BY DALE BOSOWSKI Special to the Bulletin


STOCKTON — Tracy’s Jeff Bischofberger and Jacob Gomes, of Manteca, held the front row of the stellar 16 car field lined up to take the green flag for the Spears Southwest Tour 125 lap feature at the Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday night.
It took only two laps for Gomes to clear Bischofberger and assume the lead which he would never relinquish to take his first win in six starts on the 2015 SRL schedule.


It wasn’t easy. Gomes had to survive nine restarts and several on track challengers to secure the victory.
Gomes primary nemesis in the early going was Carlos Vieira, of Livingston, who sat right on his tailpipe for most the first 80 laps of the race.
 Vieira saw an opportunity to take the top spot on a lap 81 restart as he got underneath of Gomes and managed to inch ahead of him going into turn #1. 

Unfortunately Vieira carried too much momentum and was unable to hold the lower line which caused him to spin out right in front of Gomes who was just able to dodge Vieira to remain in the lead.


“Carlos was really driving us hard and he nearly drove me into the fence there,” explained Gomes following the race. “I was just able to hang on to it.”


Parker Stephens, of Olympia, WA, took over second and dogged Gomes for the rest of the race. He was able to poke his front bumper underneath Gomes on several occasions in the late going, but was never able to make it stick and ultimately settled for a hard earned second place finish.


“We had a good car all race, but we just couldn’t quite get it done,” said Stephens. ”I think his car (Gomes) was going and we had a better car at the end, but we ran out of time to get around him.”


Rounding out the top five were Jason Gilbert, of Dublin, Craig Raudman, of Cottonwood, and Tracy Bolin, of Valley Springs, who nipped Vieira by inches at the line after the two banged on each other down the front straight.


“We had a fast car all night, but we really had to hold on to it late,” said Gomes. “Parker was right there at the end I was wishing I had saved it a bit more early on, but we held him off.”


Other notables included series points leader Greg Voigt, of Goleta, in seventh, and Manteca’s Ross Strmiska, who exited the race on lap 107 and was credited with 15th.