Chris Shannon, currently one of America's
top 50 drivers in the early season, races #75 Tom Malcolm before an unfortunate turn of events that left Malcolm on
his lid after the final lap of the West Coast Shootout event at Tulare Thunderbowl Speedway
(below). (Steve Curtis)
West Coast Late Model
Drake Dominates Tulare Late Model Shootout
TULARE, CA – March 5. Steve Drake, of San Luis
Obispo, took control at the drop of the green flag and led all the way to grab the West Coast Late Model
Shootout Series victory. The special Friday event was part of the season opening doubleheader program at the
Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway and a strong field of 33 cars were on hand.
Steve Drake (left) poses with runner up Scott
Pounds and third place Mike Kirby after a dominating run in the West Coast Late Model Shootout Series
opener at Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway. (Steve
Starting from the pole position of the 30-lap feature, Drake powered
by Bakersfield’s Brad Pounds into turn one and used the outside line to gain
momentum. This move put some distance between himself and the rest of the field as he set a blistering
pace. As the laps clicked off, Drake soon reached slower traffic that slowed his progress and Pounds seized
the opportunity to make a challenge.
Steve Drake races through the field en route to his win in the West Coast Late Model Shootout
Series opener at Tulare. (Steve Curtis)
A yellow for debris on lap 17 bunched the field together in a double file “Texas
Restart.” Pounds and third place Mike Kirby from Torrance were now in striking distance of the leader. On
the restart, Drake got the jump and motored away from the challengers. Again reaching slower traffic, Drake
sliced his way through the field and scored the win. Brad Pounds finished in the runner-up position at the
stripe with Mike Kirby just behind. Veteran driver Mike Johnson claimed fourth and ’s Jeff Decker rounded
out the top five.
“This place has be awfully good to us,” says Drake. “We’ve raced here six times now and have
won all six. It is definitely a challenge and way different at both ends.”
After the checkered flags flew, young Tom Malcolm from Corona, who finished ninth, flipped
his car at the entrance to turn three. He was uninjured.
The special event used a pill pick format to lineup the field for the heat races, which were
claimed by Steve Drake, Mike Johnson, El Segundo’s Nick Bartels, and Brad Pounds. Ron Bartels from El
Segundo claimed the 12-lap semi-main.
The West Coast Late Model Shootout Series will return to action on April 10th at the
Chowchilla Speedway, located on the Chowchilla-Madera County Fairgrounds.
Cody Barnett races inside of #55 Bud Wahlberg at Tulare Speedway. (Steve Curtis)