BAKERSFIELD, Ca — SPEARS Southwest Tour Series championship leader Derek Thorn scored his fourth win of the 2012 season, with his victory in Saturday’s “Performance Electrical Co. 125”. Thorn extended his championship lead over Jim Pettit II, by adding 10 points to his lead over rival Pettit who finished second to Thorn for the second straight race. Thorn now leads the championship chase, 1198 to 1159 over Pettit, M.K. Kanke is third with 1140 points.
After setting the fastest qualifying time, for a SPEARS Southwest Tour Series career record 15th time, Thorn drew a six for the invest for the 125 lap main event.
Roseville’s Zane Lovelace led the field to the green and jumped ahead of Olympia, Washington’s Jared Vorse to lead the first 24 laps. On lap 25, season opener winner Jacob Gomes, took the lead from Lovelace. Two laps later, Thorn pushed hard to get to second, moving past Lovelace with an inside move. Pettit was also charging to the front from his fifth starting position.
Thorn moved to the lead past Gomes on lap 31, Pettit worked his way to third on lap 36 past Lovelace, then into second on lap 55 with an inside pass on Gomes.
At the half way point of the race, Thorn led, with Pettit second, Gomes maintained third, Lovelace was fourth and Kanke had moved up from his seventh starting position into the top five.
With more than 68 laps of green flag racing, the leaders masterfully negotiated traffic, Thorn leading the way with Pettit in close pursuit.
A lap 115 caution flag brought the top five together for a ten-lap shoot out to the finish. The top five for the restart were Thorn, Pettit, Gomes, Kanke, and Ross Strmiska. Jeff Oleen was sixth, Keith Spangler seventh, followed by Vorse, Michael Sandoval and Bobby Hodges rounding out the top ten, with ten laps remaining.
On the restart, Pettit drove low under Thorn. Pettit put the nose of his Moeller Bros. #18 Chevrolet under the Four Star Fruit #43 Ford of Thorn, but Pettit couldn’t make it stick. At the same time Kanke was working hard on the inside of Gomes for third.
At the checkers it was Thorn recording his fourth SPEARS Southwest Tour Series victory of the year, followed .441 seconds later by Pettit with his sixth top three finish of the season. Gomes was third, Kanke rallied to fourth after going to his back up car due to a Friday practice incident. Strmiska scored his best finish of the year with fifth, as did Oleen with a sixth. Spangler, Vorse, Sandoval and Hodges all hung on for top ten finishes.
Next race for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is the “Century Boatland 125” at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 8th.