July 10, 2024 | By Richie Murray, USAC Media

Pursley Powers to Mid-America Midget Week Opener Win

Photo by Jeramiah Green Photo

MEEKER, Okla. — Daison Pursley’s most recent visit to Meeker, Oklahoma’s Red Dirt Raceway came three years earlier when he was an upstart, fresh-faced youngster just looking to break in and make his name in USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship competition.

That 2021 night marked his first career series victory. Now, three years later, the Locust Grove, Okla. racer is a bonafide USAC national championship contender, reiterating that fact once more at the latest edition of Tuesday Night Thunder on the 1/4-mile dirt oval during the Mid-America Midget Week opener.

Staring seventh, Pursley raced his way into the lead past Justin Grant on a restart with 12 laps remaining, then fended off all other contenders down the stretch to earn his fourth USAC National Midget victory of the year in his CB Industries/PristineAuction.com – NOS Energy Drink – TRD/Spike/Speedway Toyota.

The number seven has been good fortune for Pursley who has won each of his past three USAC National Midget main events this season after starting seventh: June 7 at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway, June 9 at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway and on July 9 at Red Dirt Raceway in front of his home state fans in the Sooner State.

“This thing is absolutely phenomenal right now,” Pursley exclaimed after capturing his second USAC win in as many tries at Red Dirt. “But for some reason, every
time we start seventh, we end up here in victory lane. Maybe if we always start seventh, we’ll be all right.”

In doing so, Pursley increased his point lead in the USAC National Midget championship race to 87 markers as he became the first repeat USAC winner at Red Dirt after Christopher Bell (2018), Logan Seavey (2019), Tanner Thorson (2020), himself (2021), Ryan Timms (2022) and Mother Nature (2023) had all taken their turn at the front during the first five editions.

Red Dirt is just a tick under two hours from Pursley’s homeland of Locust Grove, and the place served as a home away from home for Pursley in his formative racing years in more ways than one. A former weekly competitor at Red Dirt, Pursley captured five NOW600 National Micro Sprint feature wins at the place between 2017-2021.

“It was another great racetrack by Red Dirt Raceway,” Pursley praised. “I really love coming back here; it’s such a fun racetrack. I grew up racing here on Friday nights in the micro. To come back here and race in front of all these fans, and especially to win at this place, it’s really cool.”

Defending USAC National Midget champion Logan Seavey began the 30-lap main event by working the topside from his outside front row starting spot, gaining the lead from pole starter Jade Avedisian by the time the two reached turn three. But Seavey’s pursuit of another Red Dirt victory was short-lived as he suddenly slowed on the eighth lap with a mechanical issue that knocked him out of the race, forcing them to settle for a 22nd place result.

Grant, who had surged from fourth to second with one big move in turn one on lap three, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight as the race leader on lap eight. However, fourth running Pursley instantly became the one to watch one lap after the restart. On lap nine, Pursley first charged around the outside of Zach Daum in turn two, then pointed himself to the bottom of turn three where he glided past Avedisian to snare the runner-up spot but remained a full second behind Grant.

Grant worked lapped traffic through the middle stages and managed to grow his lead to a full second. Nonetheless, Pursley decidedly chipped away little by little to close himself to within four tenths of a second of Grant by lap 19 when misfortune befell one of the frontrunners.

As Zach Wigal tussled to-and-fro with Daum for the fourth position, Wigal spun sideways to a stop at the exit of turn and was hit squarely on the left side of his car by 10th place driver Jacob Denney. Kyle Jones (12th) also tried to avoid the melee but came up snake eyes as he slid over the cushion to a stop. All drivers managed to return to the lineup with Jones (9th) and Wigal (10th) each managing to race their way back into the top-10 by race’s end.

On the ensuing lap 19 restart, at first, it appeared that Avedisian was the one making a surge to the front as she dug in on the bottom to move past Pursley momentarily in turns one and two. However, Pursley, who had just fallen back to third, was simply busy gathering momentum as he shot around Avedisian at the exit of turn two, then subsequently powered underneath Grant in turn three to overtake the top spot once and for all.

On the 21st lap, Daum took hold of the bottom line to advance from fourth to second in one fell swoop while Grant and Avedisian banged wheels in a fierce tussle for position. While that was occurring, Pursley precisely ran his lead up to more than four seconds with three laps to go when Kale Drake (6th) spun to a stop on the back straight, then was nailed by Andrew Deal (13th) who collided with the stopped Drake, resulting in Deal flipping over on his side.

Once more, Pursley went unheeded from the lap 28 restart onward and seemed destined to cruise to victory as he rounded turns three and four on the 30th lap. However, the rug was pulled out from Pursley after Gavin Miller (6th) got hung up on the turn two cushion, resulting in Denney (7th) colliding with Miller before spinning backwards.  Thomas Meseraull (10th), making his first USAC start of the year after returning from a late-March broken collarbone, also plowed in and stopped.

With the yellow forcing the field to finish the deal once more, the green-white-checkered restart went as smooth as butter for Pursley who escaped away from the pack to close out his victory by a 0.586 second margin at the finish line over Daum, Grant, Timms and Miller.

“I really wish Logan didn’t have the malfunction he had,” Pursley stated of Seavey’s early race misfortune. “I felt like it was shaping up to be a really good race with Logan, Justin and me. But this has been a dream come true kind of year. Now I’m just looking forward to hopefully continuing that success and it seems like this 86 car doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. I’m just very fortunate to race with three very good teams and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Zach Daum’s regular ride in the RAMCO Speed Group No. 7p did not make the trip to compete at Mid-America Midget Week. In its stead, Daum (Pocahontas, Ill.) pulled out the No. 5d from his shop after his prospects to compete in the event remained up in the air. He sought an engine and found one after Illinois car owner Wayne Durbin stepped up to help by providing Daum a powerplant to install under the hood in the 11th hour. Once he arrived at the track, Daum did his part by earning his best finish of the USAC season with a second in his RAMCO Speed Group-Daum Motorsports/Kiwi Landscaping – 5d Speed Shop/King/Stanton SR-11x.

