A lot of heavy-hitters will be making their way to Salisbury, North Carolina’s Millbridge Speedway for the $5,151-to-win QRC Speed51 Open on May 24-25.  Drivers like Rico Abreu, Kyle Larson, and Ricky Stenhouse will all be favorites to take home the big check.  But one driver that should also be considered a favorite is Tanner Thorson.


graphic speed51 purchase early birdWhile Thorson’s name may not carry the celebrity status of the Larsons, Abreus, and Stenhouses of the world, Thorson is as tough to beat as anybody at Millbridge.


The Nevada native has raced at Millbridge on Wednesday nights three times this season and he’s won two of them.  He said that the 1/5-mile oval just suits his style.


“I’ve run go-karts my whole life,” said Thorson.  “It comes to me naturally on how to run one.  I’ve run there a couple of times before this season.  It’s just a cool little joint.  You go there and you have to hustle it.  Just the way the track is fits my kind of driving style.”


Thorson usually leaves late-afternoon on Tuesday to drive through the night to make it from Indianapolis where he now lives to Salisbury for a Wednesday night race at Millbridge, and he said there’s nowhere else he’d rather be.




Thorson will pilot this kart in the Speed51 Open. (Tanner Thorson photo)

Thorson will pilot this kart in the Speed51 Open. (Tanner Thorson photo)

“I think Millbridge has their program right,” he said.  “They’re definitely showing that they have good track prep.  I know Jeremy and Ashly Burnett work their butts off there to keep us coming back.  I drive from Indiana every week they race there to run there because it’s such a great track, great facility and great people around.  The whole JGR camp and QRC Karts are making it even better for all the fans.  Everybody is trying to progress their motors and their karts.  They’re definitely putting all of the pieces in and making it better.”


While Thorson has won twice so far at Millbridge this season, he said the Speed51 Open is the race he most wants to win.  He’s run the track’s big race in May two years in a row and hasn’t had much luck yet.


“I broke two motors there the first time and this last time I finally made the main,” said Thorson.  “We started last actually because when we fired up our carburetor came off.  We were able to get up to about seventh or eighth.  We were really fast, but we had some motor problems that kind of led to a bad night.  But I think we’re going to come back even stronger this year.  I’m building a new kart right now at Indy Race Parts.  Bernie and Betsy at Indy Race Parts give me the best pieces.  We’ll see what we can do.  I think we’ll be really tough.”


Thorson said winning this race would probably be the biggest Outlaw Kart win of his career because of just how big the show is.


Tanner Thorson (left) and Kyle Larson talk about their karts in the Millbridge pit area. (Tanner Thorson photo)

Tanner Thorson (left) and Kyle Larson talk about their karts in the Millbridge pit area. (Tanner Thorson photo)

“That would be pretty cool,” he said.  “I grew up in these Outlaw Karts and I’ve won a lot of races, but I think this would be the best one to top it off.  You’ve got to be on your game.  It’s probably one of the most difficult races out there for the Outlaw Karts.  The competition is what makes these races more difficult but also makes it bigger and better.  You’ve got the NASCAR guys that come out like Kyle and Rico and it makes the crowd come out and it makes it a bigger and better event every year.”


Race fans can watch Tanner Thorson go for the win in the Speed51 Open by purchasing a Speed51 TV online broadcast ticket by clicking here.


Racing kicks off at the Speed51 Open on Tuesday, May 24 with open practice and qualifying for the Open Division.  Support classes including the Beginner Box Stocks, Box Stocks and Intermediate Class will run group qualifying and features only that night.  Speed51.com will carry a live PPV video stream of these events.


Following the conclusion of the on-track action there will be an after-party featuring a live band.


Wednesday night’s schedule includes only the Open Division for the Outlaw Karts.  Heat races are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be lined up based upon Tuesday night’s time trial results.  The top-four finishers in each heat race will be inverted with the winner going to the dash, second going to the A-Main and third on back going to the B, C and D Mains.


The Dash will be eight laps and the drivers will line up based upon the “revenge draw,” which allows drivers to draw for starting position and then assign that positon to another driver.


Following the Dash, B-Main, C-Main and D-Main features, the field will be set and the Outlaw Kart racers will buckle in to battle for the $5,151 top prize.


If you would like to be part of one of the rising forms of racing in the US, contact QRC Factory Karts through its website at www.qrckarts.com.   JGR MX has all the latest products and parts for the Motocross industry; visit their website at www.jgrmx.com.


For more information on Millbridge Speedway, visit www.millbridgespeedway.com.


-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit: Tanner Thorson

Thorson Hoping for Better Luck in QRC Speed51 Open