Gomes, Wise, and Thirkettle Notch Winter Showdown Wins

Bakersfield, CA – Jacob Gomes led all 100 laps in route to his second victory in-a-row in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series. Gomes took home $10,000 for the victory in the “Winter Showdown Golden State Peterbilt 100” from Kern County Raceway Park Saturday night. The win catapulted the 2015 series champion into the championship lead ahead of now second place Jace Hansen. Hansen came home second, to tie his best series finish with Buddy Shepherd third, John Moore fourth and Jeremy Doss the final car in the top-five. Gomes ninth series win tied him with Doss and Jeff Anthony for fourth on the all-time series wins list.
Gomes was excited to add his name to the previous winners of the Winter Showdown, which included Super Late Model stars Bubba Pollard (2 wins), Derek Thorn (2 wins), Kyle Busch and Ty Majeski.
“It’s great to get added to it, and to be a part of every name on that list”, Gomes stated. “I’m just happy to join some of the best racers in the history of the country, and I’m just so happy to be on it now. It will mean a lot to me over the years, to be doing what we’re doing now.”
Gomes began the day scoring his 10th PFC Brakes “Zero Drag Fast Time Award” with a time of 17.519 on the ½-mile paved oval over the 18-car field. The series ran Heat Races to determine the starting line-up with the top-eight drivers redrawing for position in the Fast Heat. Buddy Shepherd crossed the line first in that event to earn the pole, with Gomes second, Cale Kanke third and Jeremy Doss fourth, those drivers make up the top-two rows.
2019 SRL championship runner-up Linny White won the Slow Heat to start ninth.
Gomes used the preferred outer groove at the start to take the lead from Shepherd. Shepherd and Doss battled for second for several laps, as Gomes slowly pulled away. Halfway through the run to the lap-40 Competition Caution, Shepherd began to close on Gomes and made it to his bumper on lap 30 but could not make a move before the yellow 10 laps later.
Upon the restart, Gomes would pull away, as Doss once again challenged Shepherd for second before the 2021 Rookie-of-the-Year could clear Doss. Gomes and Shepherd pulled away from the three-car battle for third, involving Doss, Hansen, and Cale Kanke. Once again, Shepherd began to close on Gomes for the lead, but ran out of time, when the second Competition Caution waved on lap 80.
The final restart found Jace Hansen using the preferred outer groove to battle to the outside of Shepherd, clearing him a lap later. Meanwhile John Moore was on the move from his sixth-place restart. On lap 84, Moore and Doss made contact, shooting Doss up the track, as he now battled Huddleston for fifth. As Gomes and Hansen pulled away, Moore pulled to the inside of Shepherd on lap-90 in the battle for third. Simultaneously, Huddleston battled to the inside of Doss for fifth as the intensity picked up. As the two pair of drivers fought for position inside the top-five, Gomes pulled away for the victory in front of Hansen. Shepherd was able to hold off Moore in a near photo finish. Likewise, Doss was able to secure the final top-five position by a couple of bumper lengths over Huddleston. Cale Kanke came home seventh over Dan Holtz, Blaine Rocha and Indiana’s Jordon Riddick.
After the event, Hansen was happy with his second-place finish, after his expectations for a top-five were exceeded, as he noted.
“I thought we were a top-five car at the beginning of the race! But knowing there were going to be a couple of competition yellows, I just tried not to use the thing up through the first eight laps. The last restart went our way luckily. We will need to do some more homework to hang with the 16 car (Gomes)!
The SPEARS Pro Late Models presented by Sigma Performance Services raced for $5,000 in the ‘Winter Showdown Oldenkamp 60”. Dylan Zampa set Fast Time over the field and won his Heat Race to start on the Pole. Seth Wise scored the victory in his Heat to sit to Zampa’s outside. At the start, Wise pulled to the lead with Zampa leading third place Parker Malone. The two leaders pulled away from the field, as the battle for third raged between Malone, Logan Zampa, Tyler Reif, Jason Romero and Tanner Reif. The field ran clean and green to the lap-40 Competition Caution. The restart saw Logan Zampa move by Malone in the preferred outer groove, with Jason Romero pressuring Malone for fourth. The caution came out again on lap 50 when Christian Bazen spun in Turn 1 and retired.
With the final restart, the intensity picked up. Dylan Zampa was able to get a good restart and raced Wise down the backstretch. In Turn 3, Zampa slid up into Wise and emerged with the lead. Wise was able to get back to Zampa’s bumper however, and applied pressure to the Kulwicki Driver Development finalist. On lap 54, Wise got to the inside of Zampa, as the duo raced side-by-side over the next four laps.
On lap 57, Wise was able to clear Zampa in Turn 4, but Zampa pulled a crossover move to retake the position. Wise was quicker however, and got back under Zampa in Turn 4 on lap 58. The duo raced side-by side on the final lap before Wise cleared Zampa coming to the checkered. It was Wise second series victory at Kern County Raceway and earned the hometown driver the $5,000 winner’s share of the purse. Zampa was a disappointed second followed by Parker Malone, Logan Zampa, Tyler Reif, Tanner Reif, Jason Romero, Frankie Munoz, Mike Beeler and Matt Ericson.
Travis Thirkettle dominated the SPEARS Modified Series “Winter Showdown Cox Petroleum 60” by jumping to the lead from the outside front row on lap 1, holding off Sam Jacks, and then championship leader Jaron Giannini to score the $2,000 victory. Giannini came home second after battling back and forth with Sam Jacks after multiple restarts. Jacks ended up third with Jimmy Sloan finishing fourth after battling as high as third. Willian Guevara battled to a fifth-place finish after starting fifth, dropping deep into the field, and then battling back into the top-five. Kyle Jacks finished sixth after running in the top-four. A smoking issue sent him to the rear late in the event, but he came back to just miss the top-five.
Earlier, Jaron Giannini set the PFC Brakes Zero Drag Fast Time Award and won his Heat Race to sit on the Pole. Travis Thirkettle won his Heat Race to start on the outside of the front row.
The next event for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series will be at Irwindale Speedway on May 21st. The Spears Pro Late Models, as well as the SPEARS Modified Series, will also join them. The next event for the Pro Late Models will be at Kern County Raceway on April 23rd.
Super Late Model Results:
1. Jacob Gomes, 2. Jace Hansen, 3. Buddy Shepherd, 4. John Moore, 5. Jeremy Doss, 6. Trevor Huddleston, 7. Cale Kanke, 8. Dan Holtz, 9. Blaine Rocha, 10. Jordon Riddick*, 11. Andy Allen, 12. Scott Sanchez, 13. Jim Wulfenstein, 14. Dustin Ash, 15. Linny White, 16. Eric Schmidt, DNS. Zach Telford*, DNS. Andre Prescott