2019 TOP TEN – THE CHAMPadmin
Cole Moore entered the 2019 season with high expectations. The 2018 Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series Rookie-of-the-Year had finished fourth in the championship standings, but was looking for more. He certainly achieved that goal by winning the 2019 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Title. In doing so, he became only the third driver in series history to win a title and the Rookie-of-the-Year Award, joining Jacob Gomes and Jeremy Doss. He was the first one to do it in back-to-back seasons.
“The championship has definitely not set in yet”, Moore told the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. “As I look back to the start of my racing career, and the perception I had upon the drivers and champions amongst the Southwest Tour field, it’s pretty crazy to call myself a champion now. It’s a short list, and it’s not an easy one to be on. The accomplishment is an honor, and I think as I get older and older, I will continue to appreciate my championship run in 2019.”
Moore won the title on the strength of his consistency. He was the only series regular to have zero DNF’s (Did Not Finish) on the season. That occurrence pushed him to the top of the career record books in that category, with only one occurrence in 24 races. Moore did not win a series race in 2019, but finished inside the top-five in seven events, with one additional top-10, in nine starts. He had a season best finish of second, at the October Classic at Kern County Raceway, and a worst finish of 15th, in the season opener at Irwindale Speedway.
The Granite Bay, CA driver averaged a 5.2 finish, while his qualifying average was 8.9. He led two events for 130 laps, which was second behind Derek Thorn. He completed 1,065 of the 1,077 possible laps for the season.
Although Cole didn’t score a victory during the championship season, he did cross the finish line first during the final segment of the “Bulwark Protection ‘FR 50/50 presented by Spears Manufacturing”, at Kern County Raceway in June. He ultimately finished third in the event overall, but showed the teams that he was a serious contender for the crown. Moore took the championship lead on that night, and was never headed for the remainder of the season. That night also set the stage for their strategy over the last four races of the campaign. A strategy that Moore plans to change in 2020.
“For 2020 my Crew Chief Mario (Isola) and I are focused on winning races”, Moore explained. “In 2019, once I had the points lead, the goal going into every race was to be smart, make no mistakes and try to stay in front of the 99-car (Linny White). That ultimately paid off in the long run, but it didn’t equate into race wins. This year is a different story and I hope to capture as many wins as possible.”
The final half of the season saw Moore step up to the plate, and fight off all challengers. He finished the season with six consecutive top-five efforts to clinch the championship. The worst of those finishes, a fifth, ended up being the highlight of the season for the ex-motocross star.
“I would say the highlight of my season was the Vegas Finale” (Retro Custom Metals 150 presented by Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse San Dimas), Moore recalled. “We had to claw our way into the top-five, to put ourselves in a position the win the championship. The car was a bit off in the race, compared to practice, so we had to make some championship caliber moves, and force the issue to make it happen. I’ve never been so happy to see a checkered flag.”
Although Moore didn’t collect any SRL wins in 2019, it didn’t mean he went winless. After a three-win season in the Pacific Challenge Series in 2018, Moore struck twice in the Pro Late Models at ALL AMERICAN SPEEDWAY – ROSEVILLE CA. He capped off his partial schedule with a victory in the $10,000-to-win JM ENVIRONMENTAL, INC. 100”, holding off 2018 SRL Champion Jeremy Doss and 2019 Track Champion Jason Romero.
In 2020, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series will have a plethora big events, with each announced event potentially paying $10,000 or more. The additional competition that is sure to appear, is something that Moore looks forward to.
“I am excited to race with the best in the west, Moore stated. “A stacked field of drivers makes winning, and doing well, all the more better. I just hope I can live up to my own expectations this year. I know that as always, Derek Thorn will be extremely hard to beat, and I believe he really sets the bar on the west coast, so we just have to show up and be perfect.”
Of all the big races on the 2020 SRL schedule, there is one event that Moore has his eye on. It is an event that finds the series returning to the facility after a 12-year absence. It is a facility that Moore has visited previously in the NASCAR ARCA Menards West Series, where he qualified third, and finished 14th, after a late race incident with Riley Herbst.
“Right now, I’m actually really excited to race at Colorado National Speedway”, Moore conveyed. “I raced there a few years back in a K&N West car, and it really suited my driving style. I’ve been saying ever since that I want to race there in a Super Late Model. My wish has finally come true!”
As the defending SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Champion, his 2020 plan are not a surprise. He would like nothing more than to repeat his title and join Derek Thorn as the only back-to-back champion.
Moore said, “My 2020 plans are to race the full SPEARS Southwest Tour Series and select Pro-Late Model races up and down the west coast. Those races, as well as the Snowflake 100 and Snowball Derby, are what I am looking forward to this season.”
To win a championship in the SRL, there are an abundance of factors that must come together. It takes a team effort to put it all together and Moore is thankful for those who helped him achieve the biggest highlight of his racing career.
Moore began, “I would like to thank my mom and dad, and our family business, JM Environmental. They back everything I do, and nothing would happen without there continued support and love. I would also like to thank Mario Isola, for all the hours in prep and managing our operations, not to mention his skills as a Crew Chief. Finally, the whole crew; Chris McGinnis, Chris Paulson, Michael Mulder, Justin Hamilton and our Driver, Bert, for being at every race and working hard for our team. Not to mention the good times. In 2020 we are coming back with the same team, and we are ready.”
The next event for Moore is the All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, that will take place on February 1st. It will pay $25,000 to the winner of the 200-lap Feature Event, thanks to Sunrise Ford’s, Bob Bruncati and Ken Clapp from the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Over $75,000 will be paid out to the 36 starters, plus additional cash bonuses for the drivers eligible for the Spears Manufacturing Frequent Flyer Program. If needed, the Last Chance Qualifying race will pay $1,000 to those on the SPEARS Frequent Flyer Program, who do not make the Feature Event.
Celebrating its twentieth season in 2020, 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”.