Kyle Larson won the opening round of Indiana Midget Week at Paragon Speedway in a wheel-banging duel with former NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Car Champion Tanner Thorson.
USAC’s format awarding points for qualifying, heats and features means every lap counts and the 3/8’s mile tracks long straights and tight turns seem purpose built for slide jobs.
Larson set quick time and a new track record (14.813 seconds) in qualifying with a healthy two tenths of a second over Rico Abreu and Michael ‘Buddy’ Kofoid. All smashing the previous record, 1985 the last time the USAC Midgets raced at the venue.
Heat race wins went to Justin Grant, Tyler Courtney, Cannon McIntosh and Kevin Thomas Jnr. Jake Swanson flipped in heat 3.
Seavey, Swanson, Ace McCarthy and Zeb Wise the top for to transfer from the C-Main to the rear of the Semi-Main. Chris Windom won the Semi from the front row with Brady Bacon, Chase Johnson, Seavey, Abreu and Jake Newman all making the Feature 30-Lap race.
Tucker-Boat Motorsport team mate to Larson, Gio Scelzi, son of 4-time NHRA Champ Gary Scelzi, paced the front row with Tanner Thorson in the Hayward Motorsports car. Ricky Stenhouse Jnr., Tanner Carrick, Kofoid and Larson occupying rows behind.
Scelzi took the lead through for the first eleven laps until Thorson made his way by for the as Larson moved past Stenhouse for 4th then Carrick for 3rd. The race was halted briefly with a red flag for Johnson who got upside down in turn two.
Upon resumption Larson set after Scelzi for 2nd and slid past Scelzi several times and kept the spot on the third attempt and looked to chase down Thorson as the race reached the half way mark.
The track now slick and the cushion at the very edge of the banking and with 9 to go another red was produced for Scelzi who inverted,coming to rest at the top of turn two. Scelzi out of the race.
At the green Larson’s attack was immediate. Flinging his car inside of Thorson, the pair feeding their cars up the black rubber laden banking. Larson behind and inside knocking into Thorson as they entered the back straight.
Larson lost car lengths and regrouped for several laps until close enough to slide again in turn one, this time Thorson turned under and feed his right rear into the proximity of Larson’s left front. More racing contact.
Larson again forced to re-gather. With 5 laps remaining he drives above the cushion into the fresh clay and angles his car inside Thorson. This time Larson has position and takes the lead after the two once again rub wheels and bumpers.
Larson going on to win by half a straight over Thorson, Stenhouse Jnr., Windom, Grant in the top five. Carrick, Courtney, Seavey, Kofoid, and Thomas Jnr. round out the top ten.
Commenting on the end of the race with Thorson and the rubbing, Larson said with a smile”He didn’t leave me much room. So when I got my opportunity I didn’t leave him any at all.”
“I tried to get it away from him but he gave it back and that’s what this racing is all about” said a positive Thorson at the podium.
Current 3NZ Zeb Wise of Angola, California flipped hard in qualifying and failed to register a time. This forced him to start at the back of his heat race where he finished less than a car length from a transfer position. After putting on a great drive in the C-Main from the rear to the top 4 ended his run 14th in the B-Main.
Logan Seavey was the hard charger of the night. His car failed to fire during qualifying and a 5th place in his heat race saw the Californian native start 15th and last in the 10-Lap C-Main which he won to start near the rear of the 12-Lap Semi-Feature where he finished 4th. From 22nd in the feature the defending Midget Week Champion came home in 8th showing both grit and pace.
Current Indiana Midget Week Top 10 In Points after round 1 of 6:
Kyle Larson 83
Tanner Thorson 75
Ricky Stenhouse Jnr. 71
Chris Windom 65
Justin Grant 65
Tanner Carrick 65
Tyler Courtney 60
Buddy Kofoid 55
Kevin Thomas Jnr. 51
Logan Seavey 50
Indiana Midget Week Round 2 takes place at Gas City I-69 Speedway on Wednesday 17th (Thursday 18th NZ Time).
New Zealand International Midget test team member Max Guilford campaigns the Goodnight Motorsport Claxton Chevy-Maxim non-wing Sprint Car throughout Midget Week. He was able to win his heat race after passing for the lead and ripping the topside earning a 3rd place starting spot in the 25-Lap Feature where he finished 9th.
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