SRL News and Notes – Irwindale Speedway “Allie Bakes 100”
Event: The Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series will visit Irwindale Speedway (CA) for the 26th time in series history, for the “Allie Bakes 100” on September 16th. The event will pay $7,333 to the winner and $500 to the leader on lap 33, with Allie Bakes as the primary sponsor of the #33 of Cale Kanke. It will be the penultimate event of the nine-race schedule. The Spears Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services will compete in the “LIUNA Feel the Power 60” for $2,500. The Spears Modified Series will race for $2,000 in the “Fytron Software LLC 60 presented by COMP Cams”. With the cancellation of the Stockton 99 Speedway event, due to heat, this will be a double points event for the Modified series.
Championship Standings SLM: Jacob Gomes holds a comfortable lead in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour standings with 1,201 championship points. Former Pacific Challenge Series champion John Moore sits second in the standings with 1,048 and 2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program champion Dylan Zampa third, with 1,035 points. Nickolas Cooper (924), Scott Sanchez (880), Cale Kanke (808), Dan Holtz (776), Austin Herzog (768), Blaine Rocha (644), and Andy Allen (640) round out the top-10. Nine of the top-10 in points are entered this weekend. Dylan Zampa leads the Rookie-of-the-Year standings over Nick Cooper, Austin Herzog, Darren Robertson, and Sean Hingorani.
Pro Late Model Standings: Linny White is six for six in Spears Pro Late Model Series competition and leads the standings with a perfect 1,080 championship points. Hans Beeler is second with 830 and his father Mike is third with 810. Christian Bazen (808), Scott Youngren (745), Ryan Martin (734), Nash Youngren (666), Seth Wise (648), Sean Woodside (641) and Ethan Meyers (521) complete the top-10. 19 Pro Late Models are entered as of Tuesday, September 12th, including the all-time winningest driver in Irwindale Speedway history, Trevor Huddleston.
Modified Standings: Travis Thirkettle has dominated the Spears Modified Series in 2023, winning all five events and compiling 900 championship points. Colorado’s Holly Clark has had her best season to date and sits second with 798 markers. Rookie-of-the-Year leader Stephen Brucker is third with 791, only seven points out of second. Kevin Vossen (741), Jimmy Sloan (590), Jeff Longman (569), William Guevara (560), Travis McCullough (473), Eddie Secord (458), and Andrew Anderson (325) make up the top-10. At least a dozen Modifieds are already entered for this weekend’s “FYTRON Software 60 presented by COMP CAMS” with nine of the top-10 in points expected.
Defending Winner: Buddy Shepherd was the winner of the Super Late Model event in 2022, defeating a 28-car entry one year ago. It was Shepherd’s second series win and his first at Irwindale Speedway. Shepherd beat Jacob Gomes, Austin Herzog, Jace Hansen, and Kole Raz. Shepherd will be back to defend his title, as will all of the top-three.
Former Winners: In 25 Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series events at Irwindale Speedway, there have been 14 different winners. Derek Thorn leads the list with eight wins, followed by MK Kanke with three. Ryan Cansdale and Preston Peltier both have two victories. Troy Ermish, Jonathon Gomez, Greg Voigt, Bobby Hodges, Eric Schmidt, Linny White, Jacob Gomes, Buddy Shepherd, Jeremy Doss, and Dylan Zampa all boast single wins. Gomes, Shepherd, and Zampa will each try for their second victories on Saturday. Linny White is entered in the Pro Late Model event.
Derek Thorn Racing: DTR will have three teams entered for this weekend’s action in the Super Late Model division. Jacob Gomes currently leads the championship standings with four victories in 2023. John Moore is second in the standings and was looking for series victory number one, when an altercation while leading ended his night at Stockton 99 Speedway (CA) in Round #7. Jake Bollman will be behind the wheel of the #71 for the second time in 2023, after finishing 12th at Irwindale in May.
Numbers: The Super Late Models are averaging 20.4 drivers per event in 2023. 59 different competitors have participated with the series this season. There have been three different winners with Jacob Gomes leading the way with four. Dylan Zampa has two and Jace Hansen one. There have been 26 lead changes in the seven events, and the winners have taken home $84,000 for their efforts. After Stockton, Dylan Zampa has completed the most laps in the series, finishing 944 of 946. Jacob Gomes has led the most laps with 304, and 14 different drivers have led a lap. Jacob Gomes, Blaine Rocha, and Kole Raz have all set Fast Time twice this season. Darren Robertson grabbed the PFC Brakes “Zero Drag Fast Time Award” in the June event at Kern County Raceway Park.
