BAKERSFIELD, California — Derek Thorn concluded ten consecutive weeks of racing by winning the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour race at Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday night, controlling all 125 laps in the event. Thorn and his Bryon Campbell Motorsports team have won two consecutive SRL events in the #43 Four Star Fruit/Hronis Racing Ford prepared by crew chief Mike Keen. The team and driver combination have clicked and have asserted themselves as the team to beat in the competitive SRL series.
With the victory, Thorn also took over the points lead in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour from series veteran M.K. Kanke. In the four starts in the 2012 SRL, the Lakeport native has two fast-times and two wins in a potent start to the season. Thorn's performances have also propelled him to the top of the Sunoco Driven Challenge national points.
Over the ten race stretch of competition between SRL and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Thorn has scored eight top-ten and six top-five finishes. He also won his first career K&N West race at Lake Havasu, AZ in April, securing a spot in the UNOH Battle at the Beach to be held in Daytona, FL during Speedweeks next February.
"Finishing off our 10 race stretch with a win was awesome," Thorn said. "I had high expectations for myself and the teams going into the 2012 season and now with a week off it'll allow us to be just that much more prepared. Bob Bruncati and Byron Campbell are two of the greatest car owners you could ask for with great equipment, teams, and families."
Starting off with Saturday afternoon practice, Thorn found himself third fastest with a time of 13.680 seconds at the historic quarter-mile asphalt oval in Stockton, CA. He followed that up with the third fastest time in qualifying at 13.615 seconds.
For the 125 lap race, Thorn found himself starting on the outside pole after the invert and quickly jumped to the lead out of turn two on the opening lap. The first 23 laps went caution free and after the first of seven cautions, Thorn found himself in the lead for the restart ahead of Jim Pettit.
Throughout several more restarts Thorn continued to lead with only brief challenges from Pettit. Thorn pulled away from the field in the closing laps and took the checkers with a comfortable 1.5 second advantage for his seventh career SRL victory.
"We had great track position for the start of the race and it allowed us to set the pace early on," Thorn said. "Mike Keen and the entire Byron Campbell Motorsports operation have been giving me a phenomenal car all year and it makes my job easy when you have equipment that good...I feel we won't settle until we can capitalize on an SRL championship."
Thorn will take this weekend off before returning to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West in the Bob Bruncati owned Sunrise Ford #6 on Friday and Saturday at Sonoma, CA. The event takes place on the 1.99 mile road course and is the third road course event in 2012.
Thorn finished fourth at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota in May, the last time the series raced on a road course, and should be a threat for the victory at Sonoma during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend.
"Bob Bruncati and Sunrise Ford Racing has had a lot of success in road racing over the years and they gave me my first start on a road course," Thorn said. "The team has gone to great lengths helping me in an area that wasn't my strong suit. Sonoma Raceway would be considered my home track on the K&N West schedule, and has always been high on my list of places I've wanted to race."
Derek Thorn would like to thank his sponsors for their support in 2012.
Race fans can learn more about Derek Thorn at www.derekthorn.com