Thorson Wins Friday at Chili Bowl

TULSA, Okla. – Ten months ago Tanner Thorson escaped a tractor trailer crash that nearly cost him his life. On Friday night he drove to his first preliminary feature victory at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.

After climbing out of a burning race hauler that he was driving, Thorson never knew if he would race again, let alone win on midget racing’s biggest stage.

"I didn’t know if I was ever going to race again," Thorson said. "My parents didn’t tell me until two months after in a doctor’s appointment that they didn’t know if I was ever going to use my left arm again.

"It was definitely one of the hardest times of my life. Hopefully I don’t have to go through anything like that again. I pushed so hard to get better, I got out of my air boot and cast quickly, and it’s definitely breath taking to swipe through my phone and see the crash photos. I’m kind of speechless about that part of my life, and I don’t really like looking back at it."

After being injured in early March, Thorson rehabbed and was determined to return to the seat of a race car. In June, Thorson returned with Keith Kunz Motorsports and won a USAC National Midget race at the Lincoln Park Speedway in Indiana.

"It obviously it was hard time for me, and I got back to it and I won my second race out," Thorson said. "I had a couple wrecks with the midget and Silver Crown car, I took a break, but it’s awesome to come back and win again."

Winged Nation/Rip the Fence Chili Bowl Interviews

NASCAR Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. jumped out to the early lead on Friday night in Tulsa with gaggle of cars in toe, including USAC National Sprint Car Series star Chris Windom.

On Lap 14 Thorson showed his nose, a big slide job on Stenhouse showed the Cup Series veteran he meant business. But a caution followed shortly after that re-stacked the field.

On the restart Thorson threw another slider and retained the lead while Stenhouse battled with Chris Windom for second.

The caution again came out on Lap 17, this time for Stenhouse Jr., who made contact with Justin Grant. At this time it was when Ryan Bernal who threw his hat in the mix for the top spot. Out of nowhere Ryan Bernal became a contender and by Lap 20 he had sole possession of the lead.

"Honestly I went and tried it, I went to the bottom and I picked off two guys and the yellow came out,"Bernal said, "I thought they would go down there and they didn’t so I stayed down there. The car was great, every time I tried to slide Tanner he would get back around me, and I just had to stay patient."

After a few cautions, Thorson threw a massive slider on Bernal on lap 24 and went on to lead the final six laps en route to the win.

"I mean I built my car from the ground up, set it up, it’s a really good feeling to be here." Thorson said. "It’s something I really enjoy. I don’t think any of us expected this, just because the Chili Bowl has such great competition and it’s so hard. Our night went smooth, I went back to notes last year and realized that I was on the same track as last year."

After battling for the lead for the majority of the race, Chris Windom finished third and will start at the front of Saturday night’s B Main.

"It’s a good spot for tomorrow, I’m pretty disappointed we didn’t lock in with how much speed we have had with the Tucker Boat Motorsports cars. But we’ll take a podium." Windom said.

Ride with Windom at Chili Bowl

Thorson’s win is one of the biggest of his career, and the road to recovery has been a long one. To climb back in a race car 10 months after a life threatening crash and win in Tulsa is extra special.

"I’m back, I try not to worry about the last 24 hours, I’ll get back in here tomorrow and work on getting maintenance done on the cars, a lot of guys have a shot at this and never succeed so we’ll take whatever it gives us," Thorson said.


Pos Start Driver
1 5 Tanner Thorson
2 7 Ryan Bernal
3 1 Chris Windom
4 2 Tucker Klaasmeyer
5 16 Justin Allgaier
6 6 Justin Grant
7 4 Daryn Pittman
8 12 Donny Schatz
9 23 Chad Boespflug
10 10 Justin Peck
11 17 Sam Johnson
12 20 Chris Andrews
13 14 Ace McCarthy
14 8 Sam Hafertepe Jr
15 18 Jody Rosenboom
16 13 AJ Hopkins
17 24 Josh Lakatos
18 11 Andrew Layser
19 21 Maria Cofer
20 22 Steven Drevicki
21 15 Brody Roa
22 19 Josh Most
23 3 Ricky Stenhouse Jr
24 9 Bill Balog

