USAC - Jun 5 - 2019
Tanner Thorson came out on top in the closing laps of a wild three-car shootout to win the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series feature at Lincoln Park Speedway in night three of Indiana Midget Week.
Thorson’s win comes in just his third race back in the seat since suffering a broken left arm, a broken right foot, a cracked sternum, broken ribs and a punctured lung in a highway crash in Modesto, California, in early March.
The race started with Jerry Coons Jr. on the pole, but giving way to Tyler Courtney and Thomas Meserault on lap one with Coons in third, Logan Seavey in fourth and Kevin Thomas Jr. running fifth. By lap four, Seavey and Thomas had slipped past Coons and just one lap later, the caution waved as Courtney and Meserault got together.
Seavey, Monday night’s winner at Montpelier, took over the lead on the restart to lead lap five, with Thomas and Coons making it an all-Toyota top three. The top three remained in those positions through lap 11, but a new challenger was closing in as Seavey’s Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson had moved up into the top five when a caution flag waved.
Seavey held the lead on the restart, but Thomas was able to get a run off of turn two and pass Seavey going into three on lap 13. As the front duo was fighting for the lead, Thorson began making his charge after starting from the 15th position as he moved into the five and then overtook Larson for fourth as the race crossed the midway point. By lap 19, it became a three-way battle for third with Coons, Thorson and Larson as Thorson took over the third spot on lap 20.
As the laps began to wind down, Seavey was closing on Thomas, only to see the yellow wave once more on lap 24, setting up a thrilling finish. After the restart, Thorson overtook Seavey for second, while Seavey battled with Larson and Coons for third as the cars ran three abreast with Larson moving past to join the fight for the top spot.
Thorson would finally take the lead on lap 27 as he edged Thomas at the starting line by just .01 seconds, but it was far from over as Thorson, Thomas and Larson threw slider after slider at one another, as the lead changed hands repeatedly, but Thorson would continue to hold the lead at the flag stand. The fight continued as the white flag flew when Larson got a big run on Thomas going into turn one, only to flip his car off of turn two to bring out a red flag and set up a green-white-checkered finish as the race would go to overtime.
Thorson would maintain the lead on the restart, with Seavey going inside on a slide job to overtake Thomas for second on the final lap and as they came to the checkered flag it was Thorson, Seavey, Coons and Thomas in an all-Toyota top four.
“I’m back,” said Thorson, who registered his 27th national midget feature win in a Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota. “This is really emotional. Keith, Pete (Willoughby) and the guys gave me another opportunity and I can’t thank them enough. I didn’t know if I’d be able to race again after hurting my arm (in his March 4 crash). This was pretty awesome. Hats off to this whole team, Toyota and TRD.”
Thorson, who finished second and fifth on the first two nights, now leads the Indiana Midget Week standings by 17 points over Seavey with three races remaining.
Night four of Indiana Midget Week is scheduled for Bloomington Speedway on Friday night before closing out the week at Lawrenceburg on Saturday and Kokomo on Sunday.