ROSEVILLE, CA – With the challenges of the 2020 racing season, the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series has been blessed with strong car counts none-the-less. But one driver who has been missing from the mix, since the season opening “Sunrise Ford All-Star Showdown 200 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame” at Irwindale Speedway, is the 2016 Speed51.com Most Popular driver for the SRL, Bobby Hodges. Hodges has been extremely busy over the last six months, but the Carson City, NV driver will make his return to the series at All American Speedway on August 15th, in the “JM Environmental 150 presented by 51 FIFTY LTM”.
Hodges is a two-time winner on the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, with his first career win coming at All American Speedway. The win involved a thrilling last lap pass of M.K. Kanke after a turn two altercation between the leaders, as he came from third on that last lap. Hodges has had other career firsts at the facility as well, which makes the 1/3-mile speedway one of his favorites. Hodges hopes to add another first to his resume by winning a second SRL race, at the same facility, for the first time.
“All American Speedway is definitely a special place for us”, Hodges stated, “It’s the closest track to home, and all my Late Model firsts were there. The first time I ever tested a Late Model was there, my first Late Model fast time, win, clean sweep, and then my first SRL win. I didn’t even realize all those firsts were there until now!”
With all his “firsts” at All American Speedway, Hodges definitely has a feel for the facility. It one of his favorites on the SRL schedule, and he would classify the track as one in which delicacy is not a prime concern when taking on the challenge of winning. In fact, a driver will need to flex his muscle to find his way to success.
“Races at All American are somewhat of a blur, but in a good way”, Hodges explained. “I think it’s because of the non-stop action. I think it’s less of a finesse, and more of a muscle track, that when you are door to door it relies on instincts and will. You truly have to want it, which makes it an exciting challenge.”
Hodges has had only the single start in 2020, at Irwindale Speedway. The car was fast, and the team and driver made improvements throughout the 200-lap affair. Although the final result showed a 10th place finish, Hodges drove the car up into the top-five over the final green-flag run, after being caught a lap down, due to an earlier race occurrence. The driver from Carson City, NV knows he will need to get comfortable behind the wheel again, but All American Speedway is a great place for the “Red Rocket” to get his legs underneath him.
“It will definitely take me a minute to get back up on the wheel”, Hodges admitted. “I’ve learned over the years I am more of a rhythm driver and it typically takes me more time than others to get to full tilt, and this time is no different. But get me a little bit of hitting the AAS bump coming off of Turn 2, at full throttle in a finely tuned Mike Naake machine to get the blood flowing, and it should come roaring back!
Given his success at the track over the years, one would think Hodges would be extremely confident headed to the Roseville, CA facility. But a 21st place finish, in a 25-car field at last season’s visit, gives him cause for concern. The team showed speed at most of the seven events they attended in 2019, but the All American Speedway event, which was Round #2 of the season, was not one of them. They qualified 17th and ended up with that 21st place finish. According to Hodges, the Naake – Klauer Motorsports Team will look to get back to basics, and put together an effort that will get them back to the success they have had in the past.
“The last race we had at AAS was rough. I think I was involved in three or four cautions that night! So if we can stick to the fundamentals, find some decent speed, stay out of trouble in the race, and be in a position where you can want it more than the other guy at the end, then bedaubing bada boom we’re in the game.”
The fan favorite driver has been busy working for his family’s business over the last six months. There have been plenty of challenges for Hodges in getting back to the track in today’s economy, but he is thankful to finally make that occurrence a reality. He is thankful for those who have made it possible to make series start number 56 on the 15th.
“Back in April, I wasn’t sure when we’d be back, but thanks to Break-A-Heart Hay and Cattle, Nevada Automotive Test Center, JRI, Impact Racing, Naake Suspension, Bubba Gear and Transmission, Racing Dynamix, and my parents and wife, we are in a position to come back to the racing world and say ‘hey’” Hodges expressed! “I am very much looking forward to seeing all the fellas in the Naake-Klauer Motorsport gang, and the entire SRL family.
The “JM Environmental 150 presented by 51 FIFTY LTM.” will be Round #5 of the season, for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series. It will pay $5,000 to the winner, thanks to long-time series sponsor Performance Friction Brakes. Practice for the series is scheduled to begin at 12:30 pm (PST) on Saturday, with Qualifying at 4:15 pm and Opening Ceremonies at 5:00 pm. The SRL Super Late Models will be joined by the Mini Cup / Bandoleros, Late Models, F4’s, Super Stocks, Jr. Late Models and Limited Modified, for a huge night of racing. For those not in attendance, the days activities will be live streamed on SpearsRacing.TV.
SPEAR SRL Southwest Tour Release – Story by Kevin Peters
Photo courtesy of Horsepower Project by Michele Martin Photography
Stay tuned to superlatemodel.com. We will have more on the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour at All American Speedway as it becomes available.
For more information on the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour visit srlsouthwesttour.com