Derek Thorn Leads the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series into All American Speedwayadmin
The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series will be returning to All American Speedway, in rare back-to-back events at the 1/3-mile asphalt oval, on September 26th. The “JM Environmental Inc. Wild West Shootout Round #2 – Thunderstruck 127 presented by 51 FIFTY” will be Round #6 of the nine-race schedule for the series. The event will feature a halfway break with an additional $1,000 bonus to the driver who leads lap-27, courtesy of JM Environmental. The “Performance Friction Brakes Zero Drag Fast Time Award” will also feature a $500 bonus, also thanks to JM Environmental. The winner will receive $5,000, thanks to the “Winner’s Bonus” from McGunegill Engine Performance.
On August 15th, Derek Thorn came to All American Speedway and won his fourth race of the season. It was his fourth series victory at the facility, in only seven starts, but first since 2012. Thorn will be looking to back up that performance and increase his 132-point championship lead over Linny White. The Lakeport, CA native, and 2019 Snowflake 100 winner, is looking for series record championship number five. He will also look to increase his record for wins (46) and fast times (59).
Thorn won in dramatic style in August, after spinning in oil late in the event, as he recalled the unfortunate series of events.
“I would have sworn we had a flat tire. The car was just all over the place. I ended up losing it getting into Turn 1. I tried to go a little higher, to accommodate the car, thinking it was a tire. But I ended up getting into more oil, come to find out, by looking at the grease sweep. I ended up losing it in one, and I ended up being the guy to cause the caution, to find out there was oil on the racetrack.”
He charged through the field in the time shortened race, however, and took the lead following the final restart of the event, with seven laps to go. That restart was precipitated by an altercation between the leaders, which saw Carlos Vieira spin from the lead and Cole Moore relegated to the rear by rule. It was just the break Thorn needed for the victory.
Championship runner-up Linny White had a day that was not so fortunate. White turned the second quickest lap in qualifying and advanced to second by lap 60. The car was running hot however, as the driver began to overheat as well. On the second scheduled race break, which was moved up to lap 89, White exited the car for Preston Peltier. Unfortunately for White, the overheating caused Peltier to lose multiple laps and White finished a disappointing 13th.
The 2015 Fall Open Comp Super Late Model winner at the Bullring will be looking to close the gap on Thorn, and put a little distance between himself and the remainder of the top-five in points. Only 47 points separate second from fifth. Only 14 more points separate fifth through seventh, as Carlos Vieira and Tyler Fabozzi occupy positions six and seven. White was fast at his only other career start in Roseville, as an altercation with the leader sent him to the rear in 2019. He recovered to finish fifth.
2019 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Champion Cole Moore currently sits third in the standings, 38 markers behind White. Moore was challenging for his first win, late in last August’s event, when contact with Carlos Vieira sent the veteran driver spinning, with Moore relegated to the rear. It was a bitter disappointment for the four-time Pacific Challenge Series winner and 2018 SRL Rookie-of-the-Year, who was leading on the lap 102 restart.
“We were definitely the fastest car, aside from Derek (Thorn) at the end of the race”, Moore stated. Unfortunately, my tires didn’t fire off on the late restart, allowing Carlos to sneak by me. Once Carlos took the lead from me, I knew that we were on a time restriction. It wasn’t clear if I had 20 laps or 5 laps to make the pass for the lead. Considering that, I was driving a bit more aggressive than I normally would have.”
Moore continued, “I was upset with myself for giving up the lead in the first place. I just couldn’t get my car to turn for the first few laps. After the race I was mad at the call, to send me to the back, because I did think he was blocking me. But we both can point fingers and argue our sides. In reality, it was just two guys racing hard to get a win. No hard feelings on my side.”
Moore is the current championship leader in the NASCAR Late Model Division at All American Speedway. He hopes his strong season, with four victories in eight starts, will give him momentum to get back in the championship picture. The driver who is known for finishing races, will now need to finish first to achieve that goal.
2006 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Champion Eric Schmidt sits fourth in the championship standings, 12 points behind Moore. Schmidt, who calls Roseville his home, will be trying to rebound from a disappointing effort in the last event at All American Speedway. Schmidt was extremely fast when the series visited in 2019, only to be spun from the lead. In August, Schmidt was good in qualifying with a fourth-place effort. He was good in the early portion of the race, but faded to a disappointing ninth-place finish.
