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And Now Something Completely Different for Derek Thorn

The Southwest Tour champion has entered South Boston


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Already one of the most decorated short track drivers of the past decade in a Super Late Model and a Pro Series car, Derek Thorn is set for a completely different challenge this weekend at South Boston Speedway.

It’s the first time the six-time Southwest Tour and two-time K&N West champion has sat in a Late Model Stock and it comes in arguably the second biggest race of the year in the Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200.

With just the Friday test session behind him and a practice day on Saturday before the race, what did he think?

"It's a learning curve and I have some work to do on myself, I think," Thorn said. "We tried a bunch of stuff. Our long run stuff is great. I don't think that's going to be the issue. I've had a hard time getting that short run speed a little bit. We don't have a lot of tires to try some things with.

"It's been about getting acclimated to the heavier car, the locker and the harder left side tires and the way it drives. It's been fun working with Marcus Richmond and all these guys. It's been hot as heck and I'm proud of their effort."

The South Boston 200 is a big deal by itself but it’s effectively a tune-up race to prepare Thorn for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville this fall. Both races will come with Marcus Richmond and R&S Race Cars.

It’s part of a world tour of sorts for Thorn who has decided to race marquee events all over the country this season across Super Late Model, Pro Late Model and Late Model Stock competition.

The Late Model Stock is somewhere between a Super Late and a K&N car and Thorn has a good idea of what he’s looking for this weekend.

"Handling wise, it’s a different thing," Thorn said. "The changes we make with our Super compared to what Marcus does with this car is different. We have spools and the softer left side tires. 300 lbs. lighter, wider, shorter; just a lot of different things. So, I need to adjust to a different car and how it reacts."

His first impression was just how nice South Boston Speedway is as a facility.

"It’s real nice, man," Thorn said. "The track does a great job promoting. Fans are already here before the race tomorrow. There’s a playground outside Turn 4 and my kids are going to love that. It’s really cool to see promoters bring big shows to their track and have a facility to back it up."

Thorn is a rookie in this type of car but so too was Ty Majeski the first time he raced a Late Model Stock at Florence in the South Carolina 400 and he’s won that race two years in a row.

No pressure, DThorn.

"I always set high expectations for myself," Thorn said. "Anything less than a win would, maybe not a disappointment, but it would be. So I’m going to take it one step at a time, work out my bugs as a driver, make sure we qualify good with this many cars here, because I think our race pace is going to be good, and just play it safe. I don’t want to wreck a race car. I hope we can qualify good and give ourselves a shot."