LAS VEGAS, NV (4-5-11) – Superior Crankshaft Racing and Lakeport's Derek Thorn began their first full season of racing together in the 2011 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series that opened at the Bullring at Vegas last Saturday. Thorn made a strong statement of what both he and his competitive team is made of as he charged his way to a strong third place finish in the Spears Manufacturing 111.


"Our team has all worked together in the past and had great success.  We all bring a lot to the table and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys," said Thorn. "Junior Joiner, Scott Frachimone, Rick Thorn, Jim Kennedy, and Sonny Fisher. I can’t thank them all enough, they put their heart and souls into making sure were running up front."


The Spears Manufacturing 111 began on Friday with practice for all competitors. In the earliest practice sessions Thorn turned a number of quality laps before suffering mechanical woes that prevented the team from having a full day of practice, With Junior Joiner on his way back from Martinsville, the team worked hard to correct the Superior Crankshaft #26 for qualifying the following day. Despite being absent for the majority of practice sessions, Thorn still garnered the third position on the speed charts in combined practice results with a best lap time of 14:881 seconds.


"Derek gave it his all for this opener," said Cheryl Archer, CEO of Superior Crankshaft. "Clearly he had something to prove and he did. He fought his way to the front and challenged the leaders at the end for the win. We are very pleased with the third place run in this opener."


In qualifying on Saturday, Thorn's car was handling perfectly around the Vegas oval. The car showed great performance in the turns but just lacked in the area of overall speed which resulted with a qualifying time that positioned him in the middle of the field. Thorn clocked a 14:788 second lap, placing him 14th on the grid for Saturday's feature race.


In his young racing career, Thorn has shown he is a driver that is rarely daunted by adversities. Saturday was once again a clear illustration of this talented driver's perseverance as he showed his talent and worked his way from deep in the field towards the top five positions once the green flag dropped.  With 56 laps complete, Thorn worked his way into the top five and then advanced into the top three positions six laps later where he closed in on the heated battle for the lead.       


For the final half of the race, Thorn gave it everything he had to challenge eventual winner M K Kanke and bridesmaid Jim Pettit II. Despite numerous looks at overtaking the dueling leaders, Thorn settled into a strong third place finish at the checkered flag.


"Starting back in the field always runs a higher risk of getting caught up in wrecks. To make it up to third was a lot of fun; we had to get past a lot of great cars to get there.  We were the best car in the field on long runs and there was a 20 lap run at the end that opened the door for me to catch up with the leaders, but a caution soon followed and the next two green flag runs we had left us just short of being able to get past the leaders.


Following Saturday's season opener, Thorn now has 130 asphalt starts, a total of 77 top five finishes, 106 top ten placements and has earned fast time a total of 47 times. With his third place finish he now sits third in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour point standings. Thorn sits 15 points out of the lead behind M K Kanke heading into Roseville.


Following Vegas, the Spears SRL Southwest Tour will now head to All American Speedway in Roseville, California on Saturday, April 16th. This will be a high profile event for the campaign as they will share the spotlight with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Throughout the year, Thorn will also be competing in select events in the NASCAR West series, at this time he is only slated to compete in the SRL portion of the Roseville event unless a driving opportunity in the NASCAR division becomes available.


"Roseville is going to be a lot of fun," added Thorn. "With Superior Crankshaft, Sigma Engineering, and Joiner Motorsports behind me there's no reason we won’t be the car to beat.


Superior Crankshaft is the “Official Crankshaft of the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series. In addition to the ‘Winner’s Bonus’ award for each event, Superior Crankshaft awards $100 product certificates to the second, seventh and tenth place teams at each SRL event.


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.superiorcrankshaftracing.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