BAKERSFIELD, California — 11Defending Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series champion Jim Pettit II scored his first win of 2009 as he drove from deep in the field to win the “Strandwold Properties 125” at Stockton 99 Speedway.
At the drop of the green flag, pole sitter Josh Combs moved into the lead with series point leader M.K. Kanke in tow, followed closely on the tight quarter mile by Dave Byrd, Todd Bammer and fast qualifier Mike Mendenhall.
With 50 laps complete, it was still Combs in the Country Bear/California Upholstering Ford leading, pursued closely by Kanke and Byrd. Newberry and Pettit were on the move in fourth and fifth respectively.
Two laps later things changed at the front when contact between the two leaders resulted in both Combs and Kanke restarting at the rear and Byrd, the 2007 series champion, at the front of the field in his Voigt Motorsports/Action Tools #04.
On the restart it was Byrd leading the pack to the green, with Newberry and Pettit both looking to continue their charge forward. The nineteen year old driver from Bakersfield was now positioned between two of the most established short track veterans of our era.
At the stripe on lap 68, it was Byrd in front, with Newberry applying the pressure for the lead and Pettit pressuring Newberry. Exiting turn two, Newberry and Byrd made contact to bring out the sixth caution of the race.
On the lap 72 restart, it was now Pettit at the point, with Mendenhall second, followed by Kevin Callahan, Voigt, Farre’, Keith Spangler, Vidovich, Kanke, Bammer who had worked his way back into the top ten after a lap 29 spin and Combs rounding out the top ten.
Pettit was now on a mission, looking for his team’s first win since Altamont in September of 2008 and his first win for car owner Quentin Bammer. Mendenhall was carrying momentum from his Madera Speedway win on September 5th and his Stockton 99 track record qualifying (13.084 sec.) run from earlier in the day.
On lap 100, the top ten was Pettit, Mendenhall, Callahan, Voigt, Kanke, Farre’, Bammer, Combs, sixteen year old Jacob Gomes making his SRL debut and Byrd.
As the laps wound down, Mendenhall tried to pressure the Prunedale, CA driver for the lead, but at the checkers it was Pettit scoring his first win of 2009, with Mendenhall second. Callahan and Kanke raced to a photo finish for third, with the AMB timing and scoring system giving both drivers the exact same finishing time of 46:27.671. Fifth was Voigt, followed across the line by Bammer, Combs, Gomes, Byrd and Spangler rounding out the top 10.
“It was a total team effort, Duane (Sharp) and our entire team along with the guys at H.U.R. Engines have been working hard to give me a good car and tonight their hard work got us the win,” stated Pettit from the winner’s circle. “I have to thank Quentin (Bammer) for his help and support, and my Mom and Dad and my wife for their support…without them we wouldn’t be here.” Pettit added. “I also have to thank Bob Strandwold for his support of our series and I want to wish his wife Melinda our best on her recovery from some health issues.”
The Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series will be competing this Saturday night at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in the “NTS, Inc. 125”, the ninth race of the ten event championship season for the SRL.
Race Stats: Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series “Strandwold Properties 125”
October 3, 2009 at Stockton 99 Speedway
Race Leaders: Josh Combs 1-51, Dave Byrd 52-68, Brennan Newberry 69, Jim Pettit II 70-125
Lead Changes: 4
Winning Margin: .921 seconds
Fastest Lap of Race: Josh Combs 13.345 seconds on lap 13
Time of Race: 46 minutes 25 seconds
Fast Qualifier: Mike Mendenhall 13.084 seconds (Track Record)
Five Star Race Bodies Hard Charger Award: Jim Pettit II
Ron’s Rear Ends Hard Luck Award: Danny Siebert
Top Victory Circle Rookie-of-the-Year Contender: Kevin Callahan
About the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series:
Celebrating its ninth season in 2009, the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the U.S. The series utilizes cars based on the former NASCAR Elite Division Series rulebook. www.SRLSouthwestTour.com
About SPEARS MANUFACTURING: Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Spears Manufacturing is a world leader in plastic pipe fittings and valves. SPEARS maintains over one million square feet of manufacturing facilities in four states and nine distribution centers across the USA for worldwide distribution. For more information go to www.SPEARSMFG.com.