BAKERSFIELD, California — 2011 TOYOTA All-Star Showdown pole sitter Derek Thorn, through the generous support of many personal donations and sponsorships, will take the #26 Sigma Engineering / JRC Toyota Camry to Pensacola, FL for the prestigious Snowball Derby at the famed half-mile Five Flags Speedway this weekend. Thorn will be the lone Californian among a field of nearly 60 cars including many drivers from the upper rungs of NASCAR.
Thorn hit the road Monday morning along with JRC crew chief and co-owner Junior Joiner for the 2100 mile trip to Florida. Activities get underway Wednesday with tech inspections and hauler parking, with practice Thursday, qualifying Friday, and the last-chance qualifier on Saturday night. The 300 lap feature for $22,500 to win is on Sunday afternoon with live coverage on Speed51.com
Thorn announced his intentions to compete in the nationally recognized event early last week, looking for approximately $7,500 in support to complete funding to make the trip. Funding was secured by Thanksgiving Day, with additional sponsors and personal donations still coming in as late as Sunday.
“I’m excited to finally be running the Snowball Derby,” Thorn said. “It’s been a long time coming and like most short track racers I have wanted to attend this prestigious event for years. I’m extremely fortunate to have such a great group of sponsors and supporters along with my car owners Joe Farre and Junior Joiner that made this possible for me on such short notice. We are looking forward to seeing where we stack up!”
JRC co-owners Joe Farré and Junior Joiner had this to say about Derek’s Snowball Derby venture: “We are proud of Derek and the efforts that he has put into making this venture happen. Derek is a talented driver, and we couldn’t be more proud to have this opportunity to highlight Derek’s talent. We were only able to commit to such a large venture thanks to the support of his family, crew, JRC and the many fans and supporters that helped raise the funding necessary.”
When asked about Derek’s approach to the race, JRC went on to say, “The Snowball Derby will give this team the opportunity that they deserve to measure their talent, skills, equipment, and team organization against the best Super Late Model racing teams in the nation. We’ve given Derek the best equipment, support, crew and set-up knowledge that we have. We’re confident that he will do his best to represent West Coast racing and all of his supporters in a manner that we will all be proud of.”
In talking about the benefits of facing such a large venture for a West Coast based race team, JRC added, “We look forward to the challenge, and will surely bring back a wealth of knowledge, experience, and new contacts that will only make Derek and this organization that much stronger in the seasons to come.”
The Lakeport resident established himself as one of the West Coast’s most impressive drivers in 2011 with seven consecutive fast-times in the SRL Southwest Tour, along with multiple wins and stacked up four top five finishes in just six NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts this year.
Thorn was an instrumental part of the JRC program in 2011 serving as one of the team drivers and went on to make a big splash at the end of the year in Las Vegas winning both the SRL event and the $10,000 Fall Classic in back-to-back weeks.
Companies sponsoring Derek Thorn in the Snowball Derby include: Sigma Engineering Solutions, JRC, Lake County, Racehard.com, Approved Memory, PepperJack Kennels, Blakesley Sports Media, Victory Circle, Century Boatland, McClintock & Turk, Lakeport Speedway, AP Brakes, AR Bodies, Joe’s Racing Products, JRI Shocks, Eibach Springs, NEO, AG Source Magazine, and Imagine This.
Derek Thorn and JRC would also like to thank everyone for there generous support of this special event, including Joe Farre, Junior Joiner, Scott Franchimone, Jim Kennedy, Marty and Misty Melo, Stanley Fisher, Rick and Carol Thorn, Travis Thorn, Dave Reed, John Gomez, Don Williams, Mark Lundgren, The Keep Family, Dave Furia, Mark Reed, Mike Rose, Rod and Deanne Padel, Dave Sullivan, Grandma Kelly, Justin Dutcher, Kyle Tellestrom, Erika Johnson, Cheryl Archer, The Hensen Family, Phillip Gambrell, Grandma Shirlee and Grandpa Ray, Melissa Kelleey, Kyle and Kolby Medina, Kevin and Traci Medina, Rebecca Chouinard, Myles Anderson, Jeanne Broussal, Valerie Sullivan, Ken Benhamou, Kevin Disney, Randy and Jason Gilbert, Steven Meyer, Jack and Becky Gasper, Christine Smith, Dan Baril, Kristen Raney, Wanda Lopez, Judy Lanfranco, Jamie Ceridono, William & Alberta Knoll, John & Toni Candido, Travis, Tony, Tracy, Clay, & Miranda Wanzer, Grandma June, The Russell Family, The Reyonolds, Steve Meyer, Kim Olsen and Family.
For additional information about JRC look them up online at www.joinerracecars.com Seats are still available for the 2012 season in the SRL SPEARS Southwest Tour and interested parties can contact Marty Melo at (530) 941-5642.