IRVINE, CALIFORNIA (March 25, 2011) –  Superior Crankshaft Racing and Derek Thorn, 24, of Lakeport, California are geared to begin their first full season together in the 2011 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series. The campaign opens its 11th year on Saturday, April 2 on the .333 mile Bullring at Las Vegas for the 'Spears Manufacturing 111.'


After finishing third in the SPEARS SRL Southwest standings in 2010, Thorn will pilot the Superior Crankshaft #26 Chevrolet with the expertise of Junior Joiner as his crew chief for the competitive tour where he has already made a name for himself with numerous accolades. In addition to sponsoring Thorn, Superior Crankshaft is a proud sponsor of the 2011 SRL tour, funding the winner's bonus for each event. The duel sponsorship is an exciting venture for the Irvine, CA based manufacturer that supplies custom crankshafts to the auto racing industry worldwide.


"We are excited about the start of the new season and looking forward to a strong year for both Derek and the SRL," said Cheryl Archer, CEO of Superior Crankshaft. "Derek is a great talent and I believe this is his year to shine."


The SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series that competes on asphalt ovals in the southwestern region of the United States. A total of ten races form the championship season, spanning areas of California, Utah and Nevada.  Known as one of the fastest stockcar series in the country, the SRL is bountiful with dozens of talented drivers in each event which are always big on thrills with no race less than 100 laps in length on the best short-track venues in the west.


“I am excited to get the SRL season started. To be a part of the Superior Crankshaft Development program in 2011 is a great honor," said Thorn. "Superior Crankshaft and I have had a great off season, getting to know each other and preparing for the first race. We have some great momentum built up from the past two races which we ran together in the west series and look to carry that momentum into Vegas. Cheryl has been a great coach and mentor in the off season, in helping me better myself and my career. I look forward to building on my strengths this season and work towards capturing the 2011 SRL championship.”


When it comes to competing within the SRL Series, Thorn is no stranger to success. In his debut season, he set four track records and won two events to finish third in the overall standings. Thorn is a well rounded competitor with 4 track championships to his name on asphalt and dirt. In his 16-year racing career Thorn has 129 asphalt starts, a total of 76 top five finishes, 105 top ten placements and earned fast time a total of 47 times


In addition to the SRL Series, Thorn has had successful runs in both the NASCAR East and West campaigns which include a recent pole position and then led the most laps in the prestigious NASCAR Toyota All star Showdown at Irwindale and a third place finish in Phoenix. In addition to his SRL commitment, Thorn will continue to compete in the NASCAR West Series for select events with the support of Superior Crankshaft.


As he heads into sin city, the odds of Thorn hitting the jackpot in the upcoming 'Spears Manufacturing 111' are very promising. In May of last year, Thorn was victorious on the Bullring at Vegas after earning the pole position. When he returned in October, he took home a top ten finish in the series finale.


A total of 31 teams have registered for the season opener. Thorn and his Superior Crankshaft team will be in the company of some of the sports' most talented drivers including defending series champion Jonathan Gomez and former champions M.K Kanke, Jim Pettit II and Dave Byrd to name a few.


 “The competition in the SRL Southwest Tour will be tough in 2011," added Thorn. "Our team has worked hard in the off season to make sure we have everything we need to perform at our maximum potential. I can’t thank Superior Crankshaft, Sigma Engineering, and Joiner Motorsports enough for helping me get Derek Thorn Racing underway in 2011. I feel lucky to be part of such a great group of people and am looking forward to winning races.”


Saturday's event will pay $4000 to the winner, which includes the Superior Crankshaft Winner's Bonus of $1000 for each event. Superior Crankshaft is the “Official Crankshaft of the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series. In addition to the ‘Winner’s Bonus’ award, Superior Crankshaft will award $100 product certificates to the second, seventh and tenth place teams at each SRL event beginning Saturday.


In addition to the title sponsorship of Superior Crankshaft, Derek Thorn carries a great deal of support from a number of marketing partners in the 2011 SRL Spears Southwest Tour. Among the many contributors are Joe Gibbs Driven, Sigma Engineering, Joiner Motorsports, JRI Shocks, Joe's Racing Products, ARP Bodies, Finishline Signs, PepperJack Kennels, Fastenal, Encore Metals and Sumseeds.


To learn more about Superior Crankshaft Racing and primary driver Derek Thorn, visit them online at www.supercrankshaftracing.com. Derek Thorn's personal website can be found at www.derekthorn.com. Further information on Superior Crankshafts and their products can also be found at www.superiorcrankshaft.com.


Copyright 2012 Derek Thorn Racing / Blakesley Sports Media