MADER SWEEPS WEEKEND WITH MOBILE WIN By Steven Neely
Track Champion Bradberry Remembered
After a wild Friday night in Pensacola, most teams were hoping for a race that was a little calmer and more predictable at Mobile International Speedway.
Calmer? Yes. Predictable? Not a bit.
Dave Mader III scored back-to-back wins for the weekend with a last-lap pass on Jay Middleton that had the fans on their feet cheering for more.
Middleton dominated the race with Mader in tow, leading more than 80 laps before a series of late race cautions set up a green-white-checkered finish. It was then that Mader saw an opportunity to pass on the backstretch, ducking below Middleton to get the low line into turn three. Both cars made contact and slid sideways the entire way around turns three and four before drag racing to the flag.
Mader got to the checkers first, just by a tiny margin over Middleton.
Dave Mader made it a weekend sweep of Super Late Model events this weekend. (51 Photos)
“Well, I worked him and worked him and worked him there for 50 laps and finally got far enough on him to stay,” said Mader. “We kind of got out of shape a little bit. That stuff happens. We’re running for the win and it’s the last lap. That’s the way it goes.”
Middleton was exasperated by Mader’s move.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Middleton. “I had a dominant car all night long and just expected something better out of Mader than to, on the last lap, jack me up and carry me sideways down the straightaway and dump me off in the next corner. He’s a good guy, a good racer, and you don’t expect that from him. At least he let me correct it.”
It was a tough night for polesitter Ryan Crane, but he had the best view of the final lap battle, finishing third.
“I almost did it at the end. My car was so bad though that I couldn’t get up there to get under them. I was trying hard though.”
Crane grabbed the lead on lap 14 and fended off challenges from Middleton and Mader before the three settled down and distanced themselves from the field. Only a few laps later, however, Crane ran into problems.
“I guess I had problems with my car. The sway bar ended up coming loose and we finally found out after that one pit stop and checked it,” said Crane. “We tightened it back up, and it was loose again after the race. The 74 (Middleton) didn’t get into me, I just got loose coming up off and lost it. Come to find out it’s the car’s fault, not mine.”
Middleton inherited the lead and kept it until Mader passed on the final lap. For Mader, having momentum now is important leading to one of the biggest races of the season, the Snowball Derby.
“We’ve been working all year for the Derby, and naturally you want to do good in your test races, and all of these are test races for us,” said Mader. “The races here at Mobile Speedway weren’t something we were going to do, but I talked them into doing the first one because we had a 23-degree motor and we knew we were down pretty good on horsepower and we said let’s go see what happens. We were running second and Charlie Bradberry had a flat and we ended up winning the race.”
The untimely death of Bradberry, the recently-crowned Mobile International Speedway champion, weighed heavy on a lot of drivers’ hearts, including Mader.
“I want to dedicate this weekend to Charlie Bradberry, a dear friend of ours, and we won both of them this weekend and they’re both for Charlie.”
Like Pensacola the previous night, speedway officials lined up the drivers for a moment of silence, lowered the flag to half staff, and honored Bradberry by running the “missing man” formation on initial pace lap.
Jason Hogan ran a special hood commemorating his friend and fellow racer.
“The first race here this year I watched Charlie dominate that race, and I said ‘you know what? I want to get a car ready and try to beat Charlie.’ He was the man here,” said
Jason Hogan had a memorial to Charlie on his hood at Mobile.
Hogan. “It’s been tough being at the racetrack today and not see that 78 car here at the track or not seeing Charlie running around grinning at you.”
Jay Middleton led most of the race at Mobile, but couldn't win the race.