TOP 11 COUNTDOWN – KEITH SPANGLERadmin
By Kevin Peters
Sitting 8th in the Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series Points Standings is Porter Ranch, California driver Keith Spangler. Keith is a veteran of the series with 66 career starts (5th most all-time) and 47 career Top 10 finishes (2nd all-time). His career started at the now defunct Saugus Speedway and includes 5 Super Late Model victories and a championship runner-up effort in 1989. He has also scored 52 career Top 10 finishes in 126 starts in the old Nascar Southwest Tour Series.
Keith’s 2015 season got off to a rough start when mechanical issues prevented him from starting the Inaugural 2015 Winter Showdown, after finishing 10th in his qualifying heat race to put him in the big show. The Spears Southwest Tour points season opener didn’t go much better when Keith struggled to a 12th place finish at Madera Speedway. Keith’s struggles continued with another 12th place at Kern County Raceway before rebounding for his first Top 10 finish of the season, an 8th at Stockton 99 Speedway. “The first part of the season we really struggled with the handling on the car. We just couldn’t find the handle and get the car hooked-up” Keith stated.
At Irwindale Speedway Keith qualified 17th in the 21 car field, but felt he had a good car for the main. “We only use tires from our previous event for practice, so qualifying is our first time on new rubber. Because of that, figuring out just how deep to drive it in is always hard to estimate”, Keith surmised. Once the race began Keith moved steadily forward and finished 7th at the end of the day. “We found something in our set-up before the Irwindale race that we feel will really help with the rest of the season. I felt we might have been able to finish as high as 4th if we didn’t have the long red flag. That allowed some of our competitors tires to cool and we were better on the long runs”, Keith recalls. “The most important thing is that Ross (Strmiska) was okay after his accident”.
Looking forward to the second half of the season Keith is very optimistic. Keith says, “After the Irwindale race I looked at the points, thinking we would be way behind, and saw that we were still in it (67 points behind). With (Derek) Thorn missing the Stockton event, there wasn’t anyone who really stood out and I think anyone in the Top 10 could take home the championship. I hope to get my first Southwest Tour win and Series Championship this year”.
The second half of the season gets underway at Redwood Acres Raceway, in Eureka California, on August 1. “I really look forward to going to Eureka as I didn’t get to go last time (in 2013). I heard they had a great crowd last time and it is always fun to race in front of a packed grandstand”, Keith said. He continued, “I had been there with the Nascar Southwest Tour Series a couple of times and came away with a Top 5 finish (1993)”.
As the second half gets underway Keith would like to thank this season’s sponsors. They are: HP Tuners, Ron’s Rear Ends, Maropulos Racing Engines and Retro. “They have really stepped up for me this season and without them I would not be able to do this” says Keith.