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Birges, Vanderpool, and Nichols Top Vuky Features

By – Gerald Laurie

The Annual Vukovich Memorial Classic at Madera Speedway featured Supermodifieds, 360 Supermodifieds, and BCRA Midgets on Saturday evening. Jim Birges managed to win the Supermodified Feature with some mid-race adjustments, Kyle Vanderpool captured his second 360 win of the young season and Chad Nichols won all the marbles in the Midget main event.

The evening started with time trials for all classes. The mighty Midgets were up first with Chad Nichols (17) posting fast time at 14.096 seconds on the 1/3 mile banking. Nick Foster (1) was second at 14.454 and David Prickett (15) was third at 14.680.

The 360 Supers were next to challenge the clocks and Kenny Kinchen (5) was fastest at 13.204 seconds. Next up, were Dan Vanderpool (17) at 13.695 and Kyle Vanderpool (1) at 13.829.

A.J. Russell (7) was the fastest injected Supermodified at 12.473 seconds, followed by Jim Birges (32) at 12.641 seconds and Rookie Kody Swanson (72) at 12.925 seconds.

The next orders of business were the trophy dashes. The Bay Cities Racing Association Midgets lined up with Scott Nail on the pole pursued David Prickett, Nick Foster, Jr., and Chad Nichols. Prickett and Nichols sailed around Nail on the outside of turns one and two at the start and then Nichols dove inside Pricket in turn three to lead the first lap with Foster and Nail rounding out the field. Nichols then pulled away to a convincing margin to win over Prickett, Foster, and Nail.

Larry Hinz paced the 360 Super Dash followed by K. Vanderpool, D. Vanderpool, and Kinchen. At the green flag, the outside line again proved faster as Kyle Vanderpool led the first lap over Kinchen, Hinz, and Dan Vanderpool. Lap two saw Kinchen wrest the lead from the younger Vanderpool, while his father grabbed third from Hinz. Then, on the fourth and final lap, the elder Vanderpool grabbed second while Kinchen was motoring off into the distance. Final order was Kinchen, D. Vanderpool, K. Vanderpool, and Hinz.

The injected Supers lined up with Regier and Swanson on Row 1 and Birges and Russell in row two. Swanson took to the high side to pass Regier while Birges stuck his nose in the middle and went three wide in turn three to take second on the first lap. Regier held third and Russell was fourth. Birges and Swanson went side by side for two more laps with Kody holding the edge at the line while Russell bagged third on lap three. Lap four order had Kody Swanson winning his first ever Supermodified race followed by Birges, Russell, and Regier.

Each open wheel class ran a single eight-lap heat. The Midgets lined up with Nail and Prickett in the first row, Foster and Nichols in row two, and Silverman rounding out the field. At the drop of the green, Foster forced his way inside Nail while Prickett and Nichols made it three wide on the high side. Lap one showed Foster leading over Prickett and Nichols. Nichols took second in turn two on lap two and then Prickett drove in hard on the inside of turn three and both the 17 and 15 spun from the ensuing contact to force a yellow flag. Prickett and Nichols were put to the rear on the restart with Foster, Nail, and Silverman in front of them. Nichols moved from fifth to third on lap two putting Silverman and Prickett behind him. Nichols took second on lap three and Prickett  garnered third on lap four. Nichols then went after Foster but was unable to affect a pass. Finishing order was Foster over Nichols, Prickett, Nail and Silverman.

The 360 Heat starting order was Kinchen, D. Vanderpool, K. Vanderpool, Hinz, Jackson, and Johnson. Once again the outside line proved fast as Vanderpool led over Kinchen, Vanderpool, Hinz, and Jackson. Jackson then snookered Hinz for fourth on lap four and that was the extent of the passing. Dan Vanderpool won over Kinchen, Kyle Vanderpool, Jackson, and Hinz.

Greenway had broken a driveline yoke in time trials and Swanson had cracked the side plate on the quick change during the dash, so both failed to report for the injected heat. The remaining three cars lined up with Russell on the pole flanked by Birges. Regier had row two all to himself. As in the previous cases, Birges took the lead on the high side but Russell stayed beside him for six of the eight laps. Birges finally cleared the seven car coming down for the white flag and then opened up his lead at the checkers. Russell was second and Regier was third.

The BCRA Midgets ran a thirty-lap feature with the Nail and Prickett on row one followed by Foster, Nichols, and Silverman. At the start there was much wheel banging in turn one and Pricket came out leading over Foster, Silverman, Nail, and Nichols. Nichols moved past Nail on lap three and then passed Silverman on lap five. He then passed Foster on lap nine and took the lead from Prickett on lap ten.

At one-third distance, Nichols led over Prickett, Foster, Silverman and Nail. Nichols proceeded to extend his lead at will. Foster snookered Prickett on lap eighteen and the order after twenty was Nichols, Foster, Prickett, Silverman, and Nail.

Lap twenty-one saw Nail move to fourth and Prickett retook second a lap later. Nichols lapped Silverman on lap twenty-three and did the same to Nail on lap twenty-five. And that was the show. At the lap thirty checkered flag, Nichols won over Prickett, Foster, Nail, and Silverman.

Madera Speedway combines the 360 Supers with the injected cars for the fifty-lap feature. Both Greenway and Swanson made the call after completing repairs in the pits. The starting order had Jackson on the pole with Hinz outside the first row. They were chased by both Vanderpools in row two, Regier and Kinchen in row three, Swanson and Birges in row four, Russell and Greenway in row five, and Carl Johnson in the back. There was a mad scramble at the start with Hinz having problems in turn one and Jackson led over K. Vanderpool, Swanson, Regier, and Birges. Lap two saw both Birges and Russell pass Regier. On lap three Swanson, Birges, Russell and Kinchen all got around Vanderpool. Swanson then passed Jackson on lap four to take the lead while Birges Russell and Kinchen all got around the eighteen a lap later. At five laps in, Swanson led over Birges, Russell, Kinchen, and Jackson.

