BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Equally as impressive as Tyler Courtney’s Indiana Midget Week victory Friday night on a freshly-rebuilt engine was his Clauson-Marshall Racing teammate Chris Windom’s run through the field.
Windom, who was the slowest qualifier to make the field and started 22nd as a result, charged all the way up to a fourth-place finish at the quarter-mile, high-banked clay oval.
His 18 cars passed with the No. 17bc NOS Energy Drink Spike/Stanton SR-11x both earned him the KSE/Prosource Hard Charger Award and put Windom atop the Prosource Passing Master standings, with 28 cars passed in feature action throughout the four completed nights of Indiana Midget Week so far.
“This is definitely the kind of run we want to have; we just wish we could have started further forward and made a run at the win,” said Windom. “The track just wasn’t there in qualifying and I went out almost dead last, so I don’t think we could have done much different there than what we did (25th).
“We had a good car, though. We’ve had a good car every race this week; we’ve just had to start in the back and it’s killed us,” he continued. “We’ll definitely take a fourth, but it’s frustrating to know you can win and have to come from the back of the field instead.”
Though he made it look easy at times, Windom admitted that working traffic was anything but simple.
“Coming through traffic was pretty crazy. I was actually running a line that not many people were, so I was able to get by guys pretty quickly when I needed to,” explained Windom. “It was definitely pretty dicey when guys would miss the bottom and slide up in front of me, but this car was pretty good.”
– On the flip side of the momentum coin was Justin Grant, who led the first 19 laps of the feature and appeared to be in prime position to capture his second Indiana Midget Week win in four nights before a right-rear tire went down on his RAMS Racing No. 4a.
To add insult to injury, the same issue happened again after Grant’s team got the first flat tire changed, relegating him deep in the final results to a 20th-place finish.
“We ran something over off turn four and cut a tire down coming across the frontstretch,” Grant explained. “It blew up going into one and that was that. We came in, changed tires and then must have run over the same piece of junk, because we cut that one too. Just a bad ending.”
It extended a feast-or-famine week for Grant, who was victorious Wednesday at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
“They could roll up under me on a restart, and I knew that would be the case, but we were rolling around the top and really, really good,” said Grant, who ended up two laps down. “It’s disappointing to not leave as the winner, but we were fast, they knew we were fast and we made plenty of noise.
“We’re here to prove a point and I feel like we’re proving it right now.”
– Tanner Thorson’s run as the Indiana Midget Week point leader ended abruptly on Friday night after a pair of incidents during the 30-lap main event at Bloomington.
Thorson slid off the top of the track and stalled in turn four with four laps complete, then after re-firing and continuing on, flipped wildly in turn two on the sixth revolution and landed outside the banking.
Though he was able to climb from his No. 98 Walker Performance Filtration Bullet/Toyota under his own power, Thorson’s night was over at that point.
He finished last in the 24-car field as a result.
“I’m OK, just disappointed,” Thorson said afterward. “We’ll come back and get them tomorrow.”
Thorson, who entered Bloomington with a 17-point edge on Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate Logan Seavey in the IMW standings, dropped to third in points – 29 back – due to the crash.
– Friday night’s semi-feature (B-main) looked like a normal feature lineup anywhere else on the schedule, with multiple heavy-hitters failing to transfer through their heat races at Bloomington.
Fast qualifier Ethan Mitchell, eventual A-main runner-up Logan Seavey, Brady Bacon, Shamrock Classic winner Cannon McIntosh, Jason McDougal, Zeb Wise, Zach Daum and Cole Bodine all had to race in the semi during night four of Indiana Midget Week.
Of that list, McIntosh was one spot short and missed the show altogether, while Wise and Daum both took provisionals to start the feature. Bodine had a provisional available but turned it down.
– Grant set a new 10-lap track record for USAC national midgets at Bloomington Friday, posting a time of 2:03.18 during the first heat race.
That broke Nathan Smee’s record of 2:03.38 from 2015.