MADERA, Calif. – After a raucous opening event for the LoanMart Madera Speedway last week, local stars took to the track Saturday night and proved that it doesn’t take high-profile racing circuits to deliver close finishes and big thrills.
In the LunkerDaddy Late Models, Madera Ranchos teen Emma Tucker took the checkered for her first-ever win after fending off Tony Schmitz in 20 hard-fought laps.
Tucker, in a new car this season, said after the race that as soon as she took the lead from Verg Beatty on lap three – with Schmitz on her tail – she knew the event was hers to win or lose.
“I was just hoping I wouldn’t spin out,” Tucker said. “I knew Tony wouldn’t be able to get by me as long as I kept it straight so that’s all I was thinking about.”
“It’s amazing,” she added of the victory. “I feel great.”
Schmitz takes over the points lead in the event from last year’s champion Matt Erickson – who didn’t race Saturday – with Tucker in second place.
“My plan was to win but that didn’t happen,” Schmitz laughed. “But [Tucker] is a great, young driver. I didn’t want to rough her or anybody else up to get a win, I’d rather race clean and hard. And if that means taking a loss, so be it. That’s better than tearing up my car or theirs.”
Other winners on the night included Lance Halm in the WSRA Mini Cups, Jason Bowersox in his second straight MST win, Dave Kong in the 4-Bangers, and Kyle Fortney to keep his points lead in the Toyota Sedans.