MADERA, CALIF. (October 16, 2021) – Vancouver, Wash’s Jadan Walbridge feasted on his third victory of the season at the MAVTV-televised Madera Speedway, with the 2021 Nut Up Pro Late Model champion savoring a narrow victory in the 100-lap Triple Turkey Open Late Model feature on Saturday night. Walbridge outfoxed two-time All American Speedway Late Model champion Jason Romero for the win. Photo by Joshua Rodriguez
“It was a really great season. To run against someone like Jason (Romero) – I respect Jason so much. That was cool racing with him,” Walbridge said. “Great racing. Great racing with Bradley (Erickson) too. The longer the race, the more I enjoy it. So that just goes to show how good the car was.”
Romero earned fast-time in time trials but drew the ten after the redraw. 15-year-old North Carolina driver Landen Lewis drew the pole position and guided his Charlie Wilson-prepared entry to the lead. Multi-time champion Matt Erickson worked inside Lewis for a side-by-side battle, taking over the lead on lap ten.
Sixth-starting Walbridge passed Lewis for second on lap 17. Walbridge reeled in Erickson for the lead by lap 27, while Lewis fell to fourth and into a five-car battle for the position. Walbridge showed his nose inside Erickson on lap 31 but couldn’t complete the pass. Lewis was shuffled back to eighth on the outside by lap 39.
Bakersfield’s Kercie Jung navigated the battling to advance to fourth by lap 41. Walbridge again aimed at Erickson with the duo racing alongside each other on lap 48. Erickson kept the lead through a three-wide maneuver in lapped traffic in turn three. Lewis then retired to the pits on lap 53 while running seventh.
Walbridge finally earned position on Erickson to assume the top spot on lap 59. Erickson fought back, taking them three-wide in traffic again. Walbridge led lap 62 by just .072 seconds. Walbridge drove clear of Erickson by the 64th lap.
2020 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model champion and 2020 Triple Turkey Open winner Bradley Erickson of Phoenix challenged Matt Erickson for numerous laps. Their 15-lap duel also had narrow slices in and out of lapped traffic. Matt Erickson spun into turn one on lap 84, nosing into the front stretch wall and relegating him to the rear of the field. The first caution of the event flew as a result, then set up another incident on the restart.
Jung and Romero battled for third before a collision gave Jung a flat right front tire. Jung slowed in shower of sparks in turn three and was tagged by Matthew Meech. Carl Pearce and Trevor Schlundt tangled while avoiding the crash as well. Meech was able to make repairs and rejoin the action at the tail of the pack.
The leaders ran two-by-two on the restart as Bradley Erickson battled Walbridge and Romero battled fellow fifth row starter, 2021 Jr. Late Model championship runner-up Jacob Smith of Eagle, ID. Romero drove up the inside to take second from Erickson on lap 92.
Romero then took the lead from Walbridge on lap 97. Fading brakes sent Romero up the hill into one on lap 98, allowing Walbridge to cut underneath. After a brief battle down the backstretch, Walbridge led the rest of the way for an exciting Triple Turkey Open Late Model win with Romero settling for second. Smith and Bradley Erickson crashed hard for third, allowing Meech to come from behind for a third-place finish. Loren Kutz finished fourth with Bradley Erickson scored fifth.
The 75-lap Challenge Cup Series race was a war of attrition with Jay Juleson earning his first series win. Auburn’s Thomas Martin dominated the opening 25-lap segment, then was relegated to restarting at the rear after the running order was inverted for the final 50-lap run. Martin spent little time navigating the pack, taking over again by lap 29. Juleson drove up to second by lap 35 but was nearly two seconds behind at that stage.
Several cars suffered mechanical problems over the second half of the event, including Martin. Smoke billowed from his machine with just ten laps to go. Juleson drove past Martin on lap 72 for the upset victory. Thomas Suarez utilized a crate motor to survive the chaos for a second-place finish. Martin was scored third after surrendering to the pits.
Ian Elliott of Lakeport won the 50-lap Modified feature, leading the final 42 laps for victory. Aaron Coonfield of Modesto led the first three laps before Calvin Hegje took over on lap four. Elliott started fifth and was into the lead by lap nine. A caution flew on lap 27 for parts of the air filter off of Adam Coonfield’s car littering the track in turn one. Hegje suffered a mechanical failure in the rear end that ended his event on lap 41. Elliott topped Adam Coonfield, Rocklin’s Tyler Wentworth in his Madera debut, and Aaron Coonfield at the finish.
Howard Holden led 47 of the 50 laps in the Hobby Stocks for the victory. 2021 champion Manny Gonzales, Jr. led lap one before Donny Large, Jr. led laps two and three. Holden advanced from fifth into the top position and never relinquished it. Large and the debut of Rod Baronian rounded out the top-three, followed by Nick Rowe and Thomas Suarez.
The season finale for Madera Speedway is set for October 30 with the iPulluPull 14th Annual Pumpkin Smash Halloween Bash and Blow Up! It features a 400 lap Enduro, the Extreme Barrel Racing Series, a Trick or Treat thru the Pits and on Track PUMPKIN SMASH for the KIDS!
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 4:00pm Pacific and 7:00pm Eastern.