MADERA, CA – Withstanding challenges from 2019 Southwest Tour champion Cole Moore over a series of late race restarts, two-time Nut Up Pro Late Model champion Buddy Shepherd won Saturday’s Madera Speedway MAVTV season opener. The Bakersfield driver started on the outside pole position, took over the lead on lap 26, then never relinquished it in the 80-lap contest.

Saturday’s televised season opener was likely the latest in track history, originally scheduled for March 14th before COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders shut down the sport throughout California.

Tracy’s Jeff Bischofberger made his return to racing after a 16-month hiatus and drew the pole, leading the opening lap over the 26-car field. Lapped traffic became a factor on lap 14, with Shepherd and Moore in hot pursuit of Bischofberger.

Blaine Rocha got hung out on the outside and fell to 14th, behind fast-time qualifier Racin Vernon of Bakersfield who was mired in 13th as well.

Shepherd looked inside Bischofberger for the lead on lap 25 and nabbed the top spot on lap 26. A caution on lap 28 allowed Moore to take over second from Bischofberger. Bischofberger managed to slide into third ahead of Ross Strmiska.

2007 Altamont champion Ryan Philpott of Tracy challenged Galt’s Matt Wendt for fifth for several laps, with several cars lining up behind them. 2019 season opening winner Dylan Zampa was one of them, with Zampa getting shuffled to the end of the line in the intense jockeying.

Moore clamped down on Shepherd on lap 48 but could not manage to get around him for the lead before the break on lap 50 for adjustments and MAVTV interviews.

Shepherd emerged from the break with Moore closely in tow. Moore had a tremendous shot underneath Shepherd on lap 62 entering turn one but was unable to complete the maneuver. Moore pulled up alongside Shepherd in a drag race for the lead on lap 73, but the move was nullified by a caution.

The caution was for an incident in turn two which ended Dylan Zampa’s evening while also involving Wendt and Tim Skoglund. On the restart, Logan Zampa suffered a blown engine which resulted in a lengthy cleanup in turn one.

Moore seized the chance to challenge Shepherd and nearly ran up alongside him on several occasions. Shepherd persevered for a .239 second victory ahead of Moore, Strmiska, Bischofberger, and a nice comeback from Blaine Rocha.

“The cautions helped us a lot,” Shepherd said. “I want to thank (Cole Moore) for running us clean there at the end.”
“We’ve been racing for years and we always race hard and clean,” Moore said. “The cautions went in his favor. I knew if we made contact there was a 50-50 chance that we’d both wreck and that’s not how I roll.”

For information about Madera Speedway, visit The 2020 season would not be possible without the support of Nut Up Industries, 51FIFTY LTM, Race 2B Drug Free, Competition Carburetion, Hoosier Tires, and Sunoco Race Fuel.

Madera Speedway Press Release

Photo courtesy of Jason Wedehase

Qualifying Results

1) 51V Racin Vernon 15.209
2) 81 Buddy Shepherd 15.365
3) 1 Matthew Wendt 15.379
4) 35J Jeff Bischofberger 15.388
5) 90S Ross Strmiska 15.406
6) 98R Blaine Rocha 15.458
7) 52 Ryan Phillpott 15.465
8) 92Z Dylan Zampa 15.508
9) 20 Cole Moore 15.487
10) 92L Logan Zampa 15.508
11) 16M Michael Mitchell 15.547
12) 11H Austin Herzog 15.561
13) 42 Matt Erickson 15.562
14) 88L Joey Iest 15.569
15) 27 John Moore 15.603
16) 9 Tim Skoglund 15.713
17) 12J Jay Juleson 15.713
18) 24 Mike Weimann 15.791
19) 6 Mike Beeler 15.802
20) 16 Jacob Gomes 15.805
21) 36 Parker Malone 15.858
22) 89 Shelden Cooper 15.888
23) 98 Glen Cook 15.889
24) 2 Hans Beeler 16.008
25) 77 Rick Thompson 16.117
26) 40 John McCullum Jr. 16.269

Feature Results

1) 81 Buddy Shepherd
2) 20 Cole Moore
3) 90 S Ross Strmiska
4) 35J Jeff Bischofberger
5) 98R Blaine Rocha
6) 52 Ryan Phillpott
7) 51V Racin Vernon
8) 88L Joey Iest
9) 42 Matt Erickson
10) 36 Parker Malone
11) 11H Austin Herzog
12) 9 Tim Skoglund
13) 89 Shelden Cooper
14) 40 John McCullum Jr
15) 12 J Jay Juleson
16) 2 Hans Beeler
17) 6 Mike Beeler
18) 27 John Moore
19) 92L Logan Zampa
20) 16M Michael Mitchell
21) 92Z Dylan Zampa
22) 1 Matthew Wendt
23) 77 Rick Thompson
24) 98 Glen Cook
25) 24 Mike Weimann
26) 16 Jacob Gomes


Four Weeks Four Different Super Late Model Winners at WIR


Jeff Taylor leads Flag to Flag at Oxford Plains Speedway