By SPEED SPORT Staff - June 2, 2017
Tanner Thorson (67) and Michael Pickens battle for the lead Thursday at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. (Connor Hamilton photo)
FAIRBURY, Ill. — Tanner Thorson grabbed his first POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League victory of the season in Thursday night’s POWRi Illinois Speedweek event at Fairbury American Legion Speedway.
The Minden, Nev., native started fifth and quickly worked his way toward the front, battling early with New Zealand’s Michael Pickens, POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League Rookie of the Year candidate Zeb Wise and Keith Kunz Racing teammate Rico Abreu.
After an early race yellow, Thorson capitalized on the slowdown to snag the lead from Pickens, however Thorson’s early race lead was short lived as Wise took the lead the following lap, holding on just long enough before swapping positions with Abreu.
Setting a blistering pace, Abreu led Wise and Thorson for the next 13 laps until Wise brought out the red after catching the turn-two wall and taking a tumble while running second.
Inheriting the second position, Thorson had six laps remaining to tackle Abreu for the lead. Patiently waiting until the last lap, Thorson had fans on the edge of their seats waiting to see if he would try to make a move going into turn one or wait until the last corner.
Heading down the backstretch, it was apparent that Thorson had saved his best move for last as he dove to the bottom of turns three and four, sliding Abreu for the lead. Trying to return the slide job, Abreu made contact with Pickens, causing Abreu to fall back to fourth, while Thorson went on to win the Mesilla Valley Transportation feature event.
Pickens was second, while Spencer Bayston finished third, rebounding after a hard flip at the Dirt Oval at Route 66 the previous night.
“My guys just gave me a badass car,” Thorson said. “It started to lay rubber right there and my car was able to hang on the best. I was just waiting for the
last lap to see if I could get a run there on Rico. I’d lose it here and there, but we were able to stay there on the last lap and go for it. To be able to win tonight is very rewarding.”
Pickens finished second after winning Wednesday’s Speedweek opener.
“Our car was just better there on the long run,” said Pickens. “It started to lay rubber there and then we got really good. We struggled early and just didn’t have enough speed, but we were there at the end.”
Tanner Thorson, Michael Pickens, Spencer Bayston, Rico Abreu, Andrew Felker, Zach Daum, Logan Seavey, Brad Loyet, Jimi Quin, Ryan Robinson, Jake Neuman, Terry Babb, Andy Malpocker, Aidan Roosevans, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Tanner Carrick, Kade Morton, Dalton Camfield, David Camfield Jr., Zeb Wise, Jack Blackhurst, Tyler Thomas, Austin Brown.