Tanner Thorson shifts focus to winged racing




Tanner Thorson celebrates his win in the 36th Chili Bowl. (Brendon Bauman photo)

CONCORD, NC – On Saturday, Tanner Thorson and Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports topped the motorsport world as Chili Bowl champions.

Now they are ready to focus on their next chapter with a grand piano on top of the No. 19AZ.

Thorson and his company are planning a schedule of more than 50 races this year with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series. It’s part of a plan to hopefully start working with the series full-time next year.

“This is all part of the evolution to reach the highest level of racing, and for us that is the World of Outlaws,” said team co-owner Andy Reinbold. “It’s something we’ve been talking about for a while and we’re finally ready for it. We’ll be getting our feet wet with the wings this year, but we’ll still be visiting some of the big USAC shows along the way. I don’t think the timing could be better, especially with the Chili Bowl victory.

“The lofty goal is definitely to be on the road full-time with the Series by 2023, but of course that depends on how this year goes first,” Reinbold added. “A lot of it just has to do with the finances of it all, and hopefully what we expect is to find a sponsor who credited our performance.”

In limited action, Thorson has shown a lot of promise with the World of Outlaws. The native of Minden, Nev., appeared at 23 events with nine feature starts from 2015-21, with three top-10 finishes to his name. He established his career as the best of second place finisher after starting 13th at the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California, finishing second behind ten-time champion Donny Schatz.

He has since earned the 2016 USAC National Midget Championship and enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021 with a total of 12 wins in USAC’s sprint car and midget divisions. The 25-year-old gasser was also the 2019 Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Year aboard a CJB Motorsports No. 88 submission.

Informally, Thorson also has the advantage of relying on and learning from his soon-to-be father-in-law Stevie Smith, who is currently 10th on the World of Outlaws win list with 84 wins.

“I like a challenge, and that’s exactly what this will be,” Thorson said. “I was pretty comfortable and had some good runs running wing stuff in the past, but I know this is going to be a different animal and I’m ready. This is the best I’ve ever felt as a race car driver, so I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Thorson’s first race with the World of Outlaws will take place March 4-5 at the Cotton Bowl Speedway in Texas. The Reinbold Underwood No. The 19AZ team will then follow the series across California at locations such as Tulare, Merced, Ocean, Bakersfield and Perris.

The team also plans to visit Crown Jewel events such as the Historical Big One, the Kings Royal, the Knoxville Nationals and the Gold Cup Race of Champions.

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