Hamke Chassis No. 74 Rides Again at Snowball Derby
Nov 30, 2022
Derek Thorn has arguably been perfect at Five Flags Speedway for each of the past two years but to finally break through and win the Snowball Derby, the Campbell Motorsports No. 43 team may need to be more than perfect.
Thorn lost a spirited duel with Ty Majeski two years ago and was the recipient of a bump-and-run by Chandler Smith last year to finish second two years in a row despite leading 539 of 600 laps during that span.
They have won the pole three years in a row too.
Thorn says he moved on pretty quickly from what happened between himself and Smith last year, even with their run-in in April at the Blizzard Series opener, and the Campbell Motorsports No. 43 are largely treating this like any other Snowball Derby effort.
"I think at the end of the day you just have to move forward a little bit," Thorn said. "That April deal got blown out of proportion, I think. But at the end of the day, it is what it is.
"If you're in first place, and someone is in second coming towards the end of the Derby, chances are they are going to try to move the leader and we've been that guy two years in a row. It does get old. But at the end of the day, that's what racing has become, you just know you're going to get dumped.
"There's really not a lot of respect amongst certain competitors it seems, at least when it comes down to the Derby. Guys put on a different hat for this race and rightfully so. You have to do what you have to do, I guess, and we're just looking to be in that position again this year."
With all this talk of perfection, Thorn doesn’t feel like he has to find another figurative gear or that he has even lost his best chances, because he as long as he has Mike Keen wrenching their cars, it’s the highest quality effort.
"It's kind of cliché, but it's just a day at a time at this place," Thorn said. "You just have to survive, not get caught up in a crash all week even before the race, so all you can ask for is having a fighting chance at the end.
"It's highly unlikely we're going to sit on the pole and lead 289 laps again, right? To do four poles in a row against the best in the country is probably impossible.
"Everything has to work out, you bring one of the six best cars every year, and eventually you have to think everything will break your way. We're going to keep working to be in that group, put our best foot forward, and see how the cards fall."
And so far, based on testing, Thorn believes this should be another car capable of being in that top group.
"Both cars feel really good, and you know, Thursday you get everyone out here at the same time and that's where you see where you stack up with the same conditions," Thorn said. "But really, you just want a feel, because things shift and change.
"A lot of it is the tire because that changes every year, little things change to where it affects the setup, but I feel really comfortable already. Mike already does a good job getting these things where we need to be to start on Thursday and hopefully we can fine tune and just stay in that box and find something that works."