A snapshot of Kern County Raceway Park this March. (Spears photo)

Winter Showdown Ahead For Kern County

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The 8th annual Winter Showdown is set to run on March 25 at Kern County Raceway Park.

The show will feature the super late models of the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series, the Spears Pro-Late Models presented by Sigma Performance Services and the Spears Modified Series. It is the third time all three divisions have competed in the annual event.

The super late models will vie for a $10,000 winner’s check, the pro late models will compete for $2,500 and the modifieds will compete for a $2,000 payday.

Event History

The first Winter Showdown was held in 2015 with Bubba Pollard earning a $25,000 win.

He followed it up with a second victory in 2016. Derek Thorn broke through in 2017, bagging $30,000 for his effort. NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch turned the $30,000 trick in 2018, getting even for his third place run the previous season. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star Ty Majeski beat the weather and a 38-car entry to win $30,000 in 2019.

COVID-19 claimed the 2020 edition, but Derek Thorn returned to pick up his second victory in 2021 in front of 27 Super Late Models, winning $10,000. Jacob Gomes got his Spears Southwest Tour Series season off to a great start last year by winning the 7th annual edition, worth $10,000.

Colorado Contenders

Three teams from the state of Colorado will vie for the win on Saturday night.

Jase Hansen will make his fifth start in the event, where he claimed a best finish of second last year. Darren Robertson will make his first start at KCRP, after coming home fifth in the “All-Star Showdown 200” at Irwindale Speedway. The three-time Colorado National Speedway (CNS) Super Late Model champion has three career SRL starts.

Nicholas Cooper will make his third series start after finishing 14th in the “All-Star Showdown 200.”

Gomes Leads The Championship

Jacob Gomes is coming off his second series championship and is the current points leader this year.

Gomes won $25,000 in the season opener at Irwindale and will be looking to defend his 2022 “Winter Showdown” title. Gomes is once again hooked up with Derek Thorn and Derek Thorn Racing for the season. He travelled to 5 Flags Speedway two weeks ago and came home eighth in the ASA Stars National Tour event.

He will now turn his attention to a track for which he has had recent success, earning seven top-five’s in his last eight starts.

“I can’t wait to get back and give it all we got again,” Gomes exclaimed. “I think we have a great shot at it and I’m happy to get back racing again. It’s a fun track and really racy. It has two good grooves and it puts on a good race for the racers and fans. It is always fun coming back to it.”

Heartbreak Holtz

Dan Holtz will be looking for his second career SRL victory this weekend.

The driver from Pacific Palisades, Calif., was a former regular at the East Bakersfield half-mile known at Mesa Marin Raceway, where he was a two-time super late model track champion. Holtz has had a run of bad luck in the series however, signified by his “All-Star Showdown 200” effort where he ran out of gas with three laps remaining while running second.

At KCRP he has been strong when he does finish, averaging a fifth-place result over those six starts, but he has also had frustrating results — garnering two DNF’s in the last six starts overall.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have so many victories in Bakersfield over the years, so I certainly can’t complain when things don’t work out the way we want them to,” Holtz said. “Mesa Marin Raceway gave me so much success, it’s kept me going over the years when the wins have slowed down. We have been fortunate to have fast race cars that are capable of winning if everything goes our way, but the stars haven’t lined up right recently.”

Broadcast Details

For fans unable to attend the “Winter Showdown,” all the events will be livestreamed at SpearsRacing.TV.