all four races. $10,000 will be given to any driver who can finish in the top 3 in all four events; $5,000 to any driver finishing in the top 5 in all four; and $1,000 to a driver who finishes in the top 10 in all of them.

The Track: A semi-banked .375-mile asphalt oval, Tucson Speedway was known as Tucson Raceway Park until 1993 and was named Raven Speedway from 1968-93. The track was built in 1968 and originally has a clay surface. The track was closed in 2010 and was re-opened in 2013. Tucson re-joined the NACAR Whelen All-American Series in 2014.

Race Winners: There have been 13 different winners in the 14 previous K&N West races at Tucson. Ron Hornaday Jr., with two wins, is the only repeat winner at the track, while Ryan Partridge is the only active driver to have previously won there.

Pole Winners: In the 14 previous events, there have been 10 different pole winners. Butch Gilliland owns four poles at Tucson, including the inaugural pole for the K&N West in 1993, while Ron Hornaday Jr. won two poles at the track. No other driver has more than one pole at Tucson.

NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 Notes:
Three-Car Team: Jefferson Pitts Racing will field three cars in the NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150 on Saturday, including a familiar face in a new seat. After running six races a year ago for car owner Dave Hanson, Will Rodgers will compete for the Rookie of the Year honors in the No. 7 for JPR. The former road racing specialist Rodgers, of Murrieta, California, finished seventh in two races at Utah Motorsports Campus last season. Vanessa Robinson, who competed at Tucson in the Whelen All-American Series the past two years and was the 2015 Arizona state Rookie of the Year with five top 10s in eight Super Late Model starts, will pilot the No. 55 for Jefferson Pitts. JPR also plans to field a Garrett Archer in the No. 27 this weekend.

Well Represented: Robinson is one of three women among the 26 drivers entered in the NAPA Auto Parts Tucson 150. Nicole Behar returns to full-time K&N Pro Series West competition this season for her family-owned team out of Spokane, Washington, while New York state driver Julia Landauer is slated to drive the No. 6 for Bob Bruncati for the first time. Landauer finished fourth in the final series standings in 2016, making her the highest-finishing female driver in series history.

Experience On The Box: Steve Portenga is the owner and crew chief for second-year driver Blaine Perkins and the No. 21 Four Star Fruit Chevrolet. And while the driver is still searching for his first win this season, Portenga has plenty of experience getting cars to Victory Lane. Portenga has won eight races as a crew chief and has three times led his cars to the top five in the final K&N West standings. He won three races with David Mayhew as his driver in 2014 en route to a third-place finish in the standings, having won a total of five races with Michael Self behind the wheel the previous two seasons.

First Time: Former National Football League linebacker Shawne Merriman, who played with both the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, will be a car owner for the first time this season. Merriman is the owner of the No. 36 that will be driven by Jesse Iwuji. Nicknamed “Lights Out” as a player, Merriman was a three-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection during his eight-year playing career.

Heading West: The first third of the K&N Pro Series West schedule coincides with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and its “NASCAR Goes West” swing, which continues through Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Four of the top six drivers in the Cup Series standings have won K&N West races in their careers — Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney — while Kevin Harvick (who is eighth in the current standings) was the 1998 series champion. Both Blaney and Logano won their first career NASCAR races in K&N West competition.

New Rules: Two new race and qualifying procedures will make their K&N Pro Series West debuts at Tucson. Qualifying times will be recorded through the group qualifying process, with NASCAR determining the number of groups that will run in five-minute segments. Drivers may run as many laps as they wish during their five-minute session, with their fastest posted lap counting for their qualifying time. The green-white-checkered finish is gone this season, too, replaced by the overtime line currently used in NASCAR’s national series. Once the field reaches the designated overtime line on the track, the race will be deemed official in case of a late caution flag.

NASCAR Home Tracks: Tucson Speedway is home to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing for a fourth consecutive season, including Super Late Model, Late Model and Modified divisions. The Super Late Models will compete in Saturday’s program along with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

2017 Pacific Challenge Series Begins Saturday At Madera

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (March 14, 2017) - The Pacific Challenge Series presented by will make its fourth ever appearance the fast one-third mile asphalt oval in Madera, CA when the Super Late Model series begins its 2017 season at Madera Speedway on Saturday night. Saturday's 75 lap Madera event will begin a journey of ten races across five race tracks for California's premier short track touring series.

