PUTNAMVILLE, Ind. — Heat, emotion and intensity were the ingredients in a dramatic ending to Thursday night‘s USAC NOS Energy Drink Indiana Sprint Week By AMSOIL feature at Lincoln Park Speedway as Tanner Thorson defeated C.J. Leary.
A last-lap caution set up a green-white-checkered finish that Thorson utilized for one last shot. On the lap-30 restart, Thorson slid from the bottom of turn one up toward the top of turn two while Leary occupied the high side, nestled snugly against the cushion.
Leary‘s car biked on the curb, getting both left side wheels airborne before landing on all fours and skidding at the exit atop the second turn. Thorson raced underneath to take over the lead while Chris Windom followed suit to second, although Leary briefly returned to the runner-up spot on the 31st and final lap before Windom retook the spot off turn two.
Thorson, who had earlier posted his second Fatheadz Eyewear fast qualifying time of Indiana Sprint Week, led just the final two laps in his Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports/AME Electrical — CSI — Mesilla Valley Transportation/Spike/Stanton Chevy.
He finished 0.707 seconds ahead of Windom, with Leary, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Logan Seavey following.
The victory snapped Seavey‘s three-race winning streak.
As Thorson came to a stop to celebrate, Leary put his foot down, quite literally, on the nose of Thorson‘s car. Immediately, Thorson rose from his seat and the two exchanged blunt words, muffled only by the protection of their head sock and helmet, while also gesturing their displeasure with one antother.
Just as Seavey did last Sunday at Lawrenceburg, Thorson followed up his June Indiana Midget Week feature score at Lincoln Park with an Indiana Sprint Week win at the same venue in July. Thorson became fourth driver to earn both victories at the same track in the same season, joining Seavey, Jerry Coons Jr. at Kamp Motor Speedway in 2007 and Bryan Clauson at Bloomington Speedway in 2013.
“I was going to apologize to C.J. for cutting it close, but he did the same thing at Path Valley,” Thorson said. “I was just kind of waiting for him to (make a mistake). He just kept getting tighter and tighter on the top. He probably could‘ve crossed me back over, been back in the lead and won the damn thing. Hats off to my guys. (Crew chief Tyler Ransbottom) has been working really, really hard to get me more and more comfortable. This 19AZ is on rails. It‘s clicking.”
Leary led 23 laps and finished third.
“We had the fastest car,” Leary said. “Tanner Thorson, no respect. He drives everybody in the midget ranks like that and he‘s beginning to drive everybody in the sprint car ranks like that. Us sprint car drivers ain‘t going to buy that.”
Thorson started his 30-lap race from the sixth position. Up front for the first six laps of the race was polesitter Cole Bodine, only interrupted by the first terse interaction of the feature on lap four when Robert Ballou and Justin Grant contacted each other for the 10th position, sending Grant spinning to a stop.
Windom drove from 11th to finish second.
“I don‘t know what those two did,” Windom said. “I was coming across the bottom when I saw those two up there together. I wanted to try to throw a bomb on both of them but I kind of misjudged it and went back to the top. Overall, it was a great night for us. We had to come out of the semi-feature, then came from the fifth row up to second there in the feature. We get one step closer every night. We finished third last night and second tonight. We‘ll just go to Bloomington tomorrow and win, I guess.”
Seavey has taken over the point lead of Indiana Sprint Week with two races remaining.
To see full results, turn to the next page.