Manteca’s Jacob Gomes picked up his third victory of the season and reclaimed the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series championship lead Saturday night in the “Century Boatland 115” in front of a capacity crowd at Rocky Mountain Raceways just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gomes, started outside of the front row, but pole sitter Brennan Newberry jumped to the early lead over the 22-car field. On lap 43 the complexion of the race changed in a big way, when Derek Thorn made an inside move on Newberry for the lead in the middle of turns 1 and 2, which resulted in Newberry spinning and Thorn being relegated to the rear for the ensuing restart.
The lap 47 restart saw Gomes’ Sunnyvalley Smoke Meats Chevrolet on the point. As the laps wound down, Frazier Park’s MK Kanke was patiently looking for his opportunity to take the lead from Gomes, while he had a rear view mirror full of Thorn, as the three had distance themselves from the field and set the stage was set for a classic SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series battle to the finish.
With five to go, Gomes was showing the way, Kanke was on his rear bumper cover and the Rocky Mountain Raceways spectators were on their feet.
Kanke made the move everyone had waited for, squeezing under Gomes entering turn 3, with Thorn in tow. At the center of turns 3 and 4, Kanke was in the lead by a nose on the inside of Gomes, at the same moment Thorn was attempting to displace Kanke who was now the leader. Slight contact between Thorn and Kanke was all Gomes needed to drive off turn 4 back into the lead and go on to the win.
“Once Kanke got up to second I was nervous. I knew he had to be fast to come all the way from the back, not to mention he is one of the winningest drivers in our sport,” Gomes said after the race. “I tried to stay focused and not worry about what was going on behind us. I was trying to not give up the bottom, but he (Kanke) drove under me before we got to the turn. I’m not sure what happened between them, but when we came off turn 4 we were clear.”
Gomes now holds a slim 1,011 to 1,005 point margin over Kanke in the standings. Manteca’s Ross Strmiska, who placed 8th last Saturday, holds down the fifth spot with 904 points.
The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series next event will be Aug. 20 at Stockton 99 Speedway.
Three-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series champion Eric Holmes, of Escalon, scored his highest finish of the season with a second place finish in Saturday’s Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops "125" at Portland International Raceway.
Holmes took the green flag from the fourth spot in the 30-car field, but decided to pit at lap 48 and take on four fresh tires dropping him to 15th as the last car on the lead lap. The move paid off as Holmes steadily made is way through the field, crossing the finish line right behind Luis Martinez, Jr., following a green-white-checkers finish.
"The NAPA Toyota was good but at best, I think we had a third or fourth place car," said Holmes. "We hung in there and gambled when we decided to pit late in the race and took on four tires. Those were a wild couple of last laps. A couple of more and we might have had a win”
Holmes is currently fourth is the championship point standings and only 32 points out of the top-three, but trails series leader Greg Pursley, of Newhall, by a cavernous 1,550 to 1,212 margin.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West visits Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, Colo. today for the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150, the 10th race on the 14 race 2011 schedule.
Last Saturday at Stockton’s 99 Speedway, Modesto’s Jeff Belletto and Lodi’s Michael Wendt made contact while battling for the lead late in the race, allowing Oakdale veteran Sam Solari to pick up his first Western Late Model win of the season.
Other winners included Manteca’s Chad Holman and as Lodi’s Matt Wendt in the Super Stock Twin features and Manteca’s Joseph Reichmuth, who picked up his sixth victory of the year in the Basically-4-Cylinders division.
Today, the NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series is back in action in Stockton with “A Tribute To The 50s presented by 51 Fifty” featuring the Western Late Models in Twins features plus the Super Stocks, Grand American Modifieds, Bombers and Basically-4-Cylinders.
The Madera Speedway will be hosting Super Saturday Round #5 featuring the 410/360 Supers, LunkerDaddy Late Models, Hobby Stocks, 4-Bangers, NCMA, Valley Sportsman, and Sport Modifieds
On Sunday, the DIRTcar Mods, Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Valley Sportsman and 4-Bangers will get it on at the Merced Speedway.