Vito Cancilla and Cam Carraway Win Big During Madera Speedfest

Two young drivers made statement victories in a thrilling season opener for Madera Speedway, with 12-year-old Vito Cancilla becoming the youngest winner in the history of the Pro Late Model Series while 13-year-old Cam Carraway earned a coveted breakthrough win in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series. The wins came before a healthy crowd at the fastest one-third mile in the west.
 
Cancilla, the 2023 Jr. Late Model champ, earned the $5,000 victory after sliding around the outside of his teammate Eric Nascimento in the closing stages of a grueling 100-lap grind. Both Cancilla and Carraway race for the Nascimento Motorsports team.
 
“Honestly I was just hoping I could stick up front, Cancilla said. “It was a blast. I just thought the outside was faster when they were reading my lap times. It says a lot (about Nascimento Motorsports) with Cam winning and now I’m here in the winner’s circle.”
 
2022 SpeedFest winner Matt Erickson of La Grange topped time trials for the 20 Madera Pro Late Models presented by Mission Foods in attendance. Erickson paced the field throughout the opening half of the event. An engine failure ended his night up in smoke on lap 44, allowing 17-year-old Henry Barton of San Francisco to take over the top position.
 
The race went into its halfway break six laps early with the Nascimento Motorsports entries of Barton, Cancilla, and Nascimento running first through third. A physical battle for fourth between 2023 champion Tyler Herzog of Fresno and Blaine Rocha of Oakdale raged behind them.
 
Struggling with transmission issues, Nascimento chose the outside line during each of the the new choose cone restarts, during a race filled with spins and incidents. Barton held his veteran teammate at bay during most attempts.
 
Nascimento finally used a restart to seize the lead on laps 58 and 59, before Barton fought back on the bottom to lead lap 60. Nascimento cleared Barton to retake the spot for lap 61. A caution on lap 64 gave Barton a shot to battle back to the first position on lap 66, sliding up the track which allowed Cancilla to take over second as well.
 
Cancilla and Nascimento then traded the second position in an outstanding side-by-side race, allowing Barton to stretch his lead to over three seconds. The fairytale ended with just three to go when Barton ran out of fuel and brought out a caution flag.
 
Cancilla assumed the second position and made the bold decision to take the outside line. It paid off, as the rookie swept past Nascimento to claim one of the youngest Pro Late Model victories in the country. Nascimento was jockeyed out of the podium with Rocha and Herzog driving into second and third. Nascimento and the 18th-starting Ryan Reynolds rounded out the top-five.
 
Cam Carraway also used a move on the outside groove to win in the season opener for the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series. The fresh crop of drivers ages 10-16 years old featured no previous winners in the series with a 70-lap race ahead of them.
 
Manteca’s Jace Hale jumped ahead of Naches, Washington’s Jordan Mullins at the green flag. Carraway advanced from his fifth starting position up into second, following Hale into the halfway break at lap 40. Clovis’ Skyler Schoppe, Mullins, and 11-year-old Eli Black of Santa Rosa were the top-five at the break.
 
After MAVTV interviews and adjustments, Carraway made his move. He took the lead on the outside and led lap 41. Hale ran in lockstep with Carraway until a caution flew for Black and Schoppe colliding in turn three. On the restart, Hale attempted to knife to the bottom behind Carraway. He collided with Mullins for a spin that required the caution flag.
 
Hale’s attempt to drive back through the field was halted when he collided with Black for a spin a few laps later. That incident set up a three lap shootout, with Carraway holding court for his first career win. Rathrum, Idaho’s Rowdy Rupinski overcame being down a lap in the first half to finish second in his series debut. Fast-time qualifier Jacob Ryan of Livermore finished third followed by Hale and Schoppe.
 
Patrick Geiger seized the lead on lap 23 to take the Mini Super Toyota 30-lap feature. Kyle Labrie, Tyler Ridley, Shay Gouldy, and Marty Baker rounded out the top-five finishers.
 
2023 INEX Bandolero champion Kaine Betancourt backed up his performances by dominating the 2024 season opener. Andrew Williams and Kellen Keller finished second and third.
 
Madera Speedway races next on March 23 with CLUB RACE #1 – the Smokey Hanoian Classic! Madera Late Models, Pro Sportsman, MST/Toyota Sedans, Jr Late Model Exhibition race, Madera Mini Stocks, and Legends of Kearney Bowl will be competing.
 
For more information about the Madera Speedway including how to advertise with a race team on MAVTV please visit www.racemadera.com or call the race office at 209-356-1968.
 
The 2024 season would not be possible without the support of Lunkerdaddy Fishing Lures, 51FIFTY LTM, Mission Foods, 805 Beer, Race 2B Drug Free, Competition Carburetion, Hoosier Tires, and Sunoco Race Fuel.
 
Madera Racing on MAVTV airs Monday nights in primetime. Check www.MAVTV.com for program listings.

Madera Racing PR