B-Main 1 (15 Laps): 1. 72J-Sam Johnson[2]; 2. 92-Josh Most[1]; 3. 57-Maria Cofer[8]; 4. 25P-Chad Boespflug[3]; 5. 93-Dustin Morgan[13]; 6. 37X-Karter Sarff[6]; 7. 8K-Josh Hawkins[7]; 8. 7-Shannon McQueen[4]; 9. 88E-Tim Estenson[14]; 10. 22B-Troy Betts[12]; 11. 5O-Timmy Thrash[10]; 12. 20C-Conor Daly[16]; 13. (DNF) 88W-Dustin Weland[9]; 14. (DNF) 35-Ben Schmidt[15]; 15. (DNS) 19M-Ethan Mitchell; 16. (DNS) 10J-Jeffrey Newell

B-Main 2 (15 Laps): 1. 14X-Jody Rosenboom[1]; 2. 95-Chris Andrews[2]; 3. 2R-Steven Drevicki[3]; 4. 68W-Josh Lakatos[10]; 5. 37M-Matt Mitchell[9]; 6. 88-Terry Babb[8]; 7. 17R-Alex Schutte[13]; 8. 78-Raven Culp[6]; 9. 15J-David Prickett[4]; 10. 9K-Kevin Olson[5]; 11. 52F-Logan Faucon[16]; 12. 81-Colten Cottle[11]; 13. 19X-Don Droud Jr[15]; 14. 10W-Marcus Thomas[12]; 15. 11D-Colton Fisher[7]; 16. 29A-Tim Buckwalter[14]

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[2]; 2. 17S-Ricky Stenhouse Jr[5]; 3. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer[6]; 4. 28-Ace McCarthy[3]; 5. 72J-Sam Johnson[7]; 6. 15J-David Prickett[1]; 7. 9K-Kevin Olson[9]; 8. 88W-Dustin Weland[8]; 9. 19M-Ethan Mitchell[4]; 10. (DNS) 10J-Jeffrey Newell

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz[1]; 2. 21-Daryn Pittman[5]; 3. 14H-AJ Hopkins[3]; 4. 87W-Ryan Bernal[6]; 5. 7A-Justin Allgaier[4]; 6. 2R-Steven Drevicki[2]; 7. 37X-Karter Sarff[8]; 8. 57-Maria Cofer[9]; 9. 37M-Matt Mitchell[7]; 10. 10W-Marcus Thomas[10]

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 4A-Justin Grant[3]; 2. 19-Tanner Thorson[5]; 3. 5K-Justin Peck[4]; 4. 14X-Jody Rosenboom[2]; 5. 82-Andrew Layser[6]; 6. 7-Shannon McQueen[8]; 7. 78-Raven Culp[9]; 8. 11D-Colton Fisher[10]; 9. 5O-Timmy Thrash[7]; 10. 81-Colten Cottle[1]

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 89-Chris Windom[6]; 2. 7M-Brody Roa[1]; 3. 57A-Bill Balog[5]; 4. 95-Chris Andrews[2]; 5. 92-Josh Most[4]; 6. 25P-Chad Boespflug[3]; 7. 8K-Josh Hawkins[7]; 8. 88-Terry Babb[9]; 9. 68W-Josh Lakatos[10]; 10. 22B-Troy Betts[8]

C-Main 1 (12 Laps): 1. 93-Dustin Morgan[2]; 2. 88E-Tim Estenson[7]; 3. 35-Ben Schmidt[15]; 4. 20C-Conor Daly[9]; 5. 20-Tadd Holliman[13]; 6. 13A-Austin Yarbrough[6]; 7. 19U-Pierce Urbanosky[8]; 8. 1NP-Terry Nichols[5]; 9. 56X-Mark Chisholm[11]; 10. 21S-Russell Shoulders[12]; 11. 08J-Jace McIntosh[4]; 12. 42C-Chris Cochran[10]; 13. 4R-Jared McIntyre[3]; 14. 911-Waylon Weaver[14]; 15. 4C-Kyle Bellm[1]

