Thorn Cashes in in Bullring SRL Slugfest

Thorn Cashes in in Bullring SRL Slugfest

Thorn Cashes in in Bullring SRL Slugfest

Derek Thorn entered Saturday night’s SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series “$10,000 to Win Retro Custom Metals 150” on a mission.  When he left the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (NV), Thorn could say “mission accomplished”, as the four-time series champion bested a 31 car entry, and took home a cool $10,000 for his efforts, thanks to series sponsor Retro Custom Metals and its owner, and long-time series supporter David “Homie” Mulcahy. The win, in one of “Homie’s” big money events, was long overdue for the Lakeport, CA native, and Thorn was happy to finally get one.

“This is the first one we got from Homie, but I’m bummed we didn’t get the copper copula as a trophy, because Homie couldn’t make it out this time”, Thorn stated.  “I really wish he was here, but we really appreciate all he does for the series, and I’m really happy to be able to take home the 10-Grand tonight.”

The weekend, for the four-time series champion, was mostly a “high” for the Campbell Motorsports Team, with one big challenge thrown into the mix.  Thorn led Friday Practice, and then broke his own Track Record on Saturday, with a blazing 14.149 second lap around the 3/8thmile paved oval. The top eight qualifiers redrew, with Thorn grabbing the unlucky number eight card.  Tyler Fabozzi picked the lucky number one with Jacob Gomes, Linny White, Bobby Hodges, Jesse Love, Preston Peltier, Craig Raudman and the afore mentioned Thorn, rounding out the redraw picks.

The event started with Fabozzi jumping to a comfortable lead, with the field fighting behind him for the preferred lower groove. Several cautions slowed the proceedings, but Fabozzi’s night took a turn for the worse, when he was unable to avoid a slowing Dan Holtz, who crossed down across backstretch to enter the infield. Fabozzi sustained front end damage, which relegated him to the rear of the field after pitting.  He would eventually recover, from a lap down, for a top five finish.

Jacob Gomes took over the point at that point, and would lead the field to the worst incident of the evening on lap 57.  The accident saw Andy Allen spin, with John Dillon, Mike Beeler, Eric Nascimento Jr and Bear Rzesnowiecky also eliminated in the ensuing pile-up.  Gomes would lead the ensuing restart, and race caution-free to the lap 75 halfway break.  Bobby Hodges, Jeremy Doss, Craig Raudman, Carlos Vieira, Preston Peltier, Cole Moore, a patient Derek Thorn, Jesse Love and Linny White made up the balance of the ten at that point.

Upon the restart, Thorn’s day took a turn for the worse, as he was involved in a spin in tight racing while trying to get to the preferred lower groove.

“We tried to be patient the first bit, and we made it to the lap 75 break”, Thorn said.  “Mike (Keen) made some changes, to make the car a little better for us at the break.  We tried to get to the bottom on that restart and got spun around.  We got really lucky that we didn’t get clipped by someone else, and lose a radiator and sustain any damage worse than we had.”

“We went to the back, and I don’t know how far back that was, but it seemed like forever.  The car was awesome, and I can’t thank Byron and Carol Campbell enough for giving us a bad-fast racecar, to be able to  comeback and do that.  Things kind of fell our way, and the car was right where we needed it to be at the end.”

Upon the subsequent restart, Gomes’  Sunnyvalley Meats Chevy began to fade, and Carlos Vieira made his presence known, taking the lead with a move down low on lap 83.  Doss and Peltier followed.  After another quick yellow, Peltier used his inside starting position to get by Doss and set sail for Vieira, taking the lead on lap 90.  Another yellow allowed Doss to displace Vieira from second, and the two California drivers took up chase of Peltier.

The duo of Doss and Vieira began to reel in Peltier, just before another yellow for a stalled Jesse Love on lap 122.  By then, Thorn had recovered to fourth.  After the restart, Thorn began to pressure Peltier, after getting by Doss and then Vieira. On lap 135 Thorn got under Peltier and took the lead with the “FLUIDYNE Performance Cool Move of the Race”.

