Shelden Cooper Holds off Matt Erickson for Coveted Round Two Win at Madera

Racing with the No. 80 in honor of his late friend Kellen Seavy, Shelden Cooper of Clovis, Calif. 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. The MAVTV-televised feature saw Cooper outlast multi-time champion Matt Erickson of La Grange and 2023 champion Tyler Herzog for the round two victory of 2024.

Cooper set the quick-time then drew the pole position after the redraw. Erickson and 2023 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 San Francisco’s Henry Barton then challenging Erickson for second. Cooper led Herzog, Erickson, Barton, and Ryan Reynolds of Coarsegold into the lap 50 break for adjustments and MAVTV interviews.

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 Madera’s Joey Kennealy.

San Antonio, Texas’ 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. Livermore’s Jacob Ryan earned fast-time for the second consecutive race, then led opening night winner Cam Carraway at the start of the feature.

Pena advanced from third to challenge for the lead. The race was slowed by several caution flags with many of the drivers outside of the top-four having at least one or two incidents.

Carraway charged back into the mix, taking the lead on the outside on lap 11. Pena went outside of Carraway on a lap 22 restart, leading laps 22 and 23 before Carraway held court by lap 24. Pena got another chance when the caution flew on lap 31, this time making the outside move count by taking the lead on lap 33.

Carraway then spun from second place two laps later in turn three. Pena led Jace Hale, Skyler Schoppe, Jordan Mullins, and Rowdy Rupinski into the lap 40 break.

Pena persevered through a few late race restarts to prevail for his first career series victory. Hale finished second followed by a resurgent Carraway, Schoppe, and Ryan.

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 Fort Bragg’s Trey Daniels slipped backwards in the early laps. Two-time 2023 Legends race winner Jeremy Doss of Upperlake 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.

Fort Bragg’s Aidan Daniels drove underneath them to take the inaugural series victory, followed unofficially by Mike Doss, Madera’s CJ Dizney, Bakersfield’s Colton Page, and Aidan’s older sister Kylie Daniels.

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

The season continues to heat up for Madera Speedway on Saturday night April 13 with the $5,000 to win, MAVTV-televised, Hoosier Hammertime 100 for the inaugural Madera Super Late Model Series. Madera Late Models, Pro Sportsman Mini Super Toyotas, Mini Stocks, Legends of Kearney Bowl, and BCRA Vintage Midgets will also be on the busy card. Meet me at Madera!

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 51FIFTY LTM, Mission Foods, 805 Beer, Race 2B Drug Free, Competition Carburetion, Hoosier Tires, Franks Radio, Sunoco Race Fuel, and Sealmaster.

Madera Racing on MAVTV airs Monday nights in primetime. Check www.MAVTV.com for program listings.

Madera Racing PR