(October 22, 2020 by Kevin Peters) – October Classic: After 28 years of the October Classic at Mesa Marin Raceway (CA) (1977 to 2005), the race returned to Kern County Raceway and Bakersfield, CA the last two seasons. This year’s edition will find the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series joined by the SPEARS Modified Series, ARCA Menard’s Pro Series West, Sigma Performance Services Pro Late Models and NASCAR Super Stocks. The October 25th “JM Environmental Inc. Wild West Shootout – Boogie Man 127 presented by KHI Management Inc.” will be race number seven, of the nine event SRL schedule. Photo by Sal Sigala

Throwback Weekend: The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series will feature a “throwback” themed weekend. Drivers and teams are encouraged to replicate paint schemes from the past, with the best design receiving a set of tires from Hoosier Tire West. A 20” x 30” framed photograph of the winning entry will also be awarded, courtesy of Sal Sigala Jr.

Winner’s Bonus: $5,027 will be awarded to the winner of this weekend’s event, thanks to the “Winner’s Bonus” sponsored by FLUIDYNE High Performance.
Lap 27 Bonus: The leader at lap 27 will receive an additional $1,000 thanks to JM Environmental Inc.
Halfway Bonus: $500 will be awarded to the leader at halfway point of the race (lap 63), thanks to AKM Maintenance.
Fast Qualifier: The Performance Friction Brakes Fast Time Award will pay an additional $500, thanks to JM Environmental Inc.

Repeat: Linny White will look to repeat his victory in last year’s October Classic, over the then 31-car entry. White will attempt to become only the third driver, in the Southwest Tour era, to score back-to-back victories. Mike Chase and David Gilliland are currently the only drivers to do so. Chase was able to capture three in-a-row.

Strong Field: 28 Super Late Models are entered for this weekend’s action. With Covid-19 preventing fans from attending events, it is the second highest car count of the season, behind the All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway.

Where the Champions Race: 15 drivers on the pre-entry have either Super Late Model Touring Series Championships or Late Model Track Championships. Touring series champions include Derek Thorn (4x SRL), Eric Schmidt (SRL, Pacific Challenge Series (PCS)), John Dillon (NASCAR Northwest Tour, Rocky Mountain Challenge Series), Jacob Gomes (SRL), Cole Moore (SRL), John Moore (PCS), and Preston Peltier (PASS South, PASS National).

Rookie Battle: Six rookies are entered in this weekend’s action. Dean Thompson leads the Rookie-of-the-Year battle over Joey Iest, Buddy Shepherd, Jonathan Mawhinney with Brandon Farrington rounding out the top-five. Mawhinney is the only top-five rookie not in attendance. Eric Meisner and Mark Neff will make their first starts of the season, with Meisner making his first career start.

Championship Battle: Four-time SRL Champion Derek Thorn leads former Irwindale Speedway Super Late Model Champion Linny White, 2019 SRL Champion Cole Moore, 2015 SRL Champion Jacob Gomes, while 2019 SRL Rookie-of-the-Year Tyler Fabozzi completes the top-five. The second five includes three-time PCS winner Carlos Vieira, 2006 SRL Champion Eric Schmidt, 2015 PCS Champion John Moore, 2019 All American 400 top-10 runner Kyle Neveau, and 2020 Irwindale Speedway Late Model Champion Dean Thompson.

Series Dominator: Derek Thorn has had a dominant 2020 season thus far in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series. He has won five of the six events, leading 573 laps thus far. He has already established a new record for money won during a season, having taken home $49,425 thus far. His career mark passed $300,000 at the last event at All American Speedway. Thorn heads to his home track, where he has won eight SRL championship events, as well as a Winter Showdown victory. He won the October Classic in 2018, and finished third in 2019.

Historic Start: Carlos Vieira will make his 100th career start in the series. He will be only the third driver in series history to reach the century mark. Vieira’s first start was at Irwindale Speedway on April 26, 2008.

“It’s hard to believe that this will be my 100th start” Vieira explained. “It’s even harder to believe that I am still looking for my first win in this series. I have won Late Model and Super Late Model races, but I have not been able to get it done in this series yet. We have come close many times, but luck has not been on my side in those situations. Either way, I have been having a blast. Besides having fun, like I talk about in my new book “Knockin’ Doorz Down”, racing has been good for me. It helps keep me out of trouble, and focused on the important things in life. Wins or no wins, I keep coming back because it’s something that I need and want to do for myself.”

Returning Home: Preston Peltier grew up in Frazier Park, CA, just 45 miles from Bakersfield, the home of Mesa Marin Raceway and the October Classic for so many years. Peltier didn’t have the opportunity to compete in the event, but remembered watching from the grandstands. This year he will get the opportunity to make that first start, in his Sigma Performance Services Super Late Model.

“I used to watch the October Classic when I was a kid at Mesa Marin, so getting to race in it for the first time is something I’m looking forward to”, Peltier stated. “I haven’t been in a car much this year, but we have been working hard behind the scenes and I’m hoping all that hard work pays off next weekend.”

Hollywood Holtz: “Hollywood” Dan Holtz will make his first SRL start of the 2020 season. The two-time Mesa Marin Super Late Model Track Champion endured a practice crash at the season opening All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, missing the feature event. The car was nearly destroyed, but his Super Late Model was rebuilt, and Holtz is ready to return. Holtz has been a fan of the ½-mile facilities on the “Tour”, and finished fifth in his last start at Kern County Raceway, after setting Fast Time.

Live Broadcast: The Low Budget TV cast will be at Kern County Raceway to provide live coverage of the “JM Environmental Wild West Shootout Round #3 Boogie Man 127 presented by KHI Management”. The PPV broadcast can be found at www.SpearsRacing.TV.

Series Home Track: This will be the 15th time the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series has visited Kern County Raceway. Derek Thorn has eight victories at his hometrack. Other winners include Jim Pettit II (2013) , Jeremy Doss (2014), David Mayhew (2014), Blaine Rocha (2017) and Linny White (2019 x 2).

Colorado Contingent: Three drivers will be making the long trip from Colorado to Bakersfield, CA. 2019 SRL Rookie-of-the-Year contender Jace Hansen will make his first 2020 start in a new Rowdy Manufacturing Super Late Model. Mark Neff will make his second October Classic start in his VanDoorn Racing Super Late Model. Eric Meisner will make his first series start, in the VanDoorn Super Late Model driven to a runner-up finish in the 2018 Winter Showdown, by Buddy Shepherd.

Busy Weekend: Cale Kanke will return to the series for the October Classic. But before his return, Kanke will be racing his Dirt Modified at Merced Speedway (CA) on Friday and Saturday. Kanke will be in his RPM Motorsports Super Late Model for Sunday’s feature event, making for a hectic, but fun weekend.

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”.

Entry List:
05 Eric Schmidt, Roseville, CA – Sierra Speed Technology, RT Painting
08 Jace Hansen, Greeley, CO – West Greeley Self Storage
11 John Dillon, Eagle ID – Dillon Toyota-Lift, Collins Motorsports
12 Jim Wulfenstein, Pahrump, NV – Sigma Performance Services
14 Chris Clyne, Las Vegas, NV – Thomson Motorsports, Foxy Construction LLC
16 Jacob Gomes, Manteca, CA – Sunnyvalley Smoked Meats, Dell’Osso Family Farms
20 Cole Moore, Granite Bay, CA – JM Environmental, JM Racing
22A Andy Allen, Garden Grove, CA – R.J. Allen Inc.
22S Buddy Shepherd, Bakersfield, CA – Advanced Distribution, Schaeffer’s Racing Oil*
23 Dan Holtz, Pacific Palisades, CA – Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center, Concrete Motorsports
24 Scott Sanchez, Bakersfield, CA – Retro Custom Metals, American Truck & Crane
25 Brandon Farrington, Tucson, AZ – Sigma Performances Services, Well Johnson Co.*
26 Jim Vermillion, Salisbury, NC – Brandon’s Diner, Lakeside General Contractors
27 John Moore, Granite Bay, CA – JM Environmental, JM Racing
33 Cale Kanke, Frazier Park, CA – Peachy Keen Swim, Allie Brakes, Movember
37 Keith Spangler, Porter Ranch, CA – Retro Custom Metals, Spangler Racing
42 Mark Neff, Berthoud, CO – Royal Purple Oil, Cure Kinley & Kennedy*
43 Derek Thorn, Bakersfield, CA – Santa Maria Brewery, H&M Motorsports
51M Eric Meisner, Brighton, CO – Monster Energy Drinks, Jenkins Wealth*
51T Dean Thompson, Anaheim Hills, CA – Thompson Pipeline, Racecar Factory*
51V Carlos Vieira, Livingston, CA – 51 FIFTY, Allied Packaging
54 Preston Peltier, Las Vegas, NV – Sigma Performance Services
71N Kyle Neveau, San Clemente, CA – Santa Monica Brew Works, Axalta
71M Christian McGhee, Claremont, CA – Western Concrete Pump, All Pro Coating
88I Joey Iest, Madera, CA – Richwood Meats, Ag. Center at 59*
89 Bobby Hodges, Carson City, NV – NATC, Break-A-Heart LLC
98 Blaine Rocha, Oakdale, CA – MASROC Farms, Masellis Drilling
99 Linny White, Colton, CA – Power GRADING Inc.
*Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series Rookie-of-the-Year Contender

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About Steven Blakesley

Steven Blakesley is a motorsports announcer and public relations specialist with more than 15 years of experience. His biggest pet peeve is race fans who only enjoy one form of racing over all others.