BELOIT, Kan. — 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 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 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,” Grant 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.
To see full results, turn to the next page.