MADERA, Calif. – Dylan Zampa ended a long drought with a dominant victory in the Nut Up Pro Late Model Series at California’s Madera Speedway Saturday night.
Zampa, who earned his last victory in his Nut Up Pro Late Model Series debut in March of 2019, was in control throughout Saturday’s 80-lap feature at the third-mile semi-banked asphalt oval.
It wasn’t easy, however.
Zampa started second and used a run on the outside to take the lead on the opening lap. He controlled the race comfortably for a time before two-time Nut Up Pro Late Model Series champion Buddy Shepherd moved into second on the 26th lap.
Shepherd soon began to challenge Zampa, constantly trying to get enough momentum on the bottom of the track to clear the 16-year-old racer.
Zampa got a brief reprieve during the lap-50 race break and was able to pull clear of Shepherd during the restart to retain the lead. Zampa survived multiple challenges and scares, including a spinning car right in front of him on lap 69, to hold onto the race lead over the next 20 laps.
Shepherd made one last gasp challenge to Zampa on the final lap, getting to Zampa’s inside and briefly nosing ahead in turns three and four. Zampa used the momentum on the top lane to pull back ahead and beat Shepherd to the checkered flag in a thrilling finish.
“I’ve just got to thank Buddy for racing me clean the whole race,” Zampa said. “He bumped me a little bit but he didn’t move me. It was just really clean racing. That was some of the cleanest racing I’ve seen between me and him.
“My crew, they’ve been working their butts off,” Zampa added. “We’ve been trying different setups. We’ve been throwing anything at these cars. This race, we found something but we’re going to go back and we’re going to work.”
Zampa had a lot of people to thank following his second career victory in Madera’s Nut Up Pro Late Model Series.
“I’ve got to thank everybody on this car,” Zampa said. “I’ve got six or seven names on the back of this car on the deck lid that helped us get to this race by paying for tires or fuel. I can’t thank them enough. Anderson Logging, Allied Propane, Valley Fabrication, Earnest Performance, CSI, PFC Brakes, WileyX, Tonya with MPM Marketing, Mike Doss, Duane Sharp, Jeremy Doss, all these people that have worked on my car for the last five races. It has paid off.”
-MPM Marketing Press Release
-Photo credit: Jason Wedehase