Jeremy Doss battled for both wins in his double duty stint in both the Spears Manufacturing Modifieds and Pro Late Models in Saturday’s All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, but fell short of claiming either checkered flag.
“I’m still getting used to both the tracks,” Doss shared before the showdown. “It’s a little different. I’m pretty comfortable with both (cars) and it’s been pretty good so far.”
He definitely didn’t appear to be “still getting used to both tracks” as he quickly became the one to beat for the night.
With typical short track contact in the closing laps, Doss battled Travis Thirkettle for the win in the Modifieds class on the half mile oval. He would dive low and get along side, but not able to complete the pass, then attempt a run on the outside before running out of real estate and time by the exit of the corner. The battle kept fans on their feet, gave the announcers plenty to talk about and the track something to talk about.
Approaching 12 laps to go in the 75-lap race, Doss found his strength and was able to get a nose to the outside of Thirkettle in the middle of Turn 4. Thirkettle attempted the late block, causing contact between the two front-runners and pinching Doss into the outside wall. Luckily for both drivers, damage wasn’t severe and all tires were able to keep rolling for the remaining laps. Thirkettle would go on to win as Doss fell to third behind Dylan Cappello.
The grandstands erupted in boos at Thirkettle.
“He totally surprised me coming on the outside,” Thirkettle said over the heckling from the crowd during podium interviews. “I did not want to get into him like that. I apologize, that’s not how I race.”
The next race that evening was Doss’s second attempt at an All-Star victory in the Pick Your Parts Pro Late Models down inside the one-third mile oval. He elected to start from the rear to give himself a shot at extra cash. As the race unfolded, Doss played it patiently as he picked off one opponent every several laps. The patience paid off as other drivers were caught in spins, crashes and scuffles to get him the extra free position every caution.
Before the halfway point, he had worked his way up into the top five, still with plenty of speed in the car and time on the clock. By lap 52, he was up to second battling side by side with Cole Williams for the lead the rest of the race essentially. Each caution after that simply reset the battle, as neither driver was phased. In fact, Doss ran his personal best on Lap 89 when his car edged out front.
But in the closing laps, two separate incidents took place. One would leave Eric Nascimento disabled on the backstretch, well out the racing groove. The next lap, a collision between Nick Joanides and Kyle Gottula caused their cars to run slow on the front stretch. Joanides was able to get back up to speed in an open area of the field, but Gottula struggled to get back up to full speed.
The leaders were side by side for the win, with Williams to the inside and Doss to the outside. As they caught the slow car in Turns 1 and 2, Williams had no choice but to move up half a lane to squeeze by the lapped car. Doss and Williams made contact, enough to send Doss spinning. No caution was thrown, and Williams would continue on to the victory.
“I don’t know what was happening with that lapped car,” Williams shared during his podium interview. “I thought he was going to go low or get out of the way, but at the last second, he decided to stay on the track. Jeremy (Doss) and I have raced together for so many years, and I haven’t raced him like that. Those were fun laps, but I have to apologize to him.”
It was heartbreak for Doss to say the least, and to get bitten twice in one night shows more of his talent than anything. Drivers would give anything to be in a position to win a race, let alone an All Star race, so to have it happen in back to back events is one that no driver tends to move past easily.
“Man this weekend is going to sting for a bit,” Doss shared on social media after his second race. “(I) had two bad fast race cars but absolutely no luck. Passing for the lead on the outside with less than 10 to go in the modified and got ran into the fence, finished P3. Then this happens with 2 to go after passing for the lead.”