C-Main 2 (12 Laps): 1. 17R-Alex Schutte[2]; 2. 29A-Tim Buckwalter[1]; 3. 19X-Don Droud Jr[3]; 4. 52F-Logan Faucon[6]; 5. 95T-Buddy Tubbs[9]; 6. 72C-Chris Tarrant[5]; 7. 27F-Jesse Frazier[11]; 8. 93Z-Zachary Patterson[10]; 9. 3F-Tim Barber[7]; 10. 44D-Evan Turner[8]; 11. C27-Clint Wilson[4]; 12. 17X-Kurt Stellhorn[13]; 13. 15L-Merril Lamb[12]; 14. (DNS) 84Z-Johnny Murdock; 15. (DNS) 20G-Noah Gass

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 28-Ace McCarthy[2]; 2. 14X-Jody Rosenboom[3]; 3. 81-Colten Cottle[4]; 4. 5O-Timmy Thrash[5]; 5. 84Z-Johnny Murdock[1]; 6. 19X-Don Droud Jr[6]; 7. (DNS) 17X-Kurt Stellhorn; 8. (DNS) 35-Ben Schmidt

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 19M-Ethan Mitchell[3]; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[4]; 3. 8K-Josh Hawkins[1]; 4. 72J-Sam Johnson[6]; 5. 37X-Karter Sarff[7]; 6. 10W-Marcus Thomas[8]; 7. 42C-Chris Cochran[5]; 8. 15L-Merril Lamb[2]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 7A-Justin Allgaier[3]; 2. 95-Chris Andrews[1]; 3. 19-Tanner Thorson[8]; 4. 7-Shannon McQueen[4]; 5. 29A-Tim Buckwalter[5]; 6. 1NP-Terry Nichols[6]; 7. 93Z-Zachary Patterson[2]; 8. 21S-Russell Shoulders[7]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 14H-AJ Hopkins[2]; 2. 21-Daryn Pittman[6]; 3. 92-Josh Most[7]; 4. 68W-Josh Lakatos[1]; 5. 93-Dustin Morgan[5]; 6. 88E-Tim Estenson[3]; 7. 72C-Chris Tarrant[8]; 8. 20-Tadd Holliman[4]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 89-Chris Windom[4]; 2. 15J-David Prickett[1]; 3. 37M-Matt Mitchell[3]; 4. 88-Terry Babb[2]; 5. 17R-Alex Schutte[5]; 6. 11D-Colton Fisher[8]; 7. 3F-Tim Barber[7]; 8. 20G-Noah Gass[6]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer[7]; 2. 87W-Ryan Bernal[8]; 3. 10J-Jeffrey Newell[1]; 4. 22B-Troy Betts[4]; 5. 57-Maria Cofer[6]; 6. 19U-Pierce Urbanosky[2]; 7. 95T-Buddy Tubbs[5]; 8. 911-Waylon Weaver[3]

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 4A-Justin Grant[2]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz[1]; 3. 57A-Bill Balog[8]; 4. 9K-Kevin Olson[3]; 5. 78-Raven Culp[6]; 6. 13A-Austin Yarbrough[5]; 7. 20C-Conor Daly[7]; 8. 27F-Jesse Frazier[4]

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 17S-Ricky Stenhouse Jr[4]; 2. 5K-Justin Peck[5]; 3. 2R-Steven Drevicki[6]; 4. 88W-Dustin Weland[2]; 5. 08J-Jace McIntosh[1]; 6. 52F-Logan Faucon[3]; 7. 44D-Evan Turner[7]

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 25P-Chad Boespflug[2]; 2. 82-Andrew Layser[7]; 3. 7M-Brody Roa[4]; 4. 4C-Kyle Bellm[1]; 5. 4R-Jared McIntyre[5]; 6. C27-Clint Wilson[6]; 7. 56X-Mark Chisholm[3]