Seavey Takes Sweet Springs Midget Win

Logan Seavey Rich Forman Photo

By Richie Murray

Sweet Springs, Missouri (May 19, 2024)………Before Sunday night, the last time Logan Seavey bolted out of the gate with a fast qualifying time at Missouri’s Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, he followed it up by closing out the night with a feature victory.

He checked both of these items off his list during the inaugural USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship event at Sweet Springs as a Rookie in 2018.

On a Sunday night six years later, now as a seasoned veteran and three-time USAC national driving champion, the Sutter, Calif. native set the tone with the fastest qualifying time, then proceeded to notch the main event victory – just like clockwork.

Whereas Seavey led the final four laps en route to his 2018 Sweet Springs triumph, on Sunday, he led just the final two after each of the top-two drivers – Daison Pursley and Kale Drake – fell by the wayside in separate bouts of misfortune during the final two laps.

Starting sixth in the 22-car field, Seavey was mired outside the top-five throughout the entirety of the first half of the 40-lap, $6,000-to-win feature, running as low as eighth before steadily moving forward due to instances of attrition plus a bit more of personal aggression during the latter stages in his Abacus Racing/CG CPAs – Indy Custom Stone – MPV Express/Spike/Stanton SR-11x.

“I really sucked there early,” Seavey admitted. “I just didn’t pull the trigger there a few times when racing against the guys in front of me and I just kept giving up spots. I just needed to get more aggressive and hammer it down in there and clear people to put them away.”

Up ahead of Seavey, series Rookie Kale Drake and defending John Hinck Championship winner Jacob Denney were waging their own battle for the lead. Drake led the opening circuit from his outside front row starting spot, but Denney soon made an appearance at the head of the class as he slid Drake in turns one and two before scooting away as the new race leader.

Yet, as it turned out, Drake had a lot of fight left in him during what was just his fourth career USAC start. Drake clawed back on the bottom to wrestle the lead away from Denney on the fifth lap and remained there throughout much of the balance of the contest.

On lap 13, however, 10th running Ryan Timms got ruffled up and drifted to a stop at the top of turn two. The incident shuffled Timms to the back of the pack for the ensuing restart with 28 laps remaining.

Thereafter, the newest contender for the throne was Pursley who swiped the second spot from Denney on the 14th lap after the two went toe-to-toe for multiple laps. Once Pursley securely occupied the position, he began working on cutting into Drake’s 0.8 second lead. On lap 20, Pursley was there, taking aim at the lead in turn one, but fell short of completing the slide job, opting to fall in line behind Drake and continue his pursuit.

Through the thick brush of lapped traffic, Drake continued to escape the repeated challenges from Pursley with 10 laps remaining. Heavy traffic was afoot for the pair, and Drake went on the attack rather than dilly-dallying. Now with Pursley directly on his rear bumper, Drake successfully cut right through the glut of traffic, right up in front of the lapped car of Steven Snyder Jr. As Snyder fought to regain footing on the cushion, Pursley got into the rear bumper of Snyder, resulting in Snyder spinning backwards to a stop to bring out the caution with eight laps remaining.

As Drake staved off the pressure from Pursley over the next four laps following the restart, the race was halted due to his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate, eighth running Gavin Miller, who biked in turn three and spiraled over twice to end his evening with an enormous bang on lap 36. Miller, the 2023 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year, walked away from the incident.

For then third place driver Logan Seavey, things go a big hot, prompting Seavey to take off his helmet during the red flag conditions.

“About lap 32, I started getting super hot in this thing,” Seavey revealed. “I didn’t know if the engine was running hot or what, but it was hot outside. It was our first real hot race of the year and a 40-lapper. I wasn’t getting worn out, just overheating, and there were a couple reds that helped me get cooled down.”

On the lap 37 restart, Pursley, now sporting a bouncing and dangling right front wheel due to a shock issue, made a bid for the lead and edged ahead of Drake entering turns one and two. Using every inch of the racetrack, and then some, to beat Pursley to the exit of turn two, Drake glanced his right rear wheel off the concrete on the outside turn two wall. As a result, the force of the contact hiked Drake’s front wheels off the ground as he then rode the wall for a brief moment midway down the back straight. Pursley took advantage of the situation and drove under Drake entering turn three to take hold of the lead.

