(November 19, 2020 by Kevin Peters) – Event: The “Retro Custom Metals 137” is round number eight of nine, in the 2020 championship season, and will take place at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is typically the championship event for the series, but because of Covid-19, an event was added to the schedule at Irwindale Speedway on December 19th. This will be only the second Super Late Model event held at the facility this season. Photo by Sal Sigala
Big Payout: $10,000 will go to the winner thanks to David Mulcahy, and “Winner’s Bonus” sponsors Tilton and MPI (Max Papis Innovations). A special trophy will be presented to the winner of this event, which has become a tradition for high paying events sponsored by Retro Custom Metals and David (Homie) Mulcahy. The winner will receive a refurbished fully functional “one arm bandit” slot machine, redesigned as a trophy.
Popular Joint: The season finale will take place at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (NV). The “Bullring” is averaging 26.4 SRL cars per event, the highest of any facility with more than one event. This will be the 26th event at the facility for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series.
Record Entry: 45 Super Late Models are entered for this weekend’s action. It will shatter the all-time record of 37, set at the 2004 season opener at Altamont Raceway Park. It will be the sixth consecutive SRL race at the “Bullring”, with at least 30 cars.
Northwest Invasion: Nine drivers from the Pacific Northwest are entered for this event, representing Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Owen Riddle, Tayler Riddle, Randy Marshall Jr., and Tyler Tanner, who recently moved to North Carolina, will represent Washington. John Dillon, Zach Telford, and Trevor Cristiani will represent Idaho. Austin Thom and Gracin Raz will stand for Oregon.
Diverse Roster: Ten states are represented on this weekend’s roster. Participants pre-entered are from California, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Indiana, North Carolina, and Oregon.
Lupton Returns: Part-time NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series competitor Dylan Lupton will make his return to the series, after participating in the first two events of the season. A hard wreck at Kern County Raceway put his SRL season on hold, but he will be back in a new VanDoorn Super Late Model. Lupton had a best finish of eighth, in his three 2020 “Truck Series” starts. In nine career SRL starts, he has three top-five and four top-10 finishes.
Pro Late Model Champion: Cole Williams will make his second start in the series, after finishing sixth at Kern County Raceway in May. The two-time Lebanon I-44 and Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway PLM track champion will be a teammate to John Dillon, in a Port City Super Late Model for Collins Motorsports.
Bullring Weekly Dominator: Six-time Bullring Super Late Model Champion Scott Gafforini, will make his second SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series start. He is the all-time wins leader at the facility with 67. Most recently, Gafforini finished as the Super Late Model Championship Runner-up in 2019.
Championship Shake-up: With championship contenders Linny White, Jacob Gomes, Cole Moore and John Moore scheduled to miss this weekend’s event, the top-10 in the standings will experience a dramatic shake-up. The result could see Derek Thorn clinch his fifth SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Championship, by finishing 21st or better. He would become the first driver in series history to clinch the championship before the season finale.
Rookie Battle: 2020 Irwindale Speedway Late Model Champion Dean Thompson leads the Rookie-of-the-Year Standings by 137 over Joey Iest. Buddy Shepherd, Brandon Farrington and Jonathan Mawhinney round out the top-five. Nine rookies are entered this weekend, including the top-four in the standings.
And so, it Ends: Unless there is a wedding cancellation, Jacob Gomes’ streak of 106 consecutive starts in the series will come to an end. Gomes first start in the SRL was at Stockton 99 Speedway, in October of 2009. He participated in the final three events of that season. He hasn’t missed an event since. When asked about the conflict, Gomes said of his friend’s wedding, “If the wedding gets cancelled (Covid-19 restrictions), we’re going to Vegas. The car is ready.” Gomes is the series start leader, two ahead of Scott Sanchez and was the 2015 series champion.
Colorado Contingent: Three drivers from the state of Colorado will make the trip to Las Vegas. 2019 SRL Rookie Jace Hansen will lead the trio, after finishing second in the October Classic at Kern County Raceway the previous event. Mark Neff will also make the trip, after qualifying eighth at the October Classic, but finished 21st after suspension failure. Nick Cooper will make his series debut as a teammate to Mark Neff, and the Rocky Mountain Motorsports Team. Cooper will make the jump from the Pro Truck Division at Colorado National Speedway.
Double Duty: Two-time Spears Modified Series Champion Dylan Cappello will make the trip from North Carolina to Las Vegas, to participate in both the SRL and Modified events this weekend. Cappello will be in a Super Late Model owned by Scott Sanchez and will act as his teammate for the weekend. He will also be in the Dave Arce owned Modified.
