June 10, 2024 | By Richie Murray, USAC Media

Pursley caps off Indiana Midget week title with Kokomo victory

Photo by Indy Racing Images

KOKOMO, ind. — By the time Daison Pursley was pushed off for the start of Sunday night’s USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship feature at Kokomo Speedway, he had already locked up his first USAC Indiana Midget Week title.

Despite that fact, the Locust Grove, Okla. racer had no inclination of stopping anytime soon.

Starting seventh on the grid, Pursley worked his way toward the front, and with five laps remaining, wrestled the lead away from Michael Pickens and fended off a swarm of others to score the feature win and the Indiana Midget Week crown in one fell swoop at the wheel of his CB Industries/PristineAuction.com – NOS Energy Drink – TRD/Spike/Speedway Toyota.

In fact, Pursley is the fifth driver in the 20-year history of IMW to hit a walk-off home run, so to speak, by winning the final race of the series and the championship on the same evening, joining Bryan Clauson (2009), Brad Kuhn (2010), Christopher Bell (2013) and Rico Abreu (2015) in that club.

Pursley achieved his first IMW championship by a record 74-point margin, surpassing the former record of 73 posted by Kyle Larson in 2020. Incidentally, Larson earned team owner Chad Boat his first IMW title that year, and now, Pursley has delivered a second for Boat in a similarly dominant fashion.

The most recent driver to finish all of his IMW starts on the podium was Larson in 2020. Pursley did the same in 2024 as he racked up successive top-three results in all five events, which culminated in his second victory of the week on Sunday at Kokomo’s 1/4-mile dirt oval.

Across all of USAC’s national platforms, Pursley has finished on the podium in seven-straight starts, five in the midget and two in the sprint car. His latest performances have also converted his overall USAC National Midget point situation from trailing by eight at the beginning of the week to now being up 67.

Pursley hopes this past week is just the start of something even bigger and better by translating an Indiana Midget Week title into a USAC National Midget championship at year’s end, a feat achieved in each of the last three seasons by Buddy Kofoid (2021-22) and Logan Seavey (2023).

“I never thought you could put ‘championship’ by my name just because I feel like I’ve torn up a lot of stuff over the years,” Pursley said with a wry smile. “It’s cool to win the USAC Indiana Midget Week championship. Hopefully this leads to many more.”

Pursley was slated to start from the inside of row three for the feature vent, but even before the 24-car field could line up four-wide to give the traditional pre-race salute, a wild incident transpired as 11th starting Daniel Whitley’s car suddenly picked up speed on the front straightaway and veered through the infield before hitting a fire rescue truck head on. Whitley climbed out of the mangled wreckage under his own power, but his ride was severely damaged upon impact and was wedged under the front bumper of the truck.

Back to the normality of the on-track action, pole starter Jade Avedisian stepped out in front of the field to lead the opening circuit of the 30-lap main event. However, her new Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate for the night, Michael Pickens, edged ahead on the low side of the racetrack in turn four to assume the top spot on lap two.

Behind Pickens, the past two night’s feature winners, Pursley and Logan Seavey, began to crawl their way forward. Pursley took second from Seavey on lap nine and the two swapped the position numerous times, unofficially, with Seavey slotting into the runner-up spot once more on lap 12.

“Michael got the bottom rolling pretty good early on, and once he jumped to the top, he was gone,” Pursley recalled. “Logan and I were racing hard, trying to find which exact line was faster than the other one. Logan started running the top really hard in one and two and was moving to the bottom and showed me which line was the fastest. I felt a little bit better than Logan on the top of one and two but could never clear that slider.”

The top-three spots held by Pickens, Seavey and Pursley remained steady throughout much of the affair until the final 10-lap stanza. Using the low line, Seavey came within a half-car length of nipping Pickens at the line for the lead. The very next lap, it was very much the same as Seavey drew even closer, yet Pickens remained ahead by the width of a whisker, .042 seconds to be precise.

Pickens, the savvy New Zealand racing star who was the only driver in Sunday’s field who also competed in Kokomo’s inaugural IMW event in 2006, changed course and defended the low line in turn one, thus stifling Seavey’s slider attempt. Meanwhile, third-running Pursley’s momentum was at full bore, and he used it to drive under Seavey on the back straightaway for the second spot on lap 23.

“Once we got to lapped traffic, I got the bottom rolling on both sides and was able to capitalize on some of their errors,” Pursley recalled. “I was able to pounce on Logan, then Logan kind of showed Michael the bottom down there, and he moved down. It was a perfect opportunity for me to get up on the wheel and get the job done.”

