Thorn Dominates K&N West At Stockton

STOCKTON, Calif. – Derek Thorn dominated the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competition at Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday in winning the G-Oil 150. It marked the third career series win for the 27-year-old Lakeport, Calif., driver – who led all 150 laps of the race.

1 Derek Thorn
2 Sergio Pena
3 Cameron Hayley
4 Luis Tyrrell
5 Eric Holmes

Sergio Pena grabbed second with dive-bomb, three-wide move late in the race to get past Cameron Hayley and attempt to get the lead. It paid off for a runner-up finish, leaving Hayley with third. Luis Tyrrell, making his series debut, finished fourth, with three-time series champion Eric Holmes fifth. Thorn wrestled the initial lead from Hayley, who started on the pole, and then had to fend him off following numerous restarts. “There were a lot of restarts – with caution after caution after caution,” said Thorn, who used the inside lane on some restarts and the outside lane on others. “The first 50 laps was a little rough. It was one of those days where everything went in our favor. We were able to get out front every restart and kind of stay there and manage the race ourselves. We didn’t have to worry about falling back into second.” Thorn credited his team on the No. 6 Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Ford with stepping up their effort this season. “These guys really worked hard in the off season to give us this opportunity,” he said. “We were good last year and I think we came back with some better stuff this year. Hopefully, it’s just a glimpse of stuff to come this year. It’s good to fire off the second race of the year and have a win already. I can’t thank (car owner) Bob Bruncati enough.” While Hayley challenged Thorn throughout the race, it was Pena who made the biggest charge in the closing laps. “Sergio Pena did a move I haven’t seen in quite some time,” Thorn said. “And all of a sudden I seen this blue car come out of nowhere. It could have ended very badly. We were able to kind of squeeze by there on the outside. I think Hayley kind of got the short end of the stick. But I’ve got to give Hayley credit. He handled himself well in that situation. And he raced me clean all night.” Pena, who was making just his second series start after three successful seasons competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, knew time was running out. “We just had to kind of go for it there at the end,” he said. “We made it stick with Cameron, but couldn’t get by Derek. “I had such a blast out here racing at Stockton,” Pena said. “It’s short-track racing at its best. It reminds me of racing back at Bowman Gray (Stadium), just a little more banking. Coming out here from the East to the West is a little bit different move, but they’re tough out here. “Two top five finishes the first two races of the year – I think it’s the first time I’ve done that,” Pena said. “I’m excited what the rest of the season’s going to bring.” Despite slipping to third late in the race, Hayley was positive about the outcome. “My Cabinets by Hayley Ford Fusion was great,” said Hayley, who broke the track record in winning his first career series pole in qualifying earlier in the day. “We went away a little bit through the center of (turns) one and two about half way through. Just didn’t quite have enough for Thorn. At the end there, it was every man for himself. There was beating and banging. But we were really happy with the run tonight.” Sixteen-year-old Hayley admitted he still needs to work on his restarts, meanwhile. “We had solid restarts all night,” he said. “I’m still learning restarts. All these veterans out here know how to do it. I’m trying to keep up with them. But we had a great run. We’re happy with tonight.” The action throughout the pack increased in intensity in the final laps, with plenty of contact between various competitors as they charged to the checkered flag. When the smoke had cleared, sixth through 10th were Dallas Montes, Giles Thornton, Brett Thompson, Dylan Lupton and Greg Pursley. With the win, Thorn took the points lead over Hayley – 88 to 84. Pursley, who won the opener at Phoenix, dropped to third with 82 points. Pena is fourth with 81, followed by Thompson with 72. They are followed by Michael Self at 70, Lupton at 65, Jamie Krzysik at 64, Carl Harr at 64 and Carlos Vieira at 59. The G-Oil 150 is slated to air on SPEED on Thursday, May 16 at 3 p.m. ET. The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule is at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway on May 25.