The final yellow of the event fell on lap 140, involving top 10 runners Jacob Gomes, Blaine Rocha and Bobby Hodges.  Matthew Meech and Kyle Neveau were also involved to setup a single file restart, by rule, to finish the event. The resumption of action found the lead three separate themselves from a recovering Fabozzi and Doss.  Those two exchanged fourth several times before Doss was just able to secure the spot on the last turn.

Thorn went on to score the rich win over Peltier and Vieira, with Doss and Fabozzi completing the top five. Cole Moore headed the second five, with Jacob Gomes recovered to come home seventh, followed by Mark Neff, Bob Lyon and Tracy Bolin.

Post-race, Thorn recalled tracking down Peltier and taking the top spot from the five-time “Easter Bunny 150” winner.

“He (Preston Peltier) was starting to get a little tight in the center more than us, and the handle was going away for him off of turn four.  But he raced me real clean, and it was just good racing.  We didn’t have to rough anybody up, or get into anybody. Everybody gave us plenty of room, and I feel like we did the same to others.  It was just an overall good night.”

Peltier made his second series start a successful one, but came up just one position short.  Much of his strategy, over the event, involved racing the conditions of the track, and taking care of his tires on his new Rowdy Manufacturing Super Late Model.

“I thought I saved enough tire”, Peltier recalled.  “It is really hard restarting on the outside here.  It seemed like I always got caught in the wrong position, so I tried to time it so that we could be in an odd position, when the caution came out. That is really hard to do.”

“We fell back quite a bit, but we were able to come back up through the pack.  At the end, I was still able to run my fastest lap, so that wasn’t it (tires).  Derek just had a better car, and it turned a little better.  I just needed a little better turn.  It’s not bad for the second outing for this Rowdy car.”

The third-place driver was making a comeback of sorts.  After attending every race since 2010, Carlos Vieira missed the last event due to a conflict. In his return however, he had one of his best career starts.

“The first half of the race, we just kind of tried to maintain position”, Vieira commented.  “We made a slight change at halftime, and the car was really good.   I thought we may have had a little something for the 48 (Peltier) at the end, to finish one and two for Campbell Motorsports. There just wasn’t enough time, and a couple of those restarts at the end didn’t make it happen.  We had a great time though, and I want to congratulate my teammate for a great win.”

In his return, Vieira even led a few laps through the middle to late stages of the event.  It was a fact that gave the 51 FIFTY Energy Drink driver a thrill.

“It was still early, so I was just trying to maintain the car, and not burn up the tires while staying up front.  I felt really good for a little bit”, Vieira chuckled.  “I just want to thank Campbell Motorsports for all they do for my program. I had a great night!  Thank you to everyone that helped make it happen.”

The next event, for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series, will be at Madera Speedway on June 8, for the “SPEARS Southwest Tour Series 125 presented by 51 FIFTY LTM” It will be round No. 4 of the 2019 championship season.

Results: 1.Derek Thorn, 2. Preston Peltier, 3. Carlos Vieira, 4. Jeremy Doss, 5. Tyler Fabozzi*, 6. Cole Moore, 7. Jacob Gomes, 8. Mark Neff*, 9. Bob Lyon, 10. Tracy Bolin, 11. Bobby Hodges, 12. Joe Farre’, 13. Kyle Neveau, 14. Matthew Meech, 15. Blaine Rocha, 16. Jack Wood, 17. Craig Raudman, 18. John Moore, 19. Jesse Love*, 20. Don Zoll Jr.*, 21. Linny White, 22. Jace Hansen, 23. Jeff Bischofberger, 24. Scott Sanchez, 25. John Dillon, 26. Andy Allen, 27. Eric Nascimento Jr.*, 28. Mike Beeler, 29. Bear Rzesnowiecky, 30. Dan Holtz, DNS Matt Wendt*.

* Rookie of the Year Contender

Rookie of the Race: Tyler Fabozzi

FLUIDYNE High Performance Cool Move of the Race: Derek Thorn

KHI Management Halfway Leader: Jacob Gomes

Coleman Powersports Hard Charger Award: Matthew Meech