Colorado National Speedway
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Red Hot Summer for Derek Thorn in K&N West with Second at Colorado
by Steven Blakesley, Derek Thorn Racing
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Derek Thorn continues to be one of the hottest drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West, scoring his third consecutive top-three with a second place finish at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday night. Driving Bob Bruncati's Sunrise Ford #6, Thorn has also finished second at Sonoma and third at Evergreen over the last month of competition.
The Lakeport, CA native who now resides in Bakersfield is fourth in series standings but has closed within just two points of third place David Mayhew and is only 34 points out of the points lead. The series continues this Friday night with a combination event with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, East at Iowa Speedway.
"It has been a great couple months of racing for us," Thorn said. "We've found a rhythm that is working well for us and were continuing to improve our cars and program at the same time.
On Saturday, Thorn tackled the Colorado National Speedway 4/10ths mile for the first time but he came out of the gate swinging seventh quickest in the first practice session. With a well-balanced car, Thorn returned for qualifying and timed in eighth quickest with a 16.760 lap around the track.
Thorn picked off a couple cars in the first 25 laps to move into sixth before cracking the top-five before lap 50. Thorn raced alongside young rookie Cameron Hayley for much of the race in a back-and-forth battle. On the final green-white-checkered restart, Thorn overhauled Hayley to take the second position at the finish.
"Our short track program has been running really consistent, however it is tough to get a real solid one lap run out of it in qualifying," Thorn said. "The car didn't disappoint in the race though and was a lot of fun to drive. We kept getting hung on the outside on the late race restarts and could never capitalize, until the last green white checkered restart gave us the inside row. We had our shot at Pursley, but came up short in the final lap."
With the second place finish, Thorn's record on debut appearances at race tracks continues to be unprecedented. So far in 2012 Thorn has managed a win at Lake Havasu, AZ, a fifth at Iowa Speedway, fourth at Brainerd, second at Sonoma, and the aforementioned third at Evergreen. Thorn also ran in the top-five at Miller Motorsports Park in April before ultimately finishing 12th after a last lap incident.
The upcoming 150 lap contest at the 7/8ths mile Iowa Speedway will be a rare return appearance for Thorn at a K&N West venue. 2012 marks Thorn's first full-season in either K&N series after part-time efforts in both series in the past. Returning to the high speed Iowa Speedway, Thorn and the Sunrise Ford crew have put together a game plan to improve and challenge the K&N East regulars.
K&N West drivers will be ranked amongst themselves for points, but Thorn will be gunning for a win as he continues to try to open eyes for his future place in NASCAR. The 26 year-old is making the most of his opportunity with Bob Bruncati's program and a strong performance at the Rusty Wallace-designed speedway during a NASCAR Nationwide weekend would certainly boost the young racer's stock.
"The cards didn't fall our way at our last visit to Iowa," Thorn said. "We have made some big swings at our big track cars and we are really looking forward to some redemption. Bob Bruncati and Bill Sedgwick don't settle for second and neither do! We will continue to push forward in this championship chase and make the best of each race we go to."
Racing action this weekend gets underway on Friday morning with practices at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. before qualifying at 3:05 p.m. The 150 lap race is slated to go green at 8 p.m. Central Time. Race fans can follow the action on NASCARHomeTracks.com Lap-by-Lap and NASCAR Home Tracks Radio. You can also follow Thorn all weekend on his Twitter page @DerekThorn6
Race fans can also learn more about Derek Thorn on his official website at www.derekthorn.com
Derek Thorn would like to thank the following sponsors for their support in 2012: Sunrise Ford, Four Star Fruit, Hronis Racing, Lucas Oil, Eibach Springs, Joe’s Racing Products, Oakley, Double Eagle Transportation, Victory Circle Chassis, PepperJack Kennels, and Blakesley Sports Media.