Escalon invader takes $10,000 Madera Speedway winner’s purse

Tyler Walker and crew in victory lane Saturday night at Thunderbowl Raceway.
Tyler Walker and crew in victory lane Saturday night at Thunderbowl Raceway. Courtesy King of the West sprint car series

Eric Holmes of Escalon took home the $10,000 winner’s purse and 15-year-old Buddy Shepherd of Bakersfield clinched the season championship Saturday night in Madera Speedway’s premier Late Model Stocks class.

Holmes, a three-time K&N Pro Series champion, took his first lead on a lap 86 restart and went on to win the 125-lap Short Track Shootout. Holmes was back on the third-mile paved oval for the first time since winning last year’s $10,000 race.

Trevor Huddleston, a Southern Californian who was featured in 2011 on Disney XD’s “My Life,” Matt Erickson, Bryan Herzog and Rick Thompson rounded out the top five in a 26-car field.

Shepherd finished sixth to wrap up the season championship over Herzog by 19 points, 316-297.

Other feature winners were Kyle Tellstrom (Lucas Oil Modifieds), Josh Whitfield (Hobby Stocks) and Tyler Herzog (MST) and Tim Curtis (Toyota Sedans.

Walker, Vander Weerd win at Thunderbowl

]Former NASCAR national series driver Tyler Walker of Los Angeles and Jace Vander Weerd of Visalia won sprint car feature races Saturday night at Tulare’s Thunderbowl Raceway.

Walker won the 30-lap King of the West race. Carson Macedo, the 19-year-old from Lemoore, finished second in the Easton-based Tarlton & Son car to take the series points lead with two races left in the season. Macedo passed previous points leader Bud Kaeding of Campbell midrace and held off Sprint Car Hall of Fame member Jac Haudenschild to the finish. Haudenschild was making his season debut in a Fresno-based Roth Motorsports car.

Kaeding was running third in the Oakhurst-based Williams Motorsports car when a collision with a lapped car sent him spinning. He rallied to finish 13th.

Walker has 16 career victories in the series for cars powered by 410-cubic-inch engines, trailing only Brent Kaeding, Tim Kaeding, Jonathan Allard and Fresno’s Steve Kent.

Other central San Joaquin Valley finishers were Dominic Scelzi of Fresno fifth, Fresno’s Cory Eliason seventh, Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto 10th, Fresno’s Craig Stidham 11th, Roth driver Kyle Hirst 17th, Riverdale’s Landon Hurst 19th, Fresno’s Koen Shaw 20th and Hanford’s DJ Netto 22nd.

The next King of the West race is the 30th annual Cotton Classic at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, but most of the drivers who competed Saturday will be in a nearly 100-driver lineup for the 22nd annual, $160,000 Trophy Cup on Oct. 15-17 at Thunderbowl.

Vander Weerd took the lead on lap 2 and led the rest of the 30-lap U.S. Auto Club West Coast Sprint Cars feature, his second straight win in the series. D.J. Johnson, Bud Kaeding, Ryan Bernal and Richard Vander Weerd rounded out the top five. Fast-time qualifier Danny Faria Jr. finished 16th, allowing the Vander Weerds (Richard second and Jace third) to cut into his season points lead. The series is off until the Western World Championships Nov. 19-21 in Tucson, Ariz.

Monty Ferreira won the Western RaceSaver Sprints feature.

Battle for the Milk Can

Jason Meyers of Clovis won Friday’s King of Kings season finale in Hanford, beating Hirst and Macedo. Faccinto clinched the Battle for the Milk Can season championship over Netto by four points, 590-586.

Brad Pounds (IMCA Modifieds) and Nick Spainhourard (IMCA Sport Modifieds) also won Milk Can championships.