MADERA, Calif. — Drew Crenshaw became the first front-wheel drive winner of the Olga’s California Dream 100 for Mini Stocks at Madera Speedway on Saturday night, overcoming an engine failure as he came to the checkered flag to get the $3,000 victory.
The race featured 45 Mini Stock entries from eight states and Canada dueling at the Central California one-third mile oval. Crenshaw continued the trend of Northwest drivers winning, now four-for-four in the Summer Classic.
“(After I went up in smoke) I hoped he wasn’t too close and I could coast the rest of the way,” Crenshaw said. “On lap 98 the whole right front started shaking so bad I couldn’t even turn into turn one. It means the world (to win). All the cars were pretty equal here. Next year, bring your car out and have a good time with us guys!”
23 entrants took the green flag with Mario Novelli unable to start from the pole position. The top 20 drivers who qualified directly into the show started fully inverted. Troy Palmer led the way ahead of Jeff Durant at the start. Durant then retired to the infield and his No. 3D car burst into flames. Safety crews were able to extinguish the blaze and the race stayed green.
Fifth-starting Kevin Thompson charged forward, taking the lead on lap 13. Gary Klinetobe followed him into second. Thompson led Klinetobe through lapped traffic. Klinetobe then dove underneath Thompson to lead lap 22 as the race’s third leader.
The green flag run ended when Brad Rhoades had a serious fire in turn one on lap 26. He emerged from the smoke uninjured. 2022 winner Brian Boman and Crenshaw had already advanced into the top-five by that stage of the event after starting 14th and 16th respectively.
Crenshaw made his presence known on the restart, rocketing to the lead by lap 30. Tyler Palmer spun and collected Dan Myrick and Josh Cross for a caution on lap 44. Boman drove into second on the restart. Crenshaw led Boman, Klinetobe, Lucas Oil Modified champion Jim Mardis and Vigil into the halfway break for adjustments.
Vigil came to life in the second half driving past Mardis and Klinetobe to take third. Vigil then ran down Boman on the backstretch to nab second with a bump and run.
The pace picked up with Vigil clicking off the main event’s best lap on lap 56. Don Trafford of Nampa, Idaho grabbed fourth past Mardis on lap 60. Klinetobe faltered with brakes issues, slipping to seventh before being lapped on lap 74.
Crenshaw answered back to the challenge of Vigil’s pace by accumulating a sizable lead before Vigil exited the race suddenly on lap 97 with mechanical woes. Coming to the white flag, Crenshaw himself went up in smoke. Crenshaw limped home to salvage an impressive 5.108 second win over Boman. Trafford, Dan Myrick of Clovis, and Klinetobe rounded out the top-five.
Mike Hensley held off Lunderdaddy Pro Late Model points leader Tyler Herzog to win the 40-lap Madera Late Model feature. Will Martyn finished in a career-best third.
Tyler Holden overcame contact to win the 25-lap Hobby Stock feature over former champions Manny Gonzales, Jr. and Steve Schermerhorn.
Joseph Holiday won his first career Mini Super Toyota feature, leading Tyler Ridley and Patrick Geiger at the checkered flag.