By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – Tanner Thorson left Lincoln Park Speedway in a considerably situation Thursday evening compared to last year at the same time.
Thorson claimed the third round of “Indiana Midget Week at the Putnamville oval a year after he left the track in the back of an ambulance following a nasty crash during the feature. He piloted his Keith Kunz – Curb Agajanian Motorsports/TRD – JDL Audio/Bullet/Speedway Toyota into victory lane at the 5/16-mile dirt oval.
Ryan Robinson started on the pole for the 30-lap A-main with seven-time USAC National champion Bryan Clauson on the outside. Despite making just his fifth career series start, Robinson rocketed off the start and built as much as a half straightaway lead over the competition.
Six laps into the A-main, Shane Golobic spun and catapulted through the air to bring out a red flag. He was uninjured in the crash. On the re-start, Thorson bolted to the cushion and grabbed the second spot from Clauson. Thorson quickly closed the gap on Robinson and would challenge for the lead at the midway point.
Thorson threw a slider at Robinson on lap 13 heading into turn four, but Robinson crossed him up and throttled back to the lead. With the field turning up the heat, Robinson slipped the cushion in turn two as Thorson rocketed past for the lead.
The Keith Kunz stable of talented drivers added a third into the mix for the lead as Rico Abreu powered through the field after starting 18th and was up to third before sliding past Robinson for second briefly.
Abreu had a shot at the lead with eight laps remaining as he closed to Thorson’s bumper down the back stretch and cleared the leader into turn three before a caution came out. Third-place Brady Bacon came to a stop during the caution sealing a disappointing ending for the ProSource Fast Qualifier.
On the re-start, Abreu threw the haymaker at Thorson, but couldn’t stick the landing. Clauson slipped by to take over second place. Clauson closed enough to make one last ditch effort at the lead, sliding past Thorson heading into the final lap, but Thorson prevailed. Tyler Thomas made his way past Abreu for third with Spencer Bayston in fifth-place.
Clauson’s post-Indy 500 hot streak continued in his non-wing sprint car with a fourth straight victory on Thursday evening.
Clauson ripped past Shane Cockrum on the bottom with nine laps in the books and held off a charging Kevin Thomas Jr. through lapped traffic to pick up the win.
His win streak started at Kokomo Speedway with a win following his 23rd-place finish in the Indy 500 race. He followed that up with a victory two nights later at Montpelier Motor Speedway. On Wednesday evening, Clauson claimed the sprint car win on the opening night of “Indiana Midget Week” at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
Clauson and Cockrum battled wheel-to-wheel for several laps as Thomas, Kevin Studley, JJ Hughes and Chad Boespflug ran in the top-five spots.
Clauson made his move to the bottom and slipped past Cockrum and set sail up front. By lap 15, Clauson caught lapped traffic and began to work multiple lines to maintain his momentum. The Noblesville, Ind. hotshoe split a pair of lapped cars to keep the lead just before a final caution came out with five laps remaining.
When the field went green again, Clauson got a good start and was able to rebuild a comfortable cushion on his way to the win. Thomas placed second ahead of Cockrum, Boespflug and Kyle Simon in the top-five.
Wes McClara won in back-to-back weeks for the first time in his career by pulling away to victory over Doug McCullough and Chris Hillman.
The Coatsville, Ind. native started on the pole stayed out front despite multiple challenges from Hillman throughout the first 13 laps of the 20-lap A-main. McClara would gain some breathing room early on over Hillman, holding down the bottom line. Hillman jumped to the cushion and had plenty of momentum as Larry Raines and Jonathan Newgent were in tow within the top-five.
McClara pulled out to a three-car length lead over Hillman as the top-two separated from the chase pack by the halfway point. McCullough and Raines were side-by-side for a couple of laps ahead of Newgent as Steve Peeden closed on the fifth position. Just two laps later, Hillman got a good run through turns one and two to pull even with the leader on the 12th circuit.
Behind the lead duo, McCullough looked to gain ground with Raines, Newgent and Peeden briefly running three-wide ahead of Josh Boller and Steve Hawkins.
With five laps remaining, McClara began to pull away and would maintain the advantage to the checkered flag. McCullough closed in and got past Hillman to take second-place as Peeden advanced to place fourth and of Raines.
Lincoln Park Speedway
USAC National Midget Series
“Indiana Midget Week”
1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Tyler Thomas, 4. Rico Abreu, 5. Spencer Bayston, 6. Carson Macedo, 7. Steve Buckwalter, 8. Ryan Robinson, 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 10. Chad Boat, 11. Jake Neuman, 12. Ryan Greth, 13. Gage Walker, 14. Chase Johnson, 15. Holly Shelton, 16. Jimi Quin, 17. Zach Daum, 18. Tyler Nelson, 19. Brady Bacon, 20. Dave Darland, 21. Logan Jarrett, 22. David Budres, 23. Dayne Kingshott, 24. Shane Golobic.
Sprint car feature
1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3. Shane Cockrum, 4. Chad Boespflug, 5. Kyle Simon, 6. Jimmy Light, 7. Kevin Studley, 8. Chris Gurley, 9. Lee Underwood, 10. JJ Hughes, 11. Tim Creech II, 12. Brandon Morin, 13. Brandon Mattox, 14. Clinton Boyles, 15. Nate McMillin, 16. Jadon Rogers, 17. Rob Caho, 18. Michael Koontz, 19. Matt McDonald, 20. Thomas Meseraull
B-main winners: Koontz, Light
Heat winners: Cockrum, Clauson, Studley, Thomas Jr.
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Wes McClara, 2. Doug McCullough, 3. Chris Hillman, 4. Steve Peeden, 5. Larry Raines, 6. Jonathon Newgent, 7. Josh Boller, 8. Steve Hawkins, 9. James Pfeiffer Sr., 10. Paul Wright, 11. Chris Harcourt, 12. Scotty Massie, 13. Michael Clark, 14. DJ Smiley, 15. Jack Campbell, 16. Hayden Rogers, 17. Randy Brawley
Heat winners: McClara, Hillman