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DEREK THORN CLAIMS 2012 SRL AND SUNOCO CHAMPIONSHIPS

 

BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA (November 21, 2012) Derek Thorn concluded a banner year with a third place finish in Saturday night's "Sigma Engineering 154" at the Las Vegas Bullring to wrap up his 2012 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour championship season.  Thorn's SRL championship also earned him the Sunoco Driven Challenge National Championship, topping touring Late Model drivers from across the country for the honor.

 

The Lakeport-born driver, currently residing in Bakersfield, amassed eight wins, six fast-times, 19 top-fives, and 22 top-tens in 26 starts across the SRL and in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West as well.

 

Driving the #43 Four Star Fruit / Hronis Racing Ford for Byron Campbell Motorsports, Thorn finished in the top-two in eight of the 10 races on the SRL campaign.  Thorn stretched his points lead through the summer months when he won six of seven races.  The wins included two at Stockton, two at Las Vegas, a win at Rocky Mountain Raceways, and a win at All American Speedway.

 

"It's an amazing feat to come home champions in 2012," Thorn said.  "I can't thank Byron and Carol Campbell enough for all their support and such a great opportunity to be driving their 43 car."

 

Saturday's Sigma Engineering 154 was the longest and richest event in SRL series history and Thorn took over the lead on lap 71.  He maintained the lead through the halfway break and then relinquished the lead during pit stops on lap 90.  Restarting 11th, Thorn set sail on the field and found his way up to third for the final restart.

 

In a three lap shootout, Thorn successfully held off championship rival Jim Pettit to finish third and win the series championship.

 

"Mike Keen has led the charge in the shop and done an amazing job this year in preparing our SRL equipment.  The crew including Richard Watson, Vicki Keen, Chris Horton, Jennifer Keen-Horton, David Coley, Keith Jagels and spotter Bryan Brown came together as a team and put us in contention each week to win races.

 

With the championship in hand, Thorn was able to top drivers from five different Late Model series across the country to win the Sunoco Driven Challenge championship.  With the championship, Thorn will test a NASCAR K&N Pro Series, East car for Joe Gibbs Racing at Gresham Motorsports Park in Georgia mid-December.

 

"To be going back to test with the Joe Gibbs organization is a dream come true.  I can't thank Sunoco and Joe Gibbs Driven enough for putting together such a great program," Thorn said.  "I have high hopes for the test and am very excited to be getting a chance to work with such a great organization first hand."

 

2012 also marked Thorn's first full-season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West, driving Bob Bruncati's #6 Sunrise Ford entry with Bill Sedgwick at the helm as crew chief.  The team achieved great results including a win and a pole at Havasu 95 Speedway in Arizona, a win at the half-mile NAPA Speedway in New Mexico, and top-fives in three of the four road course events.

 

In total, Thorn scored ten top-fives and 12 top-tens in the 15 race series to finish third in the standings.  Thorn remained in the thick of the championship battle through the final event at Phoenix before a flat tire derailed his championship hopes.

 

"Getting to step foot into the #6 car this year for Bob and Maureen Bruncati was an awesome experience," Thorn said.  "Bill Sedgwick, Mike Fisk, Rob Hassler, and Chris Helton have put alot of shop hours into making the team solid all year.  The road crew this year included Bubba Dornback, Bill Chapman, Barny Barnes, Danny Renko, and Jeff Harrison.  I cant thank them enough for all their hard work and sacrifice to make our season possible."

 

Thorn plans to return for full-time programs with both Byron Campbell Motorsports and Bob Bruncati's Sunrise Ford team in 2013 to chase their respective series championships.

 

Race fans can follow Derek Thorn on his Twitter page @DerekThorn6 and encouraged to vote for Thorn in the Most Popular Driver contest on www.nascarhometracks.com for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West division.

 

Race fans can also learn more about Derek Thorn on his official website at www.derekthorn.com

 

Derek Thorn's 2012 SRL sponsors included: Four Star Fruit, Hronis Racing, Double Eagle Transportation, SPPI Limited, Bakersfield Muffler, Keen Sights, Melos Gas and Gear, Surface Pumps Inc., Joes Racing Products and Blakesley Sports Media.

 

His NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West program was sponsored by: Sunrise Ford, Lucas Oil Products, Eibach Springs, Loctite, RPM12, and PepperJack Kennels.

   
 

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