Three years ago, Blaine Rocha exited his Super Late Model grasping his arm in pain, after hitting the pit exit wall at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Final Practice. The 2016 version of the $10,000-to-win “Retro Custom Metals 150 presented by Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse San Dimas” did not look to promising for the Oakdale, CA driver. A wrecked race car, an ailing arm and a back-up car, that was last used at the All American 400, at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, presented a daunting task for the Collins Motorsports Team. But the driver and team were up to the challenge.
Rocha recalled, “We spent all day Friday getting our primary car really good, but we pulled the red car out and it was just as fast. I think in the race it might have been even faster.”
Rocha started on the pole, after the redraw, and led all 150 laps to score his first SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, and Super Late Model win of his career. It was a big moment for the series regular.
“I’m so happy for this crew”, Rocha said at the time. “For all the hard work that they did this year, and through all the bad luck that we had this season, we finally came out with a win and I couldn’t be happier. Finally, my first Super Late Model win! I have been waiting to check this one off of my list for a long time. I have won a lot of races in other divisions and stuff like that, but to win one in the SPEARS Southwest Tour means a lot to me.”
As Rocha heads to the 2019 version of the event, he sits seventh in the championship standings, after a challenging campaign for the talented racer. In race number six and seven of the season, he began to turn his luck around, with consecutive sixth-place finishes. But a 25th place finish, after a lap 34 accident at Kern County Raceway, stalled his momentum. Rocha will look to get that momentum back in series start number 51, on November 23rd.
The Bullring has been a hit or miss facility, for the multi-time Madera Speedway Pro Late Model winner. In nine starts, he has the win, four top-five and five top-10 finishes. His other four finishes have averaged a 20th place result. If Rocha, and the Collins Motorsports Team, sponsored by Masrock Farms Inc, Rocha’s Valley Enterprises, Masellis Drilling and Central Valley Auto Transport, can shake the gremlins, there is no reason to believe they can not achieve the win, in the tape-delated nationally televised race on MAVTV.
Saturday’s action gets underway with the Spectator Gate opening at 2:00 pm. The Late Model Truck Heat Races are scheduled for 2:15 pm. Jr. Late Model Qualifying follows at 2:30 pm, with Spears Modified Series and SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Qualifying up next. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 4:00 pm, with Feature Events for the Jr. Late Models (two 35-lap segments), SPEARS Modifieds (75-laps), Late Model Trucks (35 laps) and the “Retro Custom Metal 150 presented by Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse” following.