With 2012 & 2016 champion Jeremy Doss not returning to defend his championship, 2017 appears to be one of the most wide-open and competitive fields in recent history. A variety of veterans and rookies will take on the series this season. A new points system with five bonus points awarded for each start and no throwaways will reward the full-time competitors in the tour as they travel across the state.

Mike Beeler of Modesto has been a mainstay of the series with perfect attendance the last three years to win the championship in 2014 before a pair of runner-up championship finishes. He will aim to turn that trend around starting this weekend. Perhaps the most highly anticipated driver on the tour will be Jason Romero of Cameron Park. Romero swept all four All American Speedway PCS races in 2016 after winning the track's 2009 Late Model championship. He earned a new track record in his first ever Madera start last August with a 14.126 second lap but a spin early in the feature cost him a shot at victory.

2016 PCS Rookie of the Year Matt Wendt returns to the series for his sophomore campaign, as does 2015 PCS Rookie of the Year Cole Moore and 2014 PCS Rookie of the Year JR Courage. All three are searching for their first career series victories. All three have also led several laps in their careers while searching for the elusive victory. Cole's father John Moore won the 2015 PCS championship and will hope to turn around his fortunes after a frustrating 2016 campaign where he ended the year ninth in the standings.

Valley Springs' Tracy Bolin set the track record at Madera in last March's race, before the mark was lowered in August by Romero. Bolin appeared snake bitten with a litany of bad luck but broke through for his first series victory last June at Shasta Speedway in Anderson, CA.

A new two-car family effort will debut on Saturday night with series veteran Travis Milburn of Eagle, ID joining his cousin Jack Wood in cars #18 and #19. Milburn won the September Tri-Holiday #3 at Stockton last year. Jack is a Legends graduate whose father John has been involved in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West as both an owner and a driver for several years.

Carlos Vieira will make his first career series start on Saturday night. He is a veteran of several series in California including the SRL, NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West, and local NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races. The popular driver ran sixth with the SRL series last July at Madera.

Another new face for 2017 will be Watsonville's Alexander Mead. Mead began his career on dirt in Micro Sprints and IMCA Sport Mods before joining Madera Speedway's Late Model ranks in 2015. He finished fifth in the Madera Late Model points last year.

Other drivers attempting to compete on Saturday include Hayward's Danny Malfatti, Elk Grove's Mike Hite, Fresno's Justin Westmoreland, and Fortuna's Leonard Ward.

This weekend's racing includes season openers for the Western Winged Super Sprints, Legends of the Pacific, the reboot of the Super Hobby Stock Series for 50 laps, USAC HPD Midgets, and F4s. Cody Gerhardt will be looking to defend his series championship in the Winged Sprints this weekend!

An open practice kicks off the weekend on Friday before another full day of action on Saturday. Pit gates open at noon with practice from 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Qualifying will follow with heats and dashes at 5:15 p.m. Opening ceremonies and the main events begin at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and military, $10 for youth ages 6-12, and kids five and under are free! Madera Speedway is located on the Madera Fairgrounds on Cleveland Ave and 99. For more information, visit

For more information on the Pacific Challenge Series, visit or follow them on Facebook or YouTube

The Pacific Challenge Series is presented by: Penney Racing Supply, Penney & Associates, American Racer Tires, Compact-It, Northwest Compactors, Naake Suspension, Sunoco Fuels, Five Star Bodies, BrakeOMeter, Lefthander Chassis, ARP Bodies, Joes Racing Products, Bassett Wheels, Frank's Radio, WrapStar Pro, and Blakesley Sports Media. All PCS Super Late Models race ABC Bodies or Muscle Car bodies on American Racer Tires with Sunoco Racing Fuel.

