– 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."
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
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
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.
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
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
"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.
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
Thorn's personal website can be found at
www.derekthorn.com. Further information on
Superior Crankshafts and their products can also be found at