Bakersfield, CA –Derek Thorn won his 19th career SPEARS Southwest Tour Series event Saturday by holding off Ross Strmiska and Bobby Hodges to win the “51 Fifty Energy Drink 125 presented by AmeriPride Services” at Madera Speedway.
“I can’t thank the Campbell Family enough for allowing me to drive their car, there are a lot of people and a lot of work behind the scenes that make this whole effort successful,” stated Thorn from the winner’s circle.
“Tonight the groove really moved up like the old Madera, before it was repaved. We were all running up against the fence in the marbles, kind of like Darlington.
It was good hard short track racing, Ross was trying to do his job to win the race and I was trying to do mine.”
Strmiska ended up second for the third straight SPEARS Southwest Tour Series race at Madera.
“We missed it just a little and that was the difference,” Strmiska said after the race. “I’m tired of him (Thorn) beating us, but we ran a lot laps side by side tonight and he raced me clean and raced him the same. We’ll go home and work hard and plan to get’em at Stockton, our home track.”
After qualifying fourth, and starting from the 7th starting position, Thorn was in ninth position coming off a lap eight restart, when a bottleneck in turn one resulted in his Campbell Motorsports #43 spinning into the grass of the Madera Speedway infield.
Rejoining the field at the rear Thorn had his work cut on for him as he pursued his third win of 2014.
On lap 11, a multi-car incident took place on the front straight as Garret Archer slowed due to a broken panhard bar. Top qualifiers Greg Voigt and Jacob Gomes were both involved and pitted for extensive repairs.
As Thorn worked his way back towards the front, Bobby Hodges was leading the field, where he had held the point since lap two. Hodges was making just his second series start of the year.
On lap 40, Strmiska made his way past Jeremy Doss to move into second, five laps later, Strmiska was into the lead, with Thorn on his bumper cover in second.
Strmiska held the lead for the next 30 laps until Thorn took over the lead on lap 70, as the two cars entered turn one side by side and had to move around the car Voigt.
At lap 100, the top five was Thorn, Strmiska, Doss, Hodges and Donny St. Ours.
Strmiska moved ahead of Thorn on two late race restarts, but Thorn was able to eventually surge back ahead using the outside groove on both occasions.
At the checkered it was Thorn, Strmiska second, Hodges was third, Doss fourth, and rookie, Blaine Rocha fifth, in just his second career series start.. Tracy Bolin was sixth, followed by St. Ours, Keith Spangler, Dave Byrd with Colby Potts rounding out the top 10.
Next race for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is at Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday, July 26th.
For more information about the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, go to; www.SRLSouthwestTour.com.
Series PR – Rex Emerson photo