Monday, April 3, 2017

Ladies Night at Madera
for the Pombo-Sargent Classic
 
 
 
On Saturday April 1 the mighty Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) midgets opened their 2017 season at Madera Speedway as part of the “Pombo-Sargent Classic” along with the BCRA vintage midgets and the USAC Speed2 Western US midget series.
In addition to the regular BCRA cars and stars, two visitors from the Northwest, Tony Seidelman and Shawn Breitzman made the long 16-hour tow to join in the action on the quick Madera 1/3-mile asphalt oval. As always there was a wide variety of entries, with powerplants from Gaerte, Fontana, Esslinger, Ecotec, and Toyota fitted into chassis from Beast, Hawk, and Stealth.

Time trials opened with a bang, as JR Williams spun in turn two on his second timed lap after the right rear tire on his #74 midget suddenly deflated and JR spun to a harmless stop. Scott Pierovich was next out in Del Morris’ potent #17K and set the early mark to beat of 14.061 seconds. One car later, Chad Nichols in the Shanoian #17N laid down a quick 13.869 second lap, then went even faster on his second lap and posted an amazing 13.791 second lap that stood up as quick time. Courtney Crone posted a strong 14.053 second lap to edge Pierovich for second fastest time, with Davey “DJ” Hamilton Junior fourth fastest time and Seidelman rounded out the night’s “BCRA fast five.”  

In the evening’s first heat race, Breitzman the pole-sitter in his orange and white #4W Hawk/Gaerte led into the first turn, but Pierovich took the lead before the end of the first lap and never looked back. Later in the race, Floyd Alvis bumped into the first turn wall following contact with Williams. Chad Nichols chased Pierovich across the finish line to claim a second place heat race finish followed by Seidelman in third.  2016 BCRA car owner champion Floyd Alvis was uninjured in the night’s only wall-banger and he was able to affect repairs to his #1 midget in time to return for the feature.  

Front row starter DJ Hamilton grabbed the lead at the start of the second heat race and built up a substantial lead before his Bob Rosen-owned midget rolled to a stop on the front straightaway after the Fontana engine shut off.  Courtney Crone assumed the lead and held on to win over David Goodwill and Maria Coffer in the Arata #88 making her first-ever pavement start. After the heat race the Rosen crew discovered that the fuel pump in the #4 Mr. Espresso midget had failed and Hamilton was a scratch for the feature.

Before the feature, BCRA Hall of Fame member Jimmy Screeton presented Tony Siedelman and Shawn Bretizman with $90 which he had collected from all the BCRA competitors to help offset their travel expenses. The Washington visitors were very appreciative and both said they hope to return to run more BCRA races this season.
 


The BCRA field lined up on Madera's front straight before the start of the feature
 
Breitzman and Goodwill paced the 10-car field for the 30-lap feature race which also included 2016 BCRA series champion Bobby Wilson. At the drop of the green, Goodwill forged into the lead and held the point as Crone moved up to run in second place, and Courtney grabbed the lead on lap six, with Nichols in third following a third turn tangle that involved Seidleman and Pierovich which sent that pair to the rear for the restart.

Seidelman and Pierovich stormed back through the field to run in fourth and fifth positions respectively by lap 13, as Crone built up a six-car advantage over Goodwill. As the field headed into the first turn on a lap 17 restart following a spin by Cofer, Goodwill tried to grab the lead with a move on the low side underneath Crone which opened the door for Nichols to steam past on the outside to grab second behind Crone.

Courtney Crone celebrates her first BCRA midget feature win
 
As the laps wound down, Nichols could not close the gap on the flying Courtney Crone in Jerome Rodela’s Toyota powered Trench Shoring Special who grabbed her first BCRA feature win trailed by Nichols, Goodwill and Pierovich as Seidelman rounded out the top five. Breitzman finished in sixth place followed by Cofer, Alvis and Bobby Wilson. JR Williams dropped out on lap five of the feature and Davey Hamilton did not start.

The BCRA midgets make their first dirt-track appearance on Saturday April 22 at the banked 1/3-mile Merced Speedway located on the County Fairgrounds at 900 Martin Luther King Junior Way in Merced.  
 


There were fourteen United States Auto Club (USAC) Speed2 Western US pavement midget series (previously known as the Focus or HPD series) cars at Madera Speedway. Toni Breidinger paced time trials with her best lap of 14.500 seconds more than 2/10 of second better that 12 year old Jesse Love III’s lap of 14.727 seconds with Antonia Boscacci, Love’s teammate fourth at 14.739 seconds.

Toni topped Adam Lemke in the first heat race, while Love led Boscacci and Annie Breidinger in the second 8-lap heat race. Love led the first 20 laps of the feature with Toni right on his tail tank until she made her move to the inside on lap 20 down the backstretch. Once she got the lead, Toni stretched out her lead to nearly ten car lengths as Love fought off the charge of she sister Annie.

At the drop of the checkered flag on lap 30, it was Toni Breidinger who claimed the win over Jessie Love III with Annie Breidinger in third. Toni with her clean sweep added to her impressive record as USAC’s winningest female driver with her eleventh USAC feature win.

The United States Auto Club (USAC) Speed2 Western US pavement midget series takes nearly a month off as they will be idle until Saturday May 6 when they will join the BCRA midgets for the Vukovich Classic at Madera Speedway.

Photos by the author 

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