PETTIT WINS RECORD THIRD CHAMPIONSHIPadmin
Bakersfield, CA – Prunedale, California’s Jim Pettit II, drove to a record third SPEARS Southwest Tour Series championship on Saturday night at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Pettit scored his first two SPEARS Southwest Tour Series titles in 2008 and 2011, and had won two previous NASCAR Southwest Tour titles in 2004 and 2005. With a 140 point lead heading into Saturday’s 2013 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series season finale, Pettit and his Quentin Bammer #18 Moeller Bros/HUR Chevrolet, had to simply take the green to win the title.
“We have to thank everyone who made this a championship year for us, especially Quentin (Bammer) and all the guys on the team,” stated Pettit after the race. “Big thanks to Moeller Brothers, HUR Engines, Hamke Race Cars, Swift Springs, Golden Gate Petroleum, Bizz With Buzz, Fred Mogart Recycling and the Biletnikoff Foundation for all the support this season. Every championship is special, but this is more so with it being Quentin’s and HUR’s first championship.”
On the year, Pettit had three wins, as he bested the fields at The Bullring on May 11th, Redwood Acres Raceway on June 1st, and won at the new Kern County Raceway Park on September 7th.
Saturday night, Pettit qualified 11th in the 27 car field, but when Rockwell Time Fast Time Award winner Derek Thorn drew a ten for the invert, Pettit would start just one position back of Thorn’s Campbell Motorsports Four Star Fruit #43.
At the drop of the green, 2010 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series champ, Jonathon Gomez jumped to the lead, followed closely by Manteca’s Jacob Gomes.
By lap ten, Pettit had fallen back to 13th, Gomez was still leading, followed by Gomes, Trevor Cristiani, Greg Pursley, and Thorn who had moved up from his tenth starting position.
After three caution periods in the first 20 laps, Gomez in the Century Motorsports and Marine #22 still held the point with Pursley up to second, Thorn was now third, followed by Gomes, Carlos Vieira, and Cristiani in sixth. Ross Strmiska, Jeremy Doss, Pettit and Jay Beasley rounded out the top ten.
Coming off a lap 31 restart, Thorn who had moved into second, charged low into turn three to draw even with Gomez for the lead, then the 2012 series champion cleared Gomez followed closely by Pursley. Before Gomez could get back in line, both Strmiska and Pettit had also driven by to take positions.
On lap 44, Pettit moved to second, and with the championship wrapped up, Pettit moved to Thorn’s rear bumper to challenge for the lead.
After the track went red on lap 99, due to Strmiska dropping rear end oil around the track, the stage was set for the final 26 laps.
On the restart Gomez, Doss (who had rallied back after a flat tire on lap 50) and Cristiani moved back by Pursley for third, fourth and fifth respectively, as the Gene Price Motorsports/StarNursery.com #26 slid high in 1 and 2. The gap between Thorn and Pettit had opened up to allow Thorn some breathing room, and Gomes moved back into the top five with 14 to go, after spinning earlier in the oil of Strmiska.
With 10 to go, Thorn’s lead over Pettit had grown to .70 seconds, with Doss working Gomez for third. With five to go, Doss and Gomez made contact, which allowed Doss to take the position.
At the checkers, it was Thorn winning the “Century Motorsports and Marine 125”, his fifth SPEARS Southwest Tour Series win of 2013. Pettit a close second and the series title, Doss in third, Gomez fourth, Cristiani fifth, followed by Gomes, Pursley, hard charger of the race, Jason Gilbert who started 20th, and Beasley rounded out the top ten in his SPEARS Southwest Tour Series debut.
Also, on Saturday night, Jeremy Doss claimed both the 2013 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Rookie-of-the-Year and Flowmaster Young Guns titles.
Ryan Cansdale won the inaugural “SRL S2 Tour Series” championship by just 20 points over Trevor Huddleston, who scored both S2 main event wins on Saturday. Ricky Schlick closed an impressive season by winning the 2013 “SRL Legends Tour” championship.
The 2013 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Championship Awards Banquet will take place on Saturday, February 8th at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield.