From Lonnie Wheatley
MEEKER, Okla. (July 13, 2021) – Daison Pursley had been painfully close to USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series victory lane on several occasions previously, only to see it slip away.
The Locust Grove, OK, teen sensed an opportunity at Red Dirt Raceway’s “Tuesday Night Thunder” event that kicked off “Mid-America Midget Week” and made the most of it.
Sitting third after a caution with ten laps remaining in the 30-lapper, Pursley ripped around the top side of the track and overtook Zach Daum and then race-leader Kevin Thomas, Jr., on the 23rd circuit.
“I knew Daum wasn’t going to get off the bottom, and KTJ had been there the whole race so it would have been hard for him to jump up there and try something new like that,” Pursley explained. “When you’re running third-place you have to go wherever they don’t go and it worked out.”
Once out front, Pursley scurried away from the pack in the closing laps to take the $4,000 victory aboard the Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Toyota-powered IWX No. 71k machine. It made for a sweep of the night after also winning the NOW 600 Non-Wing Micro Sprint feature.
“I feel like this has been a long time coming,” Pursley commented. “Everyone at Keith Kunz Motorports deserves a win and unfortunately it hasn’t been me. Finally we get to check that box off and get that first USAC National Midget win. It’s cool to do it in front of all these fans and do it on my homestate.”
While Pursley ultimately won the race from the fifth starting position, it was another pair of Sooner State drivers leading the way to the green flag in the main event with Broken Arrow’s Jonathan Beason on the pole and Muskogee’s Kaylee Bryson to his outside.
The duo battled side-by-side in the early stages with Beason working low and Bryson on the cushion. Bryson made the cushion work to her advantage to slip ahead as Kevin Thomas, Jr., made his way past Beason to claim second.
With Thomas, Jr., working the low side of the track meticulously, Bryson continued to flirt with a treacherous cushion and the slightest of bobbles opened the door for Thomas, Jr., to take command on the 11th round with Daum working into contention as well on the low-side from seventh.
After the race’s previous only stoppage when fast qualifier Bryant Wiedeman went for a wild ride in turn one on the opening lap, the only other caution flew after 20 laps when Kaylee Bryson got tangled up in lapped traffic to hand second to Daum and move Pursley into third.
Pursley wasted no time blasting past both rim-riders on the restart and paced the final eight laps to secure that coveted first career USAC National Midget win.
After starting 13th, Justin Grant made a late surge through the field to capture runner-up honors with Daum settling for the show position.
“I buried us in the ‘B’ and had to come from 13th, these RMS guys gave me an awesome car and the curb was tall and gnarly,” Grant explained afterward. “They had me really stable and I had a good time.”
Daum’s first outing with the Bundy Built team was a considerable success after winning his heat race as did teammate Ethan Mitchell. “It’s cool for me because I haven’t really run a Midget all year,” Daum explained. “Obviously the car runs really good, we can just fine-tune it a little for myself and we should be a contender tomorrow hopefully.”
Thomas, Jr., slipped to fourth in the closing rounds with reigning series champion Chris Windom climbing from 12th to round out the top five. Current series points leader Buddy Kofoid raced from 15th to sixth with Jerry Coons, Jr., Beason, Logan Seavey and Chase Randall completing the top ten.
Leading Rookie of the Year contender Wiedeman established the night’s quickest time 13.160-second over a Red Dirt Raceway “Tuesday Night Thunder” field of 38 entries with Mitchell, Brenham Crouch, Daum and Cannon McIntosh winning heat races before Randall topped the “B” Main
The USAC National Midget series “Mid-America Midget Week” resumes with Wednesday night’s Tenth Chad McDaniel Memorial at Beloit, Kansas’ Solomon Valley Raceway before wrapping up with the Midwest Midget Championship at Fairbury, Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway that includes a Thursday night practice and then two full cards of racing on Friday and Saturday that culminates with a $10,000-to-win finale.
USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Car Series
Mid-America Midget Week
Red Dirt Raceway
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Bryant Wiedeman, 01, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.160; 2. Daison Pursley, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.176; 3. Emerson Axsom, 15, Petry-13.254; 4. Chase Randall, 19A, Reinbold/Underwood-13.314; 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5, Petry-13.321; 6. Logan Seavey, 25, Malloy-13.323; 7. Kaylee Bryson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.325; 8. Jonathan Beason, 8J, Hard Eight-13.335; 9. Chris Windom, 89, CBI-13.371; 10. Justin Grant, 2J, RMS-13.375; 11. Trey Gropp, 00, Mounce/Stout-13.450; 12. Buddy Kofoid, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.458; 13. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, RMS-13.472; 14. Tanner Thorson, 19T, Reinbold/Underwood-13.493; 15. Zach Daum, 9m, Bundy Built-13.496; 16. Jerry Coons Jr., 85, Central-13.503; 17. Brenham Crouch, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.510; 18. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-13.510; 19. Hayden Reinbold, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-13.517; 20. Hayden Williams, 1NZ, BSL-13.545; 21. Jason McDougal, 4, Klatt-13.583; 22. Tanner Berryhill, 17, Berryhill-13.631; 23. Kyle Jones, 7u, Tri-Fecta-13.653; 24. Cannon McIntosh, 08, Dave Mac-13.655; 25. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-13.669; 26. Ryan Timms, 85T, CBI-13.683; 27. Trey Marcham, 32T, Marcham-13.689; 28. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-13.719; 29. Andrew Deal, 15D, Deal-13.749; 30. Sam Johnson, 72J, Johnson-13.824; 31. Travis Buckley, 7NZ, BLS-13.986; 32. Noah Harris, 20H, Harris-13.987; 33. Ryan Padgett, 98, Crow-14.238; 34. Cade Cowles, 70, Gariss-14.322; 35. Brett Becker, 2B, Becker-14.483; 36. Chase Elliott, 9, May-NT; 37. Brendon Wiseley, 7w, Horn-NT; 38. Mason Daugherty, 97m, Berryhill-NT (Time of 14.511 disallowed-underweight).
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Ethan Mitchell, 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 4. Bryant Wiedeman, 5. Chris Windom, 6. Jason McDougal, 7. Andrew Deal, 8. Shannon McQueen, 9. Mason Daugherty, 10. Ryan Padgett. 1:52.32
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Brenham Crouch, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Tanner Berryhill, 4. Daison Pursley, 5. Logan Seavey, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Ryan Timms, 8. Sam Johnson, 9. Cade Cowles. 1:50.32
INDY METAL FINISHING THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Zach Daum, 2. Kyle Jones, 3. Emerson Axsom, 4. Kaylee Bryson, 5. Trey Marcham, 6. Trey Gropp, 7. Brett Becker, 8. Hayden Reinbold, 9. Travis Buckley. NT
INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Cannon McIntosh, 2. Jerry Coons Jr., 3. Buddy Kofoid, 4. Jonathan Beason, 5. Hayden Williams, 6. Chase Randall, 7. Tyler Thomas, 8. Noah Harris, 9. Chase Elliott. 1:49.120 (New Track Record)
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Chase Randall, 2. Logan Seavey, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Chris Windom, 5. Hayden Williams, 6. Tyler Thomas, 7. Jason McDougal, 8. Ryan Timms, 9. Trey Gropp, 10. Sam Johnson, 11. Trey Marcham, 12. Andrew Deal, 13. Noah Harris, 14. Hayden Reinbold, 15. Travis Buckley, 16. Shannon McQueen, 17. Chase Elliott, 18. Cade Cowles, 19. Brett Becker, 20. Mason Daugherty. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Daison Pursley (5), 2. Justin Grant (13), 3. Zach Daum (7), 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. (3), 5. Chris Windom (12), 6. Buddy Kofoid (15), 7. Jerry Coons Jr. (18), 8. Jonathan Beason (1), 9. Logan Seavey (11), 10. Chase Randall (10), 11. Tanner Thorson (17), 12. Thomas Meseraull (16), 13. Emerson Axsom (4), 14. Cannon McIntosh (14), 15. Brenham Crouch (9), 16. Ethan Mitchell (8), 17. Hayden Williams (19), 18. Kaylee Bryson (2), 19. Tyler Thomas (22), 20. Tanner Berryhill (20), 21. Trey Gropp (23-P), 22. Kyle Jones (21), 23. Bryant Wiedeman (6). NT
P represents a provisional starter.
**Bryant Wiedeman flipped on lap 1 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Kaylee Bryson, Lap 2 Jonathan Beason, Laps 3-10 Kaylee Bryson, Laps 11-22 Kevin Thomas Jr., Laps 23-30 Daison Pursley.