MADERA, CA — Jacob Gomes led 71 laps and pulled away by nearly half a second after a lap 55 restart, to claim his first career Pacific Challenge Series presented by PenneyLawyers.com victory at Madera Speedway. The victory on Saturday night added to the resume of the 2015 SRL Southwest Tour champion and came over 2012 PCS champion and Kulwicki Driver Development member Jeremy Doss.
Gomes, the Manteca racer, started on the pole position for the Smokey Hanoian 75 after winning the American Racer dash for a set of tires. Ross Strmiska led the opening four laps of the contest before Gomes broke free and never relented despite several mid-race caution periods.
The race also marked the first in series history to be televised for MAVTV.
Strmiska took the lead from the outside pole at the initial green flag and the top-six singled out early while Jeff Bischofberger and 2014 champion Mike Beeler battled for position seven. Beeler cleared Bischofberger on the outside on lap four.
2015 Roseville PCS race winners Kyle Gottula and Shannon Mansch tangled on lap four in turn one for the first stoppage of the event. Both restarted at the rear. Gomes used the restart to rocket past Strmiska as a quick yellow came out for Mike Hite getting sideways in turn four. Gomes completed the lap five pass before the caution came out and he maintained the lead.
Doss started the race sixth and found the outside to his liking to advance to third. The intense battling between Bischofberger and Beeler boiled over with Bischofberger doing a 360 degree maneuver down the front stretch to bring out a lap eight yellow. Hite suffered damage as cars slowed and was done for the evening.
Valley Springs’ Tracy Bolin set the new track record with a 14.173 second lap and used the restart to slide past Doss and dive inside Strmiska. Bolin spun to bring out another caution on lap nine. Jimmy Stillman found himself battling with Beeler on the next restart with that battle going south on lap 13 with Stillman spinning. After that series of cautions, Mansch had found herself advancing all the way to fifth position despite the earlier spin.
Mansch staged an exciting battle with 2015 Rookie of the Year Cole Moore before they got together sending Mansch for another spin on lap 20. Bolin dropped out of the top-five on the next restart with an apparent mechanical problem coming out of turn two. The race went green for the next 35 laps with Hodges also suffering mechanical failure and escaping to the pits just past halfway.
Gomes was in cruise control over the lengthy green flag run while Strmiska tried to fend off Doss. Doss finally got the deal done down the inside on the backstretch on lap 51. A caution flew four laps later when Mansch and Chris Scribner were spun around in turn three.
That lap 55 restart set up a wild crash that punctuated the race for many. Gomes picked the outside of Doss but it was the second row where Strmiska washed across the race track into Gottula. Gottula spun and collected several cars including Milburn, Mansch, Cole Moore, and JR Courage. Strmiska, Gottula, Milburn, and Mansch suffered terminal damage to end their evening.
The next restart ended up being the last restart with Gomes motoring away from Doss. Doss faced opposition from his teammate Bischofberger for several laps before Doss drove away. Doss ran some of his best laps of the race in the final laps to close the gap on Gomes but he came up three car lengths short. Gomes took his first Madera touring win of his successful young career over Doss, Bischofberger, John Moore, Darrell Midgley, and Scribner.
The Pacific Challenge Series presented by PenneyLawyers.com takes a break for a few weeks before returning for round two at All American Speedway in Roseville, CA on April 16th.
For more information on the Pacific Challenge Series, visit them online at www.PacificChallengeSeries.com or on Facebook and YouTube.
The Pacific Challenge Series is presented by: Penney Racing Supply, Penney & Associates, American Racer Tires, Maita Chevrolet, Compact-It, Northwest Compactors, Naake Suspension, Sunoco Fuels, Five Star Bodies, Lefthander Chassis, ARP Bodies, Joes Racing Products, Bassett Wheels, Frank’s Radio, WrapStar Pro, and Blakesley Sports Media. All PCS Super Late Models race ABC Bodies or Muscle Car bodies on American Racer Tires with Sunoco Racing Fuel.
-Pacific Challenge Series Press Release & Photo