Event: The “Sunrise Ford All-Star Showdown presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame”. The participating divisions will be the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series, SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series presented by Lucas Oil and the debut of the SPEARS Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services. The Super Late Models will race for 200 laps, with a mid-race break at lap 100 on the ½-mile track. The Modifieds will race for 100 laps on the inner 1/3-mile. The Pro Late Models will circle the 1/3-mile for 150 laps with a mid-race break. Photo by Sal Sigala, Jr.
Where: The ½-mile progressively banked asphalt oval and the inner 1/3-mile inner asphalt oval at Irwindale Speedway (CA)
When: February 6th, 2021. It will be the championship opening event for each of the three divisions.
Big Money: The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series will be racing for $30,000-to-win. The SPEARS Modified Division will compete for $5,000-to-win, while the SPEARS Pro Late Models will be gunning for $15,000. The Super Late Models, of the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, will be competing for a feature purse of $79,000 plus SPEARS Manufacturing Frequent Flyer Bonuses.
Record Field SLM: 46 Super Late Models have submitted entries, for the opening round of the championship season. Eleven states are represented on the list, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Nevada, Georgia, Florida and Washington. The all-time record for car count in a championship event is 42, set just last November at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Prior to that, the record was 37, set at Altamont Raceway Park in 2004. The largest field to ever start a championship feature event was 33, set at the season opener in 2019, at Irwindale Speedway. 36 cars are scheduled to start this weekend’s event. The Last Chance Qualifier distance will be contingent on field size.
Big Inaugural Field: The SPEARS Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services has 37 pre-entries for their inaugural event. 23 cars appeared for this unsanctioned event in 2020. 26 cars are scheduled to start the feature event. The Last Chance Qualifier distance will be contingent upon field size.
Strong Field: 25 SPEARS Modified Series drivers are pre-entered for this event. The number is nearly double the attendance in 2020, where 13 cars appeared.
Where the Champions Race: No less than nine upper division asphalt touring series champions are represented on the pre-entry list. Those include Chris Davidson (USRA SLM 2006, Allen Turner PLM 2020), Mike Garvey (All American Challenge Series 1990), Jacob Gomes (SRL 2015), Cole Moore (SRL 2019), Casey Roderick (2x Southern Super Series, 3x Blizzard Series), John Moore (PCS 2015), Derek Thorn (5x SRL, 2x NASCAR ARCA Menards West), Jeremy Doss (SRL 2018), and Preston Peltier (PASS South SLM & PASS National Championship SLM 2010). The last seven SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Championships are represented on the entry between Thorn, Moore, Doss and Gomes.
Super Late Model Winners: 32 drivers on the preliminary entry list have Super Late Model victories to their names. Nine of those drivers have wins in the SRL.
SRL Rookie Class: A strong rookie class is expected to compete for Rookie-of-the-Year honors in the SRL in 2021. Nine Rookies are entered in the “Sunrise Ford All-Star Showdown 200”. Rookies entered are Kyle Keller, Kole Raz, Buddy Shepherd, Brandon Farrington, Haeden Plybon, Corey Neveau, Bryce Bezanson and Jonathan Mawhinney.
Young Guns: The Spears Pro Late Model Series will have a championship within a championship in 2021. The “Sigma Performance Services Young Gun’s Championship” is a program for driver’s 20-years of age or younger. The driver who scores the most championship event points during the season, will be awarded the opportunity to drive a Sigma Performance Services Super Late Model, in a SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series event at Irwindale Speedway, in the Spring/Summer of 2022. The car, crew and associated expenses will be covered by Sigma Performance Services, including at private test date.
History: This will be the 10th time the event has been held at Irwindale Speedway. The event returned in 2020 after spanning a nine-year hiatus. The event was originally known as the Toyota All-Star Showdown and began in 2003, as an invitation only event, for the NASCAR Elite Divisions (Tour Series) and the now ARCA Menards Series (formerly NASCAR K&N Pro Series). The Elite Division portion was made up of participants in the top-10 of the championship standings from the Northwest, Southwest, Midwest and Southeast Tours, starting 40 cars in the feature. The ARCA Menards portion was made up of the top-15 in both the “West” and “East” Series, to make a 30-car starting field.
The event was run much the same for the first four years, until the demise of the NASCAR Elite Divisions. In 2007, the ARCA Menards Series top-15 East and West drivers were invited with bonus moneys. The guaranteed starting spots in the now 40-car field, were only guaranteed to those with a NASCAR Regional Series Championship. The balance of the field was made up of the top qualifiers and Last Chance Qualifying Race transfers. The Super Late Models were added for a 150 lap Friday night show.
In 2008, the race was moved from late in the year to the beginning of the 2009 season. The format remained the same, but the Late Models were added. The 2010 and 2011 running of the events, kept the same divisions, with slight differences in the format and guaranteed starting spots. At the end of the 2011 season, the All-Star Showdown was not renewed, and no event was held in 2012.
The event returned in 2020 with the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Super Late Models, SPEARS Modified Series and Pro Late Models. The Pro Late Models raced on the inner 1/3-mile for 100 laps and $10,000, while the Modifieds ran for 75 laps on the ½-mile. For $5,000. The Super Late Models went for 200 laps with a halfway break. The winner collected $25,000.
Former Winners – Elite Division: Ron Breese Jr. (2003 MWT), Eric Holmes (2004 SWT), Auggie Vidovich (2005 SWT), Tim Schendel (2006, MWT) were winners in those first 4 seasons. Eric Holmes, the 2004 winner, recalls collecting $15,000 for his efforts, a Toyota Tundra leased for a year, championship rings for the team, as well as many other gifts and awards.
Former Winners – Super Late Model Division: Greg Pursley (2007), Travis Thirkettle (2009), Rip Michaels (2010), Ryan Partridge (2011) were victors during those respective seasons. Derek Thorn scored the $25,000-win in last season’s event.
Former Winners – NASCAR ARCA Menards Series: Austin Cameron (2003), Mike Johnson (2004), David Gilliland (2005), Matt Kobyluck (2006), Joey Logano (2007), Matt Kobyluck (2009), Joey Logano (2010), Jason Bowles (2011) took home bragging rights from 2003 to 2011.
Former Winners – (Pro) Late Model Division: Mike Johnson (2009), Tim Huddleston (2010) and Sean Woodside (2011) were the only three winners in the Late Model Division. Cole Williams scored the Pro Late Model win in 2020.
Former Winners – Modifieds: Travis Thirkettle scored his second “Showdown” win in 2020, this time in a Modified.
Livestream: All 2021 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series and SPEARS Pro Late Model Series races will be Livestreamed at www.SPEARSRacing.TV. Coverage will begin at 2:30 pm PST on February 6th. Tommy Mason and Jeffery Best, with Low Budget TV (LBTV), will cover the action from Irwindale.
MAVTV: All 2021 races for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series, and SPEARS Pro Late Model Series events will also be carried on MAVTV on a delayed basis. Broadcast times will be announced, at a later date.
Celebrating its twentieth season in 2020, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the U.S. “The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series…Where the Champions Race”.