In Friday night’s opening Pro Late Model race during the New Smyrna Speedway World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, Derek Thorn came up short of victory to Daniel Keene, Jr. after a lengthy battle.
Saturday, roles were reversed in round two.
Thorn earned his first World Series victory by holding off Keene in the 35-lap Pro Late Model feature Saturday. The two front-runners banged doors in the battle for the win, but in the end it was Thorn who drove away down the stretch for the victory.
“Being able to race against Keene, it takes a little while to learn one another’s driving styles and habits,” Thorn told Speed51.com powered by JEGS in victory lane. “I feel like I’ve got a better outlook on what he’s like and how he goes about things. That lets me be me and how I’ve got to go about things.”
Twenty-four hours after scoring a career-first World Series win of his own, Keene saw his chief rival from Friday night celebrating in victory lane instead of the other way around.
“I think we had a little bit better car than him tonight,” said Keene. “He just kind of played the advantage of pinching me off in the corners and stuff like that. That’s what he needs to do and that’s racing. That’s what you’re supposed to do. My hat’s off to him. He beat us.”
Thorn, a native of Lakeport, California, lived out a longtime dream of scoring a victory at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, doing so in the No. 9 Pro Late Model owned by longtime Florida racer Kurt Jett.
“It’s my first (win) here, so it’s kind of nice,” added Thorn. “I’ve been here probably five-six times, and it seems like every time I’ve been close. I’ve just never been able to finish it off. The World Series has been on my bucket list for a decade. The Jett family has given an awesome opportunity to let me drive for them and I’m happy to be able to bring a win home for them.”
Tim Sargent followed Thorn and Keene across the line in third, while Brandon Brilliant and Steve Laking rounded out the top five.
The PPG Pro Late Model division will be back in action at New Smyrna Speedway Monday as part of the 50th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
On-demand coverage of the race can be seen now on NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com. Video highlights, including an in-car video of a flip suffered by Todd Stone in Saturday’s Pro Late Model feature, will be available soon on the Speed51 Network.
Official Finish – PPG Pro Late Models (35)
|2||5K||Daniel Keene, Jr.|
|10||36||Kevin Thomas, Jr.|
|11||5||Michael Clancy, Jr.|
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield
– Photo credit: Speed51.com / Bruce Nuttleman