JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – Tanner Thorson continued his recent hot streak by taking opening night of the Shaheen’s Super Weekend at Jacksonville Speedway, claiming his third POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series victory of 2015 Friday night.
While Bryan Clauson started on the pole of the 30 lap feature event, it would be Justin Peck from the second position getting the jump off turn four for the initial lead.
Setting a solid pace reminiscent of his Spoon River victory, Peck’s stride would be slowed with four laps in the books as Ryan Robinson would get upside down in turn three, collecting Terry Babb. Coming back to green, Peck would go right back to rim-riding the slick quarter mile with Clauson in tow. Entering turn three, Clauson would dive to the bottom as the duo began to exchange the top position, until Clauson would barely edge ahead for lap seven.
One lap later, Austin Prock would get into the turn one wall, resulting in Kyle Schuett making contact and spinning around, collecting Alex Sewell in the process. With both drivers lined back up at the tail end of the field, Clauson would show the way as both he and Peck would rip the cushion.
On lap 11 the red flag would fly after Peck went in deep for the slide job, ending with the Duracoat Products-Esslinger-powered DRC No. 5X hopping up the track and into the No. 91T driven by Tyler Thomas, sending the BT Machine-Esslinger-powered Spike for a ride, collecting Zach Daum.
Returning back to green, Clauson would take the green, only to lose power off turn four coming back around and appear to start to pull off the track, but making the last-minute decision to stay on the track, making contact with Thomas Messeraul sending the 5ive-6ix, Inc. Esslinger-powered Triple X for a ride into the turn one wall. Messeraul would collect Tucker Klaasmeyer, Austin Prock and Kevin Thomas, Jr.
Inheriting the lead, Darren Hagen would lead the field back to green with Tanner Thorson in tow, followed by Spencer Bayston. On lap 14, Rico Abreu would move in the third position, but it wouldn’t be until lap 20 for Thorson’s Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Toyota-powered Bullet to power around the outside of Hagen exiting turn two for the lead.
Even with lap traffic, Hagen would be unable to get within striking distance of Thorson to challenge for the lead. Abreu would bring home third, while Spencer Bayston finished fourth. Daum would finish fifth after coming from the tail due to an early race incident with 11 laps complete.
“I can’t thank this team enough,” said Thorson. “They work their butts off. Keith was unable to make it tonight, but Big Al, Pete, and Chuckie gave me an awesome car to take home the win. Every time we’ve been here, I seem to lead every single lap until the last five laps and then Rico and Bell get by me every single time. We were able to start in the back tonight and win and that’s pretty cool.”
“I’ve got to thank everybody here on my race team,” said Hagen. “Without this team, I wouldn’t be here. This is my seventh midget championship. It’s been a lot of fun with this race team. It’s one of the most fun I’ve been a part of. ”
“Hat’s off to Tanner, he drove his butt off,” said Abreu. “Congratulations to Darren on his championship. We just need to start a little farther up front in these races. It’s pretty difficult to start run the cushion there at the end, but all in all, it was a good night.”
Tanner Thorson, Darren Hagen, Rico Abreu, Spencer Bayston, Zach Daum, Daniel Robinson, Andy Malpocker, Payton Pierce, Austin Brown, Andrew Felker, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Alex Sewell, Kyle Schuett, Keith Rauch, Austin Prock, Justin Peck, Bryan Clauson, Tyler Thomas, Thomas Messeraul, Kevin Thomas Jr., Terry Babb, Ryan Robinson.