The 2009 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year presented by Jostens award winner is building a “hot rod” for the biggest race of his young career in January.
Jacob Gomes, 16, of Manteca, Calif., and his family are building a new Super Late Model to enter in that division’s 100-lap feature event that accompanies the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown next month. The January 29-30 race weekend at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale includes the 225-lap NASCAR Camping World Series all-star race, the Super Late Model race and a 75-lap Late Model race.
Gomes posted three NASCAR Western Late Model division feature wins while competing at a trio of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks in California in 2009, en route to winning the state and national Rookie of the Year Award.
He competed in the Super Late Model division for the first time in his first appearance at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in October. He posted an 11th place finish in a 28-car field.
Gomes was impressed with the state-of-the-art facility and the compound banking on the .500-mile paved oval.
“It’s a big, tough track,” said Gomes, a junior at East Union High School in Manteca, Calif.
The Irwindale track is larger and produces higher speeds than the tracks he has most of his experience on.
“Irwindale has a lot of banking and you carry a lot of speed into the corners,” Gomes continued. “You have to run right up next to the wall in the turns. I think it’s pretty cool. I think we’ll be able to test with the new car before Showdown weekend.”
Gomes is the first driver to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year Award presented by Jostens.
The rookie program was open to first-time feature division NASCAR license holders. The best 18 finishes counted toward the rookie competition. Gomes combined 18-race record at the three tracks he ran at was three wins, 14 top fives and 18 top 10s. He raced at The New Stockton 99 Speedway – a .250-mile paved oval in Stockton, Calif. – and All-American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., and Madera (Calif.) Speedway. The latter two tracks are .333-mile paved ovals.
Gomes received his national Rookie of the Year Award at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series awards banquet in Concord, N.C. last month.
“The banquet was bigger than I thought it would be. I enjoyed it all. I couldn’t believe how I was treated,” Gomes said.
Gomes’ race car is owned by Ron and Susan Dell’Osso and his parents, Paul and Jennifer. The Gomes have two additional children, Joshua, 14, and Danica, 10.
The crew chief duties are shared by Ty Joiner and Billy Shaul. Joiner has won two NASCAR Camping Series West championships with driver Eric Holmes. Crew members include Paul Gomes, Josh Gomes, Chris Owen, Larry Lawrence, Tim Hendricks, Dan Hendricks, Daniel Coe, Chris Oliveira, Brandon Steadman, and Ryan Precher.
Sponsors of the Rex Hutchinson Race Engines powered Race Car Factory chassis car include Dell’Osso Family Farms/www.pumpkinmaze.com, Joiner Motorsports, George Perry & Sons Inc., Land & Sea Organics, Todd Garibaldi Insurance Agency Inc., Crop Production Services, River Islands at Lathrop, N.E.B. Transportation, Casa Mendoza, 4B Farms, Wrapped Graphics, Cubiburu Livestock, Mid-Cal Tractor, Weisner & Cerato Machine Shop, Siemering Farms, David’s Racing Products, TYPP/Mary Kennedy-Bracken, Roger Morris/Two Rock Media, Inc. and Gomes Motorsports.
The seventh running of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will be highlighted by the 225-lap Camping World Series all-star race. Past winners include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano and David Gilliland, who achieved wins in the postseason showcase on their way up the NASCAR ladder, and two-time race winner Matt Kobyluck.