The race suddenly became an all-out war as the top-five of Pickens, Pursley, plus the emerging Cannon McIntosh and Kale Drake, along with Seavey, all ran under a blanket in the tussle for the lead. With five to go, Pursley was able to step out in front of the pack as he drove around the outside of Pickens in turn two to surge ahead to the lead for once and for good.

However, the furious battle at the front took a breather for a brief moment when the red flag was displayed for 21st running Blake Brannon who walked away after flipping in turn two.

On the lap 27 restart, nobody had anything to offer Pursley who cruised the final four laps to reign victorious by a 2.178 margin over Michael Pickens, Logan Seavey and Cannon McIntosh with Rookie Kale Drake rounding out the top-five by recording his best career series finish to date of fifth.

Pursley became the first three-time winner of the USAC National Midget season, surpassing his entire career series win total of two between 2019-2023. In eight USAC National Midget starts this season, Pursley has notched seven top-three results, an incredible start to the campaign for the 19-year-old upstart who is amid a career year.

“This thing is unbelievable,” Pursley said of his ride. “Everyone who is a part of this thing is amazing. It’s such a phenomenal piece to drive. It makes my job a lot easier just knowing that literally wherever I start I feel like I’m capable of winning. I had a bad qualifying effort tonight, but all the pressure was off of me just because I know how good this thing is. I’ve wanted to win badly here at Kokomo, and tonight, I was finally able to put it in BC victory lane.”

Aside from their incredible start, one must remember that the pairing between Pursley and CB Industries is a new combination for 2024. To say they’ve clicked so far is an understatement of epic proportions.

“Daison and I have super clicked, and it’s been a lot of fun,” CB Industries owner Chad Boat stated. “We’ve also raced a lot together, not so much in midgets, but we ran a lot of micro races together and I’ve gotten to learn more of what he wants to feel in the car. With the micro, we got to try stuff and some of that has translated into what we’re doing with the midget right now.”

After struggling to finishes of 14th, 18th, 14th and 25th throughout his first four outings of the week with Mounce-Stout Motorsports, Michael Pickens received a text message on Saturday night from car owner Keith Kunz asking to come see him after the race. A one-race deal was struck between the two to put him in a car for Kokomo, the same mount that won on Thursday at Lincoln Park Speedway with Emerson Axsom in the driver’s seat. Pickens (Auckland, N.Z.) paid the team off by leading a race high 24 laps before finishing second in the TRD – IWX – Mobil 1/LynK/Speedway Toyota. Additionally, he earned the Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night.

After a rough start to his own week as well, 2019 and 2023 IMW titlist Logan Seavey had fallen to 15th in the weeklong standings. By the end of Sunday’s Kokomo finale, he had climbed all the way back to finish second in the IMW points aboard his Abacus Racing/Indy Fuel – AP Driver Development – Prime 47 – Drexel Interiors/Spike/Stanton SR-11x. With his third-place result at Kokomo, Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) equaled his best career USAC Midget result at the track, also finishing third in 2018.

For the second time of the week, Gavin Miller (Allentown, Pa.) earned a $100 bonus from Irvin King as the night's hardest charger. Miller, the 2023 series Rookie of the Year, went +16, advancing from his 23rd starting spot to finish seventh.



USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 9, 2024 – Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, Indiana – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval – 20th Annual USAC Indiana Midget Week

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-13.318; 2. Michael Pickens, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.379; 3. Zach Wigal, 89, CBI-13.477; 4. Hank Davis, 8, Cornell-13.508; 5. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-13.524; 6. Daniel Whitley, 7m, RAMCO-13.531; 7. Jade Avedisian, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.560; 8. Justin Grant, 2, RMS-13.562; 9. Chase McDermand, 8w, Ford-13.583; 10. Jacob Denney, 25, Malloy-13.606; 11. Hayden Reinbold, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-13.606; 12. Ryan Timms, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.613; 13. Daison Pursley, 86, CBI-13.626; 14. Kyle Jones, 27x, Joyner-13.659; 15. Kale Drake, 97K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.673; 16. Zach Daum, 7p, RAMCO-13.706; 17. Steve Buckwalter, 25B, Buckwalter-13.727; 18. Cannon McIntosh, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.742; 19. Frankie Guerrini, 63, F & F-13.759; 20. Jake Andreotti, 14, 4 Kings-13.793; 21. Drake Edwards, 3p, Petty-13.816; 22. Taylor Reimer, 25K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.837; 23. Gavin Miller, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.843; 24. Blake Brannon, 40, Brannon-13.920; 25. Adam Taylor, 7T, ATM-14.009; 26. Weston Gorham, 18N, Dickerson-14.018; 27. Lance Bennett, 91, Mason-14.193; 28. Tom Dunkel, 17A, Ford-14.845; 29. Robert Carson, 99K, LOK-15.032.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Daison Pursley, 2. Logan Seavey, 3. Drake Edwards, 4. Chase McDermand, 5. Ethan Mitchell, 6. Adam Taylor, 7. Robert Carson, 8. Steve Buckwalter.