Local Flavor: Jim Wulfenstein, Chris Clyne, Scott Gafforini, Tanner Reif, Preston Peltier, Johnny Spilotro, and Jimmy Parker Jr. call the Las Vegas area their home. Peltier is the only one of those who hasn’t called the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway his home track. Gafforini was a six-time Super Late Model titlist, while the 2018 and 2019 championships were won by Clyne and Parker Jr., respectively. Wulfenstein was a two-time Super Late Model track champion.
Super Late Model Touring Champions: Six drivers on the pre-entry roster have Super Late Model touring series championships. Eric Schmidt, Mike Beeler, John Dillon, Preston Peltier, Derek Thorn, and Trevor Cristiani make up that list. Eric Holmes is a three-time ARCA Menards Pro Series West Champion.
Past Winners: Derek Thorn and Blaine Rocha are the only two former winners of this event, on the pre-entry list.
2019 Rewind: Derek Thorn was the winner of this event in 2019. Bobby Hodges took home the “PFC Brakes Zero Drag Fast Time Award. Keith Spangler won the Last Chance Qualifier and Linny White won the Coleman Powersports Hard Charger Award.
First Timers: Six drivers will be making their debut in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series. Those drivers include Nick Cooper, Owen Riddle, Randy Marshall Jr., Tyler Tanner, Johnny Spilotro, and Austin Thom. Tyler Tanner does have four starts in the non-point SRL Winter Showdown.
SPEARS Modified Series: 36 Modifieds are currently on the expected entry list for the “Optima Batteries 75 presented by FAST”. The list includes drivers from seven different states. Six of those drivers are from the state of Idaho and four are from Colorado. Six drivers on the roster have SPEARS Modified Series wins on their resume. The drivers will ne racing for the $2,500 winner’s check.
Modified Championship: Jeremy Doss leads Eddie Secord by a single point in the championship battle. The two have exchanged the championship lead multiple times throughout the season.
Modified Rookie Battle: Jim Coffey leads younger brother Ed Coffey in the Rookie-of-the-Year Standings by 38 points. David Levitt, Ken Hoobery and Ryley Millard round out the top-five.
Race Coverage: The “Retro Custom Metals 137” and the “Optima Batteries 75 presented by FAST” will both be shown on MAVTV at a date to be named later. They will be live streamed on SpearsRacing.TV, beginning at 3:00 pm (PST).
Super Late Model Pre-Entry
4 Dylan Lupton, Elk Grove, CA
5C Nick Cooper, Loveland, CO*
05S Eric Schmidt, Roseville, CA
5 Barry Conoyer, Mesa, AZ
6B Mike Beeler, Modesto, CA
6F Tyler Fabozzi, Anaheim Hills, CA
08 Jace Hansen, Greeley, CO
10R Owen Riddle, Naches, WA
11B Tracy Bolin, Valley Springs, CA
11D John Dillon, Eagle ID
12 Jim Wulfenstein, Pahrump, NV
14 Chris Clyne, Las Vegas, NV
15 Tayler Riddle, Naches, WA
17 Zach Telford, Middleton, ID*
21H Eric Holmes, Rock Hill, SC
21W Cole Williams, Borden, IN
22A Andy Allen, Garden Grove, CA
22S Buddy Shepherd, Bakersfield, CA*
23 Dan Holtz, Pacific Palisades, CA
24C Dylan Cappello, Charlotte, NC
24S Scott Sanchez, Bakersfield, CA
25F Brandon Farrington, Tucson, AZ*
25M Randy Marshall, Jr., Moxee, WA
26 Jim Vermillion, Salisbury, NC
27 Gracin Raz, Lake Oswego, OR
38 Scott Gafforini, Henderson, NV
42 Mark Neff, Berthoud, CO*
43R Tanner Reif, Las Vegas, NV*
43T Derek Thorn, Bakersfield, CA
50 Trevor Huddleston, Agoura Hill, CA
51T Dean Thompson, Anaheim Hills, CA*
51V Carlos Vieira, Livingston, CA
54 Preston Peltier, Las Vegas, NV
65 Tyler Tanner, Mooresville, NC
71N Kyle Neveau, San Clemente, CA
71M Christian McGhee, Claremont, CA
77 Johnny Spilotro, Las Vegas, NV*
86 Tim Spurgeon, Danville, CA
88I Joey Iest, Madera, CA*
89 Bobby Hodges, Carson City, NV
90C Trevor Cristiani, Boise, ID
90S Ross Strmiska, Manteca, CA
92 Jimmy Parker Jr., Las Vegas, NV
93 Austin Thom, Newberg, OR*
98 Blaine Rocha, Oakdale, CA
*SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Rookie