California’s Derek Thorn is hoping to double-down on historic races at Five Flags
After winning the Snowball Derby in December, most fans didn’t know if they would ever see California’s Derek Thorn behind the wheel of a pavement Super Late Model again. Now, the Snowball Derby winner has filed an entry for the Sunshine State 200 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on Saturday, March 11. Tickets for the event are available online by visiting https://bit.ly/ASA5FlagsTixs. Before the start of the Snowball Derby, Thorn had announced that his Byron Campbell Motorsports team was shutting down at the end of the season. But now, the two-time ARCA Menards Series West champion has entered the inaugural ASA STARS event with a new team. “I’m excited to be back behind the wheel again,” said Thorn with a laugh. “DTR (Derek Thorn Racing) and Mike Keen have been busy with all of our clients so far this year, but to be able to race again myself is going to be great.
“I was talking with Chris Purdy, who was my crew chief when I moved to Wisconsin in 2007,” added the Bakersfield, CA driver. “He oversees Paul Shafer Jr’s. (Super Late Model) program and the opportunity came up for Paul and I to share the 7-car at the STARS races this year starting at Pensacola on March 11. I have to especially thank Paul Shafer, Paul Shafer Jr. and Chris Purdy for the opportunity to race again; I’m really looking forward to it.”
Thorn has had a myriad of success at Five Flags Speedway. In addition to his Snowball Derby victory in December, he has three poles and four podium finishes in pavement Super Late Model’s crown jewel event, including three-straight in the top-2 (2020-2022). He has also led more than 900 laps in the Snowball Derby and won the Snowflake 100 twice in a Pro Late Model. “Five Flags Speedway has become a second home of sorts for me,” Thorn stated. “With Mike Keen and Byron Campbell (former car owner) we’ve had a good run of success at Pensacola. And to end off last year, with it being Byron’s last race, as a Snowball Derby winner, it was perfect because that’s the pinnacle of a short track racer’s career. “It (Five Flags Speedway) has a special place in my heart, and to go back as Snowball Derby champion for this race, it’s even more special.” Five Flags Speedway has become a second home of sorts for me ... and to go back as Snowball Derby champion for this race, it's even more special. — DEREK THORN
Thorn will be racing a number-7 pavement Super Late Model out of the Paul Schafer Racing stables, with the backing of Power Grade Inc., The Tool Shack, PepperJack Kennels, Reeves Complete Auto Center, Lynn Etna Farms, Darrell Abott and Dynamic Metal Recycling.
“To go back with Chris Purdy calling the shots, and Paul Schafer providing the equipment and some amazing sponsors, we have as good of a shot to pick up where we left off last year and use this as momentum to build upon what we are going to do for the rest of the year,” concluded Thorn.
The Sunshine State 200 also serves as the season opening race for the Blizzard Series at Five Flags Speedway and the second points race for the ASA Southern Super Series. NASCAR star William Byron won the first ASA Southern Super Series event, on February 14, at New Smyrna Speedway.
Teams are encouraged to turn in their entry blank as soon as possible so that the series can maximize the exposure for drivers, teams, the series and the race track.
The pavement Super Late Model race will pay $20,000 to the winner of the event and $1,500 to start the 200-lap race.
The stop in the panhandle of Florida will open a 10-race, six-state tour for the ASA STARS National Tour in 2023. At season’s end, the champion will receive a minimum of $25,000 within the slated $100,000 point fund.
Super Late Model team owners who wish to participate in the 2023 and 2024 “Winners Circle” program will need to purchase an ASA Car Owner License. Eligibility for point fund monies and contingency awards also require car owners to be fully licensed.
Applications for teams, including drivers, are now available to download at www.asastarsnationaltour.com. Those forms are available via a PDF document. Teams will be required to complete the form and return as instructed on the application.
Tickets are on sale now for the inaugural ASA National Tour event on Saturday, March 11 at Five Flags Speedway. Please visit https://bit.ly/ASA5FlagsTixs to get yours today.
For the full ASA STARS National Tour schedule, plus Super Late Model rules and other information, please visit the series website at www.asastarsnationaltour.com, and be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: STARS National Series | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).
ASA STARS National Tour The ASA STARS National Tour will debut in 2023 for Super Late Model racing in America. Announced in October, many of the best drivers in America are expected to compete in the 10-race national tour with a minimum $100,000 point fund. The championship team will be guaranteed $25,000.
The national series is made up of three races from each of the regional pavement Super Late Model Series under the Track Enterprises banner; the ASA CRA Super Series, the ASA Midwest Tour and the ASA Southern Super Series.
A Winner’s Circle program will also be part of the ASA National Tour for licensed drivers/teams with perfect attendance. The program details will be announced at a later date, but it will be in the same vein as ASA utilized in its heyday.
Track Enterprises, a Racing Promotions Company based in Illinois, will operate the ASA STARS National Tour. It announced the acquisition of the CRA sanctioning body in January and followed that up with the purchase of the Midwest Tour in July. In October, Track Enterprises President, Bob Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series which set the table for the formation of the ASA STARS National Tour.