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Cannon McIntosh, 2. Taylor Reimer, 3. Michael Pickens, 4. Jacob Denney, 5. Kyle Jones, 6. Daniel Whitley, 7. Weston Gorham.

T.J. FORGED THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Kale Drake, 2. Gavin Miller, 3. Zach Wigal, 4. Jade Avedisian, 5. Hayden Reinbold, 6. Frankie Guerrini, 7. Lance Bennett.

CAR IQ FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Jake Andreotti, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Blake Brannon, 4. Hank Davis, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Tom Dunkel, 7. Ryan Timms.

ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Frankie Guerrini, 2. Steve Buckwalter, 3. Daniel Whitley, 4. Ryan Timms, 5. Adam Taylor, 6. Lance Bennett, 7. Tom Dunkel, 8. Weston Gorham, 9. Robert Carson.

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Daison Pursley (7), 2. Michael Pickens (5), 3. Logan Seavey (6), 4. Cannon McIntosh (9), 5. Kale Drake (8), 6. Zach Daum (18), 7. Gavin Miller (23), 8. Jacob Denney (14), 9. Chase McDermand (13), 10. Ryan Timms (16), 11. Hayden Reinbold (15), 12. Kyle Jones (17), 13. Jade Avedisian (1), 14. Zach Wigal (4), 15. Frankie Guerrini (20), 16. Jake Andreotti (10), 17. Taylor Reimer (22), 18. Justin Grant (12), 19. Hank Davis (3), 20. Ethan Mitchell (2), 21. Blake Brannon (24), 22. Steve Buckwalter (19), 23. Drake Edwards (21), 24. Daniel Whitley (11). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Jade Avedisian, Laps 2-25 Michael Pickens, Laps 26-30 Daison Pursley.

**Ryan Timms flipped during the fourth heat. Blake Brannon flipped on lap 27 of the feature.

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-589, 2-Cannon McIntosh-522, 3-Logan Seavey-509, 4-Ryan Timms-480, 5-Zach Daum-451, 6-Jacob Denney-439, 7-Justin Grant-433, 8-Gavin Miller-411, 9-Kale Drake-405, 10-Kyle Jones-352.

USAC INDIANA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-388, 2-Logan Seavey-314, 3-Cannon McIntosh-313, 4-Ryan Timms-290, 5-Jacob Denney-277, 6-Justin Grant-272, 7-Gavin Miller-265, 8-Zach Daum-254, 9-Kale Drake-250, 10-Hayden Reinbold-241.

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-88, 2-C.J. Leary-81, 3-Logan Seavey-77, 4-Robert Ballou-74, 5-Justin Grant-57, 6-Joey Amantea-54, 7-Brady Bacon-50, 8-Carson Garrett-50, 9-Kyle Cummins-48, 10-Matt Westfall-45.

USAC INDIANA MIDGET WEEK PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-38, 2-Ryan Timms-38, 3-Cannon McIntosh-33, 4-Gavin Miller-30, 5-Justin Grant-29, 6-Zach Daum-27, 7-Logan Seavey-24, 8-Kale Drake-24, 9-Kyle Jones-21, 10-Lance Bennett-20.

NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 9, 2024 – Red Dirt Raceway – Meeker, Oklahoma – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval – Tuesday Night Thunder



CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:

Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Daison Pursley (13.083)
Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Logan Seavey (13.318)
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Daison Pursley
Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Cannon McIntosh
T.J. Forged Third Heat Winner: Kale Drake
Car IQ Fourth Heat Winner: Jake Andreotti
Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi Winner: Frankie Guerrini
Irvin King Hard Charger: Gavin Miller (23rd to 7th)
Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night: Michael Pickens
USAC Indiana Midget Week ProSource Passing Master: Daison Pursley (38)

Videos

Mostly Motorsports Live

Track Talk Live

Mostly Motorsports Live

Track Talk Live

Mostly Motorsports Live

Track Talk Live

Track Talk Live

Mostly Motorsports Live

More Videos

Our Partners