USAC Western States Sprint Cars & Ford Focus Midgets - Madera Speedway - April 24, 2004.
Michael Lewis a USAC Western States Flash at Madera - By Bobby Gerould - April 24, 2004 - Madera, CA. …Noblesville Indiana is the home of Michael Lewis but he has been making a living at Madera Speedway. For the second time in two tries this month, Lewis walked away with USAC cash in Central California. This time Lewis backed up his Midget win of 14 days ago with a strong run on the Madera pavement in a Western States sprint car. "Tony ran me clean and I had a lotta fun", said Lewis post race after holding off teammate Tony Hunt to claim the $2,500 top prize.
"I hope Brian McClish is okay. I saw him get into the ambulance." McClish was also a Western Speed Racing stable mate on this warm Saturday night. McLish jumped over the rear of another car on the back chute on the opening lap of the feature. He 'bottomed-out' hard as he came back to earth, and immediately pulled into the infield asking for medical assistance. The paramedics were called to McClish's car to issue treatment for lower back pain but he was not transported from the track to the hospital.
Mark Monico jumped into the lead at the start of the 40-lap headliner. Monico led the opening four laps before succumbing to Lewis, the defending USAC Western States series champ. A pass on the back straightaway placed Lewis' #40 to the point. Hunt followed suit on lap six putting Monico back one spot further. The caution flag appeared on lap eight as San Francisco road racer Tim Barber spun in turn two. With ten laps down and thirty to go, Lewis was the leader followed by Hunt, Monico, Bryan Bullard, and Brad Bumgarner. On lap 12, Bullard moved by Monico for third place. Shortly after, Simone smacked the turn four concrete wall to necessitate a yellow flag. Mike McCreary dropped out of the action on lap 17, bringing the field to 18 cars running out of 20 starters.
Pavement rookie Destiney Hays tangled with Randy Dubois in turn two on lap 20. The restart saw Hays continue but Dubois took the Lori Scott #7s to the infield. Jeff Gardner took over fifth place on lap 22. Meanwhile many eyes were tracking Greg Anderson, a rookie sprint car pilot from Sacramento. The third generation racer who is the son of Wendall Anderson JR, and a nephew to racers, Bob, Billy, and Johnny Anderson, brought fans to their feet with a high-line run that saw him snare ninth from Mike Murgoitio on lap 24. As Lewis enjoyed a two-car length lead over Hunt, Anderson entertained with his continued charge on the upper groove. The 22 year-old passed Mike Trimble for eighth on lap 30; steadily progressing up to his sixth place finishing spot in just his second sprint car race ever.
Hunt made the race close with five laps to go. Lewis entered traffic only to have Hunt pressure him as the two drivers took to the outside groove to overpower the traffic. Lewis cleared the chaos on lap 38 and ran strongly to the checkered flag where he brushed the front straightaway wall dodging a lapper. The contact occurred as Lewis crossed the finish line just in front of Hunt. Bullard was third, with Bumgarner solidly fourth, and Gardner completing the top five. Sixth through tenth place fell to Anderson, Trimble, Barber, Monico, and Murgoitio.
In the companion USAC Ford Focus North feature of 25 laps, Bradley Galedridge held off a hard charging Chris Rahe for the win. Galedridge is a graduate of quarter midget racing that often competed on the Madera Fairgrounds at the adjacent track for the little cars.
"My car was good on a long run", said the 17 year-old Galedridge. "I had a good car for the end of the race. I always dreamed of running on this track since the days I raced quarter midgets here."
A late caution flag on lap 22 of the Focus feature bunched the field for a seven-lap shootout to the checkered flag. Galedridge was leading Rahe, Josh Lakatos, and Bobby McGowan as 11 of the 17 starters remained. Galedridge withheld Rahe although Rahe did pass Galedridge on the initial lap 23 restart. However, a caution flag negated the pass. Galedridge controlled the next try and held on for the win over Rahe, Lakatos, McGowan, and Nick Morago. Rahe posted quick-time for the Ford Focus Midgets, turning the 1/3 mile paved oval in 14.81 seconds. Hunt was quickest in the sprint cars at 13.52. Shauna Hogg, Anderson, and McClish won sprint heats. Bumgarner dominated the semi-main in the family owned #88.
