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 Pro Late Models. The Super Late Models will race for 200 laps, with a mid-race break at lap 100. The Modifieds will race for 75 laps. The Pro Late Models will circle the speedway for 100 laps.
Where: The ½-mile progressively banked asphalt oval at Irwindale Speedway (CA)
When: February 1, 2020. It will be the championship opening event for both the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series, as well as the SPREAR Manufacturing Modified Series.
Big Money: The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series will be racing for $25,000 to win. The SPEARS Modified Division will compete for $5,000 to win, while the Pro Late Models will be gunning for $10,000. The Super Late Models, of the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, will be competing for an overall purse of over $78,000.
20th Season: 2020 will mark the vicennial season for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series. With large winner’s payouts at each event, the season is sure to be a record-breaking one. In 2019, the series averaged 27.1 car per championship event, breaking the previous record of 26.6 in 2010.
Milestone: The All-Star Showdown will mark the 100th start for 2015 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series champion Jacob Gomes. Not only will it be his 100th start, but he has not missed an event since he entered the series with three events remaining in the 2009 season. He would score the Rookie of the Year Award in 2010 and the championship five years later.
Large Field: Thirty-Eight Super Late Models submitted entries for the opening round of the championship season. Eight states are represented on the list, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington. The record for a championship event is 37, set at Altamont Raceway Park in 2004. Several cars did not make it through Friday practice at that event, however, and the field was paired down to 33 on Saturday’s race day. The largest field to ever start a championship feature was 33, set at the season opener in 2019 at Irwindale Speedway.
Former All-Star Showdown NASCAR Elite Division Participants: Several drivers entered this weekend participated in the original four seasons in the Elite Division (NASCAR Northwest, Southwest, Midwest and Southeast Tours) of the All-Star Showdown. Eric Holmes (NSWT) was the winner of the 2004 event. Chris Davidson (NSET), Greg Voigt (NSWT) and Dan Holtz (NSWT) were also participants through those years.
Where the Champions Race: No less than 10 upper division asphalt touring series champions are represented on the pre-entry list. Those include Eric Schmidt (SRL 2006), Dalton Armstrong (JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour 2015, World Series of Asphalt Stock Racing PLM 2015) Chris Davidson (USRA SLM 2006), Jacob Gomes (SRL 2015), Cole Moore (SRL 2019), Eric Holmes (3x ARCA Menards West), Chris Eggleston (NASCAR ARCA Menards West 2015, ASA Late Model Series North 2009), John Moore (PCS 2015), Derek Thorn (4x SRL, 2x NASCAR ARCA Menards West) and Preston Peltier (PASS South SLM & PASS National Championship SLM 2010).
Super Late Model Winners: 25 drivers on the preliminary entry list have Super Late Model victories to their names.
Hard Charger: The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame will sponsor the “Hard Charger Award” for this weekend. The driver who improves the most positions over the course of the race will receive the award. The Super Late Model “Hard Charger Award” winner will receive an extra $2,500, while the Pro Late Model winners gets $1,500 and the SPEARS Modified Series winner $1,000.
History: This will be the ninth time the event has been held at Irwindale Speedway, but the first time since January of 2011. 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.
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 four 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.
Former Winners – 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 – Late Model Division: Mike Johnson (2009), Tim Huddleston (2010) and Sean Woodside (2011) were the only three winners in the Late Model Division.
Media Coverage: Speed51 will be on hand this weekend at the All-Star Showdown providing the latest updates, photos, results and more. Unique video content from the event will also be available for monthly and yearly subscribers on the Speed51 Network.
Live Stream: All 2020 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series and SPEARS Manufacturing Modified races will be available at SPEARSRacing.TV.
MAVTV: All 2020 races for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series and SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series will be carried on MAVTV on a tape-delayed basis. Broadcast times will be announced at a later date.
Celebrating its 20th season in 2020, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the United States. “The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series…Where the Champions Race.”
-Story by: Kevin Peters, SRL
-Photo credit: SRL