October Classic: For 28 years, the October Classic was the highlight of the season at the former Mesa Marin Raceway (CA) (1977 to 2005) on the eastside of Bakersfield. 2018, found the race returning to Kern County Raceway Park (CA) now on the westside of the oil town. This year’s edition will find the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series joined by the SPEARS Modified Series, and the Spears Manufacturing Pro Late Models presented by Sigma Performance Services. The 34th Annual “October Classic 134” will be the penultimate event of the 9-race SRL Super Late Model schedule and will take place on October 22nd, paying $7,500 to the winner. $2,500 will go to second with $1,750, $1,500, and $1,300 to the top-five. For those on the Spears Manufacturing Frequent Flyer Program, it will pay $1,200 to start. The Pro Late Models will compete for $2,500 in the “Salute to the Oil and Gas Industry 80”. The Modifieds will race for $2,000 in the “Visit Bakersfield 60”.
History: 22 October Classics were run under the Southwest Tour Series banner. Mike Chase and Derek Thorn hold the most victories during those years with three each. Other notable winners since Gary Manlow, who won in 1988, include Kevin Harvick (1998), Kurt Busch (1999), David Gilliland (2004, 2005), Rick Carelli (1992), M.K. Kanke (1997), Steve Portenga (1993), Eric Holmes (2002), and Auggie Vidovich (2000). The last four events have been at Kern County Raceway Park (KCRP), where Linny White has been the only driver to beat Derek Thorn (2019). A new event champion will be crowned this weekend.
Field: 23 Super Late Models are currently entered for the “34th Annual October Classic 134” representing six states. Teams from Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas are represented. Three drivers are scheduled to make their first starts of the season. Those drivers include John Dillon, Brandon Farrington, and Barrett Polhemus. There are five former SRL winners (Jacob Gomes, Buddy Shepherd, Dan Holtz, Jeremy Doss, and Blaine Rocha) on the entry. There are five Super Late Model Touring Series champions in the field. Those include John Dillon, Jacob Gomes, Chris Davidson, John Moore, and Jeremy Doss.
Championship Battle SLM: Jeremy Doss had closed the championship lead on Jacob Gomes to just 12 points, entering the last round at Irwindale Speedway (CA). But a season worst finish of sixth for Doss, gave Gomes a 32-point margin after his runner-up finish. The duo will renew their battle at the “October Classic 134”. In 2022, Gomes has first and third-place finishes at Kern, while Doss has come home fifth both times. Jace Hansen sits third, 159 points behind Doss. John Moore is fourth with Cale Kanke, Dustin Ash, Buddy Shepherd, Zach Telford, Scott Sanchez, and Trevor Huddleston the top-10. Blaine Rocha is only six points out of the top-10.
Rookie Battle SLM: Zach Telford holds a commanding lead in the Rookie-of-the-Year battle. Austin Herzog sits second in the standings followed by Dylan Zampa, Jake Bollman, and Sean Hingorani. Eight different rookies have scored points during the 2022 season. Telford, Herzog, Hingorani, Austin Thom, and Barrett Polhemus are entered as rookies this weekend.
Texas Two Step: The state of Texas will be represented by two teams this weekend. Veteran racer Chris Davidson will make the trip from Tayler Lake Village, TX, and teenager Barrett Polhemus will drive from Wimberley, TX to attend the October Classic. Davidson is a two-time Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series Champion at Five Flags Speedway (FL), as well as a two-time USRA Super Late Model Series Champion. Polhemus was the 2022 Tundra Series Rookie-of-the-Year, finishing eighth overall. He was third in the Jr Late Model Championship Standings at Madera Speedway in 2021.
Pro Late Models: 17 Spears Manufacturing Pro Late Models are currently entered for the “Salute to the Oil and Gas Industry 80”. Four series winners are entered including Sean Hingorani, Bradley Erickson, Seth Wise, and Dylan Zampa. Zampa leads the league with three 2022 victories, but Seth Wise leads the championship standings on the strength of one win, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Tyler Reif is second in the standings followed by Dylan Zampa, Tanner Reif, and Christian Bazen. The Sigma Performance Services Young Gun standings mirror the championship standings.
