Bakersfield, CA – Derek Thorn drove to his second consecutive SPEARS Southwest Tour Series win of 2012, Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway. The win propelled Thorn into the championship lead after the fourth of ten races that make up the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series championship.
Eric Schmidt recorded the top qualifying time of the day at 13.563 seconds. Thorn set the third best time in qualifying, and then drew the #2 for his starting position for the “Strandwold Properties 125 presented by Wrapped Graphix”.
At the drop of the green Thorn edged ahead of Zane Lovelace to lead the first lap. Thorn then went on to lead the remaining 124 laps for the victory. The win didn’t come easy as the race was slowed by seven cautions. Jim Pettit II was able to close up to the rear bumper cover of Thorn’s Four Star Fruit #43 for each of the seven restarts, but Thorn pulled away from the defending series champion a few laps into each restart.
“We’ve been coming to Stockton for three years now and this is my first win here,” stated Thorn from the winner’s circle. “Our cars have always been fast but we never have been able to avoid problems during the race. Tonight my Campbell Motorsports team gave me a great car and I’m proud to get the win for our team. I also want to thank all the great fans here at Stockton who always come out to support our series.”
It was Thorn’s seventh career SPEARS Southwest Tour Series victory, which ties him with Jason Fensler and Ray Lawson, Jr. for fourth in all-time SPEARS Southwest Tour Series wins. Only Pettit, M.K. Kanke and Jeff Anthony have more career SPEARS Southwest Tour Series victories.
Chasing Thorn across the line at the checkers were Pettit, Jason Gilbert in third, who recorded his fourth top four in as many races, Dave Byrd, with a season high fourth place finish, and Kanke who rebounded from a lap 97 spin down the back straight to finish fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Olympia, Washington’s Jared Vorse, Scott Sanchez, Michael Sandoval, Tim Smith and Ken Benhamou who all recorded their best finishes of the 2012 season.
Thorn now leads the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series standings with 668 points, followed by Kanke and Gilbert who are tied at 650, Pettit is 4th at 639, Vorse jumped to 5th in the standings with 530 points, Greg Voigt is 6th, Ross Strmiska 7th, Jonathon Gomez 8th, Jacob Gomes 9th, and Dave Byrd in 10th with 502 points.
Next event for the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is at Madera Speedway on Saturday, June 30th, for the annual Firework Show and the “Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) 125”.