As the sun began to set at Irwindale Speedway (CA) ahead of Saturday night’s All-Star Showdown 200, it was the four-time Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series champion Derek Thorn shining the brightest after qualifying. Thorn put his Campbell Motorsports No. 43 Super Late Model on the pole, just beating out recent Chilly Willy 150 winner Preston Peltier.
Thorn’s fast qualifying effort came after he recorded the fastest time in all four weekend practice session. Ever the cautious veteran, he didn’t let himself get too excited with the 200 marathon still to come.
“Just hope it’s good in the race, we’ve crossed off everything else today so far. The practice speed is there, the qualifying speed is there, but racing 200 laps isn’t qualifying. So, we’ll just go about tonight, use the first 100 to find out where we stand, and hopefully if need be we can make adjustments for the second half,” Thorn told Speed51.
Not only will Thorn and the rest of the field have to worry about the conditions of their racecars and tires changing over the evening, but also the track surface itself.
“This place usually changes quite a bit. They have the sticky adhesive or spray-on they are using here, but these guys have done a great job with this track to promote side-by-side racing. You’ll see three or four wide at the start to this thing. Hopefully you find out what groove you want to be running in, but as the night goes on it cools off a little bit, the track is going to change. You’ll have to adjust for what you think it’s going to do, but what it actually does is to be determined.”
With $25,000 going to tonight’s race winner, the intensity level is expected to be high over the 200 laps. Already, family-man Thorn has a pretty good idea of where that money is going to go.
“Got to buy more diapers, that’s all we’re buying at home lately.”
Behind the front row of Thorn and Peltier, Jack Wood, Linny White, and Kyle Neveau filled in the remaining top five spots, while Dylan Lupton, Logan Bearden, Austin Reed, Cole Moore, and Tayler Riddle rounded the top ten in SRL Southwest Tour qualifying.
Get up to speed on the SRL All-Star Showdown now on the Speed51 Network and keep up with tonight's racing with updates on Race Day Now.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51