Spears Modified Series: 18 Spears Manufacturing Modifieds are entered for the “Visit Bakersfield 60”. Jaron Giannini leads the championship standings, after winning the season opening event at Havasu 95 Speedway (AZ). Jimmy Sloan sits second in the standings, 89 points out of the lead. Travis Thirkettle is another 17 points back, on the strength of five victories, after missing the season opener. Sam Jacks is fourth with William Guevara rounding out the top-five. Jaron Giannini, Jimmy Sloan, Kyle Jacks, Kevin Vossen and Ray Mros are the top-five in the Rookie-of-the-Year battle. Thirkettle has won both previous events at Kern County Raceway in 2022.
Double Duty: Sean Hingorani and Holly Clark will pull double duty this weekend. Hingorani will compete in both the Super Late Model and Pro Late Model events with Nascimento Motorsports. Clark will compete in her families Modified as well as the Naake-Klauer Motorsports maintained Pro Late Model.
Farrington Returns: Brandon Farrington finished seventh in the championship standing and third in the rookie battle in 2021. He has been racing on the dirt tracks of the Southwest in 2022, but he will make his return to the series in a Garcia Racing Super Late Model this weekend. KCRP has been one of his favorite tracks, but he will be looking for better luck this weekend after his 2021 results. He would love to return to the form he exhibited in the 2020 October Classic, where he finished fourth.
“I'm super excited”, Farrington exclaimed about his return to the series! “I've missed this so much, not being in the seat this year. From the time we get to the track, to the time we leave, the SRL hospitality is unmatched in my opinion. And they make it a great experience. Kern is one of my favorite tracks. I always felt like we had good speed when I raced there. My last race in a “Super” was there, and it didn't end well. I’m looking for some redemption from that last start there.”
Trick or Treat: The teams of the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour, SPEARS Manufacturing Pro Late Models presented by Sigma Performance Services, and the SPEARS Modified Series will bring candy for kids in attendance at the October Classic. Cars will be parked on the front stretch for an autograph session, as well as an opportunity to pick up some Halloween goodies from the drivers and teams.
Schedule: Spectator Gates officially open at 4:00pm, with Qualifying for the Spears Pro Late Model Series, the Spears Modified Series, and the Spear SRL Southwest Tour Series beginning at 4:20pm. The autograph and on-track trick or treat sessions begin at 5:20pm. Feature events are scheduled for 6:00pm. The LiUNA Feel the Power Fireworks display will follow the feature events.
Live Broadcast: The Low Budget TV cast will be at Kern County Raceway Park to provide LIVE coverage of all three divisions. The PPV broadcast can be found at www.SpearsRacing.TV. The event will be tape delayed on MAVTV at a time and date to be announced later.
Looking Ahead: The season finale for all three series will take place on November 12th at Irwindale Speedway. The “2022 Spears Southwest Tour Series Finale – Prelude to the Showdown 100” will be shown LIVE on MAVTV, and will feature one of the biggest, if not the biggest field of the 2022 season. Champions will be crowned in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series, Spears Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services, and the Spears Modified Series.
1. 11A Dustin Ash, Las Vegas, NV
2. 11D John Dillon, Eagle, ID
3. 11H Austin Herzog, Clovis, CA*
4. 12 Jim Wulfenstein, Pahrump, NV
5. 13 Sean Hingorani, Newport Coast, CA*
6. 14D Chris Davidson, Taylor Lake Village, TX
7. 16 Jacob Gomes, Manteca, CA
8. 22A Andy Allen, Garden Grove, CA
9. 22S Buddy Shepherd, Bakersfield, CA
10. 23 Dan Holtz, Pacific Palisades, CA
11. 24 Scott Sanchez, Bakersfield, CA
12. 25 Brandon Farrington, Tucson, AZ
13. 27 John Moore, Granite Bay, CA
14. 33 Cale Kanke, Frazier Park, CA
15. 37 Keith Spangler, Porter Ranch, CA
16. 44 Jeremy Doss, Upper Lake, CA
17. 54 Joe Farre’, Henderson, NV
18. 57 Zach Telford, Middleton, ID*
19. 79 Barrett Polhemus, Wimberley, TX*
20. 80 Andre Prescott, Mesa, AZ
21. 90 Ross Strmiska, Stockton, CA
22. 93 Austin Thom, Dundee, OR*
23. 98 Blaine Rocha, Oakdale, CA
* SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Rookie
Celebrating its twenty-second season in 2022, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the U.S. “The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series…Where the Champions Race”.
-SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Sal Sigala, Jr.