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Jones Doubles Up, Completes Winter Meltdown Sweep; Hulsey Goes Worst To First

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April 10, 2021  |  by Chris Stepan

The second night of the return of the Winter Meltdown was held at the Vado Speedway Park in Vado, NM on Saturday, April 10th with a stout field of competitors in each of the four divisions in action.

After qualifying races were complete, the INEX Legend main event was the first to take the track with a pair of 2021 feature winners in Josh Jackson and Aydan Saunders sharing the front row. The fast duo jumped out into the top two spots early with Eli Woody and Eric LaCroix giving chase. As Saunders and Jackson swapped the top spot multiple times over the first handful of laps, all eyes were on 18th starting CJ Hulsey, who did not finish his heat race and was forced to start at the tail of the starting lineup in his #77. Hulsey made quick work of the back of the field and appeared in the top ten on lap five, then continued his run toward the front and raced into the top five before the mid-point of the race. A late caution bunched the field and allowed Hulsey to take off from his second row starting spot on the restart and slip by both Saunders and Jackson into the lead and drive off to the improbably victory from the last starting spot. Hulsey won the posted $250 plus a $250 bonus courtesy of Automotive Assistance and Towing, making his worst-to-first run worth $500. Jackson held off Saunders for second, while LaCroix and Woody rounded out the top five.

The USRA B-Mods were up next with a pair of veteran racers sharing row one. Sherman Barnett and Dickie Gorham lead the field to the green and Barnett quickly slid into the top spot, while Mike Rosales and Greg Gorham applied pressure. A great four car battle ensued over the first few laps until 8th starting Jake Gallardo rolled around the outside and stole the lead and began to drive off from the field. Fito Gallardo, who started 7th, worked his way into the top three early as well and tried to chase down Jake out front, but Jake was just too strong, outlasting the field and racing to his second straight B-Mod victory. Fito ran second with Rosales crossing the line in third ahead of 9th starting Rob Moseley and Greg Gorham.

Shane McNutt led the USRA Stock Car feature field to green from his pole position and took command on the opening lap until 3rd starting Jason Josselyn slipped by into top spot in the early laps of the scheduled 20-lap event. Once Josselyn got out front he used the bottom groove to perfection and held the lead for the majority of the caution-plagued event. Bryan Bennett, Cameron Martin and Gary Kerr Jr applied early pressure but Josselyn was up to the task out front. The time limit was reached after a lengthy event, so the event was shortened to a green-white-checkered situation on lap 14, but the field didn’t even make it back to the white flag as Martin and Josselyn made heavy contact in turn three, sending the field scattering and ending the race. The race was deemed official on the last complete lap, which gave the victory to Josselyn. Bennett was credited with second, followed by Kerr Jr, 13th starting Justin Thornton and 11th starting Fred Gibson.

The final event of the night saw brothers Nathan and Mark Smith lead the USRA Modified field to the green in their 35-lap, $3,000 to win Winter Meltdown finale. Mark Smith jumped to the lead early, while 4th starting Bumper Jones, who was looking to sweep the weekend, quickly raced to the inside of Nathan Smith into the second spot and began to pressure Mark Smith for the lead. Jones, Austin Adams and Fito Gallardo were all in the top five at the onset of the event, but Jones was a man on a mission and worked to the outside of Mark Smith into the lead and never looked back once he took command of the top spot. The track was lightning fast and Jones was masterful in lapped traffic, negotiating the slower cars while 6th starting Johnny Scott raced his way into the runner up spot before the mid-point of the race and tried to stay withing striking distance of Jones out front. Jones and Scott ran one-two for the remainder of the race with Gallardo third, Smith fourth and Royal Jones fifth when a lap 30 caution flew bunching up the field for a five-lap dash to the checkered. On the restart, Jones was on the gas early and kept Scott at bay to complete the $5,000 weekend sweep while Royal Jones slid under Gallardo to take the third position, which he held to the checkered. Gallardo crossed the line fourth just ahead of 14th starting Carlos Ahumada Jr, who came home fifth.

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The Vado Speedway Park will be back in action this Saturday, April 17th with the track’s Hot City Nights promotion returning, meaning just $5 grandstand admission for residents of Las Cruces, Fairacres Mesilla Park, Tortugas and Dona Ana with a valid id. The night’s racing program will feature 305 Winged Sprint Cars, Late Models, USRA Modifieds, USRA B-Mods and INEX Legends in competition. Gates open at 5pm with racing starting at 7:30.

For fans not able to attend in person, all events held during the 2021 season at the Vado Speedway Park will also be live streamed online by PayPerView at WatchFYE.tv.

For upcoming schedule information and tickets, visit VadoSpeedwayPark.com.