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DACONO, Colo. – Not even the rain could cool off Derek Thorn as he held off all challengers en route to winning the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday night.
After rain delayed the start of the race by nearly two hours, Thorn wasted no time in asserting himself on the track. He dominated the action in the No. 6 Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Ford, leading 148 of 150 laps en route to his second consecutive victory, third win of the season and fifth career series win.
“It’s hard when you’re up against guys like Hayley, Pursley and Krzysik,” Thorn said. “You just don’t know how much they’re saving. You don’t know what the track’s going to do to change. My tires were worn out and I started seeing rain drops on the windshield. I’m thankful it all worked out.”
The Lakeport, Calif., native – who had finished second last year in his only previous series race at the .375-mile Colorado track – won by a margin of .403 seconds.
Series rookie Jamie Krzysik, who is running a schedule of select events this year, made a late charge to the front for a career-best runner-up finish.
“We knew it was a long race and we knew that the right rear was going to be crucial to keep on it and make sure we didn’t burn the car up in the first 100 laps or before the end,” said Krzysik of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. “We were just running, logging laps and picking them off where we could. When it came down to the last 30 or so laps we just started coming to the front. A couple more laps I think we would have had something for the 6 car up there, but just ran out of time.”
Fellow Canadian Cameron Hayley slipped to third at the finish after challenging Thorn throughout the event. The Calgary, Alberta native had managed to wrestle the top spot away on two occasions – but could only hold the lead for a lap each time.
“We had a good car,” the 17-year-old said. “It just went away at the end. There was a lot of bumping and banging. Who knows if we have a cut tire or what. But overall it was a very good run for our Cabinets by Hayley Toyota.”
Fifteen-year-old series rookie Giles Thornton had a career-best fourth-place finish, followed by Greg Pursley in fifth.
Michael Self came into the evening three points behind Thorn in the championship standings, and looked poised to challenge him early. A late spin-out knocked him out of the top three spots and he would eventually finish sixth, followed by Taylor Cuzick, Eric Holmes, Brett Thompson and Dylan Lupton to complete the top 10.
The race featured four lead changes between Thorn and Hayley. The pace was slowed by just two cautions for 11 laps.
With the win, Thorn increased his lead in the championship standings to 13 points over Self – 306 to 293. Hayley is third with 289, followed by Pursley with 264 and Lupton with 252. Carl Harr at 225, Cuzick at 222, Thompson at 217, Daryl Harr at 210 and Dylan Hutchison at 209 complete the top 10.
In the chase for this year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, Lupton leads with 59 points. Thornton trails with 47 points, followed by Krzysik with 44.
The Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 will air on SPEED on Aug. 1 at 3 p.m. ET.
The next event on the series schedule is the Pork Be Inspired 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa on Friday, Aug. 2.
Derek Thorn and Cameron Hayley battled for position all night, briefly switching leads during the second half of the race. Marc Piscotty/Getty Images for NASCAR