Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) recently became just the tenth driver in USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget history to win seven feature events in back-to-back seasons. DB3 Inc. Photo
THORSON’S BACK-TO-BACK 7-WIN SEASONS AMONG ALL-TIME BEST (STAT BOOK)
By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Brandon, South Dakota (September 8, 2021)………Coming off a late-season flurry a year ago that provided him with a career-best seven victories in a single season, Tanner Thorson has already equaled that mark through the first 25 races of the 2021 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship season.
His series-leading seventh victory of the season came last Sunday at Wisconsin’s Angell Park Speedway, and he now faces three more potential shots at adding to his win total this coming weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 10-11-12, at the inaugural Huset’s Speedway USAC Nationals in Brandon, South Dakota.
Thorson’s back-to-back seven win USAC National Midget seasons are relatively rare. In fact, over the past four decades, only one other driver has accomplished the feat – Christopher Bell in 2013 and 2014.
Just 10 drivers throughout the past 66 years of USAC National Midget racing have won at least seven feature events in consecutive seasons, a list in which Thorson of Minden, Nev. has now joined.
The list includes Gene Hartley (1959-60), Jimmy Davies (1960-61-62), Bob Wente (1962-63), Mel Kenyon (1964-65 & 1967-68-69), Bob Tattersall (1965-66), Jimmy Caruthers (1970-71), Sleepy Tripp (1975-76), Rich Vogler (1978-79), plus Bell (2013-14) and now Thorson (2020-21).
All seven of Thorson’s wins have come aboard the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports/AME Electrical – MVT – Smith Titanium/Spike/Stanton SR-11x at Port City Raceway, Lincoln Park Speedway, Solomon Valley Raceway, Jefferson County Speedway, Bridgeport Motorsports Park, Bloomsburg Fair Raceway and Angell Park Speedway.
The latest of his victories, worth $5,000, at Angell Park was the 27th of Thorson’s USAC National Midget career, tying him with Tony Stewart and Gary Bettenhausen for 14th all-time.
Thorson, the 2016 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion, has already won series features in five different months this season and leads in laps led as well with 129, and four fast qualifying times, while his seven wins are among his 10 top-tens.
Penngrove, Calif. driver Buddy Kofoid’s championship point lead has shrunk to single digits with just nine separating he and Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) entering Huset’s. Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports holds the same margin of lead in the entrant standings over Petry Motorsports.
Only 25 points out of the championship lead is reigning titlist Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.), who leads all drivers with 17 top-fives while fourth in the standings is Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.), 85 points behind the leader, who owns a series-leading eight heat race wins.
Chase Randall (Waco, Texas) maintains his stranglehold of the Rookie of the Year race, 267 points ahead of his nearest fellow Rookie, and is 11th overall in the tally.
Nine drivers have started all 25 features run this far in 2021: Axsom, Grant, Kofoid, Thorson, Windom, Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.), Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.), Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) and Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.).
A Thursday practice night begins the festivities for both divisions on September 9 starting at 6pm Central. Pit gates will open at Noon Central, and the front gates will open at 4pm. Pit passes are $20 for practice night and the stands will be open to all fans for free admission. Engine heat takes place at 5pm, followed by a quick drivers meeting at 5:45pm, then moving right along into the first practice session at 6pm.
All will head this weekend to South Dakota’s Huset’s Speedway USAC Nationals for what will be a first-time endeavor for all participants with it being the first time in 25 years that USAC National Midgets have competed at the track.
For the first two nights of racing at Huset’s on Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11, pit gates open at Noon Central. The front gates will open at 4pm with the drivers meeting at 3:30pm and engine heat and cars on track at 5:15pm. The Sprint Car and Midget features will each pay $5,000 to win on Friday and Saturday.
On the final night, championship night, on Sunday, Sept. 12, pit gates open at Noon Central. The front gates will open at 3pm with the drivers meeting at 4:15pm and cars on track at 4:45pm. The Sprint Car and Midget features will each pay $20,000 to win on Sunday.
General admission tickets each night are $35 for adults, $20 for youths age 6-12 and free for children age 5 and under. Reserved tickets are available now in advance at www.USACnationals.com.
If you can’t make it to the event in person, all three nights of racing action at the Huset’s Speedway USAC Nationals will be aired live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2ZpafUr.