Return to the Short Track Wars Fits Blaine Rocha’s Style at Stockton 99 Speedwayadmin
For Immediate Release: SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series
Bakersfield, CA – Blaine Rocha and the Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series will return to the short tracks, when the series visits The New Stockton 99 Speedway for the “SPEARS Southwest Tour Series 125 presented by Senneker Performance” on May 1st. The first three events of the season were on the tour’s ½-mile tracks, but the fourth round will return to the series roots, as the ¼-mile speedway has been on the schedule since 2002, while hosting 29 events. Rocha will make the short trip from Oakdale, CA to look for his first career top-five at the historic venue.
Rocha had a tough start to the 2021 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series season, finishing 28th at the season opening “Sunrise Ford All-Star Showdown 200” at Irwindale Speedway. Since the opener, Rocha has rattled off consecutive top-10 efforts, to get his team back into the top-10 in the championship standings. With two of the first three events at Irwindale, Rocha is somewhat pleased with the progress they have made at the progressively banked track, and is looking forward to his return in the Summer, with additional help.
“I feel we have made improvements on our big track stuff this year”, Rocha explained. “I have always struggled with Irwindale set up, and we are still missing that little bit we need to compete for wins there, but I’m excited for the Summer races at the big tracks with some different equipment. I think we are going to be in contention.”
For Rocha, however, the shorter tracks are his bread and butter. Rocha now has 31 career top-10 finishes, tying him with 2007 SRL Champion Dave Byrd for 16th on the all-time list. 18 of those have been on the series shorter tracks. But finding quality Stockton finishes have been hard for Rocha to achieve, in the SRL Super Late Model Series. This is despite victories in the local Late Model Division. Last month he managed a second-place finish in the SPEARS Pro Late Model Series, and Rocha hopes to build upon that success. He feels the team has good speed at Stockton, but luck will have to be on his side, as opposed to previous SRL starts at the facility.
“I feel we are always good at the short tracks, if luck is on our side”, Rocha stated. “A lot of the short track stuff is survival and putting yourself in the right positions. For my Strmiska Racing Team and myself, Stockton is our backyard and we always run well there. I felt like last year I had a car that could have won the race, but a mechanical (failure) took us out. We are bringing another Super Late Model that I have been running the last couple races, and we have been able to build on it.”
The 2021 season has seen the return of a familiar face to Rocha Racing team. When Rocha got his start in the SRL, he teamed up with Ross Strmiska, in one of their “Tour” cars. He participated in six events in 2014. That combination has been renewed in 2021, this time with Strmiska joining the Rocha racing family, in a combined effort between the two racing families. The first two events of the season saw Strmiska in the teams Pro Late Model. But after a Stockton crash, Strmiska has switched to the Super Late Model, working closely with Blaine. At Irwindale, Ross finished 15th, of the 29 cars on hand, but will look for improved results at Stockton.
The return to racing with his friend, and the Strmiska family, has been an enjoyable experience for Rocha. At Stockton, in particular, he feels the relationship will pay big dividends in the end, as Rocha explained.
“Running with the Strmiska Team this year has been so much fun. Ron (Jr) and Ross have worked really hard in the shop to get the cars ready, and Stockton 99 is a really special place for their family. Ross and I both have a lot of laps around there, and we can both work together to get our cars where they need to be. More than anything, I’m excited to put on a show for all the people that come support us.”
The two-time SPEARS Southwest Tour Series winner will be making series start number 59 next weekend. He will be looking for the $5,000 win and top-five number 17. The Fresno State University graduate believes he can achieve those results with the help of his team, family, and sponsors.
“I have to thank the whole Strmiska family for everything they do”, Rocha said. “I also want to thank Masellis Drilling, Rocha’s Valley Enterprises, Nut Up Industries, HCI Docks, Frontier Performance Lubricants, W.A.R. Shocks and my family for their support.”
The “Spears Southwest Tour Series 125 presented by Senneker Performance” will be Round #4 of the 2021 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series season. They will be joined by the SPEARS Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services, who will race for 75 laps. The Legends and B4 Cylinder Divisions will also be on the card. Spectators will be welcomed to next weekend’s event, but for those who can not attend, the race can be followed LIVE on SpearsRacing.TV. It will be broadcast on MAVTV at a time and date to be announced later.
Celebrating its twenty-first season in 2021, 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”.