David Mayhew has had success in nearly every series, division or class he has ever raced in. From a top 10 finish in his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start, to two top five finishes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to Late Model Track championships at the now defunct Mesa Marin Raceway (CA), and its replacement, Kern County Raceway (CA), Mayhew ‘s career is encircled by success. But when it comes to the Winter Showdown, at Kern County Raceway, Mayhew has been encircled by frustration, with only one eighth-place finish, in 2017, to show in the top ten.
The Bakersfield, CA driver will be making his fourth start in the $30,000 to win, $3,000 to start SRL Winter Showdown on February 3rd. He has been fast in all previous editions, running in the top five for a large portion of each event, but mechanical issues have ended his two best chances for victory.
“I’m hoping we can get to the finish,” Mayhew told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We’ve had some mechanical failures both times we didn’t finish. We just aren’t used to running races this long in the Late Models, so we have had to make some changes to the car based on previous years, so I’m really hoping that’ll pay off and we can get to the finish. I feel if we are there at the end of the race, then we will have a shot at it.”
Mayhew was the 2013 Late Model and 2014 Pro Late Model Champion at Kern County Raceway. He has 10 wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, finishing top five in points three times, with a best of second in 2010. He also was a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Southwest Tour’s final season in 2006, finishing fifth in the championship standings. In his 13 career starts in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series, he scored his lone victory at his home track in 2014.
As of late, however, Mayhew has spent very little time behind the wheel of his Super Late Model. His last start was, in fact, the 2017 Winter Showdown. Mayhew feels it may put him a little behind his fellow competitors, but hopes it won’t take long to get back up to speed.
“I haven’t been in a Late Model in a while, so yes, it will be a slight re-learning curve to get up to speed,” Mayhew commented. “Anytime you have more seat-time the better, but with life and other priorities this past year, we haven’t been on the track as much. We plan on doing some extra testing that we normally wouldn’t do before the race. So it should hopefully come back pretty quickly.”
With his busy schedule, Mayhew is happy to race near home, in the highest paying short track race for asphalt Super Late Models in the country.
“Honestly, the reason we are racing is because it’s right here at home”, Mayhew explained. It’s nice to have an event this big right here in our backyard. I’m getting more excited every day now, and I can’t wait to see everyone again, on and off the track. It should be a very fun weekend.”
Mayhew’s work will begin on Thursday, February 1st with practice for the Super Late Model / Tour cars. Friday, February 2nd is “51 FIFTY Energy Drink Opening Night”. Super Late Model practice will be followed by qualifying for the Fourth Annual Winter Showdown. Single car qualifying will take place at 6:30pm. The top 30 drivers from qualifying are locked into the Winter Showdown 300, with the fastest driver claiming the Bobby Durrett Fast Time Award, and a $2,000 cash bonus. Those outside the top 30 in qualifying will compete in the “Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse Last Chance Race,” with the top four transferring to the Main Event on Saturday afternoon. The evening will also feature qualifying and Main Events for the Late Models and Super Stocks.
Saturday, February 3rd, will be the final day of the race weekend, with Opening Ceremonies scheduled for 1:00pm. The Fourth Annual SRL Winter Showdown will kick-off at 2:00pm, with the winner taking home a cool $30,000 for their efforts. Mayhew hopes to keep all that cash in Bakersfield, CA.
-By Kevin Peters, Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com