BAKERSFIELD, California — Derek Thorn drove to his third career SPEARS Southwest Tour Series victory Saturday night at Roseville’s All American Speedway. Thorn took the lead on lap 13, to go on to win the World’s Champion Hand Cleaner 140 presented by AmeriPride Uniform Services.
After qualifying third, and starting outside row two, Thorn was second at the end of lap 1 and followed early leader Zane Lovelace until lap 13 when he moved to the point. The All-American Speedway 1/3 mile was tight quarters for the 26-car field, ten caution flags and lapped traffic were the only things that slowed Thorn on his way to victory. Thorn set the fastest lap of the race on lap 16.
“Roseville has been good to us (two wins in three starts), but I’ve struggled with trying to figure it out, it’s a tough place.” Thorn commented after the race. “The car was the best turning car I have ever had, Junior (Joiner) has something figured out with our JRI shocks and Eibach springs. We were out front so that let us run the line the car wanted, which helped save the Hoosier Tires. It was a great run for us, but we had some close calls, luck was on our side.”
“Last year we came out strong and then suffered some set backs which took us out of the championship. This year with the support of SP Crankshaft and Sigma Engineering we should stay strong all year and hopefully be there in the championship hunt all season.” Thorn added.
2010 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Rookie of the Year Jacob Gomes set the fastest time in qualifying with a lap of 13.26 seconds. Cole Cabrera qualified second, Thorn third, Eric Holmes fourth and Zane Lovelace fifth. A couple of surprises in qualifying were Jim Pettit, in sixteenth and winner of the season opener, M.K. Kanke in twenty-second. Gomes pulled a seven for the invert to set the line up for the 140-lap event.
Before the field ever pulled off the grid, Jonathan Mawhinney, who was scheduled to start from the pole, suffered a broken timing chain to end his night before ever taking the green.
At the drop of the green Lovelace jumped to the lead from the pole, Thorn moved to second and Dallas Montes was third at the end of lap 1.
The caution flew again for debris one lap later and it was on the ensuing restart that Thorn made his move to the lead. The top five were Thorn, Lovelace, Montes, Holmes and Gomes until the caution flew once again on lap 28, when Holmes, Cabrera, Tim Smith all spun to avoid the spinning car of Scott Sanchez. Holmes ended up parked under the rear of Cabrera’s Ag Source/Maxum Petroleum Ford; both drivers would lose three laps before returning to the field.
At lap 50, the running order was Thorn, Lovelace, Montes, Gomes, Carlos Vieira, Eric Schmidt, Pettit, Strmiska, Dave Byrd, and Keith Spangler in tenth. On lap 55, the top 10 changed as Lovelace suffered a flat left front tire and Eric Schmidt spun to avoid getting into Vieira to bring out the caution. Vieira move to fourth, Pettit up to fifth.
At the half-way point of the race, Thorn was in control at the front, Gomes was showing patience in second, Pettit was up to third, Vieira fourth, Spangler was fifth, Kanke sixth.
By lap 100, the top six remained unchanged, Justin Westmoreland was seventh, Vorse was up to eighth after his lap 5 incident, Montes was ninth, and Bear Rezesnowiecky tenth.
The caution fell for the eighth time on lap 118. On the restart it was go time for everyone in the top ten.
With three to go, Westmoreland and Spangler made contact in turns 3 and 4 racing for position, the caution flag was out for the final time.
For the three lap shoot out it was Thorn, Gomes, Vieira, Pettit – with a tire going down and Vorse making up the top 5.
Green flag, Thorn pulled away, and Vorse moved passed the slowing Pettit.
At the checkers, Thorn first, Gomes second, Vieira with a career high third, Vorse who drove from the rear of the field, Pettit, Kanke, Strmiska, Byrd, Spangler and Westmoreland rounding out the top 10.
After two of ten SPEARS Southwest Tour Series events, Thorn is now in the points lead with 345, Kanke second at 330, Pettit third with 325, Gomes 316 and Strmiska at 301.
Next race for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series is May 14th at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the StreamPayPerView.TV “Blackjack 121.