Derek Thorn won his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race of 2012 and took over the lead in the series standings. He led all 150 laps in the G-Oil 150 at Stockton 99 Speedway in California and won the third NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race of his career.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West multi-car incident at G-Oil 150
Sergio Pena challenges Thorn for the lead near the end of the race
Thorn took the lead from pole winner Cameron Hayley on the first lap of the race. He stayed out front through 10 caution periods including one on lap 136 when rookie Cole Custer spun out in turn 4.
That set up an exciting finish. Sergio Pena dove to the bottom of the race track on the final restart to take over second place. He tried to overtake Thorn, but had to settle for the runner-up spot.
“It’s tough,” Thorn said. “Sergio Pena did this move I haven’t seen in quite some time. All of a sudden I just seen the blue car come out of nowhere. It could have ended very badly. Thank God we were able to kind of squeeze by there on the outside.”
Derek Thorn moved into first place in the K&N Pro Series West standings
Thorn moved into first place in the K&N Pro Series West standings. He has a four-point lead over Hayley, the 16-year-old driver from Canada, after two races.
Pena, who was making his second career K&N Pro Series West start after three seasons in the K&N Pro Series East, notched his second top-five finish in a row.
“I just had to dive on the inside with everything I had,” Pena said. “I was I just trying to do a little slide job in there to see what I could do. I just had a lot of fun. I’m bummed I didn’t get the win, but I’m happy for second.”
Pena said he gambled at the end of the race and it almost paid off.
“We just had to kind of go for it there at the end,” Pena said. “We made it stick with Cameron, but couldn’t get by Derek. I had such a blast out here racing at Stockton. 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.”
Derek Thorn wins NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at G-Oil 150 at Stockton 99 Speedway
Hayley finished in third after Pena passed him in the final laps of the race.
“I think Hayley kinda got the short end of the stick,” Thorn said. “But I gotta give Hayley credit. He handled himself well in that situation because he got the short end of the stick. He raced me clean all night which was cool to see.”
It was Hayley’s second podium finish of the season. He was second in the K&N Pro Series West season opener at Phoenix International Raceway.
“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,” said Hayley who set the track record in qualifying at Stockton. “At the end there, it was every man for himself. There was beating and banging. But we were really happy with the run.”
Greg Pursley, who came into the race as the leader in the K&N Pro Series West standings after winning the season opener in Phoenix, was 10th. He dropped to third place in the West Series standings, six points behind Thorn.
Luis Tyrrell, making his K&N Pro Series West debut, was fourth in the race at Stockton. Eric Holmes was fifth.
The next race on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule is at Brainerd International Speedway in Minnesota on May 25.
The G-Oil 150 from Stockton 99 Speedway will be televised on Speed on May 16 at 3 p.m. EST.
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