News & Notes: 7th Annual SRL Winter Showdown at Kern County

The “Showdown” for the Super Late Models will see 100 laps of competition for a $10,000 payday.


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Event: The Seventh Annual “Winter Showdown” will take place at Kern County Raceway Park (CA) on April 2, 2022. The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Super Late Models will compete for a $10,000 payday. The SPEARS Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services will contend for a $3,500 winner’s share, plus an added bonus of $1,500 for anyone who participated in the last event at All American Speedway, thanks to Sigma Performance Services. The SPEARS Modifieds will fight it out for $2,000 in the “Winter Showdown Spears Modified Series 60”.

Heat Race Format: The “Showdown” for the Super Late Models will see 100 laps of competition for a $10,000 payday. Single car Qualifying will be followed by two 8-lap Qualifying Heat Races to set the line-up for the Feature event. The top eight cars in Qualifying will draw for position in their Heat Race, then race for their opportunity to sit on the pole for the prestigious event. The remaining cars will run their Heat Race to set the remainder of the field. The SPEARS Pro Late Models as well as the SPEARS Modified Series will follow the same procedure.

Former Showdown Winners: Bubba Pollard was victorious in the first two Winter Showdowns, in 2015 and 2016. Derek Thorn took home the win in 2017 with NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Busch victorious in 2018. Ty Majeski won a shortened event in 2019, when the power was knocked out at the track, due to lightning. Covid-19 shut down the race in 2020. Derek Thorn was able to fend off Preston Peltier to gain his second victory in 2021. There will be a first-time winner in 2022.

Kern County Raceway Park SRL History: The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series has visited Kern County Raceway Park (KCRP) a total of 19 times for championship events, with five additional non-point Winter Showdown events. The track opened in 2013 with Jim Pettit II wining the first series event. Jeremy Doss has one victory along with David Mayhew, and Blaine Rocha with Kyle Busch and Ty Majeski earning “Showdown” wins. Derek Thorn leads all drivers with 14 wins (two Showdowns), with Bubba Pollard earning two “Showdowns”, and Linny White winning two championship events. Doss and Rocha will be looking to join the multi-winners club.

Payout: The “Winter Showdown SPEARS Southwest Tour Series 100” will pay $10,000 to the winner. It will also pay a minimum of $550 to start and $1,200 for drivers on the SPEARS Frequent Program.

Entries: 20 Super Late Models are currently entered representing six states. Jim Wulfenstein will make his first 2022 series start with Jordon Riddick making the longest tow from New Albany, IN. Six former SPEARS Southwest Tour Series winners are entered and three former champions.

Championship Standings SLM: Jeremy Doss leads the championship standings entering the Winter Showdown. He is followed by Jacob Gomes, Jace Hansen, Cale Kanke, Trevor Huddleston, Dan Holtz, John Moore, Andy Allen, Kole Raz, Zach Telford, Dustin Ash, and Scott Sanchez, who rounds out the top bakers dozen. All are entered this weekend, except for Raz.

Championship Standings PLM: Tyler Reif will lead the SPEARS Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services into Round #3 of the season schedule. Reif holds a 17-point lead over 2021 KCRP winner Seth Wise. Former Madera Speedway “Short Track Shootout” winner Logan Zampa sits another 13 points back. Two series star Travis McCullough sits fourth, with Irwindale Speedway ARCA Menards Pro Series West winner Tanner Reif fifth. 2021 and 2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist Dylan Zampa is coming off a win at All American Speedway and sits sixth, 66 points behind Tyler Reif. Christian Bazen, Frankie Muniz, Kyle Gottula and Mike Beeler round out the top-10.

Championship Standings Modifieds: After his season opening win at Havasu 95 Speedway, Jaron Giannini continues to lead both the Rookie-of-the-Year standings as well as the championship standings. Bullring at LVMS multi-time champion Sam Jacks sits second in the rundown followed by Indio, CA driver Jimmy Sloan, Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Kyle Jacks and multi-time KCRP champion Chris Dalton. William Guevara, Stephen Brucker, Jeff Longman, Ray Mros and Travis Thirkettle round out the top-10 after three events.

Championship Leader: 2018 series champion Jeremy Doss enters the Winter Showdown with a narrow three-point lead over 2015 champion Jacob Gomes. Doss has participated in five previous “Showdown” events, but has only one top-10 finish, with a third in 2016. Doss hopes his “Showdown” luck turns around in 2022, and he can add his name to the list of winners.

“It'd mean a lot to add my name to the list of Winter Showdown winners”, Doss exclaimed! “Our team has been working very hard this year to find the right ingredients to make that happen! I'm very confident that we will be a threat to win come Saturday!”

Championship Runner-up: Jacob Gomes parlayed a $10,000 win at All American Speedway into a rise to second in the championship standings. The win was his first since 2018, 30 events ago. He will also look to end a 23-race winless streak at Kern County Raceway. Gomes almost ended that streak in 2021, finishing runner-up to Derek Thorn in June. Gomes now has the confidence to get his first Winter Showdown victory.

“Yes, the win has given our team great additional confidence, finally getting the monkey off our back”, Gomes stated. “We are hoping to keep this roll of luck with us, coming up on the next races on the schedule. I think we have got a good shot to win. We have been working hard on both our cars, and I think we have a better chance now more than ever. We just need to have some better luck.”

Champions Unite: 2021 All American Speedway Champion and NASCAR State of California Champion John Moore has united with six-time SRL Series champion Derek Thorn and Campbell Motorsports to compete this weekend at Kern County Raceway Park. The union is planned for the remainder of the season, with Moore looking to improve upon his best series championship effort of fifth. The 2015 Pacific Challenge Series Super Late Model Champion is excited to compete with Thorn, Crew Chief Mike Keen and Byron Campbell.

“I’m so stoked to be involved with Derek (Thorn) and Campbell Motorsports”, Moore stated. “It is just the icing on the cake (after his election to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame). I feel incredibly honored by the new partnership. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever thought of how cool it would be.”

Championship Aspirations: Jace Hansen will be making his ninth trip to Kern County Raceway Park, where he has his best career SRL finish of second. But beyond that 2020 October Classic run, his fortunes have not been as bright, showing only one other top-10, while failing to qualify for the 2017 Winter Showdown. Hansen enters Round #3 of the season third in the championship standings, 14 points out of the championship lead. Hansen feels the correct preparation will be the key to concurring the tricky ½-mile.

“Kern is a tough place to get ahold of”, Hansen explained “With it being one of the fastest tracks we go to, it's so important to show up with all your ducks in a row. I feel that several times we have shown up missing something, it's hard to get on top of things when you show up behind the 8-ball. We went through our notes from our 2nd place finish out there and spent a lot of time in the shop making sure we are where we need to be. I'm really hoping we unload with a good baseline that we can build off of through the weekend.

Hansen continued, regarding putting his name on the list of Winter Showdown winners, “Adding my name to the list of Winter Showdown winners would not only be huge for myself but our whole team. It's so frustrating for all of us to be finishing in the top 5 numerous times and being so close to a win. We have the equipment and the right guys working on the car to get the job done. Just need a weekend where everything goes our way!

Championship Hopeful: Dustin Ash and Sigma Performance Services entered the 2022 season as one of the teams to keep an eye on for the series championship. A brake caliper failure at the halftime break of the All-Star Showdown and a 29th-place finish put a damper on those aspirations. Ash rebounded to qualify fourth at Roseville, but spun while battling Jeremy Doss for second. He recovered to finish eighth, but enters the Winter Showdown 11th in the standings. He hopes a win will get the team back in the championship hunt and create some momentum heading to Irwindale Speedway.

“A win would help a great deal with our points for sure”, Ash admitted. “More than that, it would show that we are bringing fast cars to the track, week in and week out. Also, it would help with some momentum, to help us in the remainder of the season. I am surrounded by the best people to do just that.”

Championship Rebound: Buddy Shepherd will look to turn his home track advantage into a victory, after a disappointing start to the 2022 SRL season. The Bakersfield, CA driver has started the season with consecutive DNF’s after an alternator belt and brake issues ended his races early at Irwindale Speedway and All American Speedway. He sits an uncharacteristic 12th in the standings, after challenging for the championship in his 2021 Rookie-of-the-Year season. Shepherd won the Bobby Durrett Fast Time Award at the Winter Showdown in 2018 and followed it up with a runner-up finish, fending off NASCAR star Daniel Hemric, finishing behind Kyle Busch. He swept the 2016 season in the track’s Late Model division. He has also come home second in three additional SPEARS Southwest Tour Series events, all to Derek Thorn. He expects to rebound at his hometrack, hoping to add his name to the list of Winter Showdown winners.

“It would be awesome to pick up the win at the Winter Showdown this upcoming weekend”, Shepherd stated. “We have sat on the Pole for that race in the past. I’m just really pumped to get back in the car at my home track. Hopefully we can get that monkey off our backs this weekend and have a good run. I can't thank my sponsors, friends, and family enough for all their help and support, getting us to the racetrack for these great SRL events here on the West Coast.”

Schedule: Admission gates will open at 4:00 pm. Qualifying will begin at 4:15 pm for the SPEARS Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services, Spears Manufacturing Modified Series, and the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. Opening Ceremonies and a Truck Parade roll off at 5:30 pm. Qualifying Heat Races start the official racing action at 6:00 pm beginning with the Modifieds, followed by the Pro Late Models and Super Late Models. 60-lap Feature Events for the Modifieds and Pro Late Models will be followed by 100 laps for the Super Late Models.

Broadcast: For those unable to attend, catch all the action LIVE at www.SpearsRacing.TV. The event will also air on MAVTV at a time and date to be announced later.

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”.

-SRL Southwest Tour Series Press Release