BAKERSFIELD, Ca — Derek Thorn continued his winning ways in Las Vegas this weekend as he stretched his championship point lead over his rivals by scoring his fifth win of the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series season. In winning Saturday night's "Century Boatland 125", Thorn extended his championship lead over Jim Pettit II 1198 to 1159.
"The next race for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is Saturday, October 13th at Roseville’s All-American Speedway for the West Coast Transmissions 125 presented by AmeriPride Uniform Services."
Thorn started his afternoon by laying down the fastest qualifying time of the day with a 14.584 second lap in the hot Las Vegas sun. It was Thorn's fifth pole qualifying run of the year.
After a nine invert was drawn, Olympia, Washington's Jared Vorse started from the pole with Manteca's Ross Strmiska on his outside. Vorse would spin his tires at the drop of the green by honorary starter, John Gomez. The hesitation of Vorse’s forward progress created multiple nose to tail contacts by cars in the inside line, with the result of three cars spinning and mayhem continued on to the back straightway with Jacob Gomes suffering a flat tire after making contact with Craig Raudman. Dave Byrd retired from the race with suspension damage.
Strmiska, who overcame a flat tire and damage to his front end in the final practice session, led the field back to the start finish line.
Two laps later Vorse charged around Strmiska for the lead. By lap 7 Mayhew was into the top three in his first SPEARS Southwest Tour Series start of the season.
At lap 10, Thorn was up to seventh from his ninth starting position; championship contenders M.K. Kanke and Pettit were eleventh and thirteenth respectively.
The second of four cautions fell on lap 20 for debris in turn 3. Vorse was still leading, Mayhew second, Strmiska third, Gomez fourth, Thorn up to fifth, Michael Sandoval sixth, Eric Schmidt seventh, Zane Lovelace eighth, Raudman ninth, and Keith Spangler tenth.
On the lap 24 restart, Thorn began his marched to the lead. Lap 26 he moved to fourth, then past Gomez for third on lap 34, and four laps later he was by Mayhew for second. On Lap 41, Mayhew started to slow and then fell out with electrical problems.
The caution flew on lap 45 for Tim Smith who suffered a flat tire and slowed down the back straightaway. One lap prior to the caution, Thorn had moved into the lead.
As the field came to the green on lap 49, Thorn was in front, followed by Vorse, Gomez, Strmiska, Schmidt, Pettit into sixth, Jason Gilbert seventh, Spangler eighth, Kanke ninth, and Carlos Vieira in tenth.
By lap 60, Pettit had moved his Moeller Bros./HUR Engines Chevrolet into fourth, two laps later into the top three behind Thorn and Vorse. On lap 68 the top two championship leaders Thorn and Pettit, were one and two, working traffic during a 47 lap green flag run.
When the final caution of the night fell on lap 96, the top ten were, Thorn, Pettit, Vorse, Kanke, Gomez, Gilbert, Schmidt, Strmiska, Spangler and Raudman.
On the restart, Pettit pressured Thorn for the lead in much the same way the two drivers have battled most of the season. Pettit would get to the rear bumper of Thorn’s Four Star Fruit Ford, but that was as close as he would get to capturing the lead from Thorn.
At the checkered it was Thorn for his fifth win of the season, and Pettit second for the fifth time in 2012. Kanke had moved past Vorse with three to go to finish third for his fourth top three of the year. Vorse finished fourth, Gilbert fifth, Schmidt sixth, Gomes seventh, Spangler eighth, Gomez ninth, and Strmiska rounded out the top ten.
The next race for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is Saturday, October 13th at Roseville’s All-American Speedway for the “West Coast Transmissions 125 presented by AmeriPride Uniform Services”.