Bakersfield, CA - Two-time Mesa Marin Super Late Model track champion Dan Holtz has been fast over the last several seasons, but victory has eluded him in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series, in most part due to poor racing luck. The driver from Pacific Palisades, CA will seek to put an end to his hard-luck streak on March 25th in the “8thAnnual Winter Showdown 135” at Kern County Raceway Park (CA). A second series victory, for the veteran racer, would be a popular result for the Bakersfield fans, while worth $10,000 for Holtz and his team.
The return to Bakersfield, at the end of March, is always something Holtz looks forward to on his schedule. The now defunct Mesa Marin Raceway (CA) was Holtz’s hometrack, on the eastside of the oil town. It was where he got the nickname, “Hollywood”, from former track announcer Larry Naston. It was the site of his only NASCAR Southwest Tour Series victory, grabbing the win and setting Fast Time in March of 2003, in the “Star Nursery 200”. He beat a 34-car entry that day, coming home less than a second ahead of Auggie Vidovich, after watching Craig Raudman, Doug McCoun, and Eddie McKean take their turn at the front of the field. He was at the final event for the ½-mile speedway in 2005, leading 107 laps that day in the “October Classic”. But an accident ended what could have been a story book Southwest Tour tale, for the veteran racer.
Holtz has one victory in the Spears Southwest Tour Series, at Tucson Speedway (AZ) in 2016. He was a winner of the “Fall Classic” for Super Late Models in 2021, at the Bullring at LVMS, but luck has not been on his side since. At the 2023 “All-Star Showdown 200”, Holtz was running second, but ran out of fuel with three laps to go. In May of 2022, Holtz was the victim of another competitors’ mechanical issues on a restart, ending a top-10 run at Irwindale. The next event at Kern found Holtz qualifying fourth, but brake issues ended his night early. He then rolled into Irwindale in September, where Holtz crossed the finish line second. But a weight miscalculation found his team credited with a last-place finish. He returned to Kern for the “October Classic”, finishing sixth, but the season finale at Irwindale only served up more trouble, with an accident in Turn #1, ending his night on lap 18.
His “Winter Showdown” results have been frustrating as well, finishing outside the top-25 in three of his five appearances. He has finished only one event, but he came home eighth in 2022. But the Bakersfield ½-mile still holds a special place in the “Ironman’s” heart, after so many wins and successes over the years in a town he feels a kinship to.
“I've been so fortunate to have so many victories in Bakersfield over the years, so I certainly can't complain when things don't work out the way we want them to”, Holtz recanted about his recent misfortunes. “Mesa Marin Raceway gave me so much success, it's kept me going over the years when the wins have slowed down. We have been fortunate to have fast race cars that are capable of winning, if everything goes our way, but the stars haven't lined up right recently. Winning the Winter Showdown would mean a lot to me, because I have such love for Kern County Raceway, and the people from Bakersfield.”
A win on Saturday night, on the 25th of March, would be an amazing story for the gentle giant and his Beverly Hills Rejuvenation, Concrete Motorsports team. It would be a popular win for both the fans, and his fellow competitors. But in the Southwest Tour’s, no holds barred competition, Holtz will certainly have to earn it. If successful he would join the list of former “Winter Showdown” winners which include Bubba Pollard (2015, 2016), Derek Thorn (2017, 2021), Kyle Busch (2018), Ty Majeski (2019), and Jacob Gomes (2022). $10,000 will be on the line for the winner.
The “8th Annual Winter Showdown 135” will feature a Fireworks Spectacular, Live Music, Camping, Vendors, and the Super Late Models of the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series. The Spears Modified Series and the Spears Pro Late Models presented by Sigma Performance Services will also join the action.
Celebrating its twenty third season in 2023, 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”.