BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series is heading back to Irwindale Speedway for round four of the 10-round season on May 21.
Teams will race for a $6,000 payday in the SPEARS Manufacturing 100. The SPEARS Pro Late Models and the SPEARS Modified Series will also be in action on the inner one-third mile, competing in the SPEARS Manufacturing 60 and the Comp Cams 60 respectively.
The Super Late Model event has 23 entries and will honor longtime Irwindale Speedway racer and former track race director Michael Atkinson who passed away on February 11, 2021.
Loyd McGhee and J&M Racing have added $1,000 to the winner’s purse, with an additional $500 being awarded to the fast qualifier as well as $500 for leading lap 17 — Atkinson’s former race car number.
Derek Thorn has won the last three Super Late Model events at the half-mile facility, including the season opening $25,000-to-win All-Star Showdown 200. He is also the winningest SRL winner at Irwindale, with eight victories in 18 series starts.
With Thorn pursuing a national touring schedule this season, that streak will end on Saturday.
Jacob Gomes enters the event as the championship leader, having scored a pair of California wins at All America Speedway and Kern County Raceway Park. Gomes has found victory lane hard to reach at Irwindale, however, with five top-five finishes in 20 career starts and a best result of second place in 2021.
“We just need a little better luck,” Gomes said. “We’ve had a ton of really good runs there, leading, and then things go wrong. Hopefully we can have a little better luck this go-around. It would be great to get me a win there. It has been a hard track for me to conquer.”
Jace Hansen has had a strong season and currently sits second in the championship standings. The driver out of Greeley, Colorado, has earned two top-five’s and a season-worst seventh at the opening round. He hopes his momentum will carry over to this weekend’s big event.
“A win at home really helps keep the guys motivated at the shop preparing for Irwindale,” Hansen said. “It makes the team even more hungry for our first tour series win, but we know those aren’t easy to come by. The whole group is putting a ton of effort into making sure we bring a competitive race car. The time and effort are there. Irwindale is one of my favorite tracks, so hopefully with this little boost of morale and a little luck, we will be battling for another win next weekend.”
Jeremy Doss has been consistent in his return to the SPEARS Southwest Tour, earning top-five finishes in all three starts that placed him third in the standings. But after a nine-win season in the SPEARS Pro Late Models in 2021, Doss is overdo for a win by his own standards.
For Irwindale, he will be back behind the wheel of a Bob Lyon Super Late Model.
“I’m excited to be back behind the wheel of the No. 44 this weekend at Irwindale Speedway,” Doss stated. “It’s the car we ran at the Snowball Derby with a brand-new Peters Racing Engine. I feel like Irwindale is a place you can use the power, which will definitely help. We’ve been consistent but haven’t been in victory lane yet, but I feel like we can change that this weekend.”
Sitting tied for fourth in the championship standings is another driver with a family pedigree for winning.
M.K. Kanke has a total of six NASCAR Southwest Tour and SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series victories at Irwindale. His son Cale hopes to get in the series win column by making it first to the checkered flag this weekend.
The driver tied with Kanke for fourth in the championship standings is Irwindale Speedway’s winningest driver Trevor Huddleston.
Huddleston will be looking for his 11th victory at Irwindale.
The top-five in the championship will be challenged by other teams who will be seeking the $6,000 winner’s prize. Defending Five Flags Speedway Allen Turner Pro Late Model track champion Chris Davidson, former Irwindale winner Eric Schmidt and Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist Dylan Zampa will be amid the stacked field.
The SPEARS Modified Series will compete in round five of their nine-race season. There are 17 modifieds currently entered for the SPEARS Manufacturing 60.
Jaron Giannini leads the championship standings, Sam Jacks sits second and is followed by Jimmy Sloan, Kyle Jacks and William Guevara.
In the SPEARS Pro Late Models, Tyler Reif is the championship leader after four rounds of racing. He will be looking for his first series victory in the SPEARS Manufacturing 60.
Seth Wise sits second, Tanner Reif holds third and Dylan Zampa remains fourth in the standings.
The SPEARS Manufacturing 100 will be broadcast live by SPEED SPORT affiliate, SPEARSRacing.tv.