Bakersfield, CA – Derek Thorn Racing will be searching for the only one to get away on the 2021 Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series schedule, when the series opens its 22nd season at Irwindale Speedway for the “All-Star Showdown 200” on February 5th. For Thorn it was a big one and the highest paying race of the season. After winning nine of ten races in 2021, he will look to extend his win streak to 10 against what is likely to be the toughest field of the season.
In 2021, Derek Thorn had his best career season of racing, winning his sixth championship in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series, as well as sitting on the pole for the “Snowball Derby” and the “Snowflake 100” from 5 Flags Speedway, winning the latter. The Fast Time in the “Derby” was a record breaking three-in-a-row. His “Snowflake” win was his second in the last three years. He finished second in the “Derby” for the second year-in-a-row. It was also the most dominant season in the 21-year history of the SRL, where Thorn set new records for both season and career success.
Thorn’s 2021 season was by any measure remarkable, but his nine SRL wins lacked an “All-Star Showdown” victory. He was the $25,000 winner in the 2020 return of the event, but he has at times struggled at Irwindale. He does have seven SRL victories at the facility in 17 starts, but his average finish of sixth is below his series average. He does have four victories in his last six starts, however.
Thorn has been a mainstay in the series since 2010. He has missed only 10 events over the last 12 seasons, and now has 106 starts in the series, which puts him fourth on the all-time series ledger. His only non-fulltime seasons without a championship saw Thorn score a third and then two championships in the now ARCA Menards Pro Series West. His growth in the SRL series has seen Thorn and the Campbell Motorsports team progress into the number one ranked Super Late Model team in the country in 2021. In 2022 this is his only scheduled event in the SRL, as he takes his show on the road across the country.
At the end of the past decade, Thorn was voted to be one of the top-10 short track drivers in the nation, by Speed51.com (now Racing America). He was one of only two drivers from the Asphalt Super Late Model category, along with Bubba Pollard Fan Page. But if there has been one knock on Thorn, it was a lack of a volume of wins in the biggest Super Late Model events in the country. Part of that has been pure bad luck, while another is his lack of starts in those events. He will look to rectify that in 2022.
Thorn has worked hard over the years to achieve the level of success he has ascertained. He has shown dedication to his team, and to his abilities both behind the wheel and behind the wrenches. Thorn is a hands-on driver, as he works on the car himself both at the shop and at the track. He is a rare breed in today’s world of racing, but he is also grateful for his opportunities, and for those who have given him a chance to prove himself over the last decade.
“My first thank you is the Campbell family; “Byron, Carol, Blake, and Brady Campbell”, Thorn began. “They’ve allowed me to live out a dream that I thought would never be possible. I’m so thankful for Mike and Vicki Keen, for 10 years of amazing support. I’m thankful to our posse; Sal Arceo, David Coley, Andy Worley, John Michael Reeves, Adrian Arceo, Dave Reeves, Darrell Abbott, Ronnie Beam, Matthew Philpott, Bryan Brown, Tom Gibson, James Murillo and Jacob Gomes.”
Thorn continued, “We have some amazing sponsors that have been behind us for years, helping this be possible. They’ve become not only great sponsors but great friends along the way. I’d like to thank PepperJack Kennels, Power Grade Inc, Double Eagle Transportation, 51 FIFTY LTM, AP Racing Brakes, Reeves Complete Auto Center Inc., Darrell Abbott, Family Funeral and Cremation, FURY Race Cars, DelOsso Family Farms, Swift Springs, Magnus Performance Products, K1 Suits, JRi Shocks, Tilton Engineering, Hightower Transmissions, Joes Racing Products, Victory Circle Chassis & Custom Fabrication, Finish Line Signs, Performance Parts Supply, West Air, Strange Oval, Bassett Racing Wheel, Peters Racing Engines, and Butler Seats.”
The “All-Star Showdown 200” will take place on February 5th at Irwindale Speedway. It will kick off the 22nd season for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour and the second for the SPEARS Pro Late Models presented by Sigma Performance Services. The Spears Modified Series will take part in their second event of the season. The Super Late Models will race for $25,000-to-win. The Pro Late Models will compete for $10,000-to-win and the SPEARS Modified Series will shoot for $5,000. Admission Gates open at 3:00PM, with Qualifying for the “Tour” also take place at 3:00PM. “B”- Main Events will follow if needed. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 4:30PM with racing at 5:00PM.
Celebrating its twenty-second season in 2022, 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”.
PC: Sal Sigala Jr.