The Fourth Annual Winter Showdown on Feb. 2-3 kicks off a 20-event racing schedule this year at Kern County Raceway Park.

NASCAR champion Kyle Busch will be among a stellar Super Late Model field vying for the $30,000 payout to the winner of the 300-lap event on Feb. 3 in what is billed as “the nation’s richest short-track event.”

The Showdown is the first of two big events to kick off the racing season. Bakersfield native and NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick will compete in his first race at KCRP on March 15 (a Thursday night) in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season opener.

That is the first of two West races as the series winds up its season at KCRP on Oct. 27.

Other highlights include two Spears Southwest Tour races (April 14, Oct. 27), a Lucas Oil Modified race and salute to America fireworks show on June 30 and the fifth annual George Snider King of the Wing National Sprint Car championship race on Nov. 4 to wind up the season.

The weekly action at the facility will be much the same as last season with Late Models the top division on the half-mile oval with Super Stocks and Spec Mods also competing on the big track. No less two of those divisions will be in action every race night.

Dropped from competition is the Mini Stock division, which never drew many cars, and the 911 Racing Series, both which competed on the quarter mile.

But that won’t mean less action as seven of the 11 Inex Legends races this season will have twin features in an attempt to draw more out-of-area races and increase field size.

The Late Models the season kicks off with a special event (along with Super Stocks) on Feb. 2 as part of the Winter Showdown. As for the regular season, there will be 16 events, 14 of those coming on nights with twin features.

Also back will be Golden Supermoto series with four events and three Night of Mayhem events featuring a variety of zany activities.

Sanders wins at BKE

Tate Sanders raced to victory Saturday in the inaugural Bakersfield Indoor Kart Nationals at Bakersfield Karting Experience.

Sanders advanced to the 12-kart main through a B-main then avoided several on-track incidents and assumed the lead when Brandon Williams hit a wheel that had come loose from another car and went upside down. Sanders then held off a late-race challenge from Josiah Ribeiro for a $1,000 payday.

Brad Pounds won the Friday night feature on the tenth-mile clay oval, good for $400. Sanders was second in that race.

Kern Raceway awards

Kern County Raceway and the Spears Southwest Tour held a joint championship award banquet at the Crystal Palace on Saturday where top finished and champions were honored.

There were also a couple of special awards handed out.

Paul Ebersbacher of Bakersfield received the Charlie Beard Sportsman of the Year Award for his commitment to racing as he competed in both Late Model and Super Stock competition and did not miss a single race. Bakersfield’s Brandon Weaver, 17, received the University of Northern Ohio Youth Achievement Award. Weaver and family made a last-minute decision to get a car and race in the Late Model class where he finished second in points.

Mike Griffith can be reached at 661 395-7390. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeGriffith54.