IRWINDALE, Calif. — Jack Madrid of San Clemente, Calif., drove to a runaway victory in the season-opening super late model race at Irwindale Speedway Saturday night.
Madrid finished 5.7 seconds ahead of teammate Linny White of Fontana, Calif. Toni McCray of Highland, Calif., was third, less than a tenth of a second behind at the end of the 40-lap event on the half-mile track.
It was Madrid’s first victory at Irwindale. He began his career there in Bandoleros, Legends, drove Super Trucks and was eighth in the Super Late Models in 2012.
“Oh, man, I’ve been trying for this for a long time,” Madrid said. “It seems like nothing went right. We had fast cars, but we couldn’t get the finishes. We just couldn’t put the pieces together and tonight we finally put it together and to be back home, it means a lot.”
The 19-year-old Madrid spent last season in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, driving late models in Whelen All-America Series for Rev Racing at Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, N.C., and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
“It was a great experience racing with a lot of the East Coast guys,” Madrid said. “It showed how hard you have to race every lap and how good a shape you’ve got to be. I didn’t realize how important that was. I learned a lot. I worked on the race cars every week. Just learning a lot of different things, driving styles and how to save cars. I think that is something that helped me with this win; saving the right rear tire. It paid off here.”
White prepared Madrid’s car during the week, then shifted from crew chief to driver for Saturday’s event. Both cars are owned by Earl Robbins of Fontana, Calif.