Lancaster USAC Midget race features dramatic finish

  • Tanner Thorson used a last-lap, last-corner pass to earn the win.
  • Thorson overcame a fourth-lap spin to storm back for the victory.
  • Pennsylvania Midget Week moves to Lincoln Speedway on Wednesday night.

NEWMANSTOWN — It took two whole days to finally get underway, but once it did, the 2016 Pennsylvania Midget Week opener was well worth the wait.

Nevada's Tanner Thorson recovered from a fourth-lap spin and carved his way from the tail end of the field, setting himself up for a last-lap, last-corner pass of teammate Spencer Bayston to take an improbable United States Auto Club Midget National Championship/ARDC feature win Tuesday night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.

Tanner Thorson poses in victory lane at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway Tuesday night.

Events at Susquehanna and Path Valley speedways had been washed out Sunday and Monday, and a heavy shower in the late afternoon hours doused the Lancaster County track with moisture, threatening that event, too. The skies, however, eventually cleared and the rain created a lightning-quick and gnarly racing surface for USAC's debut at the 1/8-mile dirt bullring.

Thorson ended up winning by .296 seconds over Bayston, Tyler Thomas was third, followed by Jim Radney and Ryan Robinson.

It was the first time a last-corner pass for the lead was made on the final lap in a USAC National Midget feature since Thorson lost the lead to teammate Rico Abreu at Sun Prairie, Wisconsin's Angell Park Speedway in July of 2015.

Thorson's last-lap heroics led to his third win of the season, tying him with Chad Boat for the most series victories during the 2016 season.

"I didn't think there'd be any way we could get back to the front after the spin," Thorson said. "I just misjudged my angle into the corner and got a little too sideways and spun it out."

Despite Bayston's final-lap heartbreak, the Lebanon, Indiana driver was able to extend his series point lead to 55 over Boat and 65 over Brady Bacon.

"I never felt like I was good enough to really be in the lead; it just fell into our hands," Bayston said. "But, I still hate to let it slip away at the end. Tanner was really good, but this was elbows up tonight. I just feel bad. Second is OK, but I want to win and when it's right there in front of you and you don't deliver, it's pretty frustrating."

Pennsylvania Midget Week moves to Lincoln Speedway near Abbottstown on Wednesday night.


Tuesday, Aug. 16, Newmanstown, Pennsylvania

Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway

Pennsylvania Midget Week (co-sanctioned by ARDC)

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Spencer Bayston, 3. Tyler Thomas, 4. Jim Radney, 5. Ryan Robinson, 6. Chad Boat, 7. Brenden Bright, 8. Tommy Kunsman, 9. Holly Shelton, 10. Carson Macedo, 11. Steve Buckwalter, 12. Tony DiMattia, 13. Brady Bacon, 14. Brett Arndt, 15. Alex Bright, 16. Josh Heckman, 17. Kenney Johnson, 18. Gage Walker, 19. Justin Grosz, 20. Eric Heydenreich, 21. Nick Wean, 22. Brett Wanner, 23. Trevor Kobylarz. NT

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-879, 2-Boat-824, 3-Bacon-814, 4-Thorson-804, 5-Bryan Clauson-720, 6-Macedo-718, 7-Robinson-612, 8-Thomas-561, 9-Shelton-550, 10-Greth-442.

NEW USAC PENNSYLVANIA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Bayston-89, 2-Thorson-88, 3-Thomas-81, 4-Robinson-76, 5-Radney-75, 6-Boat-73, 7-Macedo-66, 8-Shelton-60, 9-Bacon-59, 10-Buckwalter-57.