BAKERSFIELD, California — Only two races remain before the crowning of the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series champion. With the upcoming “West Coast Transmission 125” at All-American Speedway and the November 17th “Sigma Engineering Solutions 154” at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the championship is far from over.
"A total of seven drivers still have a mathematical shot at the championship, but Thorn, Pettit and 2009 series champ, M.K. Kanke are the true contenders for the title at this point."
Derek Thorn has led most of the season with his impressive run of winning five of the first eight races of the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. But, defending series champ Jim Pettit II, who is currently second in the championship standings, has kept Thorn in sight, as he eyes his third SPEARS Southwest Tour Series championship.
A total of seven drivers still have a mathematical shot at the championship, but Thorn, Pettit and 2009 series champ, M.K. Kanke are the true contenders for the title at this point.
Thorn’s season began with a second at Stockton, he rallied back from a flat tire at Madera to finish ninth, then began one of the most impressive runs in series history with five wins in the next six starts.
“We’ve had an incredible season,” stated Thorn. “It was just a few weeks before the season started that Byron (Campbell) offered me this opportunity, so we were a little behind at the start, but Mike (Keen) and everyone on this Four Star Fruit team have worked hard to get us to this point. The key here is the great group of people that Byron has brought together, and the fact that our car is perfect when it leaves the shop for the racetrack.” Thorn concluded.
Pettit, who counting his two NASCAR Southwest Series championships, paired with his two SPEARS Southwest Tour Series championships, understands better than anyone what it takes to be the last driver introduced at the season ending championship awards banquet.
“First, without Quentin (Bammer) coming on board as the team owner, we wouldn’t be in this position. We have the equipment we need and the people around us to get another championship.” Pettit stated. “As most people know, most of our team has been together for more than ten seasons, and they work so hard, everyone knows their job and everyone has the common goal. One hundred eighty points goes to the winner at each race, Derek’s ahead of us by 49 points, and Mike’s behind us by only 24.” Pettit added. “I would say those guys are two of the toughest short track drivers in the country, whoever wins this championship should be proud of their accomplishment.”
With all eight finishes in the top five so far in 2012, M.K. Kanke and his RPM Motor Sports team are still alive in the championship battle.
“This year has been tough, our team has had to work really hard, and their work has kept us in the championship hunt,” Kanke stated. “There’s two more races and we’re not out of it, and we won’t give up until the last lap at the final race in Vegas. Roseville is coming up, and anything can happen there, so there’s a long way to go until the championship is decided.” Kanke concluded.
The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series returns to Roseville’s All-American Speedway for the first time in 2012, on Saturday October 13, for the “West Coast Transmissions 125 presented by AmeriPride Uniform Services.”