Nichols Opens BCRA Season A Winner

Chad Nichols claimed the BCRA Midget Series opener on Saturday at Madera Speedway. (M&M Photos)
Chad Nichols claimed the BCRA Midget Series opener on Saturday at Madera Speedway. (M&M Photos)
Chad Nichols claimed the BCRA Midget Series opener on Saturday at Madera Speedway. (M&M Photos)

MADERA, Calif. – Chad Nichols began the Bay Cities Racing Ass’n’s 76th year of midget racing with a victory at the Madera Speedway in defense of his 2014 driving and car owner championship.

Nichols jumped to second in the first turn following the green flag as outside front row starter Mark Maliepaard bested pole-starter Frankie Guerrini at the drop of the flag, pulling Nichols to the number-two spot. Nichols was successful with an inside pass going into turn three to snatch the lead from the Maliepaard Motorsports Beast Esslinger as Guerrini charged to second.

Nichols scored the first lap lead and never looked back on his way to the 30-lap feature win aboard his Finish Line Construction Beast Esslinger. Trailing in fourth on the first lap was David Goodwill over Tanner Swanson and Michael Snider on the quarter-mile banked paved oval.

Goodwill and Swanson engaged in a heated battle for fourth, with the Doctor of Dentistry, Goodwill, winning out., only to be surpassed by the hard-charging Snider for fourth on the fifth circuit as a caution flag was presented for a spinning Alan Beck after a tangle exiting turn four with Marvin Mitchell.

Nichols continued the lead at the green with Goodwill besting Maliepaard for third one lap later, then, on the 10th circuit, pulling ahead of Guerenni to claim second. Meanwhile, Snider’s drive forward resulted in several wheel-banging ventures as he dove hard into the turns in attempts to make inside passes. He and Swanson made contact on the ninth round in turn-one.

This continued for several laps until the 17th circuit when Snider dove under Swanson’s Mr.Coffee Beast Fontana in the middle of turns three and four, resulting in Swanson spinning mid-track and Snider riding up the front of Swanson’s car, then revolving to face backwards, slipping to the track with both right-side wheels at 45-degrees on the track, then slowly rolling over. Snider was uninjured and was able to continue, while Swanson’s mount was pushed to the infield.

At the resumption, Nichols held his lead over Goodwill and a charging Maliepaard in third, followed by a steadily improving Kevin Morris in the Del Morris Beast/Esslinger. Gary Conterno held fifth ahead of Guerrini.

On the 23rd circuit Beck and Mitchell once again tangled and spun together exiting turn-four.

On his way to the checkered flag, Nichols pulled several car lengths ahead of the field. Snider, battling his way forward, moved up to challenge Guerrini for fourth with a visual dead heat at the finish line, the electronic responder giving the nod to Guerrini by .001 of a second.

The finish:

Chad Nichols, David Goodwill, Merk Maliepaard, Frank Guerrini, Michael Snider, Kevin Morris, Gary Conterno, Floyd Alvis, Marvin Mitchell, Alan Beck, Tanner Swanson, Lauren Snider.