Dylan Cappello got even with LoanMart Madera Speedway Saturday night (October 8).
The 2014 Lucas Oil Modified Series champion had run four races on the 1/3-mile oval in Central California and had finished second once, third once and fourth twice. He added a first to the tally by winning the LoanMart Thunder 75 presented by EFI University and walking out of the winner’s circle with a $5,000 payday.
It was the fifth career win for the 20-year-old from Peoria, Arizona, who said he has had mixed results this season because “a lot of bad luck” and the fact “the fields this year have gotten super tight. You really have to click on everything at once to get a win right now. We did it tonight and it feels super good.”
Cappello, who won the series title as a rookie, qualified third in a 30-car field that reflected the ultra-competitive nature of the popular short-track touring series. Linny White, the final driver to qualify, set fast time with a record lap of 14.406 seconds. Cappello’s lap was a 14.480. Dave Arce was 18th with a 14.813 and was the last driver to make the 26-car starting field on time.
White didn’t start on the pole, however. He drew a 7 for the invert. That put him on the inside of row 4 while the front row was occupied by Eddie Secord and Kyle Tellstrom, who had won the past two events at Madera. He looked ready to make it three in a row as well, taking the lead from Secord at the start and holding it until Cappello got the inside line through Turn 1 on lap 26. Cappello kept his Discount Tire/Sears Garage Doors STR Chevrolet in front the rest of the way despite a last-gasp bid for the lead by Tellstrom on a restart on lap 678 after the night’s ninth caution flag.
“Once I got by him I was able to run my own line,” Cappello said. “He kind of got in (to the corners) a little softer than me the whole race. I’m more like a ‘drive it in hard and then wait on it’ guy, but he’s more ‘get in soft and get on it early.’
“I knew his only shot (to reclaim the lead) was going to be on the restart. He got into me down the front stretch and gave me a shot. I just drove my own race and it worked out.”
Tellstrom hung on for second and was followed across the finish line by Matthew Hicks, Taylor Miinch and Scott Winters, the top three in the Hoosier Tire West point standings. Hicks started the night leading Winters by 12 points and Miinch by 17 and finished it leading Winters by 16 and Miinch by 19 with only the finale October 29 at Lake Havasu City, Arizona, remaining.
It was a ragged race, as the nine caution flags attest. Seven of those yellows came in the first 21 laps as the drivers tried to find a rhythm after a long wait between qualitying and the start of their race.
The first of those cautions waved when Cappello and White got together on lap 3 and White, who had been second in the past two Madera races, suffered front suspension damage that ended his night early.
“I feel super bad for him,” Cappello said. “It was just kind of a racing deal. I didn’t know he was outside of me (in Turn 1). I moved up about a half-car length and I felt him clip my right rear end. I felt super bad. I don’t race him like that.”
Lucas Oil Modifieds LoanMart Thunder 75
at Loan Mart Madera Speedway, 1/3-mile paved oval
Main event (75 laps) – 1. Dylan Cappello (11), Peoria, Az.; 2. Kyle Tellstrom (89), Boise, Idaho; 3. Matthew Hicks (28), Lakeside, Ca.; 4. Taylor Miinch (4T), Blossom Valley, Ca.; 5. Scott Winters (24A), Tracy, Ca.; 6. Wes Miller (87), Turlock, Ca.; 7. Larry Gerchman (25), Lake Havasu City, Az.; 8. Eddie Secord (35), Oak Hills, Ca.; 9. Ryan Partridge (9), Rancho Cucamonga, Ca.; 10. Travis Thirkettle (5T), Newhall, Ca.;
11. Shane Skaggs (28X), Albuquerque, N.M.; 12. Jim Mardis (51), Yucaipa, Ca.; 13. Doug Hamm (4X), North Las Vegas, Nevada; 14. Shelby Stroebel (24), Meridian, Idaho; 15. Kyle Cline (98), Hesperia, Ca.; 16. Blake Rogers (4B), Yuma, Az.; 17. Michael Mitchell (77), Loomis, Ca.; 18. Dustin Tilbury (17D), Edgewood, N.M.; 19. William Guevara (55), Lake Havasu City, Az.; 20. Aaron McMorran (22), Las Vegas;
21. Dave Arce (5), Santee, Ca.; 22. P.J. Pedroncelli (33), Sonoma, Ca.; 23. Eric Hamilton (11H), Hanford, Ca.; 24. William Camara (3), Fremont, Ca.; 25. Rich Lindgren (27), Rio Linda, Ca.; 26. Linny White (99), Colton, Ca.
Margin of victory – 1.040 seconds. Average speed – 29.862 mph. Lead changes – 2 among 3 drivers. Caution flags – 9. Fast qualifier – White, 14.406 seconds (track record).
B main (30 laps) – 1. Scott Alves (20A), Placerville, Ca.; 2. Jerry Toporek (40), Venice, Ca.; 3. Sal Lopez (02), Sacramento, Ca.; 4. Lindgren; 5. Mitchell; 6. Mardis; 7. Camara; 8. Jason Patison (80), Corona, Ca. (Lindgren, Mitchell, Mardis and Camara were the top 4 after 20 laps and transferred to the main event)
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
Story By: Jim Short, LOM Series
Photo Credit: Speed51.com