THORN IS CHAMPION – GOMEZ WINS BIGadmin
Bakersfield, CA – The final race of the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series saw Lakeport’s Derek Thorn win the series title and Twin Falls, Idaho’s Jonathon Gomez win the race and the record $15,000 in prize money that came with the win at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday.
After leading much of the first half of the race, Gomez dropped back as far as 13th through the mid stages of the race. At the end, Gomez had to hold a off a hard charging Zane Lovelace on a green-white-checkered finish to pick up his first SPEARS Southwest Tour Series win since his July of 2010 victory at Stockton 99 Speedway. Gomez’s margin of victory over Lovelace was just .32 seconds, Thorn finished third, championship runner-up Jim Pettit II was fourth, and Jason Fensler rounded out the top five.
“It feels so good to get this win after the season we’ve had this year,” Gomez said from The Bullring winner’s circle. “We’ve always ran really well at Vegas, but never closed the deal for the win, tonight was a great night to finally get a win here. Ron (Copeland) and the team gave me a great car and worked really hard this weekend, so a big thank you to the entire team. This is a great way to start the off-season.” Gomez concluded.
Coming into Saturday’s “Sigma Engineering Solutions 154” Derek Thorn needed a 14th place finish or better to win the championship. Saturday, he closed the season with a third place finish and secured the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series title.
“This has been a phenomenal year,” the elated Thorn said from the winner’s circle. “It’s the people around you that put you in a position to be successful. We didn’t even know we were going to run this year until three weeks before the first race. Byron Campbell (team owner) and Mike Keen (crew chief) did it the right way, they brought together a great group of people along with great equipment.”
On the year, Thorn had an incredible six series wins in ten starts, with only one finish outside the top three all year.
“This is my third full season in the SRL and I think I’ve grown as a driver, which allowed me to do the job to help Campbell Motorsports win the championship in their first full year in the SRL. I’m most excited for this team getting this championship because they worked so hard and truly deserve it. Running for a championship adds a tremendous amount of stress to the season, but I hope we can do it all over again next year.”
In addition to claiming the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series crown, Thorn also won the national points championship for the ‘SUNOCO Driven Challenge’, which will award him a test with Joe Gibbs Racing on December 12th at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Georgia.
The top 15 drivers of the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series championship will be honored on Saturday afternoon, February 8th at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield at the “2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Championship Awards Banquet”