2017 Pacific Challenge Series Schedule
Subject to change

March 18th - Madera Speedway (Madera, CA)

April 15th - All American Speedway (Roseville, CA)

May 6th - Shasta Speedway (Anderson, CA)

May 20th - Stockton 99 Speedway (Stockton, CA)

June 17th - All American Speedway (Roseville, CA)

July 1st - Stockton 99 Speedway (Stockton, CA) Ron Strmiska Memorial

July 29th - Ukiah Speedway (Ukiah, CA)

August 12th - Madera Speedway (Madera, CA)

September 2nd - Stockton 99 Speedway (Stockton, CA)

October 14th - All American Speedway (Roseville, CA) *2017 Championship Finale* w/ North State Modified Series & NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West)

Things to Know About the 2017 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series

Season Opener – The 2017 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series ‘Season Opener’ will take place at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday, March 25th. It will be the series first time ever to compete with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series at Irwindale. The event will feature Twin 100’s for the K&N Pro Series and a single 100-lap feature for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. The weekend will start on Friday with an open practice for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series teams for $225 per car, with no pit pass fee. Saturday pit pass fee will be $40 for members and $50 for non-members; pit passes will be available at the SRL trailer on Friday afternoon. Spectator tickets available at

Frequent Flyer Program - With the support of Spears Manufacturing, the “SPEARS Frequent Flyer Program” will continue for the sixth consecutive year. For 2017, the “SPEARS Frequent Flyer Program” will award teams a minimum $1,000 for starting a SPEARS Southwest Tour Series main event after they have competed in three consecutive series races.

$5,000 Minimum to the Winner – With the backing of the numerous companies that support the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, the minimum payout to the winner for all SPEARS Southwest Tour Series events in 2017 will be at least $5,000.

New Sponsors for 2017 – In additional to the great companies who have supported the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series over the years, new sponsors for 2017 include; COMP Cams, FAST Ignition Systems, FLUIDYNE High Performance, Hamner Racing Engines, Max Papis Innovations (MPI) and Progressive Racing Engines.

Brooks – Ricky Brooks will be part of the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series officiating team full-time in 2017. Brooks will be at each race and will be available during the week for teams with technical questions at 850-324-6821.

Civil War – On Saturday, September 2nd, for the first time, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series will compete in a co-sanctioned event with the Northwest Super Late Model Series in a $10,000 to win race at Rocky Mountain Raceways, just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Nine Championship Events – The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series will visit six tracks for nine championship events in 2017 – Irwindale Speedway on March 25th and August 19th, Kern County Raceway on April 22nd and October 28th, Madera Speedway once on July 15th, Rocky Mountain Raceways once on September 2nd, The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on May 20th and November 18th and Tucson Speedway on September 30th.

For more information about the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, go to

About the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series:
Celebrating its seventeenth season in 2017, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the U.S. “The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series…Where the Champions Race”.

About SPEARS MANUFACTURING: Spears Manufacturing is a world leader in plastic piping products. SPEARS’ maintains over one million square feet of manufacturing facilities in four states and nine distribution centers across the USA for worldwide distribution. For more information go to

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Erickson And Love Take Opening Night Wins At Madera

Matt Erickson in victory lane at Madera (Joshua R. Photography)

MADERA, CALIFORNIA (March 11, 2017) – Matt Erickson and Jesse Love IV split the co-features on Saturday night during the season opening event for Late Models at Madera Speedway. Erickson claimed $5000 in the RPM Mortgage Pro Late Model Series while Love's victory came in his debut in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models.

The 2017 season at Madera Speedway opened in a big way with nearly 60 total Late Models in the pit area and over 200 laps of Late Model action the one-third mile asphalt oval.

Erickson's victory kicked off a title defense after a remarkable six wins in eight races season in 2016 in the MAVTV televised Pro Late Model Series. He out-dueled 2015 series champion Buddy Shepherd of Bakersfield for Saturday's exciting victory.

Third Generation driver Ross Strmiska led the 26 car starting field to green after time trials and a 20 lap B Main set the starting order. Shepherd set quick time but drew tenth in the redraw. He quickly charged around the outside lane to run fifth at the conclusion of lap two.

Strmiska, Logan Zampa, and Joey Licata, Jr. anchored a three car breakaway before the first caution on lap 11. Shepherd made some crafty moves to inherit second on the restart. A lap 20 caution gave Shepherd the opportunity to charge underneath Strmiska to take the lead. Shepherd led comfortably through lap 28 before an eight car melee in turn one ended the evening for Bakersfield's Racin Vernon most notably and caused damage for Carl Pearce and Austin Herzog among others.

