California Ace Looks for Another Marquee Win on the West Coast

Defending NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Derek Thorn will look to add another major Super Late Model race win to his accolades this weekend at the Summer Showdown at Evergreen Speedway. The Bakersfield, CA driver has started 2019 strong with two Spears SRL Southwest Tour wins at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the series points lead.

He and his Campbell Motorsports team heads into the Summer Showdown with confidence built up over the first six months of 2019. Feeling like his team is as good as they have ever been, he is ready to redeem himself after misfortune in recent races at the Washington track have costed him shots at wins.

“We’re the strongest we’ve ever been, Byron Campbell and Mike Keen and his program, I think we’re on a good little run here the last couple months,” Thorn told Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring. “I think we’ve just been snake bit up there. Every time we’ve been up there, we’ve either been spun leading or we’ve gotten a flat tire like two years ago and went a couple laps down and beat our heads against the wall for the last 150 laps. I’m looking forward to going up there, we’ve got the speed I think. We’ve got the vehicle, we’ve got the equipment. I think no matter what you do at that place, you need some lady luck. I think we can get up there and have that on our side this year.”

Thorn first started making the trek up to the Summer Showdown in 2015 when Evergreen and Kern County Raceway Park partnered up to offer a bonus to the driver with the best finish in both the Summer and Winter Showdowns. After a third place finish that year, Thorn made two other trips north, with a second place finish in 2016 and a thirteenth in 2017. After missing last year’s race due to NASCAR K&N Pro Series West obligations, he is ready to go after the elusive win.

“It’s always been on our list and we’ve been running it the last four or five years,” he said. “It used to be partnered up with the Winter Showdown and there was a $10,000 bonus for the best overall finisher for the two. The track size, the marquee part of the event, the $25,000 to win, racing against some of the best guys in the Northwest, it’s one of the four or five open shows that we like to go run a year.”

The Spears SRL Southwest Tour also has a race scheduled this weekend at his home track, Kern County Raceway Park. The four-time Southwest Tour champion and current points leader was disappointed the two races scheduled on top of each other, but mentioned the two tracks will not take big hits on car counts due to the distance between the two.

“From my perspective, I think it’s an unfortunate situation, but there’s such a big gap in between us and the Northwest,” he stated. “I think from a viewership standpoint, I think that there’s going to be one race that draws more fans than the others as far as who’s going to watch what, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot of people from down here with SRL that I think would make it up there to Washington. Even if the races didn’t overlap, I’m not sure how many more cars the Summer Showdown would gain from the SRL or vice-versa. Nonetheless, it’s an unfortunate circumstance that we just got to play with. The Kern race is only ten miles away and we’re hiking up to miss that race to drive 1,600 miles north to the Summer Showdown”

Thorn has already won two marquee Super Late Model races out west with the Winter Showdown and the Senator’s Cup Fall Classic at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but lady luck has not been on his side in Washington. With their results in previous years, a win at the Summer Showdown would be big for he and his team.

“It would be big for us here at Campbell Motorsports. That’s our goal, to go out and win every event we enter,” he said. “With the Summer Showdown, the luck side hasn’t been the best to us, so to be able to go up there and finally cap it off with a win would mean a lot to us.”

-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com

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California Ace Looks for Another Marquee Win on the West Coast