Super Late Models
Augie Grill Seeks Third Rattler 250 Win at South Alabama
Feb 21, 2023
Bakersfield, CA - It seems hard to fathom that Buddy Shepherd has not visited Victory Lane at Kern County Raceway Park (CA) in Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series competition. Shepherd swept the 2016 Late Model season at the facility, earning the championship that campaign. He has cracked the top-three in the SRL seven times, five of those in the top-two. His last three “Winter Showdown” finishes have him second, second and third. But the driver from Bakersfield, CA continues to look to shake off the frustration and pull into Victory Lane at his hometrack. On March 25th, Shepherd will look to seal the deal in the $10,000-to-win “8th Annual Winter Showdown 135” on the fast ½-mile speedway.
Shepherd has battled with the best of them at Kern County Raceway Park (KCRP), in “Winter Showdown” competition. In 2018, he earned the Bobby Durrett Fast Time Award, beating out NASCAR stars Kyle Busch, Daniel Hemric, Ty Majeski, Noah Gragson, Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum, and six-time SRL series champion Derek Thorn. The three-time MAVTV televised series Pro Late Model champion at Madera Speedway (CA) would finish second that day behind Kyle Busch, after holding off Daniel Hemric after a late race caution. It was one of his favorite memories, despite the disappointment.
“The 2018 Winter Showdown was definitely a race I won't forget, battling with some of the best in the sport”, Shepherd recalled.
Shepherd enters this year’s version of the “Showdown” coming off a disappointing season opener at Irwindale Speedway (CA) and the “All-Star Showdown 200”. Shepherd was fast with short-run speed, but retired early with handling issues, finishing 26th, after qualifying third. It continued a 2022 season that had been a roller coaster ride for the 2021 Spears Southwest Tour Series Rookie-of-the-Year. He had strong runs when he finished, gaining a win, a second, two thirds and a fifth. But the team suffered several mechanical issues, dropping them out of championship contention. Heading to Kern, it is something the team will be working on, as they seek their first “Tour” victory at the facility.
“Going into the 2023 “Winter Showdown”, we are definitely looking for a better balance with our race car, from what we have had in the past. We are hoping to finally get that monkey off our back at KCRP, since we have been so close so many times in the past couple years”, Shepherd stated.
If Shepherd and the team can find that balance, it would be no surprise to see them in Victory Lane, with series win number three. It would be to the delight of a partisan hometown crowd, to see the #22 defeat a strong field of Super Late Models, to take home the $10,000 winner check. Shepherd 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 feature will include a break on lap 80, for teams to make adjustments.
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”.
-SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Press Release