Tyler Nelson Fights Through Midget Week Finale
By Jessica Jenkins
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After showing up Friday at Bloomington Speedway only to get rained out before he could even lay down a qualifying time, Tyler Nelson returned for USAC's Indiana Midget week finale Sunday at Kokomo Speedway. With his hard working team of guys behind him, the racer from Kansas was looking to put together a solid showing in just his third USAC race this season.
Rolling out for his qualifying run, Nelson laid down the 25th fastest speed before starting shotgun on the heat 1 field due to his draw. Immediately moving up to battle for 6th, an early yellow shifted his race with Keith Kunz Motorsports driver Rico Abreu to the top 5. Fighting hard with each other, the top four transfer spot moved out of reach to send Nelson to the semi.
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Once the green flag fell on the last chance race, the #88 started building on an outside row 4 starting spot and had jumped into the sixth place by lap five. Desiring more than that, Nelson moved to fifth with a couple laps remaining and easily put himself into the Feature. Already topping his run at Kokomo in April, the 21 year old set to work in the main race of the evening from 21st. Working to tune his Wilwood Disc Brakes/Superior Bearing & Supply Spike Chassis into competitive shape heading into the summer, each lap was an opportunity to take notes in making the handling better. Against a tough field of cars that had raced each night of Midget Week, Nelson put up a fight running the inside line early and gaining a few spots. Surviving multiple yellows and reds, Nelson walked out with a twentieth place result and car fully intact.
Afterwards he recounted, "I think we did our job tonight. We had the wrong gear in it [in qualifying] and that just kind of puts you behind the 8 ball when you don't time in well. We made it a lot better from qualifying to our heat race and picked up three-tenths. We got in the A main and we've got to start focusing on that, especially with the changes in our race program. We just had to really hit the reset button and focus back. I think we did well to make it into tonight's Main. Obviously didn't move forward as far as we wanted to, but it's just a really tough crowd. We made it up there early and I think I blistered my tire and kind of made my way towards the back. But overall it was a pretty good night. Rolling it into the trailer in one piece and we made the A main, so we did better than we did here in April and that's what we've got to keep doing. We've just got to keep getting better and better."
This weekend Nelson will take his #88 to Macon Speedway for POWRi's Illinois Speedweek on June 9th. Stay tuned to the Tyler Nelson Racing page on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TylerNelson88 for updates and pictures from Kokomo.
Heat 1: start 7th ; finish 6th
Semi: start 8th ; finish 5th
Feature: start 21st ; finish 20th