Winters Plows Through Madera
MADERA, Calif. — 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 nine total — in one of roughest events in the history of the series that began in 2006.
Point 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 three and four with brutal force. The Yucaipa, Calif., 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.
Scott Winters, Dylan Cappello, Jay Linstroth, Linny White, Jason Irwin, Shelby Stroebel, Tripp Gaylord, Mike Regelman, Keegan Walmer, Matt Erickson, Rich Lindgren, Kyle Tellstrom, Tim Morse, Larry Gerchman, Elliott Stjerne, Jessica Clark, Austin Barnes, Jason Patison, Chase Catania, Dave Arce, Doug Carpenter, J.A. Junior, Chris Gerchman, Jim Mardis, William Camara, Scott Alves.