That moment was a fleeting one for Pursley as, half a lap later, Drake ran right back to Pursley and eked his way underneath in turn one on lap 38 to reassume his position at the front of the field. Pursley took another run back at Drake in turns three and four but only managed to pull alongside before slotting back behind.

With Pursley’s momentum stifled ever so slightly, that opened the door for Seavey who shut under Pursley in turn one to take second. Pursley tried with all his might to get back around Seavey on the outside of turn two. But suddenly, on lap 39, Pursley’s right front dug into the cushion and sent him flipping over once before smashing into the retaining wall. Pursley walked away, but his night was finished and his shot at two USAC Midget wins in as many nights was over.

With Pursley out, the onus was now squarely on Drake who was just two laps away from USAC victory number one. As it turned out, it was not meant to be at this moment. Entering turns one and two along the cushion, Drake’s car began bouncing a total of six times before coming to a rest along the wall. A dejected Drake pounded the steering wheel and exited the car after leading a race-high 34 of the 40 laps.

“I hated that for Kale,” Seavey said. “He’s such a good racer and I’m a big fan of his. To see what he’s doing and getting a ride with Keith, it’s really cool for him to give Kale a shot. He nearly won one tonight and I know he’ll win a bunch this year. He’ll learn a lot from that there. I think maybe he just got a little soft and the tire got rolled up and the car started bouncing and stalled the engine. It’s so easy to do with these midgets.”

The coast was now clear for Seavey on the redux of the green-white-checker finish, where Seavey went the distance for the final two go-arounds to prevail by a 0.763 second margin over Ryan Timms, Jacob Denney, Zach Daum and new series point leader Cannon McIntosh.

Seavey’s 17th career USAC National Midget feature victory pushed him up to 41st on the all-time list, tying him with Jay Drake and J.J. Yeley. Despite a brake issue that plagued him all night, Seavey’s last application of the brakes came when he stopped by for a visit to victory lane.

“(The crew(9) did such a good job,” Seavey praised. “I was complaining all day about no brakes and it sure is tough to get around this place without brakes. But the car goes so well, it doesn’t really matter.”

For all intents & purposes, Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.) had to pass the field twice in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/JBL Audio – IWX – Mobil 1/LynK/Speedway Toyota. Starting 11th, Timms worked his way to eighth before spinning. He restarted at the tail on lap 13 and charged all the way back to finish second for the second straight night.

“There at the beginning, everyone was grouped up and it was really tight racing,” Timms recalled. “I went for a bomb and a couple guys in front of me on the bottom checked up and I killed it with the brake. We restarted back in I don’t know what. I just started passing cars and throwing as big of bombs as I could. It ended up being the faster line when you did it. My car was really good, and I got up to fifth and I knew it was going to be tougher to pass the top-five guys rather than the back of the field. But after some of that misfortune with Kale and Daison, we were able to bring it home second and I’m super stoked to be able to come back from dead last.”

Jacob Denney (Galloway, Ohio) has a knack for success at Sweet Springs. He won the John Hinck Championship here a year ago, and tonight, he drove his Tom Malloy/Trench Shoring – Rodela Specialty Fabrication/LynK/Ed Pink Toyota home to a third-place finish, his best USAC National Midget result of the year thus far.

“Especially at the end, it was getting kind of crazy,” Denney remembered. “I was really good on the long runs, and I thought that if I could just circle myself in one and two on the restarts, I’d be better off. But I gave up a too many positions there and maybe if we wouldn’t have given those up, we would’ve had a better shot at it. Overall, (crew chief) Jerome (Rodela) gave me a great car, Maison (Hadley) too, and I can’t thank them and Tom Malloy enough for letting me do this.”

To start off the night, Seavey recorded his 16th career Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifying time with the USAC National Midgets. That moved him to 31st all-time alongside Rico Abreu, Billy Engelhart, Darren Hagen, Steve Lotshaw and Bobby Olivero.

