Derek Thorn put on arguably the most dominating performance in Snowball Derby history. The California driver led 252 of the 302 laps Sunday afternoon, setting a record in the 53 years the race has been contested.
However, dominating performances don’t always translate to wins, especially in auto racing.
Thorn gave up the lead to Majeski just before the final competition yellow, which would put him on the outside during the final restarts. He put up a valiant effort during the final five-lap run to the checkered, but lost the lead for good coming with two laps to go and finished second.
After the race, a dejected Thorn was left to wonder what he could’ve done differently.
“It was disappointing to say the least. The biggest race of the year. I don’t know what to say, it just didn’t work out in the end,” Thorn told Speed51. “The last set of tires we had didn’t cooperate as well as we needed them to, he (Majeski) used me up a couple of times in three and four. He built up enough of a gap where I couldn’t get to him the last couple laps.”
Thorn’s 252 laps led broke the previous mark of 233 held by Chase Elliott in the 2013 Snowball Derby. Just like Sunday, Elliott’s led laps also proved to be fruitless. He took the checkered flag first but would be disqualified after failing post-race tech for having tungsten.
With Sunday’s effort, he has now led 361 laps in eight Snowball Derby starts, the most by an active driver without a Derby win. Sunday’s runner-up result marked his best result in the race, besting his third-place run in 2014.
He will now have a full year to replay the final 25 laps of this year’s Snowball Derby back in his head before he and Campbell Motorsports make the trip from California for the 54th Annual Snowball Derby in 2021. Before the year closes out, he will head to Irwindale Speedway on December 19 where he will officially be crowned SRL Southwest Tour champion once again.
“There’s a lot of should’ve, would’ve, could’ves you can play back. At the end of the day you can’t rewind the past, you got to move forward and try to make yourselves better.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo