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Derek Thorn Gets Another SRL Milestone Win at Irwindale Speedway

Derek Thorn Gets Another SRL Milestone Win at Irwindale Speedway

SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series

Bakersfield, CA - Derek Thorn tied M.K. Kanke with six career Southwest Tour Series victories at Irwindale Speedway (CA) Saturday night, winning the "SPEARS Manufacturing 100 presented by Earnest Performance" and a cool $5,000. Kanke had three in the SRL and three in the NASCAR Southwest Tour Series, while Thorn's career began after the former series disbanded. For Thorn, it was his second race win of the season produced a gain of 30 championship points on Preston Peltier, in battle for the 2021 crown. Thorn took the lead on lap 55 from Buddy Shepherd, and was never headed again, as he picked up Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series victory #51.

After the event, Thorn was excited for the win, as well as having fans back in the stands to see series in action.

"We had such a good car, and this place is so hard to pass", Thorn told the crowd at Irwindale Speedway. "Shepherd had a really good car, and I had to go when the moment arouse. This thing was on rails, once we got out into clean air, and could set our own pace. Thank you, Mike Keen, Byron Campbell, and everyone one who is watching here and at home, and to all those who came out to support us. It's the first time in a year, and it's way better to have all you guys back. I love it, and it's awesome to be here."

Thorn began the afternoon qualifying an unusual 7th, after the 29-car field was weaned down to 28 combatants, when Bryce Bezanson hit the wall in Friday's practice. Brandon Farrington was the man in qualifying, earning the PFC Brakes "Zero Drag Fast Time Award" with a quick mark of 17.246 seconds on the ½-mile oval. Less than 0.6 seconds separated the entire field, with the top-eight redrawing at the front of the field for position. Those drivers included Farrington, Kole Raz, Preston Peltier, Buddy Shepherd, Christian McGhee, Cale Kanke, Thorn and Jimmy Parker Jr.

On the redraw, Buddy Shepherd found himself on the pole alongside Jimmy Parker Jr. Preston Peltier and Christian McGhee made up row two, followed by Kole Raz, Brandon Farrington, Thorn and Cale Kanke. Shepherd got the jump on the start, with Peltier moving to second as Parker began to fall back. Thorn was up to second by lap 7, with a three-wide move around Peltier and McGhee, who had made contact, slowing their progress. The contact found Peltier dropping to sixth, as the front combatants continued to battle.

The first stoppage occurred on lap 16, when contact between Dylan Lupton and Dean Thompson, found the 2020 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Rookie-of-the-Year in the Turn #3 wall. Under the red, Peltier pitted from eighth with damage from the earlier racing incident, returning to restart tail end Charlie. The restart saw Shepherd and Thorn battling side by side for three laps, with Shepherd in the preferred outside groove. Shepherd would eventually clear Thorn, but the five-time series champion would keep the pressure on the 2021 Rookie-of-the-Year leader. Thorn moved inside on multiple occasions but was unable to finish the pass.