Thorson Makes A Move To Winged Sprints

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Tanner Thorson won Friday's POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature at Lincoln Speedway. (POWRi Photo)
Tanner Thorson won Friday's POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature at Lincoln Speedway. (POWRi Photo)
USAC Midget and POWRi racing star Tanner Thorson will make his winged sprint-car debut this year. (POWRi Photo)

MINDEN, Nev. – Tanner Thorson hoped he could make a move to the sprint car ranks before too much time passed. His dream has already become a reality.

Thorson told SPEED SPORT on Tuesday that he has aligned with California car customizer Richie Rich and Mike Juarez to race 410 sprint cars this year.

The 18-year-old USAC Honda National Midget Series standout will spend much of his time racing in California, but hopes to make some starts in the Midwest. If all goes well, Thorson said, he’ll also race at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway this year.

The sprint car opportunity presented itself after several months of discussions that came to fruition.

“Mike has always wanted me to run a car for them,” Thorson said. “They got me some sprint car stuff, I found out, and ever since, we’ve been trying to get stuff going.”

Thorson’s midget racing schedule is yet to be decided.

Rich and Juarez built an Outlaw kart for Thorson to drive in Red Bluff, Calif. He said his biggest challenge will be facing a lack of seat time.

“I’m just relieved that some people have some faith in me despite not having (winged sprint car) experience,” said Thorson, who expects to get some time in at Marysville (Calif.) Raceway Park before racing.

“It’s pretty cool to have people like Richie think I can do it. I’m a race car driver, so I think I’ll pick it up pretty fast. It’s just about getting seat time.”

Some of Thorson’s sprint-car education will come from the sport’s highest ranks.

He’s planning on making several World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series starts when the Outlaws visit California. Thorson’s ultimate goal is to join the Outlaw tour on a full-time basis – something he’s already discussed with Rich.

Thorson, who won a pair of POWRi Midget Series races last season, said he felt a mix of excitement and nervousness when the deal finally came together.

“It was a good nervous feeling, though,” he added. “I was kind of pumped for it. It wasn’t a feeling that I wasn’t sure if I could do it or not. It was just like, ‘I can’t believe this is actually happening right now.’ I’m really excited to get this thing going.

“It’s a cool deal.”