LAS VEGAS – It wasn’t pretty, and his car was far from pristine at the end, but Derek Thorn still found his way to victory lane at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The Bakersfield, Calif., driver passed Preston Peltier on lap 135 and held on for his ninth career Bullring triumph, earning a check for $10,000 in the process after taking the checkered flag in the SPEARS Southwest Tour’s Retro Custom Metals 150.
Thorn – who set a track record of 14.149 seconds for the touring series in qualifying – crossed the line .441 of a second ahead of Peltier for the big win in the 150-lap marathon, despite a spin-out and another wreck in the first half of the race.
“It was a roller-coaster night,” Thorn said. “We were trying to save the car in the beginning, got caught up in some stuff in the middle and made some good changes at the halfway break. It brought the car to life.
“I thought we’d burn our stuff up coming back to the field, but the cautions presented themselves in the right manner and things just worked themselves out.”
Thorn considered himself lucky more damage wasn’t done to his No. 43 car in a wreck with Cole Moore before the race’s midpoint. He was able to visit the hot pits outside turns one and two, then return to the race on the lead lap.
“We were lucky to not get hit when we were spinning and were lucky, and we easily could have lost the radiator when I rear-ended the 20 (car),” Thorn said. “Sometimes, you just get lucky and need some racing luck to make this happen in an awesome car.”
Carlos Viera finished third, .985 of a second off the pace, while Jeremy Doss settled for fourth in an attempt to run his Bullring winning streak to five races. Peltier thought he might have enough car to challenge Thorn in the closing laps, but could not make it happen.
“Derek, he just had a rocket ship,” said Peltier. “I think I needed a little bit more motor and a little better turn and we would have been all right. These Rowdy cars, I just can’t say enough about them.”
Bullring regular Tyler Fabozzi led the first 37 laps of the 150-lap race before wrecking into lapped traffic Dan Holtz, who was trying to exit the track on the back stretch with mechanical issues. Fabozzi, and 11-time Bullring winner, battled back to a fifth-place finish after the unfortunate accident.
Bobby Hodges of Carson City, Nev., led at the 75-lap refueling break, but a spin around lap 90 relegated him to the back of the field. He finished 11th in a race where only 13 of the 30 cars survived the carnage and were running when the checkered flag waved.
Ryan Schartau out-dueled a talented field through countless restarts to win the SPEARS Manufacturing Modified Series presented by Lucas Oil’s caution-plagued 75-lap race. He crossed the line .787 of a second ahead of 47-time Bullring winner Jason Irwin, with Dylan Cappello taking third 1.691 off the pace and 53-time Bullring winner Justin Johnson finishing fourth.
Tyler Reif joined his brother, Tanner, as a Bullring race winner by taking the checkered flag in the Jr. Late Models 35-lap race, 1.155 seconds ahead of Tanner. The brothers both spun out on the back stretch while trying to get by lapped traffic, but were given their spots back during the caution.
USLCI Legends points leader Jaron Giannini earned his first victory of the season after surviving a competitive 25-lap feature, taking the win 1.148 seconds ahead of Dezel West. It was Giannini’s fourth career Bullring win and second in the Legends division at the LVMS short track.
In the USLCI Bandoleros divisions, Hank Hall cruised to his third consecutive Bandits feature win, while points leader Chloe Lynch won her third Outlaws race of the year after taking the lead on lap seven of 12. Haylee Morris made it a female 1-2 finish after crossing the line 1.160 seconds behind Lynch, while Jeffrey Erickson was a distant second to Hall in the Bandits race.
Derek Thorn, Preston Peltier, Carlos Vieira, Jeremy Doss, Tyler Fabozzi, Cole Moore, Jacob Gomes, Mark Neff, Bob Lyon, Tracy Bolin, Bobby Hodges, Joe Farre, Kyle Neveau, Matthew Meech, Blaine Rocha, Jack Wood, Craig Raudman, John Moore, Jesse Love, Don Zoll Jr., Linny White, Jace Hansen, Jeff Bischofberger, Scott Sanchez, John Dillon, Andy Allen, Eric Nascimento Jr., Mike Beeler, Bear Rzesnowiecky, Dan Holtz.