PEVELY, Mo. – official series release — POWRi photo —
In the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series’ first appearance at Federated Auto Parts Raceway since 2008, Tanner Thorson survived a grueling battle with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate Christopher Bell to win Friday’s Prelude to the Ironman.
Thomas Messeraul led the field to green with Zach Daum to his outside. Daum would take the jump on the initial start, only to be called back for the spun machine driven by Andy Malpocker. Relining up, Thorson would lead the first lap from third while running the bottom, as Messeraul took to the extreme top.
With three laps complete, the red would come out for Andy Malpocker who clipped the outside wall in turn one, going for a ride. Malpocker would be alright, but his machine would find itself on the business end of the wrecker.
Coming back to green, Messeraul would try to challenge Thorson by again using the furthest way around the race track. Thorson would get a nice jump on the restart as Messeraul again wasted no time and took straight to the top side of the track.
Thorson would be faced with Bell’s repeated challenges until Thorson relinquished the lead on lap 16. Regaining the lead for lap 18, Thorson would take brief control as the duo continued their slider-fest, until Bell came out on top for lap 19, as Darren Hagen took third from Messeraul. Thorson and Bell’s battle would be put on ice as Austin Brown got sideways off turn two, collecting Travis Berryhill and bringing out the yellow.
Restarting the race and reigniting the battle, Bell would continue to tail Thorson, but before his Toyota-powered Bullet could make a move, Kyle Schuett would get upside down in the middle of turns one and two, bringing out the fourth and final red flag of the night.
Bell could not steal the lead from Thorson, however, with Spencer Bayston edging Darren Hagen for the final podium spot. Zach Daum rounded out the top five in the Daum Crop Insurance, Toyota-powered Eagle.
“All in all, this car was awesome all night,” said Thorson. “Keith (Kunz) gives me an awesome car. It’s pretty incredible to be racing with Christopher that close. It was one heck of a race; it was probably one of the fun-est races I’ve been in. I just can’t thank these guys in the pits enough. They work their butts off and it was an awesome win.”