PETTIT v. THORN: The elephant in the room for 2014, (which means no one can ignore it) is the much anticipated battle between the 2012 series champions of the Byron Campbell owned #43 team with driver Derek Thorn, and the 2013 series champions of the Quentin Bammer owned #18 team with driver Jim Pettit II. Thorn leads in all-time series wins with 16; Pettit leads in all-time series championships with 3.
KANKE RETURNS: 2009 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series champions RPM Motor Sports with driver M.K. Kanke will return for the 2014 season after missing most of 2013. Kanke is ranked third in all-time SPEARS Southwest Tour Series wins.
SECOND YEAR FOR DOSS: Jeremy Doss proved he can win in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series and contend for the championship after finishing second in the standings in his rookie season last year. Doss’ steep learning curve in 2013 should put him and his team right in the championship mix.
NTS and VOIGT: Greg Voigt and NTS Motorsports teamed up just before the start of last season, and came on strong in the second half of 2013, including a big win at the one-mile Pikes Peak International Raceway in September.
GOMES NEW RIDE: Jacob Gomes finished third in the 2013 championship; it was his third top five in the final standings for the third consecutive year including second in 2011. The 2010 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Rookie-of-the-Year brought a new car to the final races of 2013, which he drove to third at the Pikes Peak International Raceway event.
TOP ROOKIE TITLE CONTENDERS:
· Garret Archer, from Black Diamond, Washington just signed with NTS Motorsports for 2014 after winning the 2013 Super Late Model Rookie-of-the-Year title at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington.
· Jeff Bischofberger, competed in four SPEARS Southwest Tour Series races last season after having success in the ASA Speed Truck Series.
· Cole Loftsgard, raced the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series season finale in Vegas, bringing racing experience from karting and the ASA Speed Truck Series.
· Hannah Newhouse competed in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series event at Pikes Peak International Raceway in 2013 and was full-time in the Rocky Mountain Challenge Series.
BIGGER TRACKS DOMINATE SCHEDULE: Speaking of Pikes Peak International Raceway, for the first time in series history, tracks 3/8 mile or bigger make up 70% of the races on the 2014 schedule of events.
NEW QUALIFYING ORDER: In the past, qualifying order was set by a random number draw by each team. For 2014, the driver with the fastest time from practice will draw one number, which will set an inverted qualifying order. If the number 17 is drawn, the fastest car from Saturday practice will go out 17th, second fastest 16th, third fastest from practice 15th an so on.
SEASON OPENER 411: The 2014 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series “Season Opening - Melo’s Gas & Gear 125 presented by DC’s RV Center” will take place this Saturday night at Madera Speedway. SPEARS Southwest Tour Series qualifying starts at 6:50pm. The event will also feature the SRL S2 Series, the SRL Legends Tour, Twisted Tea Modifieds, LunkerDaddy Late Models, MST, and Toyota Sedans.