SRL Top 10 Countdown, Thorn

SRL Top 10 Countdown, Thorn

Concluding our countdown of the top ten in the Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series Championship Standings for 2017, we now reach the top of the heap. This driver scored his record breaking fourth SRL Championship, while extending his record number of wins to 32, and fast times to 46. To no great surprise, Derek Thorn Racing rode three wins, seven top five’s and eight top ten’s to the nine race championship. He scored victories at the Bullring @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Irwindale Event Center and Kern County Raceway. But it was consistency that gave Thorn the big prize at season’s end, even though he scored his biggest win of his career, before the regular season even started.

“The highlight of the year was definitely the Winter Showdown, as we really got our season off to a strong start, and it has always been a race I’ve wanted to win”, Thorn began. “To continue on, we didn’t win as many SRL races as we have in the past, but we picked up and got the win in the (Senators Cup) Fall Classic (at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway). We had some good runs, but a little more bad luck than we usually do in the SRL.”

Thorn is quick to credit his Campbell Motorsports Team for the success he had in 2017, and the previous championships he had earned.

“The credit just goes to the team”, Thorn stated. “There is so much extra effort that goes into being a championship team, and putting together an entire season. It takes money, energy, resources, and blood sweat and tears that go into a lot of different things. And there are always frustrating nights. You are always trying to win races, and that is the first goal, but the second goal is to be up front in the championship standings. You just need to make sure you are smart about it.”

Thorn continued, “To be a four-time champion, in this series, with the caliber of teams that are here in this series, means a lot. We have gotten a lot of poles and wins, and it is Byron Campbell and Carol Patrick Campbell, along with the whole team, that makes this all possible.”

But as Thorn’s Crew Chief, Mike Keen points out; Thorn is more than just a driver. His success with Campbell Motorsports isn’t just as a wheelman, but as an integral part of the team, before the car even hits the track.

“A lot of people don’t realize how much Derek does at Campbell Motorsports,” Keen began. “He hangs all our bodies, and builds everything from radiator duct work, to interior sheet metal. He performs most of our welding, shock and spring set ups, bump stop packages, takes care of all the travel arrangements , upkeep on the haulers, and keeps us organized, etcetera, etcetera. With Scott Sanchez leaving to race the entire SRL series, Derek has even picked up some of the mechanical load that Scott did, to take some of the load off of me. Plus he is one of the greatest race car drivers I have ever worked for”, Keen concluded.

As the 2018 season quickly approaches, Thorn will try to win his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Championship, in his last two attempts for Bob Bruncati. He last participated full-time in the “West” Series in 2013, finishing with three wins, three poles and the championship. He will also compete in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, when there are no conflicts, and continue to be a very busy man around the Campbell Motorsports complex.

“This season, Derek will try to run as many SRL races as his K&N schedule will allow”, Keen replied. “Plus he will run some big races like the Snowball Derby, The All American 400 and one or two other big shows. When he is available, he will also serve on the crew for Carlos E. Vieira’s car, at some of Carlos’ races.”

For his 2017 championship effort, Thorn would like to thank each and every member of the team, who contributed to that effort. Those include; Byron Campbell, Carol Campbell, Mike Keen, Vicki Duke Keen, Scott Sanchez, Sal Arceo, Scott Franchimone, Chris Howard, Jen Howard, Carlos Vieira, Aysia Vieira, Bryan Brown, Ronnie Beam, Crissie Lukacs, Robert Hornsby and last but not least his wife Erika Thorn.

Thorn’s next event will be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Event, at Kern County Raceway, on March 15th. He will follow that up with the “2018 Season Opener 125 presented by 51 FIFTY Energy Drink”, at Madera Speedwayy on March 24th. Thorn will look to avenge his only 2017 finish, outside the top ten in SRL competition. It will certainly be a tough task for Thorn to get his record seventh Madera victory, with the large field expected. But with the Campbell Motorsports Crew, and the four-time champ behind the wheel, it would be no great surprise to see the 43 in Victory Lane.
Photo credit: Sal Sigala Jr.