California Champion Ready for All American 400 Challenge

Even with plenty of racing still to go on the West Coast, California Super Late Model ace Derek Thorn and the No. 43 Campbell Motorsports camp are set on heading east for a pair of the great short track events in the nation. First up on the list is the All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN).


The marathon race set for the weekend of November 1-3 is once again attracting many of the nation’s great Late Model stars, with Thorn and the 43 crew set to be one of the long haulers. It has been three years since the four-time SRL champion has competed in the 400, and he is very much looking forward to taking up the challenge again.


“Nashville is one of my favorite tracks, and we had a good showing there last time. I’m looking forward to getting back there. Like the history, the character, it’s an aged racing surface, challenging for the driver. The All American is also a race where attrition, competition, and everything will come into play. You got to drive the racetrack and be aggressive with it, while balancing being conservative and saving your tires. It’s a great driver’s track,” Thorn told Speed51.


Thorn and Campbell Motorsports are even upping the stakes of the weekend, bringing their Pro Late Model to compete in 100-lap feature scheduled to run right before the Super Late Model All American 400 feature on Sunday, November 3, bringing the day’s lap total to a whopping 500.


“We’re bringing the Pro Late Model as well, so that’s 100 laps before getting to the 400 laps in the Super. Plus, with the extra practice and qualifying, it’s going to be a busy weekend. But, the guys and I are ready for it.”


But Thorn heads to the Volunteer State brimming with confidence that has been built off the four wins that he has collected during the 2019 SRL Southwest Tour season.


“It has been one of our better years so far, we did bow out of one of the SRL races to run the Summer Showdown at Evergreen (Speedway), but we’re still in the points chase, 50 points out with two races to go; there’s still a fighting chance. As far as wins, these Fury cars we got and Mike Keen as crew chief for this deal, we got a lot of speed. But, hopefully when we get to Nashville against some of the best drivers, we can figure out that last little bit to get what we need.”


Twice a runner-up in the All American 400, including during his last visit to Nashville in 2016, the hunger to win is even higher than usual for Thorn. It all comes down to executing that close to ideal weekend from start to finish.


“Every track we go to we want to get the job done. I’ve learned, especially with these big shows, you got to take it one day at a time, and try to just execute. Have the car be good, but also get lady luck on your side. That’s what you need, more so than these 100-lap races, 400 laps is pretty grueling on equipment and the driver. That’s what makes the All American 400 a big feat, so to have that would be pretty nice.”


The All American 400 has been the final piece added to what is now a four-part end to the season, on both the East and West Coasts. No more picking and choosing, it is now time for the 43 team to go hunting for trophies.


“We had the Snowball Derby in December as the main objective, but in the last month we were able to add the All American 400. So those two are the big events we have highlighted at Campbell Motorsports. We’ll also finish off the SRL season at Kern on October 26 and at Las Vegas on November 23. Byron Campbell and Carol Campbell have put together a great team. Mike Keen has been the crew chief for us for a long time, and I feel like 2019 has been a great season for us, just got to turn that speed into wins at these great races.”


-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT

-Photo credit: SRL

California Champion Ready for All American 400 Challenge