The drought of California was not in effect Friday as qualifying for the third annual SRL Winter Showdown will be delayed until Saturday. Drivers and races teams will now have a new format to tackle. During practice on Thursday 46 cars took time at Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, CA. Now qualifying and race day will be condensed to one day on Saturday with new procedures including all cars being impounded after qualifying. Due to time constraints of a one day show, the three qualifying races scheduled to be held Friday night were eliminated.
2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is competing in this year’s edition of the Winter Showdown. However, he has not seen track time in the 51-car this week. KBM driver and 2017 Chili Bowl winner Christopher Bell took to the wheel during practice on Thursday and turned the second fast lap during the second practice session.
“Can’t change the weather. It is what it is. It doesn’t affect anything,” explained former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch. “We will have a short practice in the morning and then straight into qualifying. Christopher (Bell) and the guys did a good job to give me a good baseline. We will have time to solely focus on race trim now cause it’s an impound race. We will not have to worry about qualifying which helps us a lot more. I’m confident the JBL Camry will be just fine.”
Some drivers are going to try and use the delay to their advantage since they have more time to diagnose changes need for their machines.
“I definitely think it’s going to work in our favor. After practice yesterday, we decided to go to our backup car. So, we’ll be more on a level playing field with the rest of the competition with the track being washed clean,” said California native and 2016 Pacific Challenge Series champion Jeremy Doss. “Since we’re going to our backup car, we were going to have to just go out and see what we got anyway. I think the clean track is gonna make a big difference on setup, but like I said, we’re pretty much going to be starting from scratch anyway.”
The track conditions on Thursday during practice was a hot topic. The racing surface started off as a very slick and greasy condition in the morning, but by late afternoon the rubber build-up had created some of the fastest laps of the day.
One of the biggest changes for the weekend will be the races changing to an impound race after qualifying. Race teams will now have to change strategy before qualifying tomorrow.
“The impound will change a lot for us whereas before we would have separate set-ups between qualifying and race,” said Las Vegas native Noah Gragson. “People who were focused on qualifying up front might be a little more conservative now and will change set-ups to focus on going for the $30,000 winners instead of the pole.”
Speed51.com will start Trackside Now coverage at 10:00am PST will in depth coverage of all the events at the track.
If you purchased the Friday-only video ticket for the Winter Showdown you will receive a full refund. If you purchased a 2-day video ticket you will receive a partial refund of the difference between that cost and the Saturday price. To see those refunds in your account from your financial institution it may take 7-10 days.
For more information on the Pay-Per-View http://speed51.com/51-tvs-video-ticket-rain-out-policy-for-winter-showdown/
The schedule has been updated and changed for the running of the 3rd Annual Winter Showdown:
Winter Showdown – Revised Saturday Schedule
8:00am – Pit Gates Open
9:00am – Driver’s/Spotter’s/Crew Chief Meeting
9:20am – Chapel Service
10:30am – Lucas Oil Modified Series Practice
11:00am – Showdown Practice
12:00pm – Lucas Oil Modified Series Practice
12:30pm – Winter Showdown Tech Opens
3:00pm – Spectator Gates Open
3:00pm – Showdown Qualifying
4:00pm – Lucas Oil Modified Series Qualifying
Showdown Last Chance Race
5:30pm – Opening Ceremonies
Lucas Oil Modified Series “Spray Nine Race of Champions”
SPEARS Manufacturing “Winter Showdown 250”
Story By: Jeremy Anders – Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent – Twitter: @bowlingrubber21
Photo Credit: Bruce Nuttleman / Speed51.com photo