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Trevor Huddleston won the pro late model feature at Irwindale Speedway. (Steve Himelstein photo)

KENNEDY: A Robust Tripleheader At Irwindale

LOS ANGELES — The third Spears SRL Southwest Tour triple-header of the year at Irwindale Speedway took place Sept. 16 on the half-mile paved oval.

The event had national television pay-per-view coverage by Low Budget TV. More than 3,000 spectators attended.

Drivers came from five states to compete in the penultimate round for Spears championships in super late model, pro late model and modified divisions. There were 14 super late model drivers, 17 in pro late model and 11 in modifieds.

Most drivers came from California. Two drivers towed from Colorado, plus one each from Nevada, Pennsylvania and Utah. Ethan Myers drove a pro late model from Bakersfield and flew home to Latrobe, Penn., on Sunday morning.

Purse Breakdown

Super late model Allie Bakes 100-lap winner Jacob Gomes, 29, received $7,333, plus $500 for leading lap 33 from the race sponsor and Cale Kanke’s No. 33 backer. Pro late model winner Trevor Huddleston, 27, earned $2,500 for his first Spears feature victory — to go along with three ARCA Menards West triumphs.

Modified winner Travis Thirkettle, 44, collected $2,000 for his victories in a pair of 60-lap races.

Season Recap

Three-time Spears super late model champion Gomes, from central California, won six of the first eight Spears mains this year, including two of three at Irwindale Speedway. Dylan Zampa, 19, and Coloradan Jace Hansen won events four and six.

Gomes won the first race in the new Spears SRL National Series that booked eight races in five states (Ala., Calif., Fla., Mich. and Mo.) from January through September. Bubba Pollard won three and Jeremy Doss took home two trophies. Gomes won the Irwindale 200 on Jan. 21 and NASCAR Cup driver Erik Jones won the Money in the Bank 150 on June 7.

Gomes Gets It Done In Super Late Models

Spears procedure has the eight fastest qualifiers in each division draw starting positions in the first four rows.

Gomes started second in the Ron Del Osso Van Doorn chassis No. 16 Toyota Camry. He led all 100 laps after trailing Bakersfield’s Buddy Shepherd for half a lap on a lap 41 restart following the competition caution after 40 green-flag laps.

Pole starter Austin Herzog took second from Shepherd on lap 84 and trailed Gomes by 2.565 in the 39-minute race. Shepherd placed third, 6.118 seconds back. Gomes ran the fastest lap of 100.251 mph.

Huddleston Hammers Pro Late Model Field

Point leader Linny White, 45, won the first five of seven features this season.

Zampa and three-time Irwindale Speedway NASCAR late model champion Huddleston won the following two.

Fastest-qualifier White started fifth and was second on the lap 41 restart. Past speedway late model champion Nick Joanides started first and led 13 laps. He retook second from White on lap 42 and trailed leader Huddleston by .403 seconds at the finish.

It was Huddleston’s 84th Irwindale Speedway feature win — an all-time track record. 

Joanides, 53, ran the fastest lap of 92.593 mph. White placed third, 2.735 seconds off the lead in the 23-minute race.

Thirkettle Tops Modifieds 

Fastest qualifier Jeff Longman started second and finished eighth.

Pole-sitter Holly Clark, a 17-year old high school senior and third-year modified racer from Colorado, led 19 laps. Andrew Anderson started seventh and led laps 20 to 40. Thirkettle came from outside row two to lead the final 20 laps.

He won by .659 seconds over Anderson with Jimmy Sloan third and Clark fourth. All 10 finishers completed 60 laps in the 22-minute event. Thirkettle ran the fastest lap of 92.879 mph in his own Racecar Factory-built car. It was his sixth victory in six main events. 

It was also Thirkettle’s 44th Irwindale Speedway main event win — which is seventh best all-time on the list of more than 600 main event winners in all divisions since the nationally acclaimed speedway opened in March, 1999.

Spears Finale Approaches At Kern County

The finale for all three Spears series will be Saturday, Oct. 15, at the half-mile Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif.

After passing Spears post-race technical inspection at Irwindale, White officially became the Spears pro late model champion, driving Clay Wooster’s Hamke chassis. He used the same car to win 11 of 15 NASCAR Pro LM features at Irwindale this year.

White clinched his second consecutive Irwindale Speedway championship on Sept. 9 by 28 points over runner-up Huddleston. Dominant White and the Tri-City Towing/Apache Rental Group No. 55 won 16 of 22 combined features in the two series.