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Gomes retakes lead in Southwest Tour after victory in Utah

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Gomes retakes lead in Southwest Tour after victory in Utah

Jacob Gomes of Manteca celebrates his third win of the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour season last Saturday in West Valley City, Utah.

CHARLY PORTER/Racing West.com


POSTED July 28, 2011 11:56 p.m.

Jacob Gomes earned the third win of his sophomore season in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour last Saturday.

In doing so, the 18-year-old Mantecan recaptured the series lead after winning the Century Boatland 115 at Rockly Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah. It’s Gomes’ fifth top-five finish in six starts, and he leads veteran M.K. Kanke of Frazier Park by six points (1,011-1,005) in the standings.

Gomes, the 2010 SRL Rookie of the Year, took the lead on lap 47 and stayed in front, but Kanke charged over the last half of the 115-lap race to make the young driver sweat a little.

While Gomes started in the second position and remained in the top four throughout, Kanke began in 22nd. By the 25th lap he hurdled nine spots up to 13th and crept into the top five at the midway point.

The race reached its crescendo on lap 112 when Kanke threatened to overtake Gomes going into the third turn with fast qualifier Derek Thorn of Bakersfield breathing down their necks. But Kanke’s No. 33 Chevrolet made contact with Thorn’s No. 26, allowing Gomes to squirt past the contenders on turn 4 and widen his lead en route to victory.

“Once Kanke got up to second I was nervous,” Gomes said after the race. “I knew he had to be fast to come all the way back from the back, not to mention he is one of the winningest drivers in our sport.”

The Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series resumes Aug. 20 at Stockton 99 Speedway, Gomes’ home track. His last Southwest Tour win, in fact, came on June 18 at 99 Speedway.

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