2019 TOP TEN – Derek Thornadmin
Four-time Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series Champion Derek Thorn had a dominant season in 2019, but ended up third in the championship countdown. He finished a mere 29 points behind first-time champion Cole Moore, despite missing a single event at Kern County Raceway in June. Thorn’s five wins led the series, along with his four Performance Friction Brakes Zero Drag Fast Time Awards. Thorn completed the season with seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes, while leading 461 laps in his eight starts. His finishing average was an amazing 2.5, while his qualifying average was an identical 2.5. Thorn won a series record $38,650 for his efforts.
Despite finishing third in the standings, Thorn was pleased with the season, and the performance of the Campbell Motorsports FURY Race Cars Super Late Model.
“We were happy to finish the season with five wins, after only running a partial schedule”, Thorn told the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. Byron Campbell and Mike (Keen) have put together an awesome program.”
That “awesome” program resulted in big wins both within, and outside the series. The Lakeport, CA native, along with the Campbell Motorsports Team, made the trip across the country for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby Weekend, at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. Thorn won the pole for the “Derby” and nearly won the 300-lap feature. But a controversial call, before a green-white-checkered finish, sent Thorn from third to the tail end of the field. It ultimately resulted in his retirement. In the “Snowflake 100” Pro Late Model event, Thorn qualified second, and became the first driver west of the Mississippi to win the event.
His favorite moment in his SRL season, was an accomplishment that had continued to allude him for years. It was a victory in the $10,000-to-win “Retro Custom Metals 150 presented by Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse San Dimas”, that included a custom trophy. It was a six-foot-tall custom brass cupola, from long-time series supporter David Nava Mulcahy, better known as “Homie”.
“We’ve been wanting one of Homie’s Retro Custom Metal trophies for a while now, so to win Vegas, take that, and the $10K home was awesome”, Thorn exclaimed! “Then to cap it off with a Derby Pole and “Snowflake 100’ win, made it just that much better.”
The 2020 season, in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, is sure to be a record breaker. With big payouts, special formats and other exciting occurrences, the competition level is sure to increase. It is something that Thorn looks forward to, whether he runs for the championship, of participates in a limited schedule.
“The better the competition, the more fun it is”, Thorn explained. “We don’t know what our full race schedule is yet for 2020. We’ve only run the SRL full time in four years. Every other year there has been a schedule conflict. Time will tell how races overlap this year.”
Thorn is enjoying his time behind the wheel of a Super Late Model. He is happy to have the chance to compete with a first-class team, and to be able to compete at the highest level of short track racing.
“Byron and Carol have given me such a great opportunity to race the last 8-9 years”, Thorn stated. “Just to be racing, and have the chance to go out and run competitively at some of the biggest races in the country, is all a driver could ever ask for. The memories will last a lifetime.”
For the opportunities that he has been afforded, Thorn is appreciative to the team, and his sponsors that make it possible.
First off, I really need to thank Byron and Carol Patrick Campbell for making this all happen”, Thorn began. “I really appreciate my Crew Chief Mike Keen, as well as Vicki Duke Keen, for all that they do to make this program so great. I have the best crew in Sal Arceo, David Coley, Steve Rodriguez and Adrian Arceo. I am also very fortunate to have great sponsors like 51 FIFTY LTM, H & M Motorsports, Santa Maria Brewing Co. Inc, Double Eagle Transportation, Reeves Complete Auto Center Inc. S and S Insulation, Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, AP Racing Brakes, Advanced Racing Suspensions, FURY Race Cars, EibachSprings, Strange Oval, Magnus Rear Ends, Hightower Transmissions, Joes Racing Products, Victory Circle Chassis & Custom Fabrication, Finishline Signs, Joiner Motorsports, Performance Parts Supply and West Air.”
The next event on the schedule is the season opener at Irwindale Speedway. The event will be very special for Thorn, as his former NASCAR ARCA Menards West Series car owner Bob Bruncati, will be one of the driving forces behind the weekend. The resumption of the All-Star Showdown will pay $25,000 to the winner of the 200-lap Feature Event, thanks to Sunrise Ford, Bob Bruncati and the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Over $75,000 will be paid out to the 36 starters, plus additional cash bonuses for the drivers eligible for the Spears ManufacturingFrequent Flyer Program.
Celebrating its twentieth season in 2020, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the U.S. “The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series…Where the Champions Race”.