By Richie Murray
Beloit, Kansas (July 11, 2021)………Three years have passed since the Chad McDaniel Memorial has last been contested, but for the first time since 2018, the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship races in memory of their fallen comrade on Wednesday night, July 14, at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kansas.
The quarter-mile dirt oval in the heart of north central Kansas has served as the host of all nine previous runnings of the Chad McDaniel Memorial race since 2010. McDaniel, from nearby Concordia, Kan., lost his life in a USAC National Midget event at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway in 2009.
The 10th running of the event comes amid a revival of the track which had sat dormant for some time and had been overgrown by Mother Nature. In June, through a valiant effort by several individuals donating their time and effort, the track was revitalized in preparation for Wednesday’s event.
The Chad McDaniel Memorial boasts five different winners in its previous nine editions with Brad Kuhn winning the inaugural race in 2010, Scott Hatton in 2012, Christopher Bell in 2013 & 2017, Bryan Clauson in 2014 & 2016 and Kevin Thomas Jr. in 2015 & 2018. The 2011 race was rained out just prior to the feature.
Kevin Thomas Jr. is the only past Chad McDaniel Memorial winner in this year’s field and brings an undefeated record of 2 and 0 with him. Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) won in his only two appearances at the track in both 2015 and 2018 and also led all 30 laps in wire-to-wire fashion on each occurrence.
Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) has been knocking on the door for a first Solomon Valley victory, finishing as the runner-up in both 2015 and 2016. The 2016 series champ also collected a 4th at the Chad McDaniel Memorial in 2017 and a 7th in 2014.
Reigning USAC Silver Crown champion Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) has finished on the podium in both of his Solomon Valley runs with a 2nd in 2017 and a 3rd in 2018.
During his USAC National Midget championship season, Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) finished as the runner-up to Thomas in his solo Solomon Valley start.
Jerry Coons Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) recently surpassed the 400 start mark in his USAC National Midget career, with the 2006-2007 series champion making four of those starts at Solomon Valley. He finished a best of 3rd in 2013 and added another top-10 with a 10th in 2017.
Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) took fourth in his maiden Solomon Valley run in 2018 while defending USAC National Midget titlist Chris Windom collected a 6th in 2018. Sam Johnson (St. Peters, Mo.) also possesses previous USAC experience at Solomon Valley, tallying a 19th in 2018.
Eleven-time Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association champion Keith Rauch (Thornton, Colo.), a one-time USAC National Midget winner back in 1990 at Imperial Valley Raceway in El Centro, Calif., enters this year’s event and previously competed in the first Chad McDaniel Memorial in 2010, running 8th on both nights when it was a two-night event. He took 9th in 2014 and was a best of 7th in 2015.
The Solomon Valley first-timers include a vast, talented group, four of which currently stand inside the top-ten in the points. Among those are point leader and four-time 2021 series winner Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.); one-time winner and 3rd in points, Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.); two-time winner and 6th in points, Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.); 7th in points and seeking a first USAC National Midget win, Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.).
Three-time career series winner Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) will make his first stop at Solomon Valley as will home state driver and leading series Rookie Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.); along with fellow Rookies Brenham Crouch (Lubbock, Texas), Chase Randall (Waco, Texas) and Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.).
Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.), Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.), Trey Gropp (Lincoln, Neb.), Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and New Zealanders Hayden Williams and Travis Buckley are set for Solomon Valley debuts and have made appearances with the USAC National Midgets this season.
Brett Becker (Odessa, Texas) will make his first USAC Midget appearance since 2019 on Wednesday after missing the transfer for the Chad McDaniel Memorial feature the year prior in 2018.
Winged sprint car veteran Jake Bubak (Arvada, Colo.) will take on Solomon Valley for the first-time as will Blake Spicer (Phillipsburg, Kan.), who’ll contest his first career USAC National Midget event on what will be his 15th birthday.
Wednesday’s 10th running of the Chad McDaniel Memorial features the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship and the NOW600 Non-Wing & Restricted Micro Sprints.
Gates open at 5pm (Central) with the drivers meeting at 5:45pm and hot laps at 6:30pm with qualifying and racing to follow.
General admission tickets are just $20 with high school students and younger just $5. All access passes are available as well for $35 and available at the pit gate on the day of the show only.
The Chad McDaniel Memorial from Solomon Valley Raceway will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3dgONXz.
The Red Dirt event kicks off Mid-America Midget Week, which features four USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship races in three different Great Plains states during a five night span July 13-17.
Mid-America Midget Week begins on July 13 date at Meeker, Oklahoma’s Red Dirt Raceway; followed by a date on Wednesday, July 14 at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kansas; then concludes with two nights at Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Neb. on July 16 and on July 17, with the finale paying $10,000 to the winner.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-941, 2-Chris Windom-894, 3-Emerson Axsom-852, 4-Justin Grant-820, 5-Tanner Thorson-814, 6-Thomas Meseraull-802, 7-Daison Pursley-798, 8-Logan Seavey-781, 9-Kevin Thomas Jr.-732, 10-Jason McDougal-693.
CHAD McDANIEL MEMORIAL WINS:
2-Christopher Bell, Bryan Clauson & Kevin Thomas Jr.
