Bakersfield, CA – For the 26th time in history, the ½-mile at Irwindale Speedway (CA) will host the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series Super Late Models. On May 20th, the series will invade the speedway for the “RJ Allen Inc. 122 presented by San Dimas Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse”, which will pay $7,500 to the winner, thanks to the “Winner’s Bonus” from Earnest Performance. The Super Late Models will be joined by the Spears Manufacturing Pro Late Models presented by Sigma Performance Services, the Spears Modified Series, and a Celebrity Race benefiting the TSC Alliance. Fireworks will cap off the evening’s activities.
Previous Winners: There have been 13 different winners in the 25 previous events. The list is led by Derek Thorn with eight wins. M.K. Kanke is second on the list with three victories. He is followed by Preston Peltier (2), Jacob Gomes (2), and Ryan Cansdale (2). Single event winners include Troy Ermish, Jonathon Gomez, Greg Voigt, Bobby Hodges, Eric Schmidt, Linny White, Buddy Shepherd, and Jeremy Doss. Of the 18 Super Late Models currently entered, only Gomes and Shepherd have previous wins.
Championship Standings: Jacob Gomes has gotten his championship defense season off to a great start. He has won all three events to date and leads John Moore by 65 markers. Jace Hansen is third followed by Darren Robertson, Dylan Zampa, Cale Kanke, Nick Cooper, Andy Allen, Dan Holtz, and Austin Herzog. Robertson leads the Rookie-of-the-Year Standings by eight points over Zampa. Cooper, Herzog, and Sean Hingorani round out the top-five.
Hot, Hot, Hot: Jacob Gomes enters this weekend’s event having won three event in-a-row in SRL competition, earning $45,000 in the process. He will now head to Irwindale looking for a career season-high fourth victory and 14th overall. It is an exciting prospect for the two-time series champion.
“I’m super excited to get back to Irwindale”, Gomes exclaimed. “It would be a dream to get four in-a-row with the SRL!”
Qualifying Bonus: Thanks to Sean Woodside and Tim Sweet with the Apache Rental Group, the Fast Qualifier in the Super Late Models will receive an extra $1,000 for their efforts. The Pro Late Model driver with quick time will receive $500 and the Modified Fast Qualifier will receive an extra $250.
Debut: Three drivers are scheduled to make their season debuts at Irwindale. Those include former NASCAR Northwest Tour Series champion John Dillon, Bullring at LVMS Super Late Model champion Chris Clyne and Nashville Pro Late Model winner Jake Bollman.
One Year Ago: 23 Super Late Models appeared with Jacob Gomes earning his third win-in-a-row, but last of the 2022 season. 2018 series champion Jeremy Doss grabbed second with September winner Buddy Shepherd third. 2019 championship runner-up Linny White was fourth with 2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program winner Dylan Zampa fifth. Jake Bollman, Dustin Ash, Chris Davidson, Cale Kanke, and Jeff Bischofberger rounded out the top-10.
Race Sponsor: Andy Allen, and his family owned business R.J. Allen Inc., will be the primary race sponsor this weekend. Allen and his #22 have shown steady improvement over the last couple of years. The former Irwindale Speedway Super Late Model winner has seen the same improvement at his hometrack where he has 13th, 13th, 11th, ninth, and seventh-place finishes in his last five starts. He will be looking for his first top-five in the series this weekend, hoping to reap the rewards of his team’s development.
“The key is to always work together as a team, to figure out new ways to improve, and always move forward in a positive direction”, Allen explained about the team’s improvement. “My goal is to finish in the top-five.”
Oh, So Close: Kole Raz has been knocking on the door of Victory Lane all season. He was second in the “Chilly Willy 150” at Tucson Speedway (AZ). He was second in the “Wild West Shootout – Heatseeker 127” for the SRL at Tucson. He was second in the “Leonard Evans Memorial 150” for the Northwest Super Late Model Series at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval (WA). He led the first 100 laps of the season opening “All-Star Showdown 100” at Irwindale before a parts failure dropped him through the field. He will now seek redemption at Irwindale this coming weekend.
“We are coming back for redemption from the “All-Star” race, and we want to put it in Victory Lane,” Raz stated succinctly.
New Dad: Buddy Shepherd became a first-time father several weeks ago, causing him to miss the “Wild West Shootout” event at Tucson Speedway. Shepherd will make his return this weekend, looking to repeat his Irwindale win from last September. The 2021 SRL Rookie-of-the-Year is coming off a third-place finish at the “Winter Showdown 135” at Kern County Raceway Park (CA) and currently sits 16th in the championship standings. A win this weekend would move him closer to the top-10, with his hometrack up next.
Pro Late Models: Linny White leads the championship standings after three events. White has won all three events thus far in 2023 and leads the championship by 138 points over two-time Pacific Challenge Series champion Mike Beeler. Christian Bazen sits third followed by Hans Beeler and Ethan Meyers. Nash Youngren, Seth Wise, Ryan Martin, Sean Woodside, and Bradley Erickson make up the top-10. The Pro Late Models will be on the ½-mile oval where Linny White won over Sean Woodside, Dylan Zampa, Nick Joanides, and Trevor Huddleston in the “All-Star Showdown 100”.
Spears Modifieds: Travis Thirkettle has had a stranglehold on the Spears Modified Series thus far in 2023. He has won all three events and finds himself with a 72-point cushion over Colorado’s Holly Clark. Stephen Brucker sits third followed by Jimmy Sloan and Kevin Vossen. William Guevara, Andrew Anderson, Travis McCullough, Jeff Longman, and Brandon Bonnett round out the top-10. Brucker leads the rookie standings over Bonnett and Brian Harrington Jr. 25 teams have scored points thus far in 2023.
Schedule: Saturday, May 20th, will be race-day with Practice for all divisions beginning at 12:00 PM. Qualifying for the Spears Pro Late Models begins at 3:30 PM with the Modifieds and Super Late Models following. The Spectator Gates open at 4:00 PM and the Celebrities will have a 15 minute practice session following qualifying. An on-track autograph session is scheduled for 5:00 PM. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 5:45 PM with Feature Events for the Jr. Spec Late Models, Modifieds, Super Late Models, Celebrity Race, and Pro Late Models to follow. The evening will close out with a fireworks display.
Livestream: All 2023 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series and SPEARS Pro Late Model Series races will be Livestreamed at www.SPEARSRacing.TV. Coverage will begin when qualifying begins on May 20th. Tommy Mason and Jeffery Best, with Low Budget TV (LBTV), will cover the action from Irwindale. All events will be tape delayed on MAVTV.
Super Late Model Entry: (As of 5/16/2023)0
4 Dylan Lupton, Elk Grove, CA
05 Nickolas Cooper, Severance, CO*
11d John Dillon, Eagle ID
11r Darren Robertson, Arvada, CO*
11h Austin Herzog, Clovis, CA*
14 Chris Clyne, Las Vegas, NV
16 Jacob Gomes, Manteca, CA
22a Andy Allen, Garden Grove, CA
22s Buddy Shepherd, Bakersfield, CA
23 Dan Holtz, Pacific Palisades, CA
24s Scott Sanchez, Bakersfield, CA
27m John Moore, Granite Bay, CA
29 Dylan Zampa, Napa, CA*
33k Cale Kanke, Frazier Park, CA
42 Kole Raz, Oswego, OR
71 Jake Bollman, Huntington Beach, CA*
88 Jason Gilbert, Danville, CA