Sheldon Cooper celebrates winning at Madera Speedway. (Ethan Smith Photo)

Sheldon Cooper Shows The Way At Madera

MADERA, Calif. — Racing with the No. 80 in honor of his late friend Kellen Seavy, Shelden Cooper led all 80-laps for a thrilling triumph in the Madera Pro Late Model Series presented by Mission Foods on Saturday night at Madera Speedway.

Cooper outlasted multi-time champion Matt Erickson and last year’s champion Tyler Herzog for the round two victory.

Cooper set the quick-time then drew the pole position after the redraw. Erickson and last year’s 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model champion Vito Cancilla battled for second place behind Cooper.

The pair of champion drivers battled for the position multiple times throughout the first half before colliding on lap 45 in turn four, sending Cancilla for a spin for a caution flag.

Cooper picked the outside of Erickson on the restart, with both Herzog and Henry Barton then challenging Erickson for second. Cooper led Herzog, Erickson, Barton and Ryan Reynolds into the lap 50 break for adjustments.

Herzog attempted to grab the lead on the inside of Cooper on the restart. Erickson, Barton and Jason Aguirre raced in arm’s length of them as well for an exciting five-car lead pack.

A two-by-two formation developed with Cooper, Herzog, Barton and Erickson. Herzog and Erickson nearly collided on a few occasions but had give and take that allowed the race to stay green.

Erickson finally drove around the outside of Herzog for second to challenge Cooper for the lead with 12 laps to go. Erickson hounded the rear bumper of Cooper, then edged into the lead on lap 75 by just .040 seconds. Cooper fought back to lead lap 76 by .019 seconds. Cooper cleared Erickson and led the final three laps for the narrow win. Erickson finished second over Herzog, Barton and Joey Kennealy.

Other Results

Tristan Pena won his first career 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series race after a 70-lap grind between a field of drivers ages 10-16 years old. Jacob Ryan earned fast-time for the second consecutive race, then led opening night winner Cam Carraway at the start of the feature.
Madera Speedway’s inaugural INEX Legends track championship series kicked off with an intense 22-car, 30-lap main event. 2023 ARCA Menards Series West champion Sean Hingorani started on the pole and led the feature while Trey Daniels slipped backwards in the early laps. Two-time 2023 Legends race winner Jeremy Doss drove up to second from a seventh starting position when the first caution fell on lap 12.

The leaders were approaching lapped traffic on lap 21 when a significant crash for Colton Hale and Kyle Labrie slowed the action. Doss worked inside of Hingorani to take over the lead on lap 25. Anthony Esberg lost his hood to bring out the final caution flag with just two laps to go. Hingorani tried the outside, then took the lead on the inside of Doss in turn one on the white flag lap. Doss contacted Hingorani into the final set of corners, sending both cars careening into the wall.

Aidan Daniels drove underneath them to take the inaugural series victory, followed unofficially by Mike Doss, C.J. Dizney, Colton Page and Aidan’s older sister Kylie Daniels.

Kaine Betancourt won the INEX Bandolero feature followed by Andrew Williams.