1-Scott Hatton & Brad Kuhn
CHAD McDANIEL MEMORIAL WINNERS:
2010: Brad Kuhn (6/4)
2011: Rained Out (7/28)
2012: Scott Hatton (7/27)
2013: Christopher Bell (7/30)
2014: Bryan Clauson (7/29)
2015: Kevin Thomas Jr. (7/28)
2016: Bryan Clauson (8/3)
2017: Christopher Bell (8/2)
2018: Kevin Thomas Jr. (7/11)
TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT SOLOMON VALLEY RACEWAY:
1 Lap – 7/11/2018 – Holly Shelton – 11.944
10 Laps – 8/3/2016 – Ryan Greth – 2:02.67
PAST CHAD McDANIEL FEATURE RESULTS:
2010 NIGHT #1: 1. Brad Kuhn, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Brad Loyet, 4. Austin Brown, 5. Matt Sherrell, 6. Daniel Adler, 7. Mike Hess, 8. Keith Rauch, 9. Patrick Stasa, 10. Shane Cockrum, 11. Joe Boyles, 12. Chris Sheil, 13. Jeff Stasa, 14. Todd Plemons, 15. Julee Jamison, 16. Andrew Felker, 17. Bob Harr, 18. Greg Schaefer, 19. John Campbell, 20. Chett Gehrke, 21. Tony Rossi, 22. Cole Wood.
2010 NIGHT #2: 1. Brad Kuhn, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Brad Loyet, 4. Austin Brown, 5. Daniel Adler, 6. Andrew Felker, 7. Chett Gehrke, 8. Keith Rauch, 9. Matt Sherrell, 10. Mike Hess, 11. Todd Plemons, 12. Patrick Stasa, 13. Tim Siner, 14. Chris Sheil, 15. Jeff Stasa, 16. Joe Boyles, 17. Justin Mallo, 18. Garett Hood, 19. Kevin Bayer, 20. Greg Schaefer, 21. Rich Camfield, 22. John Campbell, 23. Shane Cockrum.
2011: RAINED OUT
2012 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Scott Hatton, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Jonathan Beason, 4. Matt Sherrell, 5. Chett Gehrke, 6. Blake Hahn, 7. Austin Brown, 8. Daniel Robinson, 9. Garrett Aitken, 10. Tim Siner, 11 Andy Malpocker, 12. Cameron Hagin, 13. Riley Emmel, 14. Garett Hood, 15. C.J. Johnson, 16. Darren Kingston, 17. Jake Blackhurst, 18. Don Droud Jr., 19. Brad Kuhn, 20. Gavin Galbraith, 21. Randy Bowyer, 22. Andrew Felker, 23. Terry Goodwin.
2013 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Rico Abreu, 3. Jerry Coons, Jr., 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Darren Hagen, 6. Zach Daum, 7. Brad Kuhn, 8. Bryan Clauson, 9. Tanner Thorson, 10. Cody Ledger, 11. Shane Golobic, 12. Andrew Felker, 13. C.J. Johnson, 14. Garett Hood, 15. Dalton Armstrong, 16. Bob Harr, 17. Jeff Stasa, 18. Caleb Armstrong, 19. Chett Gehrke, 20. Cody Brewer, 21. Cole McDaniel, 22. Randy Boyer. NT
2014 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Christopher Bell, 5. Rico Abreu, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Tanner Thorson, 8. Isaac Chapple, 9. Keith Rauch, 10. Michael Pickens, 11. Bob Harr, 12. C.J. Johnson, 13. Randy Boyer, 14. Cody Brewer, 15. Garett Hood. NT
2015 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Spencer Bayston, 5. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 6. Cody Brewer, 7. Keith Rauch, 8. Bob Harr, 9. David Wheeler, 10. Mark Hamilton, 11. Bryan Clauson, 12. Christopher Bell, 13. C.J. Johnson, 14. Garett Hood, 15. Troy Simpson, 16. Zach Daum, 17. Jerry Coons, Jr. 18. Chett Gehrke, 19. Isaac Chapple, 20. Tyler Thomas. NT
2016 FEATURE: (35 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Spencer Bayston, 4. Carson Macedo, 5. Chad Boat, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Ryan Robinson, 9. Tyler Thomas, 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 11. Holly Shelton, 12. Chett Gehrke, 13. Casey Shuman, 14. Bob Harr, 15. Keith Rauch, 16. Jeff Stasa, 17. Ryan Oerter, 18. Terry Goodwin, 19. Ryan Greth, 20. Matt Johnson, 21. Anton Hernandez, 22. Cody Brewer, 23. Brayton Lynch. NT
2017 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Holly Shelton, 4. Tanner Thorson, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Spencer Bayston, 7. Brayton Lynch, 8. Tanner Carrick, 9. Shane Golobic, 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 11. Chad Boat, 12. Tyler Nelson, 13. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 14. Joe B. Miller, 15. Troy Simpson, 16. Tyler Thomas, 17. Tyler Courtney, 18. Chett Gehrke, 19. Ryan Robinson, 20. Matt Johnson, 21. Cody Brewer, 22. Paul Babich. NT
2018 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (1), 2. Logan Seavey (2), 3. Justin Grant (5), 4. Jason McDougal (8), 5. Tanner Carrick (9), 6. Holly Shelton (6), 7. Chad Boat (3), 8. Tyler Courtney (7), 9. Kyle Craker (10), 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer (15), 11. Spencer Bayston (13), 12. Brady Bacon (11), 13. Ryan Robinson (4), 14. Jerry Coons, Jr. (12), 15. Maria Cofer (17), 16. Zane Hendricks (16), 17. Holley Hollan (20), 18. Cole Bodine (21), 19. Sam Johnson (19), 20. Dave Darland (18), 21. Tyler Thomas (14), 22. Shaun Shapel (22). NT