Thorson Set For Asphalt Late Model DebutScott Menlen
Speed Sport News Story: Concord, North Carolina — Midget and sprint car racing standout Tanner Thorson will make his asphalt late model racing debut later this week.
The 20-year-old Nevada native, who has won numerous POWRi and USAC races for team owner Keith Kunz this season, will pilot a David Gilliland Racing super late model during Friday’s ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind.
Thorson said the deal came together thanks to his relationship with Toyota and TRD.
“It started off with Toyota and TRD. Obviously I’ve been racing the midgets for Keith Kunz with the help of TRD,” Thorson said. “They just brought me into the David Gilliland deal. We tested over at Hickory (N.C.) a couple of weeks ago and we tested yesterday (at Lucas Oil Raceway).
“We’ve got a few races planned out with them, so I’m looking forward to it.”
After a day of testing at Lucas Oil Raceway, Thorson said he expects the .686-mile oval to present him with a unique challenge.
“The track is really tricky. I’ve never really been on a track where the line is that demanding, where you absolutely have to run at a certain place,” Thorson said. “I talked to Pete Willoughby (chief mechanic for the Kunz team). They used to run the USAC midget stuff there and he said it is probably one of the hardest tracks I’ll go to. I definitely felt that (on Monday).”
For his first race in a full-bodied stock car, Thorson acknowledged he doesn’t expect to win. Instead, he simply wants to complete all the laps and finish the race so that he can get as much experience as possible.
“You know, it’s always good to have a little bit of confidence in yourself and I would love to go out there and win the race, but I don’t think that is too realistic,” Thorson said. “If I got the chance to and I could try, I’d definitely try. I’m looking to finish the race and come home with a good finish. I don’t really have a top-10 or top-five plan. I’d love to, don’t get me wrong. It’s just a matter of getting seat time right now.”
While he couldn’t reveal the additional late model races he’ll be running this season, Thorson is slated to make his ARCA Racing Series debut Aug. 21, driving for Venturini Motorsports on the mile dirt track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
“It feels good to get behind the wheel of the late model. I’m really looking forward to it,” Thorson said. “It’s a whole different driving style then what I’m use to coming from dirt. It should be fun. I’ve got good guys behind me with the TRD crew and David Gilliland.
“David Gilliland has been helping me with foot work and how to get in and off the turns,” Thorson added. “We had some speed yesterday. We just need more speed. It’s just a matter of laps and seat time. I’m looking forward to it. It should be good.”
Thorson is the latest in a line of Kunz Motorsports midget drivers, including Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell and Rico Abreu who have transitioned into stock car racing.
Story By: Speed Sport / Adam Fenwick