Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Winged Sprints & Western Sportsman Make Up Big Saturday At Madera

Cody Gerhardt won the Harvest Classic for the Madera Western Winged Sprint Cars and
leads the field into Saturday's $3000 to win feature (Photo Courtesy Outback Andy Foster)

MADERA, CALIFORNIA (September 27, 2016) – An increasingly strong field is assembling for Saturday's iPull-u-Pull CHALLENGE at LoanMart Madera Speedway, with a $3000 to win Winged Sprint Car race and the inaugural West Coast Sportsman 75 on the big card. The fastest one-third mile in the West will also host racing for BCRA Midgets, CSS 360 Super Modifieds, HPD Midgets, Legends of Kearney Bowl, MSTs, and Toyota Sedans.

The iPull-U-Pull Challenge for the Winged Sprints serves as the season finale for the Madera Western Winged Super Sprints to be televised on MAVTV. Fresno's Cody Gerhardt has won the last two features, taking his namesake Gerhardt Classic on July 9th then storming to victory in the 45th Harvest Classic on September 17th. Gerhardt's closest competition in the September race came from his rookie teammate Dylan Nobile and fellow rookie Justin Kawahata. Incoming points leader Tom Baker of Carmichael, CA slipped to second in the standings and will look for a rebound on Saturday.

A bevy of Sprint Car stars from all over the Western United States is expected to challenge for the big $3000 to win purse. Idaho's "First Lady of Sprint Car racing" Sierra Jackson leads the Northwest and Rocky Mountain group of racers coming to battle. Chowchilla's Eric "Hot Rod" Humphries has two wins at Madera and more than half a dozen top-five finishes this year. Arguably the strongest car on the West Coast is Glenn Hutchison's #8 with five top-three finishes. BCRA Midget Gerhardt Classic winner Chad Nichols is expected to drive that machine. Don Penix has entered Kyle Vanderpool to campaign in the bright orange #3g entry as well. Nevada's father and son team of Bob and Al Beck, and ageless veteran Gordon Rogers of Winton, CA are also expected along with Sacramento's Bud Trimble.

The stock car portion of the program will be the inaugural West Coast Sportsman 75 with plenty of teams with West Series experience converging for the new series. 2016 LoanMart Open Late Model points leader and all-time winningest Madera Late Model racer Matt Erickson is among the highlights of the field. Erickson will drive for Canadian based Dick Midgley in a #09 Chevrolet. Anderson's Derek Copeland will drive the #44 for Dave Reed Racing, while Justin Funkhouser is entered for John Krebs Racing. SRL veteran Bobby Hodges of Carson City, NV will be one of the drivers for Mike Naake's team, while owner-drivers such as Scott Ivie, Shannon Fry, Justin Philpott, and Rich Delong have also expressed intentions to compete on Saturday.

The non-points event will be spread across a two segment format, with a 50 lap first segment early in the evening. Teams will then head to the pits to make any adjustments they'd like to make and then return later in the night for a 25 lap finale to round out the 75 lap feature. The same set of tires will be used for the entire 75 lap distance, practice, and qualifying. Teams competing in this inaugural race will receive four free pit passes for their support.

The track's regular Modified Super Toyotas (MSTs) and Toyota Sedans will also compete in their season finales.

This non-points event is shaping up to feature several local Madera drivers in competition as a test race for a possible 2017 season for the cars. Teams that compete in the October 1st opener each receive four free pit passes to ease their transition into the series.

360 Super Modified fans should be treated to a strong field as well with CSS officials confirming an increased car count is expected. The BCRA Midgets have had a thrilling and competitive season made up of many long-time veterans to the sport along with several drivers that race double-duty across Sprints and Midgets. Entry level USAC HPD Midgets have been a battle between the Breidinger sisters and Jesse Love IV while the Legends of Kearney Bowl is one of the best vintage exhibition series on the planet with large fields of vintage Super Modifieds.

Female drivers anchor the top of the Toyota Sedan field with Jilliaun Holden and Lucy Carmona, while Kevin Thompson is closing in on yet another MST track championship.

An open practice kicks off the weekend on Friday before another full day of action on Saturday. Friday practice runs from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

On Saturday, pit gates open at 11 with practice from 12:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Qualifying will follow with heats and dashes at 5:00 p.m. Opening ceremonies and the main events begin at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets for this great night of racing 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 www.RaceMadera.com

Race fans can catch up on LoanMart Madera Speedway racing with "Madera Racing" airing Thursdays on MAVTV at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific. This Thursday's episode will include Pacific Challenge Series Late Models and the sixth round of the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Models. LoanMart Madera Speedway racing is also available on the LucasOilRacing.TV app