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SRL series points leader holds off Gomes
Spears SRL Southwest Series points leader Derek Thorn relishes his victory in the winners circle after taking first in the Performance Electrical Company 125. - photo by Photo by MIKE & JEFF BURGHARDT

STOCKTON — The Spears SRL Southwest Series Performance Electrical Company 125 at Stockton 99 Speedway opened with a huge fireworks display prior to the actual start of the race on Saturday.

This followed a rousing National Anthem fireworks display, along with a special appearance of the Budweiser Clydesdales. The Clydesdale “beer wagon” circled the track twice, carrying the flag, as well as special guest, Carrol Noceti (co-track owner and wife of track owner Tony Noceti). It was the first ever appearance of the Clydesdales at the race track and the large crowd showed their appreciation.

Zane Lovelace, of Roseville, started on the pole and led the race until lap 25, when he was over taken by Jacob Gomes on a caution flag restart. Gomes, of Manteca, had the crowd cheering as he took over the lead and started driving away. It would be relatively short lived though, as his tires started to go away.

Gomes and Zane Lovelace had battled vehemently during the early laps of the race for the top spot, which took its toll on their tires.

Bakersfield native Derek Thorn came into the event as the season series point leader and quickly showed why. After starting fifth, he quickly moved up through the field and took the top spot away from Gomes on the 31st lap. At that point, he simply drove away from the field and held on for all of the remaining 94 laps to take the checkered flag, continuing his season series dominance.

Jim Pettit II, of Prunedale, finished second, while Gomes took third. M.K Kanke of, Frazier Park, finished fourth followed by Mantecan Ross Strmiska. Strmiska had started near the middle of the field in the ninth position and fell back to 12th following an early on track incident. He then did a masterful job of working his way up through the field to garner a top-five finish.

Other local area racers competing  in the event were Michael Sandoval from Ripon, who started 11th and finished 9th, and French Camp’s David Byrd, who started 16th and finished 12th.

The SRL series, with three races left on the season schedule, moves on to Las Vegas Motor speedway in two weeks.