SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA — Carlos Vieira turned in an encore performance Saturday night, leading the final 56 laps to take his second career Pacific Challenge Series race at Madera Speedway. Vieira’s win in the PenneyLawyers.com series matched his win in the 2017 season opener at the one-third mile speedway as well.
The event was a tribute to three Valley racing legends – Al Pombo, Marshall Sargent, and Smokey Hanoian. A strong Easter weekend crowd was treated to an Easter Egg hunt, open wheel racing, and the 75 lap Super Late Model race.
Vieira won the Sunoco Fuels fast-time and swept around American Racer Tire Dash winner Cole Moore to lead lap one. Eric Nascimento, Jr. charged up into second place on the third lap before a caution on lap seven when Jason Romero spun after contact with defending champion Mike Beeler. 2017 Ukiah winner Randy Hedrick stopped in the melee as well. Beeler initiated the tap rule where he took blame for the skirmish, allowing Romero and Hedrick to regain their positions.
Nascimento, age 16, started inside Vieira on the restart and seized the lead before Vieira crawled back onto his rear bumper. Cole Moore went up in smoke on lap 16 and under the caution period Thomas Suarez, in his series debut, lost a substantial amount of oil in turn one as well. After a lengthy red flag for clean up, things intensified for the lead position. Vieira and Nascimento had a slow restart that resulted in a serious crash behind them. 2017 two-time winner Matt Wendt and Elk Grove’s Mike Hite made contact, sending Wendt around and into the inside k-rail and tires. Wendt exited the car gingerly with assistance from paramedics.
The top-two of Nascimento and Vieira were sent back to the second row for their failure for a clean start, with 2015 champion John Moore and Romero assumed the lead positions. Moore took over the lead coming to green with Vieira quickly closing on him. Vieira took the top spot back on lap 22. Moore, Hedrick and Romero battled for second before Romero was able to take it just past halfway. Cole Moore’s night ended up in flames in turn one on lap 50, and Romero went after Vieira for the lead on the following restart. The charge was short lived with an axle issue ending Romero’s evening prematurely.
Hedrick stayed within striking distance of Vieira over the closing laps, getting within a car length on several occasions, before Vieira motored away for his second career PCS win. Vieira won by .317 seconds with John Moore, Tracy Bolin, and Beeler the top-five. Nascimento was seventh at the finish after a strong early showing.
“It was a tough race; great racing actually. I had a lot of fun tonight. Campbell Motorsports does so much hard work to get this car ready for the races. Madera Speedway – this is awesome! Kenny Shepherd does a great job,” Vieira said. “When you have a good car and you just concentrate on your driving it makes the difference. That restart I was questioning if I should be on the outside or not. I actually changed my line and stayed lower in one and two and higher in three and four and it worked out.”
In open wheel action, the Super Modified race was a master’s class in a race of attrition. Lance Jackson emerged as the CSS 360 victor as the only car left running, after Donnie Large and AJ Russell tangled in turn three on lap 11.
Mark Maliepaard won a history making BCRA Midget main event in a close duel with Chad Nichols and Scott Pierovich. 13 year-old Jesse Love, the 2017 51FIFTY Energy Drink Jr. Late Model champion, made his first full-size Midget start as one of the youngest drivers in Midget racing history. He finished fourth.
His Late Model racing teammate Adam Lemke of Hollister had the right stuff as he drove for a commanding four second win in the USAC Western US Midgets main event. Good Times QMA graduates Joey Iest and Blake Brannon rounded out the top-three.
The Pacific Challenge Series presented by PenneyLawyers.com resumes on April 21st at Anderson’s Shasta Speedway. Shasta is the series’ largest venue at 3/8ths a mile.
For more information on the Pacific Challenge Series presented by PenneyLawyers.com, visit www.PacificChallengeSeries.com or follow them on Facebook or YouTube
-Pacific Challenge Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Wedehase Photographer