From Lonnie Wheatley
FAIRBURY, Neb. (August 1, 2017) – The reigning USAC Midget National champion had been denied victory lane in series competition thus far in 2017.
Tanner Thorson fixed that on Tuesday night by racing to victory lane in the 40-lap “Riverside Chevrolet Tuesday Night Thunder at Jefferson County Speedway presented by Westin Packaged Meats and Schmidt’s Sanitation” before a capacity crowd on hand to watch the wild racing action atop the 1/5-mile clay oval.
While Thorson enjoyed Midget honors, Frank Galusha captured accompanying JayHusker Non-Wing Micro Sprint honors for the second year in a row.
In the event that kicked off this year’s road to this weekend’s Belleville Midget Nationals, the Minden, Nevada racer overcame early adversity by rallying from the tail to win his heat race after his Keith Kunz Racing mount stalled on the original start.
Securing the third starting position aboard the Toyota-powered KKM/Curb Motorsports No. 67 entry, Thorson spent much of the race chasing Tyler Thomas for the point before finally battling past for the lead soon after the race’s first caution after 23 laps en route to the $3,000 victory.
“The track got really technical there towards the end,” Thorson said in victory lane. “I’m just glad I could get this win for my guys, they always give me a great car. This is a fun track to race at, we had some problems with it last year but made up for it this time.”
With Thorson in chase mode early, Inaugural “Tuesday Night Thunder” runner-up Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, OK, was looking to improve his finish by one position from his front row starting position.
And, after fending off some early bids from Thorson, Thomas stretched out his advantage aboard the BT Machine No. 91T as he rallied around lapped traffic with ease on the top side, all the while leaving Thorson to fend off the advances of Shane Golobic for the second position.
But when the caution first flew for Justin Grant’s stalled machine outside turns three and four after 23 laps, it proved to be Thomas’ undoing.
Thorson slid for the lead on the restart, only to have Thomas fight off the challenge. It was shortlived though, as Thorson made the move stick the next time around.
Once out front, there was no stopping Thorson as Thomas was left to battle it out over the closing rounds with the likes of Golobic and the surging fellow Oklahoma duo of Brady Bacon and Christopher Bell.
A final caution with three laps to go offered a glimmer of hope to Golobic, who had climbed to second, but Bacon’s late advances on the bottom side resulted in side-by-side battles that set Thorson free for keeps.
While Thorson secured his first USAC National triumph of the season, Bacon worked his way to second in the final rounds with Thomas earning “Tuesday Night Thunder” podium honors for the second year in a row with a third-place finish. Golobic slipped back to fourth in the final circuits with Bell rounding out the top five.
Series: USAC National Midgets
Track: Jefferson County Speedway (Fairbury, NE)
Car Count: 33
Quick Time: Chad Boat (11.105 seconds)
Qualifying Moments: The first car to take time, defending race winner Chad Boat set a standard of 11.105 seconds that couldn’t be matched the remaining 31 cars. He was one of five that were quicker than the track record of 11.354 seconds established by Brady Bacon last year.
Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses): Tucker Klaasmeyer (3), Jerry Coons, Jr. (3), Christopher Bell (5), Tanner Thorson (6).
Heat Moments: After three failed attempts to get the first heat going, Klaasmeyer held off Tyler Thomas and Chad Boat for the win while Tyler Courtney rebounded from a spin on the original start to take the fourth and final transfer; It was all Jerry Coons, Jr., all the time in heat two; Christopher Bell decimated the field in heat three as Clinton Boyles held off Chett Gehrke for fourth; After sliding to a stop before getting to the green flag on the original start, Tanner Thorson rallied from the tail to take the lead away from Ryan Robinson with two to go as Keith Kunz entrants Thorson, Spencer Bayston and Robinson ran one-two-three.
“B” Main Winner (starting position in parentheses): Chett Gehrke (1).
“B” Main Moments: Bob Harr hit the wall exiting turn four and flipped across the line in the fifth of six transfer positions; John Klabunde took his starting position as an alternate.
Best Supporting Role: Frank Galusha gets it done for the second year in a row with the JayHusker Non-Wing Micro Sprint win.
“A” Main Cautions: Three
23 Laps – Justin Grant ducks off the backstretch, taking Christopher Bell with him. Bell continues but loses a pair of positions back to sixth by the time the caution flies for Grant’s stalled machine off turn three.
29 Laps – Brayton Lynch spins it in turn four and collects Tyler Nelson. Nelson exits, but Lynch isn’t done.
37 Laps – Lynch sets up one last dash to the stripe after stalling it in turn two.
Hard Charger: Jerry Coons, Jr., gets the nod after climbing six spots from his 14th starting position to finish eighth.
The Assists: Along with “Tuesday Night Thunder” title sponsor Riverside Chevrolet and presenting sponsors Westin Packaged Meats and Schmidt’s Sanitation, other local sponsors that are making “Tuesday Night Thunder” possible include Chappell Roofing, Fairbury Chamber of Commerce, Starr Plumbing, X-CEL NDT, Side Trek Bar and Grill, Ol’ Red 99.5, Pollman Appliance, Z-Four Trucking, Vaughn Contracting, Criner’s Corner and Jefferson County Visitors Committee.
