Derek Thorn was the surprise winner of the Coors Light Pole Award Friday at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, the eighth annual edition of the short-track showcase.
Thorn, from Lakeport, Calif., drove the No. 44 4 Star Fruit/Superior CrankshaftChevrolet to a fast lap of 18.334 seconds (98.178 mph) to best a stacked field of 46 entrants. His only previous K&N Pro Series experience came in 2008 with six starts in the East division.
An Irwindale veteran, Greg Pursley finished as the second-fastest qualifier on the half mile with a quick circuit of 18.405 (97.800). Past Showdown pole winner Sean Caisse qualified third at 18.460 (97.508). Brennan Newberry, Michael Self, Max Gresham, Jason Fensler, Andrew Ranger, Jason Bowles and David Mayhew rounded out the top 10.
NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Steve Wallace qualified 16th and action sports star Travis Pastrana, making his NASCAR debut, was 20th. The starting lineup for Saturday's 225-lap K&N Pro Series race will be finalized by a 50-lap "last-chance" qualifying race later this evening.
In Super Late Model time trials, Rod Johnson Jr. led the way with a fast lap of 17.732 (101.511), followed by Jack Madrid (17.779/101.243) and Dennis Furden (17.811/101.061). A pair of 25-lap heat races, which will begin at 4:30 p.m., will determine the lineup for the 7:15 p.m. 75-lap feature.
Both nights of racing will air live on SPEED, beginning at 11 p.m. ET on Friday and 10 p.m. on Saturday.