Kyle Keller Prevails in the Short Track Shootout for $10K Win and 2022 Championship

Las Vegas’ Kyle Keller avoided a late-race melee to prevail in both the 2022 Short Track Shootout for $10,000 to win and the Lunkerdaddy Pro Late Model championship at Madera Speedway on Saturday night. Keller becomes only the second back-to-back Short Track Shootout winner in the ten editions of the October special. He also joins Buddy Shepherd in 2017 as drivers to claim a championship and the Shootout win in the same year.
Keller avoided an incident between 2021 champion Jadan Walbridge of Vancouver, Wash. and Ukiah’s Cole Brown as the field raced to the white flag. It ended the race prematurely with a yellow-checkered flag.
“Feels really really good. It was a hard-fought battle with Jadan. I have major respect for that kid. It sucks for what happened to him. I knew to stay to in third. I knew something was going to go on there with two go,” Keller said. “It means a lot for us as a family team. We’re still family team in the heart. This was really huge and hopefully we can come back next year and go three in a row.”
Walbridge and Keller entered the lucrative finale tied in the championship. Napa’s Dylan Zampa led time trials over Walbridge and Keller, giving Walbridge a one-point advantage entering the 150-lap feature. Third in points Jacob Smith of Eagle, Idaho won the 30-lap B-Main for $1,000-to-win. It narrowed the 33-car turnout to 26-starters for the feature.
Keller drove around the outside of Brown for the lead at the start of the feature. Keller repeatedly opted for the outside line through the early restarts. Walbridge also got the outside line working in his favor when he passed Brown for second on lap 18.
Aidan Daniels of Fort Bragg crashed hard into the turn one gate for a caution on lap 24. Tyler Herzog drove inside of Brown for third on the restart while Walbridge challenged inside of Keller for the lead. Walbridge took over the top spot on lap 32.
Carlos Vieira of Livingston, in his retirement race, drove from 18th to ninth by lap 40. Robbie Kennealy of Madera slipped outside of the top-ten during the green flag run. Kennealy then collided with Washington’s Kasey Kleyn for a caution on lap 52 in turn one.
Shelden Cooper spun in a chain reaction incident in turn four on the restart, collecting Bakersfield’s Kercie Jung and Santa Clara’s Pete Soto with heavy damage.
Keller tried to edge inside Walbridge while Zampa entered the picture from third. Zampa slid backwards late in the opening 100-lap segment with brake issues. Walbridge led Keller, Zampa, Herzog, and Brown at the break for adjustments and MAVTV interviews.
Ethan Nascimento of Manteca collided with Herzog into turn three on lap 107, dropping both drivers to the rear of the field from potential top-five finishes. Walbridge brought Brown with him on the outside line on the restart. Brown nearly took second place but Keller continually fought back on the bottom.
With four laps to go, Brown drove up to second and the rear bumper of Walbridge as they lapped Soto. Brown and Walbridge made contact in turn four coming to two to go, but Walbridge held the lead after getting sideways.
Coming the white flag, Brown slid up the track underneath Walbridge. The pair slammed doors and Walbridge slammed the wall. Brown spun around backwards into the front stretch wall to require a yellow-checkered flag finish on lap 149. Keller avoided the heart-breaking incident for Walbridge to take his second consecutive Short Track Shootout and the Lunkerdaddy Pro Late Model Championship in a $15,000 total haul for the night. Zampa finished second while Jacob Smith charged through the pack to score third from 17th. Eric Nascimento finished fourth after starting 21st while Vieira earned a top-five finish in his final scheduled start.
Robbie Kennealy won his third-career 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model feature in the 70-lap season finale and Ethan Nascimento won the tie-breaker with Kennealy to become the 2022 champion in a wild night for the young drivers.
Nascimento drove into the lead on the opening lap. Fort Bragg’s Lane Anderson and Loomis’ Kenna Mitchell crashed hard on the backstretch to end both driver’s evenings on lap three. Two-by-two racing developed for the lead with Kennealy taking over the position on lap seven. Nascimento drove to his inside on lap 10 to retake the lead, then cleared Kennealy on lap 11.
Hobby Stock champion Hailey Bugg spun in her debut event on lap 28. The spin put the leaders in close quarters. Washington’s Kasey Kleyn tagged the back of Nascimento in turn four, spinning him from the position. Kennealy avoided the incident to retake the lead and was currently the points leader at that stage, with Nascimento restarting seventh.
Kennealy battled with younger brother Joey Kennealy briefly for the lead. Nascimento stormed through the pack then collided with 11-year-old Vito Cancilla of Martinez while battling into the top-five. Both drivers had to restart at the tail of the lead lap. Cancilla and Bakersfield’s Caden Cordova suffered a collision on the following restart. Kleyn collided with Nascimento again on lap 65, relegating Kleyn to the infield and Nascimento back out of the championship lead yet again.
Nascimento’s attempt to drive through the field was halted by a spin with Bugg on lap 68. With just two laps remaining, Nascimento would need to drive from the back to fourth position to hold the championship. Robbie Kennealy held the lead for his second win of the year and Nascimento managed to claim fourth, wrapping up a tie in the standings. Nascimento’s four wins gave him the edge over Kennealy, clinching the series title. Joey Kennealy wrapped up a Kennealy family 1-2 finish in the race with Cancilla earning a career-best third.
Clovis’ Skyler Schoppe won the INEX Bandolero feature while Las Vegas’ Kellen Keller used a second-place finish to wrap up the championship. Combined with Kennealy’s win and Kyle Keller’s championship, the Kyle Keller Racing team enjoyed success in all three events on Saturday night. Andrew Williams of Madera finished third.
Madera Speedway will host Truck and Tractor Pull Nationals, plus a post event concert, on October 21st and 22nd. The 15th Annual Pumpkin Smash 200 lap Enduro is October 29th. The event also features the Pumpkin Cup Open Late Model 100 lap MAVTV televised race, Challenge Cup 75 laps, the Open Super Stock 75 lap race, a Trick or Treat thru the Pits and on Track PUMPKIN SMASH for the KIDS!

For more information about the Madera Speedway including how to advertise with a race team on MAVTV please visit or call the race office at 209-356-1968.

The 2022 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 at 3:00pm Pacific and 6:00pm Eastern.
March 5 – $5,000-to-win
April 2
April 30
May 21 – Military Tribute Night
June 25 – Reverend Ron Spencer Red, White Blue Classic
July 30 – $5,000-to-win Summer SpeedFest
August 27
September 17
October 15 – $10,000-to-win Short Track Shootout
October 29 – Pumpkin Cup Open (Non-Points)

Madera Speedway PR