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 19, 2024 – Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex – Sweet Springs, Missouri – 1/6-Mile Dirt Oval – John Hinck Championship

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-11.474; 2. Daison Pursley, 86, CBI-11.528; 3. Jacob Denney, 25, Malloy-11.562; 4. Kevin Thomas Jr, 9, Mounce/Stout-11.566; 5. Kale Drake, 97K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.574; 6. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-11.576; 7. Steven Snyder Jr., 16, Minear-11.586; 8. Ryan Timms, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.598; 9. Ashton Torgerson, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.600; 10. Gavin Miller, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.611; 11. Justin Grant, 2, RMS-11.699; 12. Sam Johnson, 72J, Johnson-11.703; 13. Zach Daum, 7p, RAMCO-11.714; 14. Cannon McIntosh, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.724; 15. Kyle Jones, 27x, Joyner-11.728; 16. Zach Wigal, 89, CBI-11.737; 17. Jake Andreotti, 14, 4 Kings-11.791; 18. Austin Torgerson, 88A, Mounce/Stout-12.021; 19. Branigan Roark, 44, Roark-12.061; 20. Broc Elliott, 00, Elliott-12.405; 21. Curtis Spicer, 4s, Spicer-12.492; 22. Jacob McFarlin, 33, Roark-12.639.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Zach Daum, 2. Zach Wigal, 3. Steven Snyder Jr., 4. Gavin Miller, 5. Logan Seavey, 6. Kevin Thomas Jr., 7. Branigan Roark, 8. Jacob McFarlin. 2:00.012

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Cannon McIntosh, 2. Ryan Timms, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Kale Drake, 5. Daison Pursley, 6. Jake Andreotti, 7. Broc Elliott. 2:00.160

T.J. FORGED / CAR IQ THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Kyle Jones, 2. Ashton Torgerson, 3. Austin Torgerson, 4. Jacob Denney, 5. Ethan Mitchell, 6. Sam Johnson, 7. Curtis Spicer. 2:01.409

FEATURE: (40 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Logan Seavey (6), 2. Ryan Timms (11), 3. Jacob Denney (4), 4. Zach Daum (7), 5. Cannon McIntosh (8), 6. Kyle Jones (9), 7. Ashton Torgerson (12), 8. Justin Grant (14), 9. Kevin Thomas Jr. (3), 10. Jake Andreotti (17), 11. Austin Torgerson (18), 12. Steven Snyder Jr. (10), 13. Zach Wigal (16), 14. Branigan Roark (19), 15. Kale Drake (2), 16. Daison Pursley (5), 17. Curtis Spicer (21), 18. Gavin Miller (13), 19. Ethan Mitchell (1), 20. Sam Johnson (15), 21. Jacob McFarlin (22), 22. Broc Elliott (20). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Kale Drake, Laps 2-4 Jacob Denney, Laps 5-36 Kale Drake, Lap 37 Daison Pursley, Lap 38 Kale Drake, Laps 39-40 Logan Seavey.

**Gavin Miller flipped on lap 36 of the feature. Daison Pursley flipped on lap 39 of the feature.

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Cannon McIntosh-209, 2-Daison Pursley-201, 3-Zach Daum-197, 4-Logan Seavey-195, 5-Ryan Timms-190, 6-Kyle Jones-183, 7-Jacob Denney-162, 8-Justin Grant-161, 9-Ashton Torgerson-158, 10-Kale Drake-155.

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Robert Ballou-64, 2-C.J. Leary-58, 3-Logan Seavey-53, 4-Daison Pursley-44, 5-Joey Amantea-41, 6-Kevin Thomas Jr.-37, 7-Brady Bacon-36, 8-Matt Westfall-36, 9-Justin Grant-33, 10-Kyle Cummins-32.

NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 4, 2024 – Circle City Raceway – Indianapolis, Indiana – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval – 20th Annual USAC Indiana Midget Week


Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Kevin Thomas Jr. (11.755)

Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Logan Seavey (11.474)

Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Zach Daum

Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Cannon McIntosh

T.J. Forged / Car IQ Third Heat Winner: Kyle Jones

Hard Charger: Ryan Timms (11th to 2nd)