latemodelamerica.com - Mar 6 - Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Chris Shannon - Tom Malcolm

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)

Tom Malcolm

West Coast Late Model Shootout

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.
 
Drake, Pounds, Kirby
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 Curtis)
 
  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
 
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.
 
Barnett - Wahlberg
 
Cody Barnett races inside of #55 Bud Wahlberg at Tulare Speedway. (Steve Curtis)
 
Tulare Finish

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