MADERA, CALIFORNIA (March 14, 2023) – A new season opens at Madera Speedway on Saturday night with over 200 laps of racing presented to the fans at the one-third mile asphalt oval. The championship kick off in the MAVTV-televised Speed Fest sees the Lunkerdaddy Pro Late Models racing for $5,000 to win in a 100 lap curtain raiser. The 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series for drivers ages 10-16 is ready for lift off in a 70-lap feature. Drivers from across the region will be in action in the 40-lap INEX Legends Tour season opener while the INEX Bandoleros present the youngest drivers at the speedway in a 20-lap contest. Photo by Ethan Smith
All tickets will be sold at the track ticket booth. Adult tickets are $25, seniors are $20, youth ages 6-12 are $15 and kids five and under are free. Race fans can “Join” www.YouTube.com/ShortTrackTV for $19.99 per month for a members-only live stream as well. Opening ceremonies are slated for 6pm but may be adjusted later this week if weather requires it.
Both the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series and Lunkerdaddy Pro Late Model Series came down to thrilling championship conclusions in 2022. The 51FIFTY Series ended with a tie atop the standings, with 15-year-old Ethan Nascimento of Manteca using four victories to top 16-year-old Robbie Kennealy of Madera. The Pro Late Model bout was tied entering the October’s $10,000-to-win Short Track Shootout. Las Vegas’ Kyle Keller won his second consecutive Shootout and the championship, while last lap fireworks unhinged a championship charge from Vancouver, Wash.’s Jadan Walbridge.
The race is on to discover which drivers will be in the thick of this year’s championship. The Pro Late Model scene is anchored by several Jr. Late Model graduates. Among them are Eagle, Idaho’s Jacob Smith, who finished third in last year’s points. He will square off with the newly graduated Robbie Kennealy as two of the season-long favorites. 2021 Jr. Late Model champion Brody Armtrout of Smartsville, 2022 SPEARS Pro Late Model champion Seth Wise of Bakersfield, and 2021 All American Speedway Jr. Late Model champion Kenna Mitchell of Loomis are also among the young talent competing in Saturday’s 100 lap season send off.
Eric Nascimento, Jr. will focus on the “big-three” events in 2023, competing in both of the $5,000 to win races and the $10,000 to win Short Track Shootout. Nascimento carries momentum from a big win in August’s round seven of 2022. Two of the winningest Late Model drivers at Madera return this weekend, with five-time Open & Pro Late Model champion Matt Erickson and multi-time Madera non-televised Late Model champion Jason Aguirre competing. Fresno’s Rick Thompson, Fresno’s father and son duo of Darrell and Tyler Herzog, and the sibling duo of Kolby and Kyler Berry of Ukiah also have the big cash prize on their minds. The event will be divided among a pair of 50 lap segments with a ten minute break at halftime for adjustments and MAVTV interviews.
The attention of the racing world continues to be on the graduates of the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model program after Tyler Reif’s stirring win at Phoenix last weekend in ARCA competition. Saturday’s 70-lap feature for drivers ages 10-16 years old will be a clean slate with no previous Madera winners in the field.
Several fresh faces with tremendous racing pedigrees will be competing this year. Wilton’s Chase Hand joins the series under the tutelage of his sports car ace father Joey Hand. 12-year-old Taylor Mayhew of Bakersfield brings forth the racing heritage of his ARCA, Truck, and Late Model veteran father David Mayhew. Both young drivers have had success in karts and Micros respectively and will look to translate that success into full-sized stock cars.
The furthest traveling driver this season will be Tristan Pena. The “Texas Tornado” will travel from San Antonio in search of a championship. Madera Speedway Bandolero runner-up Skyler Schoppe graduates to the Jr. Late Models this season as well.
They join a host of returning drivers from both California and Nevada in the title hunt. Joey Kennealy of Madera scored fourth in the points his rookie campaign last year while 11-year-old Vito Cancilla of Martinez made rapid strides late in the 2022 season. The season opener will be split across a 40-lap opening segment, followed by the Mission Foods break for adjustments and MAVTV interviews. Drivers then race in a 30-lap closing segment for the win.
Legends Tour Series returns for its first of four stops at the speedway with a 40-lap feature. The INEX nationally-sanctioned races feature 5/8ths scale machines powered by 1200 and 1250cc Yamaha Motorcycle engines. Cody Winchel of Sebastopol is the defending champion in the series.
INEX Bandoleros will also race this weekend in a 25-lap main event.
Action gets underway on Friday with practice from 5pm until 9pm with pit gates opening at 3pm. On Saturday, pit gates open at 11am with practice at 1:45pm. Qualifying hits the track at 4:05pm. Heat races will follow, followed by opening ceremonies at 6:00pm. The race schedule may be adjusted later this week if weather requires it.
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.
The 2022 season would not be possible without the support of Lunkerdaddy Fishing Lures, 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 5:00pm Pacific and 8:00pm Eastern.
2023 MADERA MAVTV LATE MODEL SCHEDULE
March 18 – $5,000-to-win
May 20 – Military Tribute Night
June 24 – Reverend Ron Spencer Red, White Blue Classic
July 22 – $5,000-to-win
October 7 – $10,000-to-win Short Track Shootout