Bakersfield, CA - The Spears Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services saw three different winners in 11 series events in Its’ inaugural 2021 season. Entering Round #4 at Kern County Raceway Park (KCRP), a companion event with the ARCA Menards Pro Series West, there have already been three victors in those first three events. The “Oil and Gas Industry Salute 80 presented by General Tire” will see all three of those winners in attendance, as well as a hungry herd of competitors looking to put their names in the record books for the first time. Those include early championship leader Tyler Reif.
Reif led the standings after the second event at All American Speedway (CA), but a fifth in the last race at KCRP found race winner Seth Wise jumping to the top of the standings. The current championship runner-up will be looking for his first series victory, after finding an issue with his Pro Late Model after that last event. A change in the car’s rear end gives Reif more confidence entering the back-to-back event, in his Jackson Racecars Pro Late Model.
“I unfortunately lost the lead in the points the last race at Kern”, Reif lamented, “This next upcoming race is also a race at Kern. I feel way better about this one. We unfortunately had a rear end going away throughout the weekend. Therefore, we have switched both my brother (Tanner) and my car to locker rear ends, hoping to be faster and more consistent! Thanks to the Reif Racing team for working their butts of and getting this stuff done.”
Championship leader Seth Wise has now won two SPEARS Pro Late Model events at KCRP, including just a few weeks ago. With that win, Wise took the championship lead from Reif by eight markers. The Bakersfield, CA driver is still hungry, and he will be looking for his third series win and second in-a-row at Kern. The last time out, Wise won in a barn burner over 2021 and 2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) finalist Dylan Zampa. It was a thrilling lead swapping battle, that went down to the checkered flag. Wise will seek to maintain that momentum, in front of his hometown fans, and continue to improve his team’s improvement.
“Coming off the big win last race has motivated us to keep the momentum going and try to build from it” Wise commented. “It was an absolute blast racing with Dylan Zampa, and I can't wait to get back out and battle some more, and it couldn't be at a better place than in front of my hometown fans. There are a lot of really good teams in this series, including the Zampa’s, Reif’s, Capello, Huddleston, and many others that come and go. We’re still learning and getting better, so the opportunity to race against bigger, more experienced teams is great, as it pushes us to get better.”
The driver that pushed Wise to the finish was last season’s championship runner-up, as well as the 2021 Kulwicki Driver Development Program runner-up Dylan Zampa. Zampa has two series victories, including Round #2 at All American Speedway last month. He enters the “Oil and Gas Industry Salute 80 presented by General Tire” as one of only two multi-time winners entered for this weekend’s action, sitting fourth in the championship standings. The Napa, CA driver has run well at Kern, earning three top-five finishes in his three starts, but a win has eluded him. The runner-up finish, a few weeks ago was disappointing, but he was happy with the effort and improvement over the weekend.
“At that moment when the checkered flag dropped, and we finished second, I was disappointed for sure”, Zampa recalled. “I look back now and think about how hard we worked on Friday to get the car better, and it showed in qualifying and the main. I feel like we learned a lot from that weekend, and we can make the car even better for the upcoming Kern race. At this point we are trying to build a solid notebook on this Pathfinder Chassis, which we got near the end of last year.”
Dylan Cappello will make his second start of the season, after winning the season opening All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway (CA). The two-time SPEARS Modified Series (formerly Lucas Oil Modified Series) has been busy at Front Row Motorsports but participated in the October Classic at KCRP last season. He finished eighth in his RBK Racing Pro Late Model. The team was still working on establishing a good baseline for their new racecar at the time, but with their win at Irwindale, Cappello is confident the team will compete for the $2,500 victory.
“Kern was one of the first races that we participated in with the new Pro Late Model, that Dean Kuhn and RBK Racing built last year”, Cappello explained. “We went there trying some new things and hadn't yet zeroed in on a great "baseline" setup to unload with. We have gotten this car a lot better since our last outing at Kern, and I think we will be a strong force for the win this weekend.”
Another driver who is hungry for his first series victory is 2018 Madera Speedway “Short Track Shootout” winner Logan Zampa. The older Zampa brother enters the event third in the championship standings, earning ninth, sixth and fourth-place finishes in 2022. Logan finished third in the 2021 standings and will be gunning for a win and an advancement in the 2022 standings. He is confident that they are making strides in the right direction, as they learn more about their Hamke Pro Late Model.
“This season has been a great one so far”, the second-generation driver expressed. “We are really starting to figure out the piece we have, and we’re starting to be more competitive and run up front, contesting for a win every race. I feel like after the last Kern race, we have a strong car and a strong piece going into this weekend. So, I’m looking forward to this weekend’s 80 lap race. I just can't thank everyone behind me that makes all this possible.”
The “Oil and Gas Industry Salute 80 presented by General Tire” will pay $2,500 to the winner. For those teams on the Sigma Performance Services “Frequent Flyer Program”, it will pay $400 to start the event. 17 Pro Late Models are currently entered for Saturday’s action which will complement the “NAPA Auto Parts 150” for the ARCA Menards Pro Series West. Four drivers are currently scheduled to make their 2022 season debut. Those include Brian Collins, Scott Youngren, Zach Telford, and Cassidy Hinds. 20 teams are entered for the “West” Series event.
SPEARS Pro Late Model Practice will begin on Saturday at 1:30 pm, with the ARCA Menards Pro Series West taking part in their practice and qualifying session from 2:30 to 4:00 pm. The SPEARS Pro Late Models will take part in single car Qualifying at 4:30 pm. There will be an autograph session from 6:00 to 6:30 pm. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 6:40 pm with the “Oil and Gas Industry Salute 80 presented by General Tire” rolling off thereafter. The ARCA Menards Pro Series “Salute to the Oil Industry NAPA Auto Parts 150” will follow with a Fireworks Spectacular closing out the evening’s festivities.
For those unable to attend, catch the Pro Late Model 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”.
-SPEARS Pro Late Model Series Press Release