This photograph, by Dave Olson, shows what’s become a familiar sight of late, Tanner Thorson running up front in the seat of a non-wing USAC race car. If you don’t recognize this kid’s name, change that. A native of Minden, Nevada, Thorson has been something of a supernova on the American open-wheel scene, tallying 20 career victories on USAC’s national Midget circuit while also winning the series’ national championship in 2016. The hair-trigger Midgets are ideal training for more potent stuff, which Thorson is demonstrating as he steps up to the USAC national championship tour in non-wing Sprint cars. Thorson will contest the entire 2021 USAC Sprint calendar and compete for Rookie of the Year honors as the driver for Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports. The new brain trust will make its debut April 3rd when the USAC Sprint season gets underway at the bullring in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
It’s a little unfair to call a guy as bounteously talented as Thorson a rookie, even if he’s moving to a new class. Thorson took his first rides in a 410-urged Sprint car two years ago, making eight starts over two seasons. Reinbold-Underwood has been on the USAC Sprint tour for three years, winning championships with both C.J. Leary and Logan Seavey in the seat. Their first driver, Thomas Meseraull, also scored a victory for the team during its first year in the series.