Buddy Shepherd Gets Emotional SRL Win at Irwindale Speedway

Buddy Shepherd Gets Emotional SRL Win at Irwindale Speedway

Bakersfield, CA – The last race that Buddy Shepherd ran with the Spears SRL Southwest Tour ended in bitter disappointment, when Jace Hansen gained the victory over the 2021 series Rookie-of-the-Year with a late race pass at Kern County Raceway Park. Saturday night was a different story, as Shepherd took the lead on lap four and never looked back to gain his second career series victory in the “LiUNA – Feel the Power 100 presented by Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse” at Irwindale Speedway (CA). The win was an emotional one for Shepherd after losing good friend, crew member, and car owner, Nick Sivesind just over a year ago.


“It is great, I really wish we could have got this win when Nick (Sivesind) was still here, last year”, Shepherd explained in Victory Lane. “I’m glad I could finally do it. I wish Butch (VanDoorn) was here, he has done so much for me. He worked with me all day yesterday and we managed to make it happen. The car drove itself, basically. It was on rails. That is the best car I have probably ever driven lately around here, and probably anywhere. We definitely found something, and we are going to keep sticking to it.”


Championship leader Jacob Gomes earned the PFC Brakes “Zero Drag” Fast Time Award to begin the day, with a lap of 17.610 seconds on the ½-mile paved oval. Shepherd was just a tick back with a 17.639 lap. The top-22 cars were less than a ½ second back with Jeremy Doss, Jace Hansen, Trevor Huddleston, Sean Hingorani, Dan Holtz, and Zach Telford the redraw participants. 26 Super Late Models qualified after Chris Clyne and Joe Farre’ were unable to survive Friday night practice sessions.


Gomes drew the number one pill to start on the pole, alongside rookie Sean Hingorani. Jace Hansen drew the number three with Trevor Huddleston, Buddy Shepherd, Zach Telford, Dan Holtz, and Jeremy Doss redrawing in that order. Gomes jumped to a brief lead before Hansen moved to the front on lap two. Shepherd made the move from fifth to lead lap-four, before the only racing related yellow flew for Keith Spangler on lap six.


Shepherd would lead Jace Hansen to the restart with Jacob Gomes in tow. The man on the move was Dan Holtz from seventh starting, however. The veteran racer used patience in the opening laps, as teams ran three and four-wide over the half-mile. By lap 20, Holtz had only improved one position, but began his charge moving by Hansen, Charles Price, who had made an early move into the top-five, and Gomes. He began closing on Shepherd as the field came to the competition caution on lap 46. The top-five consisted of Shepherd, Holtz, Gomes, Price, and Austin Herzog, as Hansen began to slip back. Both Hansen and Jeremy Doss pitted for adjustments, while returning for the lap 46 green.


The restart found Holtz dropping back behind Gomes with a poor restart, giving Shepherd a small cushion. Mid-pack there was three and four-wide battling for the fourth spot and back, as Hansen and Doss charged through the field. Austin Herzog and Kole Raz were able to extricate themselves from the 10-car battle and emerge in fourth and fifth by lap 60. Holtz, in the meantime, was able to finally wrestle second back from Gomes on lap 65, to take up chase of Shepherd. By lap 75, Hansen and Doss were back up to sixth and seventh, with Doss getting around the JM Motorsports teammate of Hansen on lap 77. It was short-lived however, as Hansen regained the position a half-dozen rounds later.


The long green flag run found Holtz maintaining pace with Shepherd, and Herzog pressuring Gomes for the third position. Hansen continued his charge to the front, getting by Raz for fifth with a dozen to go. But in the end, Shepherd was too strong and crossed the line 1.5 seconds ahead of Holtz, who held off a charging Gomes at the finish. Herzog crossed the line fourth with Hansen completing the top-five. But in post-race tech, Holtz was found to have to much left-side weight, moving each driver up a position and Raz into the top-five.


The race with Holtz, as the field took the competition caution on lap 46, was a situation that Shepherd was monitoring closely, as the field returned to action on lap 47.


“You are always worried about Dan”, Shepherd observed about the veteran racer. “He can throw some laps down, he is a helluva driver. I think I was saving enough for a couple of laps and could kinda stretch it back out. I wasn’t expecting to stretch it out as much as I did, but our car was just really good. It had only a couple of bobbles all night and it was just good.”


Gomes was a little frustrated with his car at the conclusion of 100 laps, but it was a good championship night for the series 2015 champ, as he put a little distance on Jeremy Doss, who finished sixth.


“The car was just free, free, free all day. It was free at the start, and we thought it was gonna tighten up a little bit, but it just continued to be a little too free for us”, Gomes explained.


“It was a good points night, I guess”, Gomes continued. “It is good to get a few more points on Jeremy. We have a couple of more races, and it could go any way for any one of us. It can get shi*** for me or shi*** for him. You don’t want to wish bad on people, but hopefully we can keep it going. For Kern (County Raceway Park), I know we have a good piece for Kern. Irwindale is just a hard place for us. I think we will be good there (Kern). The last time we were there we struggled on a couple of things, but we figured them out. The last two races here we struggled, we but figured them out. This time we just went the wrong way.”


Austin Herzog scored his second career top-five finish and was very happy with their race effort after a disappointing qualifying effort.


“We struggled in qualifying (14th) a little bit”, Herzog admitted. “But we talked about it, and we came up with a game plan before the race even started. We tried to save there for a while, but I got a taste, when we passed four cars in a row, and I just wanted to keep going. I used it up a little more than I should have. Our car was really good though and I can’t thank my guys enough. By the time, at about lap 68, I could tell I used the car up a little too much. But we muscled through and were happy with where we finished.”


Herzog was one of the many teams dicing it up three and four-wide through the middle portions of the race. He was able to move forward and get a great finish for the family-owned effort, earning the Fluidyne High Performance “Cool Move of the Race” and the “Rookie-of-the-Race” Awards. It is one of the reasons he loves racing at Irwindale with the SRL, as he stated.


“That is what I love about Irwindale. You can run three and four-wide at points, and at most tracks you can’t do that. Most of these guys out here will run you clean, and it doesn’t concern me that you will get wrecked doing it.”


With the revised order due to the disqualification, Jeremy Doss moved up to sixth with rookie Sean Hingorani seven, Jeff Bischofberger eighth, Jonathan Mawhinney ninth and John Moore tenth. 24 of the 26 starters finished the event with 15 cars on the lead lap. The next event for the series will be the “October Classic” at Kern County Raceway on October 22nd.



  1. Buddy Shepherd, 2. Jacob Gomes, 3. Austin Herzog*, 4. Jace Hansen, 5. Kole Raz, 6. Jeremy Doss, 7. Sean Hingorani, 8. Jeff Bischofberger, 9. Jonathan Mawhinney, 10. John Moore, 11. Charles Price, 12. Zach Telford*, 13. Trevor Huddleston, 14. Blaine Rocha, 15. Linny White, 16. Scott Sanchez, 17. Andre Prescott, 18. Dylan Zampa*, 19. Dustin Ash, 20. Cale Kanke, 21. Jason Jefferson, 22. Jason Gilbert, 23. Jim Wulfenstein, 24. Ross Strmiska, 25. Keith Spangler, DQ. Dan Holtz, DNS. Joe Farre’, DNS. Chris Clyne


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”.