BAKERSFIELD, California — Two-time and defending SPEARS Southwest Tour Series champion, Jim Pettit II often prides himself on the fact that he and his team “never give up”, and Saturday night at Madera Speedway">Madera Speedway, when Pettit lost the lead late in the race to Derek Thorn, Pettit didn’t give up and the net result was his first win of 2012.
"The motto of our team is ‘never give up’. "— Jim Pettit II
With just seven laps remaining in the “Motor Racing Outreach 125”, Thorn jumped to the outside of Pettit to try to take away the lead that Pettit had held for the previous 92 laps. The two raced side-by-side for the lead until Thorn cleared the Moeller Bros./HUR Engines #18 on lap 120. With just two laps to go, Thorn began to catch the tail end of the field as he closed in on numerous cars all racing for position in the final stage of the race.
On the final flag lap Thorn drifted high in turn 2 attempting to move pass a group of three cars that included Ken Benhamou, and the Bob Strandwold Racing teammates of Michael Sandoval and Jared Vorse. Pettit was now right on the rear bumper cover of Thorn’s Four Star Fruit Ford. As the group exited turn 2, contact between Vorse and Sandoval forced Vorse up the track, which momentarily slowed Thorn’s progress. That’s all Pettit needed as he drove low under Thorn and onto his 12th career SPEARS Southwest Tour Series win .538 seconds ahead of Thorn at the line.
“The motto of our team is ‘never give up’. Duane and the guys work so hard in the shop and at the track, and they deserve this win,” Pettit stated in the Madera Speedway winner’s circle. “It feels really good to get this win for Quentin (Bammer) and everyone involved with this team. Derek drove a great race, when he got on our outside I tried, but I couldn’t hold him off, but once he got by I did all I could to stay in touch with him. When the traffic held him up we were in position to make the move and get the win.” Pettit added.
M.K. Kanke started from the pole and held on to finish third, Goleta’s Greg Voigt finished a season’s best fourth and moved into the top five in the championship, David Ross brought home his second consecutive top five at Madera, Jason Gilbert in sixth, Ross Strmiska seventh, Jacob Gomes eighth, Maryland’s Jeff Oleen ninth, with Donny St. Ours rounding out the top 10.
With Saturday’s win and the 180 points that came with the victory, Pettit moved into second behind Thorn in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series championship standings, 838 to 819. Kanke is a close third with 815, and Gilbert is fourth with 800 points.
The next race for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series will be the “NAPA Auto Parts 125” at Rocky Mountain Raceways just outside Salt Lake City, Utah on July 21st.