BIXBY, Okla. — Just when everyone thought they knew who Tanner Thorson would drive for during the upcoming midget racing season, the winds of change blew a little harder and a new opportunity arose.
Originally scheduled to contest the upcoming Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals with Tom Malloy and Jerome Rodela, Thorson confirmed this week that he’ll shift to Dave Mac Motorsports for the Chili Bowl and the outdoor racing season.
Thorson will pilot one of seven Toyota-powered, Dave McIntosh-owned entries at the Super Bowl of Midget Racing, set for Jan. 11-16 inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla.
The move came as a surprise to most within the motorsports industry, but for Thorson it was a deal he’s been working on for the majority of the year.
“Dave and I have talked quite a bit, not necessarily about this, but just overall,” Thorson explained. “He gave me multiple opportunities to come and run for him, and finally this just kind of worked out to where we could make it all happen.
“I’ve said it a couple of times, but this team is more of a family aspect than anything,” he added. “I’m pretty close with Cody (Cordell), I’m close with Ace (McCarthy) and good buddies of both Cannon (McIntosh) and Dave. So it’s just kind of an all-around good deal that can work out, I think, for the long haul.
“It’s what I’ve been looking for, for quite some time, is something that I could be with long term.”
Thorson will work closely with crew chief Cody Cordell, who groomed Cannon McIntosh before McIntosh jumped up to Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports this year, in hopes of improving the entire Dave Mac Motorsports fleet going into the new season.
That’s something that has Cordell eager for the slate of races that is on the horizon.
“When you show up with someone like Tanner in the seat, you have a chance to win every night, no matter where you’re at,” Cordell said. “I think his knowledge will be big for us because we’re all still learning. We’re a very young team still, and we all understand that we’re all still growing quite a bit. And I think the knowledge that Tanner brings, not only as a driver but as a crew chief also, is extremely valuable.
“He knows what he’s doing. He knows what he wants in a race car. So I think if he and I can jell, I think he can be a big help to me in what we’re doing here,” Cordell continued. “If that happens, I think you’ll see me grow as well with somebody that we can be up front with consistently in the car.”
Team owner Dave McIntosh is pleased to add Thorson to the Dave Mac family and boost his operation to “a whole new level.”
“First and foremost, Tanner and I are really good friends outside of racing and I think he’s been looking for a home and he found one with us,” said Dave McIntosh. “That’s probably the best way to describe it, honestly. He found a home and I don’t where exactly things are going to go or what the future will hold for him, but he’s an Okie now and we’re really glad to have him on board.”
While Thorson plans to race a full season with Dave Mac Motorsports, neither Thorson nor Cordell would confirm that the team would chase points next year – either with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series or with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League.
Their sole focus, Thorson noted, is trophy hunting.
“We want to win races, as many as we can and as often as we can,” he said. “That said, knowing that my living comes from driving and working on race cars, I don’t necessarily want to race midgets a lot, but I want to run them as much as I can. My big goal is that this will start to propel me toward trying to get some winged (sprint) car stuff together and get all that good stuff going for the future.
“But I want to be able to race midgets as much as I can for the time being and this is a great place to do that.”
Could Thorson’s winged sprint car desires manifest themselves at Dave Mac Motorsports?
“Definitely,” he affirmed. “I have a brand-new Spike (Chassis) winged car on its way here (to McIntosh’s Bixby, Okla., shop). From there, it’s just a matter of getting all the pieces lined up in order to make stuff happen.”
As for what car configuration he’ll run next year, Thorson said to expect him in a four-coil midget, similar to those he had success with in 2020 with Hayward Motorsports.
“That setup works for me and I’m really comfortable with it,” he explained. “Don’t expect any changes.”
Thorson will debut with Dave Mac Motorsports at the 35th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, Jan. 11-16.