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Gomes make history as Southwest Tour champ
Jacob Gomes after an earlier racing victory.

Jacob Gomes was out in the field Monday.

The 22-year-old was doing what he loved — farming — as he moved irrigation lines. And he was also thinking about his passion: Racing.

Just two days prior in the aptly named Bullring, a 3/8-mile paved oval at the Las Vegas Speedway, Gomes made SPEARS Southwest Tour history by becoming the youngest driver to win a season championship edging out Greg Voight who had led the tour most of the season with points by a final tally of 1359 to 1320.

“I was really excited,” the 2011 East Union High graduate said of his first series championship after posting two second place season finishes since he started racing the tour as a 17-year-old. “Everything went perfectly for us although we did want to win the race too.”

Gomes wasn’t complaining. After a somewhat problematic qualifying, Gomes was able to muscle his way from 14th to fourth place in the 25-car field with enough distance between Voight to take the title. He entered the season’s finale race trailing Voight by three points. Gomes earned $5,000 for taking the 2015 series championship.

Some 50 Manteca area racing fans were on hand to see Gomes make history clocking a 14.7 second lap as his fastest time.

“I really appreciate the crew, fans, and sponsors,” Gomes said.

Among them is his father Paul Gomes who has been encouraging his fascination with racing after he tore up Big Wheels by putting him in Box Stocks at Delta Speedway when he was 5 years old. His father at the time was a crew chief for a friend that raced.

Gomes also has been benefitted from the support of other die-had racing fans. Ron Dell’Osso of DellOsso Farms has been following and sponsoring Gomes since the racer was 7 years old. Major sponsor Bill Andreetta of Manteca’s Sunnyalley Meats has been with Gomes for five years.

Gomes now has his eyes on the 2016 Winter Showdown Feb. 26-28 at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield that is considered one of the nation’s marquee short track racing events attracting competitors from throughout North America.

After his first win in Box Stocks, Gomes said he was completely hooked and started what would become a lifelong dream to become a NASCAR driver. He moved up to Minicup. Then after four years and four championships he made the move as a 14-year-old to a true race car competing in the Baby Grand. The move brought with it the need to learn how to shift. A year later he won the championship.

Gomes stepped up to Late Model racing in 2009. His showing at Madera Speedway, All American Speedway, and Stockton 99 Speedway was so impressive he won National Rookie of the Year honors for the series. He finished 32nd overall nationally in his first year of racing Late Model. He had 32 starts, 20 top 5 finishes, and 28 top 10 finishes with 637 points.

At age 17 in 2010, he became the youngest driver on the Spears SRL Southwest Series and won the Victory Circle Rookie of the year. In 2011, he won three of 20 races in the SRL and had five top 5 finishes, 9 top 10s and was second in the point standings. Then in 2012 he has one win out of 20 races and finished fifth in the championship points.