By Lonnie Wheatley
BELOIT, Kan. (July 15, 2021) – After sitting dormant for three years, the Solomon Valley Raceway was revived on Thursday night.
And after a Wednesday night postponement due to rain, the North Central Kansas bullring offered up an epic USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series feature event with Minden, Nevada native Tanner Thorson taking command in the closing rounds for his third series win of the year in the second leg of USAC’s “Mid-America Midget Week”.
After current series points leader Buddy Kofoid paced the opening half of the 30-lapper, young gun Emerson Axsom raced into the lead only to surrender the point to Thorson with a handful of laps to go.
Thorson weathered a final red flag with two laps to go to drive the Stanton SRX-11 powered Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports No. 19T AME Electrical/The Healing Tree Spike-chassis to the checkered flag ahead of Axsom and Justin Grant.
“I saw Buddy and then Emerson kinda messing up on the top, the top got super treacherous and I kinda set my car to be able run the bottom to middle and slide myself,” Thorson explained. “I eventually started getting lower and lower and it started wearing off where I could carry more speed off the corner.”
Thorson gridded the feature in fifth as Kofoid fought off some early bids from Cannon McIntosh for the point. Kofoid stayed in command until a caution at the midway point when Axsom charged into the lead as Kofoid got shuffled back several positions.
Thorson kept the pressure on Axsom after a lap 22 caution for McIntosh’s excursion off turn two and then finally slid his way into the lead exiting turn four on the 26th round to take command. One final red flag flew after a Kylee Bryson tumble on the frontstretch before Thorson put the $4,000 victory in the books.
While Thorson notched his first “Chad McDaniel Memorial” win, Axsom settled for runner-up honors in the Petry Motorsports Toyota-powered FK Rod Ends No. 15, commenting that, “He (Thorson) made me lift, in Midgets that’s kind of what you have the option to do. I felt like we gave one away.”
Rounding out the podium for the second time in as many nights of Mid-America Midget Week was Grant in the RMS Racing Toyota-powered NOS Energy Drink No. 2J from the ninth starting position. “I’ve been burying us pretty good in these features and having to take chunks when I can,” the Ione, CA, native explained.
Kofoid settled for fourth after leading the opening 16 laps with Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate and Rookie of the Year contender Bryant Wiedeman rounding out the top five. Chris Windom raced from 13th to sixth after heat race woes with 17th-starter Logan Seavey, Zach Daum, Ryan Timms and New Zealand’s Hayden Williams completing the top ten.
Thomas Meseraull opened the night by setting the standard of 12.223-seconds in qualifying only to have things run afoul. After missing the transfer in his heat race, Meseraull was second in the “B” Main until the final corner only to be collected by a lapped car. And after utilizing a provisional for the feature, a skirmish a handful of laps in brought an early end to the night.
Grant, Axsom, Ethan Mitchell and Brenham Crouch topped heat race action with Daison Pursley besting the 12-lap “B” Main.
USAC’s “Mid-America Midget Week” continues on with the Midwest Midget Championship at Fairbury, Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway on Friday and Saturday.
Solomon Valley Raceway – Beloit, Kan.
USAC NOS Energy Drink Midgets “Tenth Chad McDaniel Memorial” Results – July 15, 2021
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, RMS-12.223; 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5, Petry-12.247; 3. Tanner Thorson, 19T, Reinbold/Underwood-12.248; 4. Cannon McIntosh, 08, Dave Mac-12.301; 5. Daison Pursley, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.320; 6. Kaylee Bryson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.331; 7. Ryan Timms, 85T, CBI-12.334; 8. Chris Windom, 89, CBI-12.348; 9. Bryant Wiedeman, 01, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.357; 10. Buddy Kofoid, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.358; 11. Jerry Coons Jr., 85, Central-12.371; 12. Zach Daum, 9m, Bundy Built-12.372; 13. Jason McDougal, 4, Klatt-12.374; 14. Emerson Axsom, 15, Petry-12.391; 15. Jake Bubak, 27B, Bourke-12.398; 16. Logan Seavey, 25, Malloy-12.424; 17. Hayden Williams, 1NZ, BSL-12.425; 18. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-12.427; 19. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-12.446; 20. Chase Randall, 19A, Reinbold/Underwood-12.455; 21. Justin Grant, 2J, RMS-12.484; 22. Kyle Jones, 7u, Tri-Fecta-12.506; 23. Trey Gropp, 00, Mounce/Stout-12.514; 24. Brenham Crouch, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.574; 25. Keith Rauch, 27, Bourke-12.591; 26. Kyler Johnson, 45x, KJR-12.653; 27. Sam Johnson, 72J, Johnson-12.697; 28. Travis Buckley, 7NZ, BLS-12.752; 29. Hayden Reinbold, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-12.797; 30. Brett Becker, 2B, Becker-13.044; 31. Corey Joyner, 11H, Joyner-13.610; 32. Ryan Padgett, 84J, Shapel-13.649; 33. Shaun Shapel, 84s, Shapel-13.833; 34. Blake Spicer, 4s, John-14.797; 35. J.R. Ewing, 2c, Ewing-15.699.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Jason McDougal, 3. Hayden Williams, 4. Bryant Wiedeman, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Daison Pursley, 7. Hayden Reinbold, 8. Keith Rauch, 9. Shaun Shapel. 2:05.77
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Emerson Axsom, 2. Buddy Kofoid, 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 4. Kaylee Bryson, 5. Kyle Jones, 6. Shannon McQueen, 7. Kyler Johnson, 8. Brett Becker, 9. Blake Spicer. NT
INDY METAL FINISHING THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Ethan Mitchell, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Trey Gropp, 4. Jake Bubak, 5. Jerry Coons Jr., 6. Sam Johnson, 7. Ryan Timms, 8. Corey Joiner, 9. J.R. Ewing. 2:05.09
INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Brenham Crouch, 2. Logan Seavey, 3. Zach Daum, 4. Cannon McIntosh, 5. Chase Randall, 6. Travis Buckley, 7. Chris Windom, 8. Ryan Padgett. 2:05.61
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Daison Pursley, 2. Ryan Timms, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Chase Randall, 5. Shannon McQueen, 6. Kyle Jones, 7. Sam Johnson, 8. Keith Rauch, 9. Hayden Reinbold, 10. Kyler Johnson, 11. Travis Buckley, 12. Brett Becker, 13. Thomas Meseraull, 14. Corey Joyner, 15. Shaun Shapel, 16. J.R. Ewing, 17. Ryan Padgett, 18. Jerry Coons Jr. 2:32.00 (New Track Record)
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tanner Thorson (5), 2. Emerson Axsom (7), 3. Justin Grant (9), 4. Buddy Kofoid (1), 5. Bryant Wiedeman (2), 6. Chris Windom (13), 7. Logan Seavey (17), 8. Zach Daum (14), 9. Ryan Timms (12), 10. Hayden Williams (18), 11. Brenham Crouch (10), 12. Chase Randall (20), 13. Kevin Thomas Jr. (6), 14. Ethan Mitchell (8), 15. Jake Bubak (16), 16. Cannon McIntosh (4), 17. Trey Gropp (22), 18. Kyle Jones (21), 19. Shannon McQueen (19), 20. Kaylee Bryson (3), 21. Daison Pursley (11), 22. Jason McDougal (15), 23. Thomas Meseraull (23-P). NT
P represents a provisional starter
**Thomas Meseraull flipped during the semi. Kaylee Bryson flipped on lap 29 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-16 Buddy Kofoid, Laps 17-25 Emerson Axsom, Laps 26-30 Tanner Thorson.