Corona, CA – Will success spoil Scott Winters? Can anyone loosen Jack Madrid’s grip on the Rookie of the Year trophy? Has reigning champion Dylan Cappello returned to title-winning form? Were the wholesale changes in the point standings after the most recent event a one-time occurrence or an indication of things to come?
Those questions and others could be answered this weekend when the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart pays the first of the year’s two visits to LoanMart Madera Speedway for Saturday’s (June 6) ProtectTheHarvest.com California Farmers 75 presented by Super Clean.
The race, 75 laps on the speedway’s 3/8–mile track, will be the fourth of the 10 that will determine the championship and Tracy, California, resident Winters will go into it atop the Hoosier Tire West point standings for the first time in his career.
A past NASCAR state champion and the dominant figure in Northern California Modified racing for several years, Winters joined the Lucas Oil Modified Series full-time to start the 2014 season and he and the Ferrari Farms team struggled to adjust to different tires and suspension setups and new tracks. He won at Madera in late June, but had just one other top five finish and was 10th in the final standings.
This year, after going to the STR chassis and making several other changes, Winters opened the season with a fourth at Havasu 95 Speedway and a first at Tucson Speedway. Three weeks ago he was ninth at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but moved from second in the standings to the lead when Austin Barnes had an uncharacteristically off-night. Barnes, the 2012 champion, had been first in the opener and third at Tucson but limped home 14th at Las Vegas and dropped from first to third in the points race.
Those were not the only changes to the standings, however. In fact, only four of the top 25 did not move up or down in the wake of the Las Vegas race – Larry Gerchman in 8th, Shelby Stroebel in 11th, Chase Catania in 15th and Travis Irving in 25th.
Taylor Miinch and two-time champion Jim Mardis both moved up 3 spots, Miinch to second and Mardis to fourth, after finishes of seventh and third, respectively. Madrid, the top-finishing rookie in all three events, was 10th at The Bullring and slipped two places to 5th.
Cappello, who won Las Vegas after a pair of finishes out of the top 10 to start the campaign, jumped four spots to 6th ahead of Jason Irwin (up from 9th), Gerchman, Doug Hamm (up from 13th) and Chris Cook (down from 6th).
Cappello, Hamm and Pat Petrie were the big gainers, all picking up four positions. The biggest loser was Matt Hicks, who tumbled eight spots to 12th after being an accident victim and finishing 24th in the 30-car field.
Madrid, a 20-year-old from San Clemente, California, who had raced in NASCAR’s “Drive for Diversity” program, joined the Lucas Oil Modified Series this year with the Las Vegas-based Phil’s Phabrication team and has made an impressive debut.
Madrid qualified second and finished fifth at Havasu 95 Speedway, qualified third and finished second at Tucson and qualified ninth and finished 10th at The Bullring. His point total more than doubles that of the three drivers tied for second in the standings for the DJ Safety Rookie of the Year Award – Eric Rhead, Travis Irving and Eric Hamilton. The final rookie standings will be based on a driver’s best eight finishes.
The ProtectTheHarvest.com California Farmers 75 will be the feature race on a program that also includes a 60-lap main event for the new North State Modified Series and races for Winged Sprint Cars and Midgets.
The main events will get under way following opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and military personnel and $10 for youth, with children 5 and under free.
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, Carlyle Tools, Kawasaki, AutoMeter, iON Cameras, Speedco Truck Lube and Tire, BILSTEIN Shocks, LoanMart and SuperClean.
Additional sponsorship is provided by Lucas Oil Products, Protect the Harvest, MAVTV Motorsports Network, 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 Modifieds Press Release & Photo