(July 31, 2001) Mark Reed and his Food 4 Less Motorsports team were at Madera Speedway last Saturday night for the FOODS CO 125 Featherlite Southwest Series race. It was Reed’s 5th start in the series this year. His last appearance was June 23rd on the road course at Sears Point where he finished in 4th place. Reed and his team were looking for a top-5 qualifying position on Saturday because passing can be very difficult on the 1/3-mile oval at the Madera Fairgrounds. There were 32 cars trying to make the field of 22, and Reed was the 18th driver to make a qualifying attempt. His lap of 14.340 seconds knocked Burney Lamar off the provisional pole, but there were two other drivers who eventually beat Reed’s time. “It would have been nice to win the Bud Pole award, but we’re happy we are able to start the race from the second row”, said Reed after his qualifying attempt. Reed’s last Bud Pole award in the Southwest Series came at Phoenix International Raceway in November 1999, but he has been the fastest qualifier in four Winston West Series races this season.
After the green flag waved to start the FOODS CO 125, there was an early caution on lap-3 for two spinning cars in the back of the pack. Reed was shown in the 5th position when racing resumed, but he was making a strong bid to pass the #94 car of Darrell Lamoure who had started the race from the outside of the front row. Around lap-20 Reed was able to get his FOODS CO sponsored Pontiac Grand Prix underneath LaMoure’s Chevrolet coming out of turn-1. Unfortunately, the two cars made contact causing Lamoure to spin. It was clearly a racing accident, but NASCAR officials made Reed go to the end of the lead lap. With his hopes for a podium finish seemingly dashed, Reed re-started the race from the 20th position. “It was really a shame we got put to the back”, said Reed. “I know the officials have a difficult job, but we were up to the door of the other car before contact was made”. From the time racing resumed until the checkered flag waved, Reed put on a show for the fans. He was in 4th place by lap-100, and was running in 2nd place when the final caution flag waved with 10 laps to go. “I was glad to see the yellow flag which would allow us to catch up to the leader (Eric Holmes), but my car was actually faster on hot tires”, said Reed after the race. When the green flag waved, there were only 3 laps to go, which wasn’t enough time for Reed to make a charge on Holmes. “If we hadn’t been sent to the back, there might have been a different outcome to the race”, said Reed. “I had an awesome racecar tonight, but by the time I got back to the front my tires were pretty worn out. I hope the members from the FOODS CO store in Fresno and the rest of the fans enjoyed the show we put on for them”.
Reed’s 2nd place finish was his 4th top-5 out of five races in the Featherlite Southwest Series and his 11th top-5 overall for the season. He and his team have had 7 top-5 finishes out of eleven races in the Winston West Series this year. Reed will make one more start in the Featherlite Southwest Series this season in the October Classic at Mesa Marin Raceway on October 20th. The Food 4 Less Motorsports team’s next race will be a Winston West event at Rocky Mountain Raceway on September 1st.