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LOCAL NOTEBOOK: Extra incentive attached to Thorn's win streak

If anyone needed any extra validation of how dominant Bakersfield’s Derek Thorn has been this season, a local sponsor helped solidify things by sweetening the pot for the remainder of the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series.

Motor City Buick GMC of Bakersfield and the series created extra motivation with its Motor City Throwdown Challenge, offering any driver that ends Thorn’s current five-race win streak a $2,500 bonus. To be fair, if Thorn sweeps the final four events of the season, he receives the cash.

“Thanks to Motor City for putting this together,” said Thorn in a news release on the series website. “It’s awesome to have great sponsors supporting this series. It’s lonely at the top and we can’t win ‘em all, but we’re going to damn sure try.”

The five-time series champion, who sits atop this year’s standings, 13 points ahead of Bakersfield’s Buddy Shepherd, will look to extend his run of checkered flags when the series competes at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday in the Salted Metals 100. In addition to the possible bonus, $10,000 goes to the winner.

Thorn and Shepherd will be joined by two other local drivers at the race, Cale Kanke from Frazier Park and Bakersfield’s Scott Sanchez. Kanke is sixth in the points standings, while Sanchez is 12th.

In addition to making a run at the series points title, Shepherd leads in the rookie-of-the-year battle, 96 points ahead of second-place Kole Raz.

A bit closer to home, Bakersfield Speedway will be in action on Saturday night, featuring the IMCA Western Racesaver Sprint Series, Pro Stocks, Mini Stocks, Mod Lites and Hard Tops.

The front gate opens at 5 p.m., with the first race slated for 7. Kern County Raceway Park is taken a summer break and will return to action on Sept. 11.


The Bakersfield Condors signed forward Matteo Gennaro to a two-way AHL/ECHL contract for the upcoming season. Last season, Gennaro led the Wichita Thunder (ECHL) in goals with 26 in 61 games.

The 24-year old spent parts of two seasons in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners, collecting 12 points (5g-7a) in 66 games.

A native of St. Albert, Alberta, he was selected in the 7th round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets. He registered 248 points (124g-124a) in 338 games in the Western Hockey League. His WHL career included two seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders 

College baseball

Former Bakersfield Christian pitcher Roman Angelo, who played the past two seasons at Cal State Bakersfield, is transferring to Fresno State.

The junior right-hander was 2-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 10 starts for the Roadrunners this season. He will have two years of eligibility for the Bulldogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

College basketball

Stockdale graduate Jordan Pumphrey, who played two seasons at Cerro Coso College before transferring to Fort Hays State (Kans.) last season, is on the move again.

The 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard, who averaged 6.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season, is transferring to Union College, an NAIA school in Barbourville, Ky.

High school tennis

The Kern Community Tennis Association recently recognized winners and finalists for its annual junior sportsmanship awards with plaques and scholarships.

Bakersfield High graduate Monika McKenna received the Tracy Macnair Burrell Sportsmanship award, with Liberty’s Sage Nguyen selected for the Hank Pfister Sportsmanship award.

Bakersfield Christian’s Lauren Buetow, Yesenia Gil from Shafter, Garces’ Patrick Blaine, Isaac Capiz of Foothill, Centennial’s CJ Gimena and Jake Nahama of BHS were also recognized as nominees.

KCTA has presented these awards to high school senior student athletes for 15 years, but this is the first time they were named in honor of two local tennis icons. Tracy Macnair Burrell and Hank Pfister are both lifelong Bakersfield residents who distinguished themselves as players, coaches and servers of their community. Candidates for these awards are evaluated based on their conduct as a player and teammate, involvement in their school, service to the community, academic performance and court accomplishments.