Derek Thorn has spent most of the 2020 season focused on racing on the West Coast, dominating the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour with five wins in the season’s first six races. Soon, Thorn will be flexing his muscle against the top competition from around the country at the All American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Thorn is excited to measure himself against the Super Late Model stars of the country October 30-November 1 at one of his favorite places to race.
“Everything so far has been the Southwest Tour, so it’ll be great to get back against some of those guys,” Thorn told Speed51. “The track is awesome; it’s probably one of my favorite tracks at all time. To get back to a track with that much history and character, I’m looking forward to getting back there and seeing what we’ve got and taking it all in.”
Ever since his first trip to Nashville many years ago, Thorn has loved the high-banked 5/8-mile facility. Between the action-packed racing and the history that echoes around the facility, it’s a place he looks forward to visiting as often as possible.
“It’s just a track that suits my driving style. It’s not only a cool facility, but you look at the history of it, how long it’s been around, the names that have raced there, it’s cool that it’s one of those tracks that’s still around and we’re able to race at it.”
Thorn finished second to Bubba Pollard in the 2016 All American 400, and missed two years at the event before returning in 2019. Last year, Thorn qualified second and led 26 laps before a transmission issue ended his day just shy of halfway.
This year, he and his team carry a ton of momentum into the event. That, combined with last year’s experience and speed, could be a potent combination.
“Mike [Keene] and I, we’ve been working hard this year and making sure we’ve got the best possible car to take. Our day ended shorter than we would have liked last year, we ended up breaking a transmission. But we still have a good notebook from what we learned last year, and we can apply what we’ve learned this year and hopefully come out with a car capable of competing.”
It would be a special, career-topping win for Thorn if he’s able to win this year’s All American 400, joining some of the all-time greats of short track racing and giving the list some West Coast representation.
“It would be one of the biggest ones for sure. Byron Campbell has given us such an awesome team. It’s been 10 years now I’ve been with Byron and Mike Keene. To have the program we have and be able to compete is all we can ask. It’ll take luck in racing, of course, to seal the deal.
“I feel like we have the best people in place to compete in our highest level in our division. To put a guitar on top of that would be the best of the marquee events we’ve won, for sure.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo