Event: The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series will be heading to Madera Speedway (CA) on Saturday, June 8 for the “SPEARS Southwest Tour 125 presented by 51 FIFTY LTM.” It will be the 41st appearance for the SRL at Madera, the most of any track in series history.
Five Grand: The winner of this weekend’s event will receive $5,000 thanks to the “Winner’s Bonus” from Tilton Engineering and Max Papis Innovations (MPI).
Winning: Derek Thorn is the all-time winningest Southwest Tour Series driver at Madera Speedway, with six career victories at the California oval. Thorn will be looking for lucky number seven, as well as his 10th Fast Time Award at the “Fastest One-Third Mile in the West.” The four-time series champion finished second at the 2018 SRL season opener at Madera, after a last-lap pass in traffic by Jeremy Doss cost him the victory.
Rookies: A season-high eight rookies are entered in this weekend’s event. Tyler Fabozzi leads the rookie standings ahead of Jace Hansen, Jesse Love, Eric Nascimento Jr. and Don Zoll Jr. Those rookies will be joined by Matt Wendt, Michael Hite and Austin Herzog.
Local Madera Success Part I: Jesse Love is a two-time Junior Late Model Champion at Madera Speedway. The SRL rookie has eight victories at the facility and is the youngest driver to ever start an SRL race at the age of 14. Love was also the youngest champion in the history of the Bay City Racing Association Midgets in 2018 at the age of 13.
Local Madera Success Part II: Sixteen-year-old Austin Herzog is the current championship leader in the MAVTV televised Pro Late Model Series at the track. Herzog has six Junior Late Model victories, and he scored his first televised Pro Late Model victory earlier this season. Herzog will be making his first SRL start of the season and third overall. It will be his first SRL start at his home track.
Revitalization: Jacob Gomes was the winner the last time the SPEARS Southwest Tour visited Madera Speedway in September of 2018. Gomes was the winner of the “SPEARS Southwest Tour 125 presented by 51 FIFTY Energy Drink,” holding off Blaine Rocha, Craig Raudman, Jeremy Doss, and Eric Schmidt. For Gomes, it was the beginning of a turnaround for the 2015 series champion, who currently sits third in the championship standings.
“It was awesome,” Gomes said of the victory. “I’m glad we were able to win after all the tough luck we had been having. We are really hoping we can do it again this weekend. It really meant a lot to our team, knowing we were capable of winning.”
In addition, Gomes has two Pacific Challenge Series wins to his credit.
NASCAR Southwest Tour Veterans Part I: 2001 NASCAR Southwest Tour Series Champion and 14-time winner Craig Raudman was a winner at Madera in 1999. Raudman is on his “Farewell Tour” for car owner Dave Reed and has scored three top-five results in his last four SRL starts at Madera.
NASCAR Southwest Tour Veterans Part II: Bob Lyon has four career NASCAR Southwest Tour Series wins. One of those wins was at Madera Speedway. Lyon was very successful in the NFSWT Series at Madera. He had one win, five top-five and seven top-10s in 12 starts. Lyon is looking for his first Madera SRL top-five but has a best finish of eighth in his five starts.
Twenty Start Club: Several drivers in this weekend’s field have 20 or more touring series starts at Madera Speedway. Tracy Bolin has 23 starts, with eight top-five and ten top-10 finishes. Scott Sanchez has 21 starts, with three top-10 finishes. Carlos Vieira has 20 career starts, with three victories in the Pacific Challenge Series. The SRL veteran has six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in those 20 starts.
Long Haul: Jace Hansen will make the 1,220-mile trip from Greeley, Colorado to Madera Speedway. Hansen scored the Rookie of the Race Award in the first two events of the season, and he will try to make it three out of four this Saturday. It will be Hansen’s first trip to Madera Speedway. Hansen won in his last outing, two weeks ago, at Colorado National Speedway.
Touring Champions: Five drivers in this weekend’s field have Super Late Model touring series championships; Derek Thorn (4 SRL), Jacob Gomes (1 SRL), Craig Raudman (1 NFSWT), Mike Beeler (2 Pacific Challenge Series) and John Moore (1 PCS).
Rookies of the Year: Four former Super Late Model Rookies of the Year drives are entered for this weekend’s event. That list includes: Matt Wendt (PCS), Jacob Gomes (SRL), Jack Wood (PCS) and Cole Moore (SRL, PCS).
Super Sponsor: Carlos Vieira, through his 51 FIFTY LTM. Brand, will be the presenting sponsor for this weekend’s event. Vieira is a long-time supporter of the series and will be making SRL start number 90 this weekend. Vieira has three PCS victories at Madera, but he will be looking for his first win in the SRL.
Big Numbers: Seventeen drivers have started all three SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Events this season. The series is averaging 30.3 cars per event, which is one more than last season to date. Forty-four different drivers have attempted to start a SRL feature event this season.
Solid Field: Twenty-two drivers have pre-entered the fourth event of the SRL season.
Television: The “SPEARS Southwest Tour 125 presented by 51 FIFTY LTM” will be broadcast nationally on MAVTV at a date to be named later.
Schedule: Saturday’s schedule will find the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series practicing at 3:15 pm (45 minutes). Qualifying will take place at approximately 6:00 pm with Opening Ceremonies at 7:00 pm. The SRL will be the final feature of the evening, with driver introductions scheduled for 8:45 pm. The 125-lap feature will roll off at approximately 9:00 pm. The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series will be joined by the SPEARS Modified Series, Madera Street Stocks and the Legends of the Kearney Bowl.
Celebrating its 19th season in 2019, 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: Speed51.com