Derek Thorn won his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at NAPA Speedway in Albuquerque, N.M., on a night when rookie Dallas Montes made an impressive debut.
Derek Thorn won second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at NAPA Speedway in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Thorn's win was overshadowed by a runner-up finish my Montes, who was making the first K&N Pro Series West start of his career.
Montes was one of three rookies to finish in the top five in the race. Taylor Cuzick was fourth and Austin Dyne was fifth.
Fifteen-year old Hannah Newhouse, who was also making her K&N Pro Series West debut, was sixth.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Racer Derek Thorn
Montes and Newhouse will participate in the 2013 NASCAR Drive for Diversity combine. Both drivers turned plenty of heads at the tiny track in New Mexico.
Montes, driving the No. 17 Chevrolet for MMI Services in place of K&N Pro Series West regular David Mayhew, started on the front row with pole winner Dylan Kwasniewski and ran with the leaders the entire race.
"I got a little bit teared up, I have to say," Montes said after the race. "I come from a family with not that much money. Just running good like this is huge for us."
Mayhew was entered in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Las Vegas and missed the K&N Pro Series West race in New Mexico.
Thorn, meanwhile, worked his way through the field and overtook Kwasniewski for the lead on lap 87 of the NAPA Auto Parts 150. Thorn started seventh and won the race after a green-white-checkered flag finish.
"It was a weird night all in all," said Thorn, driver of the No. 6 Ford for the Sunrise Ford Racing team. "It was hard in practice never having raced here before. We knew it was going to hard on tires. When the car feels good you have to back it up."
Thorn won his first K&N Pro Series West race of the season at Havasu 95 Speedway in April. He has nine top-five finishes in 13 K&N Pro Series West races and is third in the series standings.
"All in all, it was a good night," Thorn said. "The guys worked their butts off on this car. They've been working on it nonstop in the shop and I'm really happy. I can't complain."
Eric Holmes, a three-time K&N Pro Series West champion, was third. It was his seventh top-five finish of the season.
"It was kind of boring for me the first half, just riding and riding and riding," Holmes said. "Just trying to be patient and nobody knew how long the tires would last, when they would really give up. I was just as patient as I could be. Things started coming my way. I really thought I had the thing going my way. Got the caution I wanted, got to third and something happened to our engine. The motor laid down. In some ways it helped me, but I wasn't fast enough after that, couldn't keep up with these two guys."
Greg Pursley, the leader in the K&N Pro Series West standings after 13 races, was eighth. He has a 13-point lead over Kwasniewski, his teammate at Gene Price Motorsports, with two races to go.
Kwasniewski, who won his fourth pole position of the season, finished a spot behind Pursley, the reigning K&N Pro Series West champion, in ninth.
The next K&N Pro Series West race is the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on Oct. 13.
The NAPA Auto Parts 150 from Albuquerque will be televised on Speed Channel on Oct. 11 at noon PDT.
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