PAST CHAMPIONS – 2010admin
Jonathon and John Gomez – 2010 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Champions
The below Press Release followed Gomez’s championship:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2010
GOMEZ WINS SPEARS SRL SOUTHWEST TOUR SERIES TITLE
Bakersfield, CA – Jonathon Gomez was crowned the 2010 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series champion Saturday night at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gomez entered the night needing a 14th place finish or better to clinch his first touring series championship. The 26-year-old driver from Twin Falls, Idaho drove to a 3rd place finish and the championship in the “RealFast.TV 200 presented by K&N Filters”.
“I’m just so thankful for the opportunity that my team and Bob Strandwold gave me to be in a position to win a championship in a major series like the SRL. Ron (Copeland) and Craig (Raudman) did an excellent job preparing the car all year, with no mechanical failures all season which is what it took to win this championship against all these great teams in the SRL.”
Gomez qualified second for the championship finale, under the track record at 14.447 seconds. Fast qualifier Ross Strmiska drew a seven for the invert, which put Gomez in the 6th starting position.
At the drop of the green, Gomez slid back to 9th position before working his way up to 5th by lap fifteen, positioned right behind his closest championship rival Jim Pettit II.
“Right up to the start of the race I was pretty calm and felt like it was any other race with our usual plan in place to do all we can to go out and win. But once the green flag dropped I had never been so nervous in the racecar. I wasn’t myself, I had a hard time hitting my marks and paranoia set in every time I heard a strange noise.”
By lap 35, Pettit moved up to 2nd behind early leader Joe Farre’, while Gomez settled into 4th behind Dan Holtz. On lap 65, Gomez moved past Holtz for third.
“I couldn’t worry too much about Pettit, he was strong like he always is, and I just needed to stay focused.”
Lap 72, Pettit was doing all he could to win his second SRL title and moved passed Farre’ for the lead, Gomez maintained 3rd.
By the time the cars pulled in for service on lap 100 for the scheduled halfway break, Gomez had dropped back to 8th position.
During the break Gomez’s Heritage Cattle Company-Century Boatland team went to work to on the Bob Strandwold owned #22 Chevrolet, changing four Hoosier Tires, adding SUNOCO Race Fuel and prepping the car for the final 100 laps.
On the restart for the second half, Gomez quickly gained two spots when Holtz made contact with then 3rd place runner Jared Vorse, sending both Vorse and Holtz to restart at the rear of the field. Gomez was back to 3rd by lap 106, positioned behind Brennan Newberry, who was looking for his first SRL victory and Pettit who was trying to hold on to gain maximum championship points. On lap 108, Newberry drove into the lead.
“With the help of my spotter Dave Reed, I was able to settle down during the second half, I wanted to finish in the top three, but thought we still had a chance at the win.”
On lap 116, Derek Thorn moved into 4th position, now Gomez was sandwiched between his two closest championship rivals, as Pettit maintained 2nd.
On lap 129, Gomez now had mirror full of the defending SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series champ, M.K. Kanke, who had slowly worked his way up to the front after starting 20th in the twenty-six car field. On lap 154, Gomez gave up 4th position to Kanke. Pettit regained the lead on lap 171 by passing Newberry.
“I trust and respect Mike (Kanke) so it was fun racing him at the end, I didn’t want to push it, but if I could make a clean move on him I would. I still thought we had the car to win at that point.”
With four laps to go, Gomez moved past Kanke for third and went on to his eighth straight top five finish of the year and the 2010 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series championship.
On the year, Gomez and his Heritage Cattle Company-Century Boatland team put together wins at Stockton 99 and Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, and a string of eight top five finishes to close out the year with an average finish of 5.2.
Gomez, driving in his first full year in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series, also competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ran select other events in 2010. Gomez and his team will be honored on January 22nd at the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Championship Awards Banquet at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield.
“I just want to thank everyone again for the opportunity they gave me this year, Bob Strandwold, my team and my sponsors; Century Boatland, Heritage Cattle, United Oil and my Dad for all he’s done.”