PLYMOUTH, Ind. — Tanner Thorson has been tabbed to fill in for Logan Seavey behind the wheel of the No. 19az sprint car for Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports, starting Friday at Plymouth Speedway.
Thorson will wheel a non-winged sprint car for the Reinbold/Underwood team until Seavey is medically cleared to return to action. He’ll also race Saturday in Midwest Sprint Car Series action at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
Though several candidates were considered for the substitute role, according to team co-owner Andy Reinbold, Thorson quickly emerged as the top candidate based on his recent momentum and competitive fire.
“We had a couple of guys in mind … a couple of younger guys, but having to start with another driver while Logan’s gone and battling the trials and tribulations of youth and learning were things that we took into consideration before making the decision to put Tanner in the car,” Reinbold explained. “We felt he was the person who gave us the best shot at still getting where we want to be at the end of the year. We still want to run for the owner’s championship.
“I think Tanner was the best choice to jump in the car, go fast and have a shot to win.”
Seavey was injured during the June 18 Indiana Midget Week event at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind., though the extent of his injuries has not been made public.
The Sutter, Calif., young gun was competing in the second NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series heat race of the night when his car biked in the fourth turn before flipping violently and coming to rest on all four wheels.
Medical crews were on the scene in a matter of moments, taking several minutes of caution before Seavey was helped from the machine and rode back to the pit area on a waiting ATV.
He later took a voluntary trip to Methodist Hospital, where he was treated by doctors before being released from hospital care the following day.
Seavey was scheduled to compete for the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series championship, but will like have to shelve his title aspirations for another year as he takes time off to fully recover.
However, Thorson stepping into the seat will allow the Reinbold/Underwood squad — led by crew chief Tyler ‘Rizzy’ Ransbottom and car chief Connor Ridge — to continue chasing the USAC National Sprint Car Series owner’s championship.
The car ranks seventh in owner points entering Friday’s race at the three-eighths-mile Plymouth oval.
“We definitely feel that Tanner will have a shot to step up to the plate and challenge for trophies quickly, especially with Rizzy and Connor behind him,” Reinbold noted. “We’ve got a good baseline, so we’re just slapping in a driver, really. It’s like changing an engine, unfortunately, and that probably sounds worse than it is … but we wanted this process to be relatively seamless.
“Tanner has experience; he doesn’t necessarily have the non-winged experience, but if the car’s right and you’ve got a guy that’s talented, he’ll drive it and more than likely go to the front.”
Reinbold confirmed there is no current timetable for Seavey’s return to racing, but he hopes Seavey can be back with the No. 19az team sooner, rather than later.
“We obviously all hope that Logan doesn’t have to sit out for too long, but we want to make sure that when he’s ready to come back, he’s 100 percent healthy and ready to rip,” he said. “That’s the main focus and our focus for Logan, is to get back to full song so he can come back and pick up where he left off with us.”
Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports will also field its No. 19az midget entry Saturday at Tri-State, racing that car with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League.
Spencer Bayston will wheel the Reinbold/Underwood midget, reprising his role from the Indiana Midget Week finale last weekend at Kokomo Speedway.