BAKERSFIELD, California — Lakeport's Derek Thorn drove Bob Bruncati's Sunrise Ford #6 to his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West victory on Saturday night, winning the "Toyota/NAPA 150" at Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu, AZ. Thorn's win came from the pole in just his eighth career series start and in the series' debut at the quarter-mile speedway.
With the win, Thorn locked himself into a spot at the UNOH Battle at the Beach, to be held at Daytona International Speedway during Speedweeks in February of 2013. Thorn also jumped up to second place in the championship point standings just three points out behind David Mayhew.
"It's definitely nice to get that monkey off your back," Thorn said. "It's a credit to my team I'm driving for this year and they've given us some good equipment this year. Bob Bruncati has given me a great opportunity."
The victory was especially satisfying as he fought off several mid-race challenges from Dylan Kwasniewski, taking the lead for good on lap 108. All told, Thorn led a total of 141 of the 150 laps for the evening.
The day started with Thorn taking the Pole with a 15.277 second lap around the speedway. Thorn led the 22 car field to green and began lapping cars by lap 19. Kwasniewski took a look at Thorn on a lap 66 restart but Thorn successfully held the top spot. A restart on lap 75 saw the two Fords go side-by-side with Kwasniewski taking over the lead on lap 77.
The lead for Kwasniewski was brief with Thorn taking it back on lap 82. The back-and-forth racing continued with Kwasniewski leading lap 93, and laps 105-107, before the blue and orange Sunrise Ford car roared back to the lead on lap 108.
Thorn then was able to work into a comfortable one second advantage lead over the final laps to get the satisfying and hard-earned win.
"It was a lot of fun," Thorn said. "They resurfaced the track a few weeks ago and the surface had improved a lot. There was a lot of tire management early in the race. When you're racing side-by-side, you're trying not to burn off the right rear. It was a very fine balance between staying out front and not using up your stuff."
With the win, Thorn will next be heading to a road course in two weeks at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT in the NASCAR K&N West Series.
Up next for Derek Thorn is a return to the Byron Campbell Motorsports #43 Four Star Fruit/ Hronis Racing Ford in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour. The series will be in action at Madera Speedway in Madera, CA this Saturday night for the "Mike Roos Memorial". Thorn sits in second place in the points standings just ten points out and will look to better his points position at the newly repaved track.
Derek Thorn would like to thank the following sponsors for their support in 2012: Sunrise Ford, Lucas Oil, Eibach Springs, Four Star Fruit, Hronis Racing, Joe’s Racing Products, Oakley, and PepperJack Kennels.
Race fans can learn more about Derek Thorn at www.derekthorn.com