BAKERSFIELD, California — JRC Motorsports, Inc. driver Jacob Gomes of Manteca scored a clean sweep in Saturday's SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour opener at his home Stockton 99 Speedway by taking fast-time in qualifying and winning the SPEARS 125. The victory puts JRC in the driver's seat of the 2012 points standings as Gomes will lead the series to Madera Speedway in two weeks.
Nearly a dozen caution flags slowed action on the historic quarter-mile asphalt oval, but Gomes kept his #16 Sunny Valley Meats #16 ahead of the competition on each and every one of them. A critical late-race restart on lap 117 saw Gomes again pull away from rival Derek Thorn and take the race win.
"It feels great," Gomes said. "All weekend long we've been looking forward to seeing how far we could get the tires to run so I got up front and just paced myself. We luckily had some (tire) at the end because there were so many cautions we needed as much as we could for the restarts."
Gomes led the three car JRC assault on Stockton, with teammates Joe Farre of Henderson, NV and Garden Grove's Andy Allen having mixed results. Friday's practice session saw Gomes and Allen second and third on the overall charts with Farre not far behind in fifth.
On Saturday afternoon, Gomes paced practice with Farre taking the #54 Sigma Engineering Solutions car to 10th while Allen had the #26 R.J. Allen Inc. car in the 16th spot out of the 27 car field.
Qualifying went better for Farre and Allen with sticker tires underneath them. Gomes took quick-time with a 13.449 with Farre just a few tenths behind in eighth and Allen timed in tenth for his series debut.
With all three JRC cars qualifying in the top-ten, hopes were high for a strong evening for the team. Gomes started the race fourth after pulling a four car inversion. Gomes took his time coming to the front, passing Thorn for the lead on lap 32.
Allen was involved in a melee early in the race where he was put to the back by SRL officials, and slowly worked his way back through the pack. Farre maintained eighth throughout much of the race as well.
Farre's strong top-ten race was derailed on lap 117 when he was a victim in a crash down the front stretch where he sustained damage to the nose of the car. Fighting an ill-handling race car forced Farre to drop all the way to 16th at the finish.
The lap 117 restart saw Allen up to the 10th position before he was involved in another incident that ultimately ended his night prematurely. He would be scored a disappointing 22nd in the final rundown.
Gomes drove away for the win after a great final restart to take the $3,000 victory and a maximum 180 points.
The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour returns to action on Saturday April 21 at Madera Speedway in Madera, CA.