Nichols wins feature at Madera, Bernal at Hanford

Chad Nichols of Colma won the featured Bay Cities Racing Association midget feature Saturday night at the Pombo/Sargent Classic at LoanMart Madera Speedway.

It was the season-opener for the 76-year-old BCRA and Nichols, the defending series season champion from Colma, picked up where he left off.

Cody Gerhardt of Madera was fast qualifier but unable to make the starting grid for the 30-lap feature, leaving 12 cars for the main event on the one-third mile paved oval. Seven finished on the lead lap.

In other feature highlights, Lance Tatro bested two others (Lance Jackson and AJ Russell) in the first 360 Super Modifieds race of the year, and Audra Sasseli won the NCMA Sprints race, leading Denny Burell as the only drivers in the nine-car field to finish all 30 laps.

In other Madera news, the Western Sprint Car Series has postponed its first race to the May 2 Vukovich Classic.

Bernal wins at Kings

Ryan Bernal of Hollister won the feature on the first night for the reopened and renamed Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford.

The three-eighths-mile clay oval, shuttered since last summer, is now under the direction of Plaza Park Raceway promoter Bubby Morse. Ron Vander Weerd, who’s no stranger to the track (his twin sons Richard and Jace race) is in charge of competition. Improvements include a new layer of clay on the racing surface, an infield in-race work area and new lighting.

Bernal led just the last two laps of the 30-lap USAC West Coast Sprint Cars feature. Danny Faria Jr. was second, followed by Jace Vander Weerd in a 20-car field. Bernal has won four of the year’s first seven races.

In the companion IMCA Western RaceSaver Sprint Series feature, Jesse Mack became the third winner in as many starts. Previous series main-event winners were Scott Meisner at Thunderbowl and Chris Ennis at Bakersfield.