CORONA, California – There will be fireworks Saturday night (June 28) when the Lucas Oil Modified Series presents its exciting brand of open wheel, short track racing to the fans at LoanMart Madera (California) Speedway.
There will be fireworks on the speedway’s 1/3-mile oval during the Modifieds’ ProtecttheHarvest.com California Farmers 75 presented by GEICO and in the sky over the central California track during a pyrotechnic extravaganza following the race.
It’s all part of the biggest show of the year at the speedway, an early Fourth of July celebration that also include the SPEARS Southwest Tour, S2 and Legends cars, round four of the LoanMart Open Late Model series and the fourth round of the Open Hobby Stock Series.
There is a practice day Friday (June 27), with the Lucas Oil Modifieds on track from 7 to 9 p.m. PDT. The Modifieds one-hour qualifying session is scheduled to begin at 2:10 p.m. Saturday (June 28). The racing will get under way with a 40-lap B main at 4:40 p.m. followed by the 6-lap Trophy Dash at 6 p.m. and the 75-lap ProtecttheHarvest.com California Farmers 75 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are priced at $25 for adults, $23 for seniors and military and $13 for youngsters 6-12. Children 5 and under are free. A Family Pack, good for two adult and two youngsters, is available for $70.
For those traveling from out of the area, the speedway has a large parking area for recreational vehicles and spaces with hookups are available for $20.
A full weekend schedule and other information may be found at the track’s web site, www.racemadera.com, and on the track’s Facebook page, where fans can win free tickets.
It will be the fourth time the series has visited Madera and the car count has gone up by three in each of the previous three years, from 23 for the debut in 2011 to 29 last year. This season there has been an average of 37 qualifiers for the four races, with a low of 30 at Blythe, California, in April and a high of 42 at Las Vegas in May, and a majority of those are expected for this weekend’s race, the fifth in the series’ 10-race schedule.
One who’ll definitely be there is Chris Gerchman. The reigning series champion, who grew up in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and now lives in Spring Branch, Texas, has won the past two races at Madera and would love to make it three in a row to strengthen his bid for another title and steal some momentum from Austin Barnes.
Gerchman won the first two races this year, but has encountered handling problems in his new car while finishing ninth at Blythe and 12th at Las Vegas and is fourth in the Hoosier Tire West standings, 40 points behind Barnes. Larry Gerchman, Chris’s father, is driving his son’s title-winning car. He has been fourth, fourth and third in the past three events and is second in the standings. He has 174 points and trails Barnes by 32. Chase Catania is third with 170 points, Chris Gerchman has 166 and two-time champion Jim Mardis is fifth with 150.
Barnes, who won the 2012 series championship and sat out last season, has been the fast qualifier at all four events and won the past two. However, his best finish in two Modified starts at Madera was a fourth in the 2011 race, which was won by Rich Lindgren.
There won’t be any shortage of challengers this week, either, chief among them Jay Linstroth, an occasional series’ entrant who three weeks ago at Madera won the Modified main event over series regulars Tripp Gaylord and Dylan Cappello, a pair of teenagers who are teammates with Mike Garcia Racing.
Cappello is seventh and Gaylord eighth in the HoosierTire West point standings. Cappello had a runner-up finish at Las Vegas and was fifth at Blythe. Gaylord was second at Tucson and fifth at Las Vegas.
Series veteran Pat Petrie is dealing with another sort of challenge. The Henderson, Nevada, resident will have “Basic Strong” logos on the rear quarterpanels of his car as part of an effort to raise funds for three Basic High School classmates of his daughter, Megan, who were seriously burned in an explosion during a graduation bonfire June 9. All three – two girls and a boy – have been in the trauma intensive care unit at University Medical Center since the accident, two of them in induced comas and one girl with burns over 85 percent of her body, and they are expected to be hospitalized for at least another six weeks.
Petrie will have logos and Basic Strong wrist bracelets available at the H-Town Racing pit area for anyone who would like to make a donation.
The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart is supported by a potent marketing concept known as “Team Lucas” whose members include General Tire, GEICO, E3 Spark Plugs, Optima Batteries, Ole Smoky Moonshine, iON Cameras, Speedco Truck Lube and Tire, BILSTEIN Shocks, LoanMart and SuperClean.
Additional sponsorship is provided by Lucas Oil Products, Protect the Harvest, MAVTV American Real, Hoosier Tire West, Sunoco Race Fuels, K&N Filters, Aero Racing Wheels, ASI Racewear, Bosch, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Frank’s Radios, Racing Plus and DJ Safety.
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
Lucas Oil Modified PR – Photo from Series Site