Pickens Runs Down Thorson At Gas City

On night two of Indiana Midget Week

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Michael Pickens (1) races under Tanner Thorson Thursday at Gas City (Ind.) I-69 Speedway. (Jim DenHamer photo)

GAS CITY, Ind. — Michael Pickens passed fellow Toyota driver Tanner Thorson on lap 26 of 30 and went on to win the second night of USAC Indiana Midget Week Wednesday night at the Gas City I-69 Speedway.

Pickens, who won the POWRi Illinois Speed Week championship last week, earned his third win and sixth podium in seven races over the past eight days.  Combining with a second-place finish on Tuesday, he now has taken over the Indiana Midget Week point lead.

Toyota-powered cars led all 30 laps of the action-packed feature and it was Thorson who got the early jump from the outside of row one.  After a pair of cautions, Thorson maintained the top spot until lap seven when Rico Abreu moved past his teammate to take over first-place.

Abreu paced the race through the midway point with Thorson, Kyle Larson, Brady Bacon and Pickens settling into the top five.  The action intensified on lap 20 as Thorson made a move for the lead, eventually going three-wide with Abreu and Larson before re-claiming the top spot.

Larson would spin to bring out a caution and shortly after the restart, Pickens would split Abreu and Bacon to climb from fourth to second on lap 22 and begin his pursuit of Thorson. Finally, on lap 26 Pickens would make his move past Thorson to take a lead that he would never relinquish. Bacon would win the fight for second, with Thorson dropping to third, followed by Abreu and Bayston in fourth and fifth, respectively.

“I couldn’t be happier, not only for our crew and car owners, but for the 350 awesome sponsors who helped us get here, thank you for believing in me,” said Pickens, who’s backers helped raise more than $25,000 to bring his team to the U.S. for 11 races. “We had to come from the B Main tonight after things didn’t go our way in our heat race, which meant rather than starting third we had to start seventh, then we were late on the grid so were relegated two rows and had to start 11th. Our car got better and better as the race went on, and we made the pass for the lead with four laps remaining. This is a dream come true, let’s hope we can keep the momentum rolling.”

Kyle Larson was the fast qualifier for the 41-car field.

Kevin Thomas Jr. won the companion sprint car feature.

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