Eighteen hours after starting a championship celebration, Bakersfield’s Derek Thorn was back in victory lane at Kern County Raceway Park.
Thorn was spraying champagne there late Saturday night after winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title.
Sunday afternoon he was celebrating another Spears Southwest Tour victory after a dominating performance in the Bulwark FR 175 in the October Classic on the half-mile paved oval.
“I could see where it might look like it was a little bit of a snooze-fest, but it wasn’t that way,” said Thorn, who finished two seconds ahead of series points leader Jeremy Doss.
It was a series-high 36th SWT victory for Thorn, those coming in just 79 starts.
Eric Schmidt finished third, followed by Cole Moore and Craig Raudman.
Thorn, who set fast time in qualifying on Saturday, led the final 102 laps but getting to that point was not easy.
Thorn started the race fourth and was running third with an ill-handling car when the first competition yellow — a four-lap break where teams could change two tires, add fuel and work on the cars — fell on lap 63.
Thorn’s crew chief, Mike Keen, went under the car and made several adjustments.
“Mike Keen made some pretty good changes there after that first break,” Thorn said. “We weren’t where we needed to be and he made a couple of big swings at it.
“I just complain and he has to deal with me complaining and tries to make it better. Hat’s off to him. It’s hard to perform under pressure. To be in that position, trying to makes changes on a stage such as this, against competition like this, it’s not an easy task.”
Thorn had a 2.1-second lead when the next competition yellow flew and slowly pulled away from the field once again following the final restart to win by 2.4 seconds.
It was Thorn’s fourth win in five SWT races this season.
“After we did the tire change our car just went away,” said Doss. “I think if it was the normal 100 laps we had these guys covered but all-in-all another good points race.
Making an impressive run in his first series start was 16-year old Austin Herzog. Herzog started last in the 26-car field and worked his way to a sixth-place finish.
Dalton wins Super Stock race
Chris Dalton had hoped to be in the Super Stock title hunt this year, but instead he underwent foot surgery and was out of his car for most of the year.
But he made the most of his time out of the drivers’ seat as he helped Roger Holder in Holder’s run to a second-straight championship.
Dalton was back behind the wheel on Sunday and he was the class of the Super Stock field, setting fast time and then going on to victory in the 40-lap race.
“Everything we learned from (working with Holder) we put on this and oh, man, she was a rocket,” Dalton said.
Dalton had to start seventh due to an invert but that proved to be not much of a handicap as he powered past Anthony Mainella and into the lead on the 15th lap. Holder worked his way into second a few laps later but finished nearly two seconds back. Mainella was third, followed by Gene Fife and Craig Rayburn.
“My grandmother could have driven this car today.” Dalton said of how good it was.TNS