“Returning to the SRL is awesome”

“Returning to the SRL is awesome”

As the entries continue to come in for the Sixth Annual Winter Showdown a familiar name, to Bakersfield area fans, will make his fourth start in the event. One of Kern County Raceway’s most successful “Young Guns” is planning to make his first appearance at the facility in two years, when the Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series visits on March 21st.

Buddy Shepherd last graced the high-banked half-mile, dog-legged oval, at the second SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series event of 2018. He scored a fifth-place finish in that particular event. Prior to that start, he finished second, behind two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch, at the Winter Showdown. He held off 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year Daniel Hemric, to earn the position. The former Kern County Raceway Late Model Champion is heading back to his home track to improve upon that result by one position. He hopes to take home $15,000, by finishing up front in both halves of the 200-lap race, in a car they have just acquired.

“We just bought a used FURY Race Cars with a Robby White powered Chevy in it”, Shepherd explained. “I haven’t even seen it in person yet, but it should be here tomorrow.”

The two-time Madera Speedway Pro Late Model Series Champion is excited to return to SRL competition in 2020. He has 10 previous starts in the series with a win, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes. He led the championship standings in 2018, until the team ran short of funds, cutting their season short after three points-paying events. Although the family-based team’s return will be for a partial schedule, he is looking forward to the competition found in the series.

“Returning to the SRL is awesome”, Shepherd stated. “The competition is really stout, and I can’t wait to be a part of it again, in my family owned car. I’m looking forward to competing with the best drivers on the West Coast.”

Shepherd is particularly excited about making his SRL return at the Winter Showdown. Kern County Raceway is a track at which he won nine Late Model races in-a-row, in 2016, to go along with two runner-up finishes in SRL competition. But the biggest perk is competing in front of his hometown fans, as Shepherd acknowledged.

“I enjoy the Winter Showdown because I get to race in my hometown and all my family and friends get to come out and watch the race.”

Given his time away from Kern County Raceway, and Super Late Model competition in general, the twenty-year-old driver has somewhat tempered expectations for the weekend.

“The goal for the 2020 Winter Showdown is to have a good run”, Shepherd said. “I haven’t driven at KCRP in two years. I’m just hoping to knock the rust off, as fast as I can, and do our best.”

With victories in $10,000-to-win Pro Late Model races at both Madera Speedway and ALL AMERICAN SPEEDWAY – ROSEVILLE CA, don’t be surprised to see Buddy’s best effort result in a $15,000 payday on March 21st. For that opportunity he his thankful to those who support his racing efforts.

“I have to thank my mom (Kellie) and dad (Dick), Axalta Automotive Refinish, FinishMaster, Advanced Auto Parts Distribution Center, H&S Body Works and Towing and Schaefer’s Racing Oil.”

The 2020 Winter Showdown, from Kern County Raceway, is entering its sixth season of competition. The previous winners of the event include Bubba Pollard Fan Page (2015, 2016), Derek Thorn (2017), Kyle Busch (2018) and Ty Majeski (2019). The previous Feature Events have included several formats, with distances of 250 laps (2015 – 2017), 300 laps (2018 – 2019) and this year’s 200-lap version. 2020 will feature a halfway break, where half of the purse money will be awarded based on its’ result. The completion of 200 laps will wholly determine the final championship event finish, with the second half of the purse payout. Drivers eligible for the SPEARS Frequent Flyer Program will receive a minimum of $1,400 to start the feature. If required, eligible drivers who do not transfer from the Last Chance Qualifier will receive $1,000.

The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Super Late Models will be joined by the Spears Modified Series, as well as the Kern County Raceway Super Stocks. The SPEARS Modifieds will be racing for $4,000-to-win.

Celebrating its twentieth season in 2020, 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.