by POWRi & Rocky Ragusa | Results
After a relatively quiet start to POWRi Illinois SPEED Week for Tanner Thorson, the driver returned to victory lane with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League for his first 2017 win, this time for night number two of POWRi Illinois SPEED Week at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. The Minden, Nevada native started fifth and quickly worked his way towards the front, battling early on with Auckland, New Zealand’s Michael Pickens, POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League Rookie of the Year candidate, Zeb Wise, and Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Rico Abreu.
After an early race yellow, Thorson capitalized on the slowdown to snag the lead from Pickens, however Thorson’s early race lead was short lived as Zeb Wise took the lead the following lap, holding on just long enough before swapping positions with Abreu. Setting a blistering pace, Abreu led Wise and Thorson for the next 13 laps until Wise brought out the red after catching the turn two wall and taking a tumble while running second.
Inheriting the second position, Thorson had six laps remaining to tackle Abreu for the lead. Patiently waiting until the last lap, Thorson had fans on the edge of their seats waiting to see if he would try to make a move going into turn one or wait until the last corner. Heading down the backstretch, it was apparent that Thorson had saved his best move for last as he dove to the bottom of turns three and four, sliding Abreu for the lead. Trying to return the slide job, Abreu made contact with Pickens, causing Abreu to fall back to fourth, while Thorson went on to win the Mesilla Valley Transportation feature event. Pickens took second, while Spencer Bayston quietly took third, rebounding after a hard flip at the Dirt Oval at Route 66 the previous night.
“My guys just gave me a badass car,” said Tanner Thorson. “It started to lay rubber right there and my car was able to hang on the best. I was just waiting for the last lap to see if I could get a run there on Rico. I’d lose it here and there, but we were able to stay there on the last lap and go for it. To be able to win tonight is very rewarding.”
“Our car was just better there on the long run,” commented Michael Pickens. “It started to lay rubber there and then we got really good. We struggled early and just didn’t have enough speed, but we were there at the end.”
“It was a tough night last night, but we had a good racecar last night and another good car tonight,” Spencer Bayston stated. “It built some rubber there and I was a lot better in the long run, but when we got that caution there on the restart, I wasn’t as strong as I needed to be.”
After a lengthy absence, Sprint Cars returned to the Fairbury American Legion Speedway with the Lucas Oil POWRi WAR Sprint Car Series. After a caution with four laps to go in the 25-lap race, Mario Clouser trailed Kevin Thomas Jr. On the last lap, Clouser had a good run heading down the backstretch as he looked for the lead. Clouser made contact with Thomas Jr. Third running Korey Weyant proved to be in the right spot at the right time and led the final 100 yards for the $2,000 win. Slater Helt, Joe B. Miller, Bret Tripplett, Andy Baugh, Logan Faucon, Dustin Smith, Steve Thomas, Thomas Jr., and Clouser completed the top ten. Mitch Wissmiller and Smith took heat race wins.
Mitchell Davis led flag to flag in the 25-lap POWRi Division II Midget race for his first win of the year. Aaron Schuck started 10th and rallied for second. Following the duo were Brent Burrows, Shane Morgan, Andy Baugh, Josh Thomas, Andy Malpocker, Broc Hunnell, Johnny Murdock, and Brandon Smith. Morgan and Davis won heat races.
The night’s racing action ended with a 25-lap Modified feature. Ray Bollinger, the current UMP national points leader, led flag to flag in winning the $1,000 top prize. For Bollinger, it was his first ever win at Fairbury. Allen Weisser made several attempts to take the lead but fell short and settled for second. Kenny Wallace, Mike McKinney, Danny Schwartz, Jeff Curl, Tommy Duncan, Nick Clubb, Jeffrey Ledford, and Chad Rockefeller completed the top ten. Ledford set fast time at a 14.473. Bollinger, McKinney, and Wallace won heat races.