Four-time SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series champion Derek Thorn pulled off a clean sweep Saturday night in the “SPEARS Southwest Tour 125 presented by 51 FIFTY LTM” at Madera Speedway. Thorn led all four weekend practice sessions, won the PFC Brakes Zero Drag Fast Time Award and claimed the $5,000 winner’s check, thanks to the McGunegill Engine Performance “Winner’s Bonus.” The victory was Thorn’s 40th career SRL win and his series leading eighth at Madera. He now has a series record 54 fast qualifier awards to go along with his record in the win column.
Thorn turned a blistering 14.047 second lap on the “Fastest One-Third Mile Oval in the West,” beating Jacob Gomes by nearly a quarter second. 2006 SRL Champion Eric Schmidt, 2001 NASCAR Southwest Tour champion Craig Raudman, Madera Pro Late Model championship leader Austin Herzog, 2019 Rookie of the Year leader Tyler Fabozzi, 2017 Pacific Challenge Series Rookie of the Year Jack Wood and Former Irwindale Speedway Super Late Model champion Linny White completed the top-eight redraw participants.
Redraw master Linny White earned the pole position when the number “1” card remained at the end of the redraw. Before the green even flew, third-place starter Austin Herzog broke during warm-up laps, leaving the June race runner-up on the sidelines. At the green, White jumped to a quick lead over Jacob Gomes, with Thorn up to second by the first caution on lap 5. Upon the restart, Thorn was able to secure the lead from White when contact to White’s rear bumper by Raudman allowed him to make the pass.
A second yellow flew on lap 10 for a chain reaction incident that eliminated Eric Nascimento Jr. Thorn led White, Tyler Fabozzi, Raudman and a charging Carlos Vieira to a red flag on lap 17 for Tracy Bolin’s rear end issue, which laid fluids down on the track. It was the last slowdown of the event.
Upon the final restart, Thorn moved out to a short lead over Linny White, as Raudman began to apply heavy pressure to the Colton, CA driver’s rear bumper. Raudman was finally able to secure the runner-up spot from White by lap 35 with an inside move and ensuing side-by-side battle with the fellow veteran driver. The move earned Raudman the Fluidyne High Performance “Cool Move of the Race”.
Raudman took up the chase of Thorn over the next 50 laps, closing to Thorn’s rear bumper several times in lapped traffic. The Cottonwood, California veteran could never make a pass, however, and Thorn began to pull away thereafter. `
As the laps wound down, White began to close on Raudman for second, and pressured him over the last five laps, but couldn’t make the pass. The battle for fourth had also heated up with Eric Schmidt passing Cole Moore late in the event. Schmidt then had to hold off a resurgent Moore to hang on to the position.
Blaine Rocha ran a steady race to finish in the sixth spot. Jace Hansen drove from 19th in the field to finish seventh, to win both the Rookie of the Race and Coleman Powersports Hard Charger Award. Carlos Vieira, Jesse Love and Jacob Gomes rounded out the top-10 in the fast-paced event.
Cole Moore will maintain a 29-point advantage over Linny White in the championship standings, with Tyler Fabozzi dropping to fourth behind Derek Thorn. Jacob Gomes will maintain fifth in the standings.
The next event for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series is the October Classic at Kern County Raceway on October 26. The “Bulwark ‘FR 100 presented by Traffic Management Inc.” will be run in conjunction with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event. The weekend will feature a “Throwback” theme, with retro paint schemes, Trophy Dashe and heat races sponsored by AKM Maintenance.
Results: 1. Derek Thorn, 2. Craig Raudman, 3. Linny White, 4. Eric Schmidt, 5. Cole Moore, 6. Blaine Rocha, 7. Jace Hansen*, 8. Carlos Vieira, 9. Jesse Love*, 10. Jacob Gomes, 11. Tyler Fabozzi, 12. Jack Wood, 13. John Moore, 14. Mike Beeler, 15. Keith Spangler, 16. Andy Allen, 17. Scott Sanchez, 18. Mitch Kleyn, 19. Bob Lyon, 20. Kyle Neveau, 21. Ross Strmiska, 22. Don Zoll Jr.*, 23. Tracy Bolin, 24,. Eric Nascimento Jr., DNS Austin Herzog
*SRL Rookie of the Year Contender
-Story by: Kevin Peters, SRL
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Kyler Hope