After winning the prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in December, NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch can now add the fourth annual SPEARS SRL Winter Showdown to his career bucket list of victories.
Busch missed his mark by two spots in last years Winter Showdown and made it a point to return to Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, California this year in pursuit of victory.
Busch started in fourth-place on Saturday, February 3rd then made his way to second-place by lap 26 and battled hard with local favorite and two-time Winter Showdown winner Derek Thorn to finally take the lead on lap 63. He went on the win the race, the trophy and $30,000 by 1.78 seconds over second-place finisher, Buddy Shepherd, who was also the pole sitter to start the race.
“It was an awesome day — I didn’t think it was going to turn out this way after practice on Thursday, but the guys really went to work on this Mobil 1 Toyota Camry,” said Busch after the race. “I can’t say enough about everybody at Rowdy Manufacturing – this is a KBM car, a Rowdy car. Our Hamner Racing engine was so strong underneath the hood today. Thank you to Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Thanks to all the fans out here today at Kern County Raceway — you guys are awesome coming out and supporting your local short track. I can’t say enough about Wayne and Connie Spears — they do an amazing job for the West Coast and what they do to keep the SRL going and everybody at the Southwest Series. It was a lot of fun racing against Derek Thorn, Buddy Shepherd, Noah (Gragson) there for a little while and everybody else we had to race with today. It was a blast — I had fun. I love these cars and was able to go out there and have a great day.”
After coming up short in last year’s event, Busch’s victory was extra special for the NASCAR driver.
“It means the world. It’s something that I am passionate about — I love short track racing and the Super Late Models, they are my favorite,” said Busch. “I like traveling across the country and racing these things – we’ve won in Michigan, we’ve won in Canada, won in Indiana, Florida, Georgia, everywhere. I can’t say that I’ve ever won in California — so this is my first time in California winning with one of these cars. That’s pretty awesome to do it here in the Spears Winter Showdown. It’s a lot of fun and there is great competition out here as well – these guys aren’t slouches by any means. We had our stuff really hooked up today and I want to thank Lincoln Welders, Basset Wheels, Five Star Bodies, Schroth, Interstate Batteries, Axalta, SRI, Stock Car Steel and ProMoly – they do a lot of work for as well. It’s a blast to come out with all of our partners and put on a great show for the fans.”