MADERA, CALIFORNIA (October 21, 2023) – Willow Creek, Texas’ Kaden Honeycutt won his second ARCA Menards Series West race out of the last three rounds, winning the return of the series to Madera Speedway in Saturday night’s 51FIFTY Jr. Homecoming 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car / Motorsports Hall of Fame. The NASCAR-backed series made its first appearance at the one-third mile speedway at the Madera Fairgrounds since 2009. Photo by Ethan Smith
Nine drivers in the field were race-winning graduates of the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series and one of them stood tall after time trials, with Bubba Nascimento leading General Tire Pole Qualifying. Nascimento slotted alongside Honeycutt for the 150-lap feature event. Incoming points leader Sean Hingorani of Newport Beach, himself a two-time Jr. winner, started at the rear after unapproved adjustments.
Honeycutt swooped around the outside of Nascimento lead lap one. The race was slowed for the first time on lap nine for Mill Valley’s Monty Tipton slowing on the backstretch.
When action resumed, a tussle for the third position began between brothers Tyler and Tanner Reif, 2020 Short Track Shootout winner Trevor Huddleston of Agoura Hills, and veteran driver Todd Souza of Aromas. Three-wide action in lapped traffic saw Las Vegas’ Tanner Reif take the spot on lap 28.
Nascimento hounded Honeycutt for the lead while Huddleston dueled with Tanner Reif for third. Hingorani slowly entered the busy battle for third as well. Lapped traffic allowed Tanner Reif to try to get third back from Huddleston.
Once the leaders were clear of traffic, Nascimento began to gain ground on Honeycutt. Nascimento had a run up the inside of Honeycutt in turn two but the race was halted on lap 76 for Tanner Reif slowing into turn three.
Hingorani charged into fifth on the restart while Souza looked to the outside of Huddleston for third. Hingorani and Huddleston jockeyed for fourth, with Hingorani’s sideways car collecting Dustin Ash into the frontstretch wall for a caution flag.
The ensuing restart was not favorable for Nascimento, allowing Huddleston to look outside for second. Hingorani and 2022 Madera Pro Late Model champion Kyle Keller of Las Vegas collided for a spin, relegating both to the rear of the field.
Souza soared past both Nascimento and Huddleston on the restart to take second. Hingorani lost a panel off the rear end with 27 laps to go to require a caution flag. Nascimento had his most sluggish restart of the night, collecting brother Ethan Nascimento, 2007 Altamont champion Ryan Philpott, Tipton and several others. After an extended red flag for clean-up, the race restarted with 20 to go.
Honeycutt dominated the final 20 laps while Souza held second. Tyler Reif and Huddleston boiled over for third with a collision and a spin coming to the checkered flag, allowing 2019 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series champion Joey Iest of Madera to finish in the third position. Phoenix’s Bradley Erickson and Hingorani rounded out the top-five.
Loomis’ Kenna Mitchell broke through with her first Madera Pro Late Model win, taking the 100-lap Pumpkin Cup in a non-stop effort. Mitchell seized the lead from Madera’s winningest Late Model driver Matt Erickson of La Grange on lap seven and steered car No. 7 to a dominant performance.
San Jose’s Jay Juleson passed teammate and team owner Erickson for second and kept the gap within two and a half seconds behind Mitchell as they darted in and out of lapped traffic. Erickson settled for third followed by 2023 Lunkerdaddy Pro Late Model champion Tyler Herzog of Fresno and Clovis’ Shelden Cooper.
14-year-old Joey Kennealy of Madera finished seventh as the highest finishing 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model competitor in the Pumpkin Cup. He also added a victory in the 30-lap Jr. Late Model invitational earlier in the night, giving him back-to-back wins after winning the series finale on October 7. Kennealy was followed by 14 year-old Jeffrey Erickson and 12-year-old Taylor Mayhew of Bakersfield at the checkered flag of the invitational.
“The Macho Man” Tyler Ridley scored a great win in the Mini Super Toyota 30-lap race. Thomas Magray, Shay Gouldy, Tucker Sedgwick, and Corey Sedgwick rounded out the top-five.
The 2023 oval track season for the Madera Speedway concludes on October 28 with the Pumpkin Smash Halloween Bash Enduro race.
For more information about the Madera Speedway including how to advertise with a race team on MAVTV please visit www.racemadera.com or call the race office at 209-356-1968.
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Madera Racing on MAVTV airs Monday nights at 5:00pm Pacific and 8:00pm Eastern.