Shepherd had to head to the infield to top off his radiator for overheating issues, relinquishing the lead back to Strmiska. Garland Tyler also surrendered track position to pit with a flat tire. The restart was a wild one with Erickson getting into 2009 Roseville champion Jason Romero with several cars sliding and spinning to avoid. Erickson and Romero had to restart at the tail end of the field as a result of the incident.

After a lap 38 caution for Zampa spinning from third, Shepherd had already moved forward from 23rd into fifth. When Licata tagged race leader Strmiska on lap 54, Shepherd took over the lead once again in an amazing roller coaster race.

A lap 62 caution ended the first 75 lap segment prematurely with teams heading to the pits before returning for the conclusion of the 125 laps scheduled. Shepherd led Erickson and Dillon Tucker when racing resumed later in the evening, while Licata and Jeffrey Peterson battled behind them for fourth.

An incredible sequence unfolded after a lap 88 crash that ended the nights for Glenn Cook and Howard Holden. Shepherd and Erickson traded the lead multiple times with intense sideways racing. Shepherd made a dive bomb maneuver into turn three only to slide up the hill with Erickson taking the lead and Tucker moving in for second. Zampa spun right behind them and collected Strmiska and Elliott Sterjne to end those two drivers' evenings.

The race went green over the closing laps with Shepherd getting shuffled back to fourth and taking on Romero in a stirring battle for third, before then racing for several laps with Tucker. Shepherd began to claw at Erickson but the race was ended prematurely at lap 120 for curfew with Matt Erickson opening up his title defense in victory lane ahead of Shepherd, Tucker, Romero, Peterson, and Ryan Hart having a solid performance in sixth.

In the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models, it was a totally different experience. Over 20 competitors ages 10-16 took to the track for the expanded 75 lap feature for MAVTV. No one would stop 12 year old Jesse Love IV who led the entire way in his first career start. The overall USAC HPD Midget champion of 2016 made a big statement to begin his 2017 season.

20 entries took the green with Austin Edwards suffering rear gear problems early in the event to eventually relegate him to the pits for repairs. Love anchored a lead pack that included his teammate Hailie Deegan in the early stages. A spin for the Lilly Mead brought out the first yellow on lap five.

Fast-time qualifier Kolby Berry drove from fifth starting position up to third by the fifth lap of the race. A nice battle ensued in the middle teens laps when Las Vegas' Tanner Reif was freight trained by 2016 champion Dezel West, Austin Herzog, and RJ Smothermon to drop Reif to seventh. The caution flew again on lap 18 and Berry used that to his advantage to take over second from Deegan on lap 23.

West used a series of good restarts to continue to put himself in a good position but it was all for naught. West and Herzog collided in a scary incident off of turn two, with both cars sliding hard into the track entrance gate before coming to stop. Each vehicle suffered serious damage but the drivers were uninjured. Another grinding crash involving Reif, Anthony Guiamano and Allison Gay in turn three brought the race to its lap 50 break early on lap 46 with Love earning the five point bonus and leading Berry into the break.

After ten minutes for repairs and adjustments, the cars returned to the track. Except for a few brief cautions the second half of the race was fairly uneventful. The race ended on a five lap shootout to the finish but Love proved too tough as he outlasted Berry to take his first victory. Deegan ran third ahead of Jesse Burks and first timer Eric Nascimento, Jr.

Dave Lander led all 25 laps for the Modified Super Toyota season opener after winning an exciting heat race as well. Bert Stephens and Zachary Cook were the top-three. Toyota Sedans had a nice nine car turnout with heat race theatrics of their own. Tim Curtis claimed a scant .196 second victory ahead of Kyle Fortney and Dean Gould in the 25 lapper.

Madera Speedway's 2017 season continues next Saturday with the 75 Lap PCS Super Late Model Series , Western Winged Super Sprints, Legends of the Pacific, Race #1 of the Super Hobby Stock Series 50 laps, and USAC HPD Midgets.

For more information on the Madera Speedway, visit