IRVINE, CA (7-24-11) – It was by far a full weekend for Lakeport’s Derek Thorn, with two events in two different venues in two different states, just days apart. For Thorn, what started off as the busiest weekend of his racing career soon became the weekend that is still being talked about with a pair of third place finishes. After charging from the rear of the field to finish 3rd  in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour event in Utah last Saturday, Thorn capped his weekend off with another podium finish with a impressive third place finish in his first ever road course with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in Portland, Oregon.


“Overall I am really happy with how this whole weekend turned out,” said Thorn. “It took a lot of extra work and preparation on everyone’s part but the flights, equipment and the teams were absolutely flawless. I can’t thank everyone enough for making the special flight arrangement to race in both events; Misty and Marty Melo, Cheryl Archer, Joe Farre and my whole family. I could get really use to riding on those private jets after a weekend like that.”


It all started for Thorn at the Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City Utah with the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series aboard the Superior Crankshaft/JRC #26 Toyota Camry for the sixth event of the 2011 season. For Thorn and his team, complete focus was the motto as they faced limited practice time due to his travels back and forth between Utah and Portland to juggle his busy schedule between practice sessions and qualifying for both venues.


After a strong run in practice in Utah on Friday, Thorn would travel back to Portland for practice and not see the Utah track again until just before qualifying at which time he strapped into his Superior Crankshaft/JRC rocket and went out and posted the fastest lap of the day with a 14:625 setting his third fast time in a row in the series. With a seven car inversion for the line up of the Century Boatland 115, Thorn started on the inside of the fourth row and quickly drove his way up to second place by the 16th lap of the race to begin challenging for the lead behind early race leader Brennan Newberry.


Following a long stint in pursuit of Newberry, Thorn turned up the heat on the leader some 15 laps later in an effort to get to the front of the field for his third win of the season. On lap 46 contact ensued between the two front runners which sent Newberry into a spin and Thorn to the rear of the field by means of an infraction presented by SRL officials following the incident. The set back didn’t slow Thorn down a bit as he and the Junior Joiner led crew kept their chins up and fought their way back to the front of the pack.


With 65 laps complete, Thorn rallied back into the top ten and then reached the top five once again with 82 laps under his belt. At the 90 lap mark he muscled his way into third place where he later finished at the checkered flag. Although the earlier incident may have cost him a victory, the event resulted in a good point’s day for Thorn and his power house team.


“The Superior Crankshaft, JRC, Sigma team was on rails this weekend,” said Thorn. “We had a really good car and it showed. We were in second by lap 16 and after I made a charge for the lead we ran into problems when the leader and his spotter were speaking two different languages. It’s frustrating when your racing against those that aren’t running for points because they just don’t give you any room, even when you have a much better car. I can’t thank my team enough for giving me such good equipment and for being able to get me back up to third after being sent to the back. It just goes to show you how well these JRC cars are performing.”


On Sunday, Thorn took the green flag for his very first road course event at Portland International Raceway with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Thorn’s debut on the 12 turn 1.967 track located in the Pacific Northwest came aboard the well known and competitive Sunrise Ford Racing #9 team fielded by veteran car owner Bob Bruncati. Sunday’s event was Thorn’s third points start of the year in the NASCAR West Tour which he has produced all podium finishes even with this being his first time he has raced on a road course.


In qualifying, Thorn drove to a top speed of 91.266. The effort earned him a 77.589 second lap which was good enough for an 11th place starting spot on the starting grid for the Bi-mart Salute to the Troops 125. Using a great deal of patience and guidance from his team and spotters, Thorn drove his way to an outstanding performance in his first experience that required him to go fast and make right hand turns.


Thorn is currently one of the regions most talented and aggressive stock car drivers. On this day he drove a smooth, conservative race and saved all of his muscle for the final laps of the race. As the checkered flag neared the shuffle for the top positions became every man for himself and Thorn was right in the middle of it as he pushed his way to a podium finish, placing third in his very first road course event. Thorn’s teammate, Luis Martinez Jr. won the event, for his first career victory in the K&N Series.


“Road course racing is a whole different animal entirely,” said Thorn. “Running my first road course race with the Sunrise Ford/Eibach Springs/Lucas Oil team was a dream come true. I can’t thank the whole team enough for all their help and patience. I had quite a few driver errors in the first 40 laps but Ty Joiner and the crew never gave up on me. The spotters were a huge help as well. By the end of the race I had found a lot of speed and we were running up front. We stayed out of trouble, stayed on course and had an awesome finish. My hats off to Bob Bruncati, Luis Martinez and the entire Sunrise Ford group for picking up their first win of 2011.”


Derek Thorn is proud to carry the sponsorship of Superior Crankshaft and a number of marketing partners in the 2011 SRL Spears Southwest Tour. Among the many contributors are Joiner Race Cars, PepperJack Kennels, Eibach Springs, Sigma Engineering, JRI Shocks, Joe Gibbs Driven, Joe's Racing Products, ARP Bodies, Finishline Signs, and Fastenal.


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 the site of one of his title sponsors, www.superiorcrankshaftracing.com.



Copyright 2012 Derek Thorn Racing / Blakesley Sports Media