A number of National and Racing Industry sponsors are making the event possible as well, including Speedway Motors, Rod End Supply, Budweiser, Eagle Motorsports Inc., Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Hepfner Racing Products, Spike Chassis and Shell Shock Helmet Painting.
The Box Score…
Qualifying: 1. 84-Chad Boat 11.105, 2. 39bc-Justin Grant 11.149, 3. 76m-Brady Bacon 11.155, 4. 67-Tanner Thorson 11.305, 5. 91T-Tyler Thomas 11.344, 6. 17w-Shane Golobic 11.432, 7. 21-Christopher Bell 11.457, 8.97-Spencer Bayston 11.475, 9. 7bc-Tyler Courtney 11.508, 10. 71-Ryan Robinson 11.528, 11. 67k-Holly Shelton 11.528, 12. 71k-Tanner Carrick 11.577, 13. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer 11.625, 14. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr. 11.633, 15. 11c-Chett Gehrke 11.647, 16. 1k-Brayton Lynch 11.817, 17. 69-Paul Babich 11.913, 18. 77-John Klabunde 11.948, 19. 98-Clinton Boyles 12.050, 20. 7-Troy Simpson 12.055, 21. 47-Tyler Nelson 12.056, 22. 7u-Joe B. Miller 12.085, 23. 10-Lance Bennett 12.221, 24. 91s-Jeff Stasa 12.126, 25. 20-Collin Rinehart 12.205, 26. 2-Bob Harr 12.214, 27. 85-Matt Johnson 12.254, 28. 11cw-Glenn Waterland 12.668, 29. 2g-Terry Goodwin 12.719, 30. 43-Ryan Oerter 12.759, 31. 48-Randy Oerter 13.116, 32. 16-Ashley Oerter 14.038, 33. 5J-Jeff Crook NT.
Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 2. 91T-Tyler Thomas, 3. 84-Chad Boat, 4. 7bc-Tyler Courtney, 5. 47-Tyler Nelson, 6. 69-Paul Babich, 7. 20-Collin Rinehart, 8. 2g-Terry Goodwin. DNS: 5J-Jeff Crook.
Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr., 2. 17w-Shane Golobic, 3. 39bc-Justin Grant, 4. 71-Ryan Robinson, 5. 2-Bob Harr, 6. 77-John Klabunde, 7. 7u-Joe B. Miller, 8. 43-Ryan Oerter.
Heat Three (10 Laps): 1.21-Christopher Bell, 2. 76m-Brady Bacon, 3. 67k-Holly Shelton, 4. 98-Clinton Boyles, 5. 11c-Chett Gehrke, 6. 85-Matt Johnson, 7. 48-Randy Oerter. DNS: 10-Lance Bennett.
Heat Four (10 Laps): 1. 67-Tanner Thorson, 2. 39-Spencer Bayston, 3. 71k-Tanner Carrick, 4. 1k-Brayton Lynch, 5. 91s-Jeff Stasa, 6. 7-Troy Simpson, 7. 11cw-Glenn Waterland, 8. 16-Ashley Oerter.
“B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 11c-Chett Gehrke, 2. 7u-Joe B. Miller, 3. 47-Tyler Nelson, 4. 69-Paul Babich, 5. 2-Bob Harr, 6. 91s-Jeff Stasa, 7. 77-John Klabunde, 8. 7-Troy Simpson, 9. 2g-Terry Goodwin, 10. 11cw-Glenn Waterland, 11. 48-Randy Oerter, 12. 20-Collin Rinehart, 13. 16-Ashley Oerter, 14. 85-Matt Johnson, 15. 43-Ryan Oerter. DNS: 10-Lance Bennett, 5J-Jeff Crook.
“A” Feature (40 Laps): 1. 67-Tanner Thorson (3), 2. 76m-Brady Bacon (4), 3. 91T-Tyler Thomas (2), 4. 17w-Shane Golobic (1), 5. 21-Christopher Bell (7), 6. 97-Spencer Bayston (8), 7. 7bc-Tyler Courtney (9), 8. 25-Jerry Coons, Jr. (14), 9. 71-Ryan Robinson (10), 10. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer (13), 11. 84-Chad Boat (6), 12. 67k-Holly Shelton (11), 13. 71k-Tanner Carrick (12), 14. 7u-Joe B. Miller (20), 15. 98-Clinton Boyles (18), 16. 1k-Brayton Lynch (16), 17. 11c-Chett Gehrke (15), 18. 69-Paul Babich (17), 19. 91s-Jeff Stasa (21), 20. 77-John Klabunde (22), 21. 47-Tyler Nelson (19), 22. 39bc-Justin Grant (5).
Lap Leaders: Tyler Thomas 1-24, Tanner Thorson 25-30.