MADERA, California — It’s been by far the most unpredictable racing class at the Madera Speedway as a new Toyota Sedans driver stepped forward into the winner’s circle Saturday, May 26, 2012 on the Memorial Day Weekend event featuring the LunkerDaddy Late Models, MSTs, Hobby Stocks and 4-Bangers.
While three qualifying records were set and winning streaks continued in most of the classes, Madera’s Del McIntosh took the 30-lap main in the Toyota Sedans division to claim his first race of the season.
McIntosh had been close this season with two second place finishes while taking third last week but was finally able to complete the victory as he finished ahead of two-time main winner and top qualifier Jarred Tickel.
Despite qualifying third and coming in second in the trophy dash to Tickel, McIntosh took full advantage of his chance to seize first place when the time came in the 11-car field.
“I never qualify well, it’s probably the slowest run I have all night because I have to think too much about it,” McIntosh joked. “Jarred got a really good jump in the dash and the Tickel’s are really fast but in the main event, I got a couple of really good opportunities and I was able to slide in after somebody messed up coming off of Turn 2. The next thing you know is I was in the lead and I just had to run it.”
Just two laps into the race, McIntosh passed 6-lap trophy dash winner Jesse Ruckman to get into second. It was on Lap 5 that McIntosh caught leader Ed Rodriguez to take control of first place as he created space between the two drivers.
“The car was really good in the last weekend’s race but it sputtered,” McIntosh said. “Near the end of that race, it got faster so basically I fixed the fuel pump but I didn’t have to adjust it too much for this race.”
With McIntosh out in front, Tickel wasn’t too far behind as he passed Rodriguez to get into second after Lap 10.
With the defending track champion Tickel behind, McIntosh knew it wasn’t going to be an easy stroll to the finish line especially with lapped traffic and possible cautions looming.
“To keep in front of these guys here, you got to run like a scared rabbit,” McIntosh said. “It’s a very competitive class but it makes it fun to race.”
The race stayed green throughout the entire race as McIntosh drove around those lapped cars in the final five laps to become the fourth different winner out of six mains this season.
“I’m real happy that it was a clean race,” McIntosh said. “I heard a couple of cars spin around and was thinking ‘oh-no’ just keep it green and luckily they did.”
Bud Tickel, who won the previous race on May 19, finished in third ahead of Candee McIntosh.
While McIntosh earned a first place trophy for the first time this season, LunkerDaddy Late Model driver Tony Schmitz picked up his second one of the year.
Though in this race, Schmitz felt more prepared as he won the 40-lap main along with the 6-lap trophy dash.
It was the first race for the LunkerDaddy Late Models division since Schmitz last won it April 21.
“Since then, we worked on the car and changed a lot of things on it from transmission gears to everything,” Schmitz said. “This new blacktop is throwing us a curve and it seems like every race it’s getting faster and faster, so we have to make alterations on the car. We’re trying to keep up with this track and that’s why I think we’re doing okay because we are making the right adjustments for this new asphalt.”
It was the third race of the season for Schmitz, who hasn’t finished lower than second place this season. For the Modesto driver, the main difference from the first race to the most recent all came down to one factor for his car.
“Gear-ratios,” Schmitz proclaimed. “First race, we were on the chip half-way through down the straightaway; the second race, we were on it three-quarters of the way down and in this race, we were on the chip at the end of the straightaway like we were supposed to be. We’ll probably make a change for the next race because this track is getting better every week.”
With those changes Schmitz also the set the division’s record for fast qualifying time with a 15.452 mark.
In the main, he was able pull ahead of Ray Mayer on a Lap 2 restart. From there, Schmitz didn’t want to stick around with the rest of the class as he sped away from the pack.
“The drivers were getting a little aggressive and twitchy, so I saw a hole and figured I’d just better dive through it and get out of their way,” Schmitz said. “If I’m out front and wreck then that’s me but if I stay back there and get wadded up in their stuff then that’s them and I didn’t want to be a part of that.”
While Schmitz was the clear-cut leader, a caution on Lap 21 brought him back with the rest of the field as Mayer was in second and Aaron Mullins in third.
On the restart, Schmitz continued to uphold his position as he crossed the finish line unscathed while Mayer took second and Howard Holden ended third.
Like Schmitz, two drivers that set new qualifying records in their respective classes were Hobby Stocks driver Frank Mazzei and MST driver Rick Thompson.
Mazzei’s time of 18.156 broke his old mark he set this season while Thompson bested his previous time with the record of 16.592.
After setting the records, both drivers also won their mains.
Thompson, who won the 6-lap trophy dash, was the victor in the 30-lap MST race as he edged out John McCollum Sr. while Don Davey finished third. It was Thompson’s third straight main win and fifth overall this season.
Mazzei came in first for the 25-lap Hobby Stock race for his sixth win in a row. While Mazzei took first, Ryan Hart came in second and Sheldon Copper, who won the 6-lap trophy dash, finished third.
Tyler Johnson was a winner in the 4-Bangers class while Nastasia Dodd, who finished second, won the 6-lap trophy dash. Johnson won the 15-lap main for the third race in a row.
After going dark for a week, the Madera Speedway returns to action on Saturday, June 9, 2012 for the Al Pombo Classic/Super Saturday Round #3 Presented by Hoosier Tires featuring the 410/360 Super Modifieds, USAC Sprint Cars, BCRA/USAC Midgets, USAC Ford Focus Midgets, Vintage Super Modifieds, Valley Sportsman, NCMA Sprint Cars, BCRA Vintage Sprints and Midgets.
LunkerDaddy Late Models — 40 Laps
Toyota Sedans — 30 Laps
Donnie Large Jr.
Hobby Stocks — 25 Laps
MST — 30 Laps
John McCollum Sr.
John McCollum Jr.
4-Bangers — 15 Laps
Trophy Dash — 6 Laps
Toyota Sedans — Dash 1
Donnie Large Jr.
Toyota Sedans — Dash 2
John McCollum Sr.
John McCollum Jr.
Qualifying — 2 Laps
LunkerDaddy Late Models
Tony Schmitz 15.452
Howard Holden 15.794
Ray Mayer 15.932
Emma Tucker 16.013
Aaron Mullins 16.113
Jarred Tickel 17.637
Bud Tickel 17.662
Del McIntosh 17.939
Donnie Large Jr. 17.939
Kyle Fortney 18.107
Candee McIntosh 18.129
Tim Curtis 18.162
Jesse Ruckman 18.285
Ed Rodriguez 18.431
Don Davey 18.498
Hippy Fortney 19.650
Frank Mazzie 18.156
Sheldon Cooper 18.661
Don Selsor 18.829
Ryan Hart 19.932
Kevin Thompson 16.592
John McCollum Sr. 16.750
John McCollum Jr. 16.779
Don Davey 17.451
Tyler Johnson 19.558
Nastasia Dodd 20.045