2016 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Championship Standings – 8th Place: Keith Spangleradmin
Spangler Soldiers on to Eighth Place SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Championship Effort
Porter Ranch, CA driver Keith Spangler finished eighth in the final 2016 SPEARS (SRL) Southwest Tour Series Championship standings. It was the veteran driver’s seventh top ten championship finish, one of only three drivers in the history of the series, to accomplish that feat. Spangler also finished the season with one top five and four top ten’s. The latter number places him in a tie for second all-time with Derek Thorn, only four behind career leader Jim Pettit II’s 56.
Despite his achievements, the 2016 season was a difficult one for Keith. As an owner/driver, who is also responsible for the majority of work on his own car, an uncharacteristic three DNF’s hindered his efforts throughout the season. Sometimes it was a challenge to make it to each event, but a racer friendly schedule aided Spangler with that cause.
“Larry (Collins) and Brian (Olsen) really do a good job with the schedule”, Spangler would tell the SPEARS Southwest Tour. “They always make sure that we have time between races to be able to work on our cars. I know I wouldn’t have been able to make all of the races, if they didn’t layout the schedule that way.”
Spangler entered the season averaging only one DNF for every seven starts. It was a stat that placed him among the leaders in the series. One track that hindered that statistical category, however, was Kern County Raceway. It was a track that Spangler ran well at, but just didn’t seem to have any luck at last season
Keith recalled, “The two worst races of my season were at Kern County Raceway, where I had 2 accidents. During the second race there, my car was really good. I was really moving up through the field, when a driver who didn’t have a lot of recent experience got into me and wrecked me.”
Moving up through the field has been a constant for Keith throughout the years. This season was no different, as he once again led the series in Hard Charger Awards with four. (The award goes to the driver who improves the most positions during the race.) It is an award that Spangler would like to win less frequently, but not for race performance reasons.
“I definitely need to qualify better. I just haven’t gotten the extra tenths out of it, that some of the other guys get. Not that it is a big deal, but when you qualify better, you don’t need to use the car up so much. You can get in there and ride, to save the car for the end and go for the win, instead of getting into the top five or ten. If you can qualify into the top eight or twelve, you can also have more success in avoiding incidents in the middle of the pack”, Spangler assessed.
For 2017, Keith’s plans for his Retro Custom Metals, Ron’s Rear Ends, Reeve’s Complete Automotive Center, Maropolus Racing Engines Chevy Impala depend upon his ability to upgrade his race car. If history has any bearing upon those goals, look for Spangler to make series start number 80, in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series season opener.