Double Duty: Nick Joanides will pull double duty in both the Super Late Models and the Pro Late Models. Joanides won the Pro Late Model portion of this event in 2022, in a thrilling finish, leading only the last lap, with 19 cars in attendance. He will be back in the Jan Qualkenbush / Jackson Race Cars Pro Late Model while hopping behind the wheel of the Garcia Racing Super Late Model. After a strong second-place run in the Irwindale Speedway NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Late Model Division last weekend, Joanides is excited to return in the Pro Late Models this weekend.
“Linny has dominated the Pro-Lates, both at Irwindale and in the SRL. It felt great to finally close the gap and at least make a race out of it with him. Hopefully we can find just one or two more small adjustments to get us over the top, to defend our race win from the Pro-Late event last year. The Jan Qualkenbush / Jan’s Towing team, of Dave, Tony, and Matt Jackson, and the entire crew have been working so hard to close the gap, and it looks like we finally have. I can’t thank them all enough. After falling just short this past Saturday, I would love to reward them with a win!”
Joanides is also looking forward to making his ninth start with the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series. He participated in the Garcia Racing Fury Racecars Super Late Model in June, finishing ninth at Kern County Raceway Park (CA). He will now make his second 2023 start, this time at his home track.
“I am looking forward to running the “Tour” car for Garcia Racing”, Joanides stated. “They always have great equipment. We had some bad luck with a mechanical issue the last time we ran it, but the car definitely had speed in it. If we can narrow in on the setup for my home track race, possibly we can make it two for two on the night and end the season on a very high note.”
Joanides continued, “I don’t know what the plan is for next year yet, so I’m just taking them one at a time and trying to make the most out of each one as if it’s the last one.”
West Champ Returns: 2002 ARCA Menards Pro Series West champion Eric Norris will team up with Dave Reed Racing for the fourth time, but the first in a Pro Late Model. Norris, the son of martial arts expert and television star Chuck Norris, has three “Tour” Series starts with Reed, dating back to the 2000 NASCAR Southwest Tour Series season. He will team up with 2001 NASCAR Southwest Tour Series champion Craig Raudman to take on the Spears Pro Late Model Series competitors.
“I am so excited to go back racing with Dave and Craig” Norris stated. “Just to have Craig on my side, with all his knowledge, will help me out so much. And to have Dave spotting for me will always be entertaining. I haven’t raced at Irwindale in 20 years, so I’m hoping that I will get up to speed quick enough. But I know they will give me a good car, so that makes me very excited. I think I finished second in my last Winston West (now ARCA Menards Pro Series West) race there, but that was a long time ago.”
Colorado Rookie: Nick Cooper has made the trip from Severance, CO to participate in all seven events thus far for the SRL. He will make his way back to Irwindale this weekend, the site of his best finish of the season in fourth. He sits second in the rookie chase and fourth in the overall title chase. The driver of the Rocky Mountain Motorsports Camaro is looking for a bounce back performance after two subpar results.
“I’m looking forward to being back at the track this weekend”, Cooper stated. “Both the car and team are prepared! We have gained a ton of experience and speed this year. We were bummed about our luck at our home track (Colorado National Speedway), but we are excited to bounce back and finish the season strong at the two big half-miles!”
Spectator Gates Open 4:00pm
Qualifying (2 Laps) 4:15pm
SPEARS Pro Late Model Series
SPEARS Mfg. Modifieds
SPEARS Southwest Tour Series
Autograph Session 5:30pm – 6:15pm
National Anthem 6:40pm
Main Events 6:50pm
Jr. Spec Late Models (1/3 mile) 30 Laps
SPEARS Pro Late Models 60 Laps – 1/2 mile
SPEARS Mfg. Modifieds 60 Laps – 1/2 mile
SPEARS Southwest Tour 100 Laps
Broadcast: All three divisions will be Livestreamed on SpearsRacing.TV. They will be shown on a delayed basis on MAVTV.
Celebrating its twenty third season in 2023, 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”.