Sprint car qualifying: 1. Tony Hunt - Fair Oaks, CA. Western Speed racing #60 - 13.52 (NEW TRACK RECORD) 2. Chad Nichols - San Jose, CA. - Zarounian #67 - 13.60 3. Brian McClish - Santa Rosa, CA. - Western Speed Racing #80 - 13.65 4. Michael Lewis - Noblesville, IN. - Western Speed Racing #40 - 13.70 5. Chad Ede - Clovis, CA. - M&L Plumbing #11 - 13.80 6. Brad Bumgarner - Chico, CA - Bumgarner Racing #88 - 13.83 7. Bryan Bullard - Granite Bay, CA. - Oval Chassis Research #71 - 13.85 8. Mark Monico - Union City, CA. - Mattherly #21 - 13.86 9. Mike Murgoitio - Boise, ID. - Murgoitio #19 - 13.87 10. Michael Trimble - San Jose, CA. - CTR #15 - 13.93 11. Greg Taylor - Ventura, CA. - Rick Taylor #47 - 14.00 12. Jeff Gardner - Fresno, CA. - Revcon #51 - 14.03 13. Robert Beck - Redmond, WA. - Beck #3 - 14.04 14. Greg Anderson - Sacramento, CA. - Anderson #2 - 14.10 15. Chuck Maddox - Auburn, CA. - Maddox #23 - 14.14 16. Nick Rescino JR. - San Francisco, CA. - Bayshore Engineering #11x 17. Tim Barber - San Francisco - Pierson #14 - 14.20 18. Amy Barnes - Minden. NV. - Barnes #12 - 14.21 19. Rick Ziehl - Las Cruces, NM. - Scott #7s - 14.22 20. Anthony Simone - Fresno, CA. - Simone #10 - 14.22 21. Mike McCreary - Placerville, CA. - OCR #7 - 14.23 22. Shauna Hogg - Roseville, CA. - Richard Hogg #5 - 14.27 23. Randy Dubois - Poulsbo, WA. - Lori Scott #7 - 14.31 24. Michael Newman - Maple Valley, WA. - Newman Racing #9 - 14.32 25. Destiney Hays - Oroville, CA. - Hays #28 - 14.44 26. Marvin Mitchell - Patterson, CA. - Mitchell #68 - 15.05 27. Alan Kaiser - Deer Park, CA. - Kaiser #45 - 15.40
Heat #1 - Hogg, 2. Rescino Jr., 3. Lewis, 4. Trimble, 5. Hunt, 6. Bullard, 7. Ziehl, 8. Beck, 9. Kaiser.
Heat #2 - 1. Anderson, 2. Hays, 3. Nichols, 4. Simone, 5. Monico, 6. Taylor, 7. Barber, 8. Ede, 9. Dubois
Heat #3 - 1. McClish, 2. Newman, 3. McCreary, 4. Maddox, 5. Gardner, 6. Bumgarner, 7. Barnes, 8. Murgoitio, 9. Mitchell
Semi: 1. Bumgarner, 2. Bullard, 3. Barber, 4. Murgoitio, 5. Taylor, 6. Dubois, 7. Ziehl, 8. Ede, 9. Mitchell, 10. Beck, 11. Kaiser
Main Event (40 laps) - 1. Lewis, 2. Hunt, 3. Bullard, 4. Bumgarner, 5. Gardner, 6. Anderson, 7. Trimble, 8. Barber, 9. Monico, 10. Murgoitio, 11. Hogg, 12. Maddox, 13. Hays, 14. Newman, 15. Rescino Jr., 16. Taylor, 17. McCreary, 18. Dubois, 19. Simone, 20. McClish.
Lap Leaders: Monico 1-4, Lewis 5-40.
Michael Lewis did a complete 360 under green on the opening lap of heat one but was still able to transfer to the main event.
Chad Nichols scratched from the feature race when his Zarounian #67 suffered a brake malfunction beyond repair.
Next USAC Western States Sprint Car Race: Saturday, May 1, 2004 - Madera Speedway "Vukovich Classic"