A trio of Bakersfield drivers -- David Mayhew, Derek Thorn and Dallas Montes -- will be competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this season, starting with the season-opening race Talking Stick Resort 60 on Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Mayhew is the defending race champion and said he's glad top be back on a real track after participating the special Battle at the Beach on a makeshift track at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19.

"What a joke," Mayhew said of that race. "It was pretty bad. TV made it look a lot better than it really was. It was bad. I'm looking forward to Phoenix. I can't wait. These cars are meant for tracks that size."

Mayhew finished second in the series points in 2010 and was fifth last season despite missing a race. He will not be running the full circuit this season.

"We're just going to run hit and miss, about eight or nine races," he said. "It's going to be more of stay at home with the family for everybody. We'll be running a Late Model a lot at Kern County Raceway. That's going to be a lot of fun."

The K&N Pro Series West stops at Kern County Raceway Park on Oct. 26.

Thorn, who won two West races last year, and Montes, a rookie, are running the full race schedule.

Thorn did double duty last season, running both the Spears SRL Series and the K&N Pro Series West and will do that again this season. He won six races and the championship in Spears SRL competition and placed third in the West championship.

"Hopefully we can win the West championship and the SRL championships together," he said.

Montes made his West debut last year, subbing for Mayhew and driving to a runner-up finish. He finished eighth and 11th in two other outings.

"This team (NTS Racing) can and should win races this years," Montes said. "The goal is the Rookie of the Year title and a top five points position and I really feel that is possible."

March Meet around the corner

Around 200 drivers took advantage of great weather last weekend, testing at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in preparation for the March Meet, March 7-10. The race is part of the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.

Among those testing were a handful of Funny Car and Top Fuel drivers, including Kris Krabill who ran a solid 5.77 at 248 in Bucky Austin's Northwest Hitter. Top Fuel driver Rick Williamson, who won the California Hot Rod Reunion last October, ran a 5.72

More than 35 Funny Cars are expected to battle for a 16-car elimination field at the March Meet and a full field of 16 Top Fuel cars are expected.

Among the Funny Car competitors will be defending champion Chad Head, who will make his debut on the NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series circuit next month in Florida, and three other "Big Show" drivers -- Ron Capps, Del Worsham and Jeff Arrend.