INDIANAPOLIS – Tanner Thorson will return full time to the NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series this year, driving for Clyde Lamar’s Tri-C Motorsports.
The 2016 titlist will begin his run at another crown when the series makes its season debut Feb. 8-9 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., for Winter Dirt Games X.
Thorson, of Minden, Nev., owns 12 career USAC National Midget feature wins and ran just a handful of shows last season. He finished in the top-five twice, including a second place run at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, in only five starts.
Last year, Thorson focused on his duties in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, where he made 11 starts, and in Lamar’s winged sprint car out west. However, the pull of midget racing lured him back in, both because of his driving style and because that’s where the majority of his success has come since driving for Keith Kunz in 2013.
Thorson made 92 USAC midget starts for Kunz’s team and finished in the top five in 42 of those appearances.
“I feel like midget racing translates to my driving style a lot better than just about anything I run,” Thorson explained. “I love running wingws cars and I feel like we’re really fast there, but there’s something about a midget that has my heart, just like Christopher (Bell), Kyle (Larson) and Rico (Abreu). They love to get back and run them.
“It helps when you have a fast car to get back into; it helps the mindset a little bit and just makes it easier in the long run.”
Thorson’s bid for a NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series title comes on the heels of a top-10 run in Lamar’s No. 3c at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., earlier this month. There, Thorson felt he and the team made big strides, building off what they developed throughout their debut season a year ago.
“Lee (Lindgren) and I have already created some chemistry as far as him being my crew chief,” Thorson said. “We worked together back in 2015 on a sprint car deal and I think that’s part of why everything clicked so well right off the bat last year with the sprint and midget.”
Thorson credits the base of knowledge that has helped him get acclimated with Lamar to his run with the Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian team from 2013 to 2017.
“Racing for Keith (Kunz) for five years and Rusty (Kunz) at the Chili Bowl, and a couple races after that, definitely helped with the midget side of our team to start off with a fast car,” Thorson noted. “I feel like having the time with those guys and them teaching me has done a lot.”