IRVINE, CALIFORNIA (JUNE 8, 2011)  Early this year, Derek Thorn made headlines in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with two consecutive strong performances. Now, the 25 year old Lakeport native is ready to return to the series that features the future stars of NASCAR at a track with which he is very familiar, the Bulling at Las Vegas for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 on Saturday, June 11th.


Thorn will be behind the wheel of the Byron Campbell Racing #44 Chevrolet that carries primary sponsorship from Four Star Fruit and Hronis Racing. This will be Thorn's third start of the year with the series that features the future stars of NASCAR. If the event goes as well as his past two performances in the current series, combined with his success in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour, Thorn could very well be the new face celebrating in victory lane of NASCAR's premier regional tour.


It seems like its been a long time since Phoenix, said Thorn. The Four Star Fruit/Hronis racing team has been working hard at improving our program and we are looking forward to stepping back into the series with something to prove. We have a great group of guys behind us and we are prepared to do what it takes to run up front and stay up front.


Back in January at Toyota Speedway many fans and members of the media were asking the question; who is Derek Thorn?  As he made his start in the Byron Campbell owned #44 with veteran crew chief Junior Joiner as his lead wrench, Thorn turned many heads, earning the pole position for the high profile NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown in Irwindale.


After earning the pole position, Thorn continued to show he was born to race as he led the first 100 laps of the event. After falling back to fourth he advanced back into second place late in the running and challenged for the lead when contact occurred with the leader and resulted in NASCAR making a controversial call and placing him at the rear of the field. Thorn rallied back hard in the event to finish an impressive seventh place finish.


Returning to the series in February at Phoenix, Thorn again showed a strong performance behind the wheel of Campbell's #44 Chevrolet. Thorn drove to fifth place in qualifying. When the checkered flag waved, Thorn scored a third place finish on one of the tour's largest tracks, rallying back after falling to fifth place with 20-laps to go when he missed a shift while charging to the green flag restart.


This weekend in Sin City, Thorn will make his 133rd career asphalt racing start and his ninth start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. The Vegas Bullring facility is a favorite of both Thorn and Joiner and has been the site of strong performances already this season in the SRL series. Thorn has a third place finish here in 2011 and was on his way to a possible victory last month until an oil fire marred his opportunity. With momentum behind him, Thorn is ready to look for his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory on familiar turf.


Weve had a great year in the SRL tour this season and being able to run at the Bullring twice so far this year will prove beneficial to our entire group. Weve had a lot of good luck there in the past and are looking at making the #44 Four Star Fruit/ Hronis Racing Chevrolet run up front. The Bullring is a great facility; the track is going to prove to be tough on brakes and equipment with these heavier cars. Its going to be tough on everyone and we are all looking forward to the challenge.


In his 16-year racing career, Thorn currently has 132 asphalt starts, a total of 27 wins, 78 top five finishes, 107 top ten placements and has earned fast time a total of 47 times. Over the next four weeks, Thorn has a very busy schedule ahead with two races in the SRL Series and a pair of events in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.


Derek Thorn is proud to carry the sponsorship of Four Star Fruits and Hronis Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Additionally Thorn has a number of marketing partners and associate sponsors supporting his efforts in this tour. Among the sponsors are: Joiner Race Car Chassis, Superior Crankshaft, JRI Shocks, Joe's Racing Products, Finishline Signs, and Fastenal.


I feel really privileged to have Byron Campbell and Four Star Fruit giving me the opportunity to be running in the West series this year along with Cheryl Archer of Superior Crankshaft and Joe Farre at Sigma Engineering for creating an opportunity for me to run for the SRL Southwest Tour Series Championship. Having Junior Joiner and Mike Keen heading up our operation will continue to bring results and I am excited to be behind the wheel of both cars this year.


To learn more about this talented young driver visit Derek Thorn's personal website at www.derekthorn.com. Further information can also be found at www.superiorcrankshaftracing.com.


Copyright 2012 Derek Thorn Racing / Blakesley Sports Media