AUDIO: Thorson’s World Finals Run Ends in Wild Flip; Emotions Flare After Battle With Swindell

Jacob Seelman Audio, Carolinas Racing, Dirt Track Racing, Featured, Other Sprint Cars, Southeast, Sprints & Midgets, West, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars 0 Comments

CONCORD, N.C. – Audio, photo and story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman –

Tanner Thorson’s Bad Boy Buggies World Finals run in the Demyan-Rudzik Racing No. 49X came to an end in a shower of sparks and a flurry of emotion on Friday night.

After starting on row two for the first heat of the night at the Dirt Track at Charlotte, Thorson was racing three-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Sammy Swindell for the third and final direct transfer spot to the A-main when the two made heavy contact in turn four.

Thorson moved down just a touch as Swindell slid up hard into his left side, with the end result seeing Thorson go flying into the turn four catchfence before coming to rest on the frontstretch.

The 19-year-old Minden, Nev. Native was unharmed and quickly walked away from his destroyed race car, but was very frustrated at the turn of events that led to his early exit.

“We were fighting for the transfer spot early on, and from my point of view it was a little bit early for that [kind of racing],” Thorson said. “It was a little uncalled for, honestly. You say we were battling, but it’s not really a battle when [someone] comes in full bore like that.”

“When the track is really narrow like [it was after all the rain] and wheels you, there’s not much you can do. We had a fast car. Like I said, it was too early in the race for that nonsense.”

Swindell went on to compete in the Last Chance Showdown and the A-Main on Friday. (Chris Seelman photo)

Swindell went on to compete in the Last Chance Showdown and the A-Main on Friday. (Chris Seelman photo)

Swindell went on to lead three laps of the heat before the side panel of his top wing disintegrated and sent him to the pits. He later started on the pole of the Last Chance Showdown and moved on to the A-Main, but offered his version of events during a second red flag later in the sprint car heats.

“On the start [polesitter] David [Gravel] didn’t get going – he said his motor stumbled on him – so he didn’t make a clean start and we got a little bit behind. I got a good run on Tanner; I was under him and I thought he was going to stay at the top, but he didn’t. I thought that’s where the line was at, but he started to come down and I was already there.”

“It was just an unfortunate deal. Everyone was going for the same spot and we ran out of room.”

One thing the two drivers did agree on was that the track was difficult to manage due to some of the vicious ruts in the turns – but Thorson felt like he had a car capable of contending if he could have transferred.

“Our car seemed to go through the ruts pretty well,” the young star explained. “These Penske shocks we’re running seem to have something going for them. Every time this year I’ve gotten on a rough track with these shocks I’ve been able to do pretty well and have a pretty smooth ride. To be honest, my car wasn’t bouncing as much as everyone else seemed to be bouncing, so that meant these shocks were doing their job.”

“It’s a good track, they grated it really well so it would have been nice to get a few more laps under our belts and see what we had.”

“The track was really fast,” Swindell added, “and on that line there’s a lot of grip but not much anywhere else so you’re basically running wide open. With the track as narrow as it is, you’re right on top of people so it’s really tough. I don’t think there was a lot else I could have done.”

With emotions high, Thorson was fired up after surveying the damage. He said he wasn’t sure if he would be back for the Saturday program, but did have a message for Swindell.

“I don’t know if we’re going to be able to get it fixed for tomorrow night – probably not, honestly. We didn’t qualify too well for the Saturday portion, but if we do [show up] we’ll be good.”

“Sammy will probably have something coming back [to him]. It started at the Chili Bowl [back in January] and it’s just kept going. We’ll see what we can do – if we’re back tomorrow, we’re back, but if not, there’s always another race.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Thorson later took to Twitter to add additional comment after the incident, saying “Thanks for the support guys, but let’s not get disrespectful. [It’s] unfortunate what happened but it is what it is. [I’m] looking forward to @cbnationals.”

When reached by Twitter following publication, the 19-year-old confirmed that the team was “unfortunately done for the weekend.


Post-crash audio with Tanner Thorson:

Post-heat race audio with Sammy Swindell:


About the Writer

Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.

The 21-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

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