Birges got under Swanson coming off turn four on lap six to take the lead. On lap eight, the leaders lapped Greenway who then headed to the pits. Regier also displaced Jackson from the top five. At ten laps, the order was Birges, Swanson, Russell, Kinchen (top 360) and Regier.

Birges and Swanson had a great battle going at the front with Russell lurking just behind waiting for a mistake. Hinz was lapped on the twelfth circuit and Johnson got the same treatment two laps later. Birges put Jackson down a lap on the seventeenth go around. Dan Vanderpool was a victim of the leaders on lap 19. At Twenty laps, Birges still led over Swanson, Russell, Kinchen, and Regier.

The leaders caught Kyle Vanderpool on the next lap and Birges dropped from first to third with the car going dead loose. The black flag was waved at Jackson on the leaders twenty-second lap and Jackson headed to the pits a lap later trailing unknown vapors and suffering from a bad vibration. Regier was suffering handling problems as well and was lapped by Swanson and Russell on lap twenty-nine. Johnson went a second circuit in arrears on the thirtieth round. Lap thirty’s order showed Swanson leading over Russell and Birges, with Kinchen the only 360 on the lead lap.

The yellow and then red flag flew on lap thirty-two when Johnson broke and spun in his own oil in turn one, Regier got into the oil and also spun. With a large cleanup due, the race was stopped. Birges, Swanson, and Regier all took advantage of the red to make much needed adjustments. The restart order had Swanson leading with Russell, Birges, and Kinchen sill on the lead lap and with Kyle and Dan Vanderpool and Regier a lap down. Russell’s car evidently started to overheat at this point while Birges’s pink creation came alive with the adjustments and a chance to cool the tires. Birges took second on lap thirty-three and began reeling in Swanson. On lap thirty-seven, Birges completed an inside pass off turn four and took control of the race. At lap forty, Birges led over Swanson, Russell, and Kinchen, all on the lead lap. Regier, Kyle and Dan Vanderpool were all one lap down.

Birges and Swanson put Dan Vanderpool a second lap down on lap forty-two while still slugging it out on the track. Kyle Vanderpool fell victim to the leaders for another lap on the forty-seventh circuit. Then the yellow flew for the second time on lap forty-eight when Kinchen coasted to a stop in turn four with the all the wheel studs on the rear axle sheared. With Kinchen leaving on the hook, only Birges, Swanson, Russell, Regier, K. Vanderpool, and D. Vanderpool were left for the three lap shootout. The cooling of the tires seemed to work to Birges’s advantage as he was able to pull out a bit of lead over Swanson for the end of the race. At the checkers, Birges was the winner overall and in the injected class with Swanson taking second in his inaugural Supemodifed run with Russell third and Regier fourth, one lap down. Kyle Vanderpool was the top finishing 360 two laps down in fifth overall, with Dan Vanderpool sixth and the last running car. Kinchen was deemed third in the 360 division by virtue of being only three laps down.

After the fiasco of the first Supermodified event at Madera in April when only two cars were left running after twenty-eight laps, this was a splendid show with great competition and some great driving. With the return of the S&S team at the next Super Saturday event in June and the possibility of additional teams from Idaho and Nevada as well as two or three additional 360’s scheduled to start running, the entertainment and competition level should increase even more. From the South Bank of the San Joaquin, I am now the Racing Widow’s Widower. Figure that one out folks.

Madera Speedway Vukovich Memoria, 5/48/10

BCRA Midgets
Qualifications: 1. 17 Chad Nichols, 14.096; 2. 1 Nick Foster, Jr., 14.454; 3. 15 David Prickett, 14.680; 4. 16 Scott Nail, 14.978; 5. 12 Dillon Silverman, 15.631
Dash: 1. Nichols; 2. Prickett; 3. Foster; 4. Nail..
Heat: 1. Foster; 2. Nichols; 3. Peickett; 4. Nail; 5. Silverman.
Feature: 1. Nichols; 2. Prickett; 3. Foster; 4. Nail; 5. Silverman.

360 Supermodifieds
Qualifications: 1.5 Kenny Kinchen, 13.204; 2. 17 Dan Vanderpool, 13.301; 3. 1 Kyle Vanderpool, 13.829; 4. 4 Larry Hinz, 14.174; 5. Lance Jaxkson, 14.644; 6. 07 Carl Johnson, N/T; 7. 29 Willie Northamer, N/T.
Dash: 1. Kinchen; 2. D. Vanderpool; 3. K. Vandrpool; 4. Hinz.
Heat: 1. D. Vanderpool; 2. Kinchen; 3. K. Vanderpool; 4. Jackson; 5. Hinz; 6. Johnson.

Injected Supermodifieds
Qualifications: 1.7 A.J. Russell, 12.473; 2 32 Jim Birges, 12.641; 3 72 Kody Swanson, 12.925; 4. 89 Troy Regier, 13.221; 5. 8 George Greenway, 13.301.
Dash: 1. Swanson; 2. Birges; 3. Russell; 4. Regier
Heat: 1. Birges; 2. Russell; 3. Regier
Combined Feature: 1. Birges; 2. Swanson; 3. Russell; 4. Regier; 5. K. Vanderpool*; 6. D. Vanderpool*; 7. Kinchen*; 8.Johnson*; 9. Jackson*; 10. Hinz;*; 11. Greenway; 12. Northamer*, DNS. * Denotes 360 Supermodified.