There is a No. 7 on the car Derek Thorn will drive this week in the Snowball Derby but it isn’t that far removed from the Campbell Motorsports No. 43 that has dominated the biggest Super Late Model race the previous three years.
Thorn and Byron Campbell revealed the morning of the Snowball Derby last year that their dominant team would shut down after that race no matter what happened by the end of the day. Thorn won the race after three years of near victories and completed the storybook ending for their ridiculously successful tenure.
It was a walk-off moment if there ever was one.
Shafer Motorsports now owns that car and has Thorn behind the wheel for the marquee races but the six-time SRL Southwest Tour champion didn’t entirely want to make it public.
The reason why, and he has since conceded it will become public knowledge anyway, but if he contends again, the perception would be that it’s just the car. If he doesn’t contend, the perception would be that it must be Shafer Motorsports.
Thorn is super adamant that this group is just as capable of doing great things this week. He’s been reunited this year with crew chief Chris Purdy, renewing a pairing from back in 2007 and 2008. It’s a group he doesn’t want to risk disrespecting either externally or internally.
And beyond that, every year is different, and sometimes there isn’t a notebook for everything.
“Me, Mike Keen and Byron Campbell, we came here for the last eight or nine years and the last three were really special,” Thorn said. “The team is here, the equipment is here and it’s just a matter of hopefully all the little factors — tires, weather and we can be up front again.
And they do have that 43 notebook too and Thorn has complete conviction that they can run up front this weekend.
“I really do,” Thorn said. “Purdy, the Shafers and I work really well together. We have hit the ground running and had some really good runs like the Slinger Nationals, All American 400. We’ve been right there but just haven’t been right there yet.
“All of us are putting our best foot forward and hopefully we’re in the mix.”
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