BELLEVILLE, Ill. — By the time the checkered flag waved with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League, Tanner Thorson stood on the frontstretch taking the win in POWRi’s sixth annual Illinois SPEED Week opener at Belle-Clair Speedway.
Thorson’s win at Belle-Clair is his seventh win during Illinois SPEED Week competition, adding to his hefty edge over Michael Pickens, the next closest with three Illinois SPEED Week wins.
Starting ninth, Thorson charged through the field, quickly working his way towards the front to challenge for the lead. Eventually chasing down Ryan Robinson, and brief race leader Alex Bright, Thorson overtook the lead on lap 13 after swapping slide jobs with Robinson and Bright for the lead.
Approaching Thorson’s takeover, Alex Bright briefly held the lead on lap 12 after pushing past Robinson. However, Thorson who had closed on the duo as they battled, drove right by Bright and into the lead, leaving the rest of the field to jockey for position.
Riding high on the tall Belle-Clair Speedway curb, Thorson methodically worked his way through lapped traffic as the clock wound down, lapping up to the 11th position. Bright captured the second position, after Ryan Robinson threw a last corner slide job for position and after contact, was upside down coming to the checkered flag.
Karter Sarff rounded out the podium after impressively driving to third, after starting 23rd by virtue of provisional. Polesitter Terry Babb finished fourth with Logan Seavey in fifth.
“This team has worked their tails off to get this badass piece out here,” said Thorson. “We ran USAC midget week and we probably should have walked away with a couple wins. This car is showing all the speed it has and tonight it definitely had a lot. I love the crowd here and I love this place. I think I’ve won five straight races here now. This place is awesome. I can’t thank my whole team enough.”
“We had a really good car there early on, but when the track slicked off we were a little loose and struggled a little bit,” stated Bright. “But, helluva job to Tanner and Ryan Robinson there up until that last lap. Running with these guys, we figured something out and went back to our old ways. I just want to thank everybody that came out tonight and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Tanner Thorson, Alex Bright, Karter Sarff, Terry Babb, Logan Seavey, Jake Neuman, Tanner Carrick, Andy Malpocker, Shane Cockrum, Ryan Robinson, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Adrew Felker, Cannon McIntosh, Kaleb Currie, Joey Wirth, Dalton Camfield, Presley Truedson, Zach Daum, Austin Brown, Nick Knepper, Zeb Wise, Joe B. Miller, Tyler Thomas.