Derek Thorn Looks to Add to Winter Showdown Win Total at Kern County Racewayadmin
For Immediate Release: Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series
Bakersfield, CA – When Derek Thorn shows up at the track, all eyes are on the Lakeport, CA born driver, at least for those looking to take home the checkered flag. The Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway will be no exception to the rule, as he is currently the only former winner entered. The Sixth Annual Winter Showdown will be a championship event for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series for the first time in history, and it will certainly add importance for the series regulars, as a large field of cars can make or break a championship effort.
Thorn captured an amazing eight victories in last season’s championship season. He has wins in the $15,000-to-win Open Comp at the LVMS Bullring and Dirt Track, the Snowflake 100 at 5 Flags Speedway, and the $25,000-to-win “Sunrise Ford All-Star Showdown” at Irwindale Speedway. Thorn also scored a big win at Pike Peaks International Raceway, leaving with $15,000 in the “Spears Manufacturing 100”. He has multiple Pro Late Model wins at both 5 Flags Speedway (FL) and New Smyrna Speedway (FL) and picked up the last two $10,000-to-win Retro Custom Metals events at the Bullring. He was voted one of the top-10 short track drivers of the last decade by Speed51.com, one of only two Super Late Model drivers to make the list.
But there is one event that was especially important to the two-time ARCA Menards Pro Series West Champion’s career It was one that got the five-time SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Championship driver some well-deserved notoriety. It was his 2017 Winter Showdown victory over Donnie Wilson, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones.
“Finally getting that first Winter Showdown win was a huge hurdle”, Thorn recalled. “We had come so close at both the Summer and Winter Showdowns, and even the (Snowball) Derby and All American 400, but we had yet to seal the deal on a big event. It was a relief to finally have that “W”. So much time, preparation and resources go into a race, even more so at the big shows. We’ve been struggling to have any luck at the big events, but we will keep doing what we’ve been doing and make the most of each event. I’m just super fortunate to have had so many once in a lifetime opportunities, to run these big shows with such a great team.”
Despite his success, Thorn has been close to huge wins so many times in his career. He was the runner-up at the All American 400, Snowball Derby, Winter Showdown, Senators Cup and Summer Showdown. Thorn was looking to break through for his second “Sunrise Ford All-Star Showdown 200” just last month. It would have been a win worth a record career tying $30,000. It was an event that he drove to the lead by lap 25, but unforeseen circumstances throttled his chance at victory. It left him with his worst series finish in more than 10 years, and a degree of caution heading to the Winter Showdown.
“Irwindale was an unfortunate deal, there was nothing we could’ve done to predict the tires would come apart like they did”, Thorn explained. “The results definitely don’t show how good our car was. We had one of the best cars we’ve ever had there. We had the lead, and we were setting a conservative pace. Unfortunately, the sticky track coating, that gave us the grip, also ripped the tread right off our tires. Moving onto Kern, we’ve had some tire overheating problems there as well, so we will just take it a lap at a time and hope things work out a little better than they did at Irwindale.”
As the only former winner of the Winter Showdown currently entered, Thorn is uniquely qualified to explain what it takes to win the race that could see one driver take home $10,000. To Thorn, the biggest part of the equation comes down to preparation and having the equipment to succeed.
“There’s so many factors that go into winning these races”, Thorn told the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. “Byron and Carol (Campbell) have given us all the resources we need to be the best we can possibly be. And Mike has put in so much into making sure these cars are the best they possibly can be each week. We will fine tune it at the track and hope to be in contention at the end.”
To achieve all that Thorn has, throughout his career, it takes a talented supporting cast. Thorn possesses such a cast, and he is thankful for the support.
“I would like to thank Byron Campbell and Carol Patrick Campbell and all my Campbell Motorsports team, as well as my Crew Chief Mike Keen. Also, all my great sponsors; Power Grade Inc., Double Eagle Transportation, 51 FIFTY LTM, KDD Media Company, AP Racing Brakes, Reeves Complete Auto Center Inc., Family Funeral and Cremation, FURY Race Cars, Swift Springs, JRi Shocks, Tilton Engineering, Tripple R Transportation, Hightower Racing Transmissio Ns, Joes Racing Products, Victory Circle Chassis & Custom Fabrication, FinishLine Signs, Performance Parts Supply, West Air, Strange Oval, Bassett Racing Wheel, Magnus Rear Ends, Peters Racing Engines, and BUTLER BUILT PRO SEAT SYSTEMS.”
The Sixth Annual Winter Showdown will see 150 laps of competition, with a halfway break at lap 75. Half of the purse will be awarded at that juncture. Championship points will not be awarded until the completion of 150 laps. $5,000 will be paid to the leader at both lap 75 and 150, for a possible $10,000 payday. Single car qualifying will be followed by three Qualifying Heat Races to set the line-up for the Feature event. The top eight cars in qualifying will draw for position in their Heat Race, then race for their opportunity to sit on the pole for the prestigious event. The remaining cars will be split into “odd’ and “even” Heat Races, to set the remainder of the scheduled 36-car field. The Spears Modified Series and Kern County Raceway Super stocks will join the action.
The Sixth Annual Winter Showdown will be the first event at the paved ½-mile to allow fans in the grandstands, since the Covid-19 shutdowns. Fans can purchase a “Fan Pass” at the front gate for $30. Those gates will open at 11:00 am. For those who are unable to attend, you can catch all the action live at www.SpearsRacing.TV, and on a delayed basis on MAVTV, the Motorsports Network.
Celebrating its twenty-first season in 2021, 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”.