The 2013 Pacific Challenge Series Champion has a NASCAR Advanced Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Championship at the track, but has yet to score a travelling series victory there. His best effort was a second in the ARCA Menards Pro Series West. He also had a second in the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model Series. The 2018 SRL Championship runner-up will be out to change that after scoring 11 victories during his NASCAR Regional Series championship season. The #05 of Schmidt will be tough to beat.
2015 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Champion Jacob Gomes has climbed to fifth in the championship standings after a third-place effort in August. Gomes has ran well on the shorter tracks of the series scoring three top-10’s in a row, but two consecutive top-fives on the shorter tracks. He finished third at All American Speedway last month, despite a late race restart altercation that ripped the rear quarter panel off his Super Late Model. The 2009 NASCAR Advanced Auto Parts Weekly Series National Rookie of the Year would love to continue the momentum he has built, but he is realistic about his championship aspirations.
“I mean I would love to win the thing (championship), but that’s gonna be hard to make up the ground”, Gomes declared. “But to make it up to the top-three would be nice.”
Long-time Series sponsor Carlos Vieira holds down the sixth position in the championship standings. Vieira will make start #99 this weekend. The Livingston, CA driver was positioned to win his first series race last month, leading with only seven laps remaining. Contact between the 51 FIFTY driver and Cole Moore sent Vieira spinning, ending his shot at a victory. The three-time Pacific Challenge Series winner ultimately finished 11th, just missing out on his fourth top-10 of the season. It was a huge disappointment for the veteran racer.
I was pi**ed off”, Vieira exclaimed! “I honestly felt that night was going to be my first SRL win. It would have been awesome for me, but also a huge win for my team.”
One driver who will be looking for a bounce back effort at Roseville, is Tyler Fabozzi. Fabozzi entered the August event having finished every SRL race he started, a streak that had reached 15 races. That streak came to an end when he got into the back of Jacob Gomes on the lap 92 restart. The 2019 Rookie-of-the-Year dropped from fourth to seventh in the standings, after a 14thplace finish. Fabozzi has been quick in both his All American Speedway appearances. He qualified third in 2019 and sixth last month. If Fabozzi can keep his car clean, expect to see the MSI Machining sponsored driver bounce back into the top-five.
John Moore is excited to return to All American Speedway. Moore calls the track home, and last month he scored a career best SRL finish of second. The 2015 Pacific Challenge Series Champion sits eighth in the standings, sitting 34 points out of the top-five. Moore’s company, JM Environmental, is the primary sponsor of this weekend’s event. He is also putting up $500 for the PFC Brakes Zero Drag Fast Time Award, as well as $1,000 for leading lap 27. Moore would like to collect those himself, after last month’s strong performance.
“It was a good race night”, Moore expressed. “It was a good old-fashioned door banging stock car race full of excitement. It lended itself to my driving abilities, to be able to stay out of the mess for the most part. I ended up with a good finish. I probably had a top-five car that ended up in second.”
Moore will look for more success this weekend at the 1/3-mile oval. In his overall touring series career, he has 12 top-fives and 22 top-10’s in 33 starts. He would like to add his first victory this weekend.
Kyle Neveau is ninth in the current standings, after finishing in the seventh position last month. Neveau is most comfortable on the series’ half-mile facilities, but he is improving on the shorter tracks. Neveau finished 11th in Roseville in 2019 and will be striving for a top-five finish. Kyle sits only 46 points outside the top-five in the championship and a good effort at All American Speedway would go a long way to closing that gap.
The final driver in the top-10 is the current Rookie-of-the-Year leader Dean Thompson. The Anaheim Hills, CA driver scored his best career SRL finish at Roseville last month. The current NASCAR Late Model Championship Leader at Irwindale Speedway finished fourth, scoring his first Rookie-of-the-Race honor. It was his first Super Late Model start at the facility and he has his eyes set on another successful race this weekend.
Practice for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is scheduled to begin at 12:30 pm (PST) on Saturday, with Qualifying at 4:15 pm and Opening Ceremonies at 5:00 pm. The SRL will be joined by the NASCAR Late Models, Jaws Gear Limited Modifieds, Super Stocks, F4, Jr. Late Models and the Bando/Mini Cups. For those not in attendance, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series will be live streamed on www.SpearsRacing.TV. The local NASCAR Divisions will be live streamed at www.AllAmericanSpeedway.TV