Crone wins second Madera feature in a row

By Kevin Triplett BCRA Midget Division Media Director

The mighty midgets of the Bay Cities Racing Association were the stars of the show at the 2017 edition of the Vukovich Classic at a chilly Madera Speedway on Saturday May 6, as the “young guns” Courtney Crone, Davey Hamilton Junior and Maria Cofer battled against veterans Chad Nichols, David Goodwill, Floyd Alvis and JR Williams.

After she laid a succession of fast laps in the finale practice session, Courtney Crone in the Jerome Rodela’s Toyota-powered Gerhardt chassis was edged by 11/100 of second for quick time by Chad Nichols in the Shanoian Esslinger powered machine to claim the special quick time award provided by the Residence Inn in Pleasanton California. Goodwill was the third quickest qualifier in his Beast/Mopar ahead of Davey “”DJ” Hamilton in the Bob Rosen Mr. Espresso Fontana powered Beast. Both Maria Cofer and JR Williams encountered problems at did not post times.

Floyd Alvis led the field for the 8-lap heat race but DJ Hamilton the outside front row starter outdragged Alvis into the first turn with Crone, Nichols and Cofer in hot pursuit. As the field entered turn one on lap three, Crone executed a nifty inside move to grab the lead from Hamilton. In the last laps, Nichols pressured Hamilton at both ends of the race trace, and the pair crossed the finish line side by side, with Hamilton prevailing for second place.

On the redraw for the lineup of the 30-lap feature, fast qualifier Chad Nichols pulled a miraculous “0” pill to start on the pole with Courtney Crone alongside. At the first sign of the green flag, Nichols bolted into the lead ahead of Crone, Hamilton, Goodwill and Cofer the top five cars. Nichols appeared in control of the pace of the race, at time holding a three-car advantage over Crone as the leaders wove their way through lapped traffic with Hamilton a straightaway behind.

As Nichols powered the orange #17N machine into turn three on the 22nd lap, the car suddenly veered to the right out of the groove, glanced off the wall and came to a stop at the exit of turn four. A disappointed Nichols emerged uninjured and explained that the throttle hung open momentarily, and then unstuck, but too late to avoid wall contact.

After Nichols’ disabled car was towed into the infield, the race restarted with Courtney Crone in the lead and she ran a flawless final eight laps to claim her first Vukovich Classic win and her second straight BCRA Madera feature win. DJ Hamilton finished second, with David Goodwill third trailed by Maria Cofer fourth, JR Williams fifth and Alvis in sixth place.

The BCRA cars and stars return to action on May 20 on the ¼-mile paved Ukiah Speedway on the grounds of the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds along with BCRA’s Vintage Midget Division and the track’s contingent of limited modifieds, bombers, legends cars, jammers, and Bandoleros. Qualifying is scheduled for 5 PM with racing starting at 6 PM.



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