MADERA, California – Scott Winters gave his fans at LoanMart Madera Speedway another reason to cheer when he won the Lucas Oil Modified Series’ ragged, wreck-plagued ProtectTheHarvest.com California Farmer’s 75 Saturday night.
Winters, who started eighth in the 26-car field, avoided the early incidents, took the lead from pole-sitter Jason Irwin on a restart on lap 39, and held on through four more caution situations – there were none total – in one of roughest events in the history of the series that began in 2006.
Points leaders Austin Barnes, Larry Gerchman, Chase Catania, Chris Gerchman and Jim Mardis all had problems during the 75-lap race, none moreso than Mardis. The two-time series champion got caught up in an incident on lap 38 and hit the wall between Turns 3 and 4 with brutal force. The Yucaipa, California, resident was knocked unconscious by the impact and was transported to Madera Community Hospital, where he was undergoing tests late Saturday night.
“It’s nice to be able to race at your home track,” Winters said of the 0.333-mile speedway where he won track championships in 2002 and 2003 and the NASCAR Sunbelt Region title in 2002.
“I haven’t raced here too much since then, but I learned all the track’s little nuances and that still applies. I knew we had a strong car and I was trying to hold back until about the halfway point.”
Winters, who had fallen out of the top 10 while exercising caution, in the early going, chose the outside line for the restart after the accident involving Mardis and easily moved in front of Irwin, but never got a chance to get comfortable on the lead due to all the caution flags.
“That makes it tough,” he said. “You worry about somebody maybe getting into the back of you or missing a shift or spinning the tires or …”
Fortunately for Winters none of those things happened and he was able to celebrate his second series win and erase some of the frustration he had been feeling while struggling with suspension setups and new tracks in his first full season in the series. Winters got his first win in his debut race with the series, on July 12, 2008, but was making only his 13th start overall Saturday night.
Winters got his red Ferrari Farms Wenteq Chevrolet to the finish line 0.399 seconds ahead of recent high school graduate Dylan Cappello. Northern California standout Jay Linstroth was third, Linny White fourth and Irwin fifth.
Barnes finished 17th, Larry Gerchman was 14th, Catania was 19th and reigning champion Chris Gerchman was 23rd.
The race was the fifth of the 10-race season that will continue with a visit to Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah, July 26.
PROTECTTHEHARVEST.COM CALIFORNIA FARMERS 75
At LoanMart Madera (California) Speedway, .333 miles
Saturday, June 28, 2014
MAIN EVENT (75 laps) – 1. Scott Winters, Tracy, Calif.; 2. Dylan Cappello, Peoria, Ariz.; 3. Jay Linstroth, Citrus Heights, Calif.; 4. Linny White, Colton, Calif.; 5. Jason Irwin, Albuquerque, N.M.; 6. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian, Idaho; 7. Tripp Gaylord, Golden, Colo.; 8. Mike Regelman, Ripon, Calif.; 9. Keegan Walmer, Charlotte, N.C.; 10. Matt Erickson, Lake Don Pedro, Calif.;
11. Rich Lindgren, Rio Linda, Calif.; 12. Kyle Tellstrom, Ukiah, Calif.; 13. Tim Morse, Burbank, Calif.; 14. Larry Gerchman, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; 15. Elliott Stjerne, Madera, Calif.; 16. Jessica Clark, Ventura, Calif.; 17. Austin Barnes, Escondido, Calif.; 18. Jason Patison, Corona, Calif.; 19. Chase Catania, El Cajon, Calif.; 20. Dave Arce, Santee, Calif.;
21. Doug Carpenter, San Diego, Calif.; 22. JA Junior, Alhambra, Calif.; 23. Chris Gerchman, Spring Branch, Texas; 24. Jim Mardis, Yucaipa, Calif.; 25. William Camara, Fremont, Calif.; 26. Scott Alves, Placerville, Calif.
Margin of victory – 0.399 seconds. Average speed – 23.419 mph. Caution flags – 9. Speedco Fast Time – Barnes, 15.112 seconds. BILSTEIN Trophy Dash winner – Morse.
B MAIN (40 laps) – 1. Brian Collins, Camino, Calif.; 2. Jerry Toporek, Venice, Calif.; 3. Lynn Hardy, Salt Lake City, Utah; 4. Pat Petrie, Henderson, Nev.; 5. Will Guevara, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; 6. Dustin Tilbury, Edgewood, N.M.; 7. Tellstrom; 8. Lindgren; 9. Alves; 10. Camara; 11. Jason Philpot, Sacramento, Calif.; 12. Chris Cook, Tabiona, Utah; 13. Vanessa Robinson, Las Cruces, N.M.; 14. Kyle Gottula, Modesto, Calif.; 15. Sal Lopez, Sacramento, Calif.
(Tellstrom, Lindgren, Alves and Camara were the top 4 after 20 laps and transferred to the main event.)