“Just being here a couple different times, normally, it gets a little blacker than that and the cushion gets a little bit bigger, so the bottom becomes really a lot more relevant,” Daum explained of Red Dirt’s characteristics. “We just weren’t as good as we needed to be on the bottom there late. For putting this deal together in about 72 hours, I’m not going to complain too much about it.”

Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) led a total of 11 laps throughout the middle portion of the race before dropping back to third in the final tally aboard his RMS Racing/NOS Energy Drink – EnviroFab – MPV Express/Spike/Speedway Toyota. When all was said and done, he’d earned his third consecutive podium result at Red Dirt following a pair of runner-up finishes in 2021 and 2022.

“We were fading pretty hard right as that caution came out and I figured we were probably in trouble there,” Grant noted. “We were a little too good too early. We were fast all night and really, really good for the first half of the feature there. We were just a little free coming in. At least we’re back on the right track, it seems like. We’ve done a lot of work since USAC Indiana Midget Week. We’ve been trying to find speed and I think we found it tonight. We just needed some minor adjustments and we would’ve been in the hunt at the end.”

Jerry Coons Jr.’s crew tightened up his Central Motorsports/Schmidt’s Inc. – Gateway Paintball – Paintball Dave/Spike/Stanton SR-11x up after the prelims and it made all the difference. Coons (Tucson, Ariz.) responded by making his way from his 21st starting position to finish eighth and earn hard charger honors for the night. In six career Red Dirt USAC National Midget starts, Coons has now notched finishes of 4th-4th-3rd-7th-7th-8th.

Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.) experienced quite the adventure on his Honest Abe Roofing Qualifying run. On the first go-around, he set a new one-lap USAC National Midget track record at Red Dirt of 13.032 seconds, surpassing the former mark of 13.108 set by Tyler Courtney in 2020. However, on lap two, Timms went for an absolute ride in turn two, flipping over six times. The 2022 Red Dirt USAC National Midget winner recovered nicely thereafter, utilizing the same car to finish fourth in the night’s feature.


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

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Ryan Timms, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.032 (New Track Record); 2. Kale Drake, 97K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.081; 3. Justin Grant, 2, RMS-13.172; 4. Zach Daum, 5d, RAMCO/Daum-13.176; 5. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-13.183; 6. Jade Avedisian, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.184; 7. Jake Andreotti, 14, 4 Kings-13.190; 8. Cannon McIntosh, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.239; 9. Daison Pursley, 86, CBI-13.269; 10. Zach Wigal, 89, CBI-13.378; 11. Gavin Miller, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.379; 12. Jacob Denney, 25, Malloy-13.398; 13. Kyle Jones, 27x, Joyner-13.422; 14. Andrew Felker, 11A, Felker-13.457; 15. Ricky Lewis, 54, 4 Kings-13.497; 16. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, Engler-13.543; 17. Bradley Fezard, 938, V & H-13.548; 18. Hank Davis, 00, Chandler-13.555; 19. Andrew Deal, 15D, Deal-13.766; 20. Trey Zorn, 00z, Chandler-13.831; 21. Jerry Coons Jr., 85, Central-13.881; 22. Zack Merritt, 43, Oerter-14.504; 23. Curtis Spicer, 4s, Spicer-14.591; 24. Ashley Oerter, 44, Oerter-15.398; 25. Shaun Shapel, 84s, Shapel-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Zach Daum, 2. Zach Wigal, 3. Kyle Jones, 4. Ryan Timms, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Jake Andreotti, 7. Andrew Deal, 8. Zack Merritt.

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Gavin Miller, 2. Logan Seavey, 3. Cannon McIntosh, 4. Kale Drake, 5. Bradley Fezard, 6. Trey Zorn, 7. Curtis Spicer, 8. Andrew Felker.

T.J. FORGED / CAR IQ THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Daison Pursley, 2. Ricky Lewis, 3. Jacob Denney, 4. Jade Avedisian, 5. Hank Davis, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 8. Ashley Oerter.

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Daison Pursley (7), 2. Zach Daum (3), 3. Justin Grant (4), 4. Ryan Timms (6), 5. Gavin Miller (8), 6. Jade Avedisian (1), 7. Cannon McIntosh (10), 8. Jerry Coons Jr. (21), 9. Kyle Jones (13), 10. Zach Wigal (11), 11. Kale Drake (5), 12. Jacob Denney (12), 13. Jake Andreotti (9), 14. Trey Zorn (18), 15. Curtis Spicer (23), 16. Thomas Meseraull (14), 17. Andrew Deal (19), 18. Zack Merritt (20), 19. Bradley Fezard (17), 20. Ricky Lewis (15), 21. Hank Davis (16), 22. Logan Seavey (2), 23. Ashley Oerter (22), 24. Shaun Shapel (24). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Logan Seavey, Laps 8-18 Justin Grant, Laps 19-30 Daison Pursley.

**Ryan Timms flipped during qualifying. Andrew Deal flipped on lap 28 of the feature.

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-667, 2-Cannon McIntosh-580, 3-Ryan Timms-552, 4-Logan Seavey-541, 5-Zach Daum-529, 6-Justin Grant-504, 7-Jacob Denney-484, 8-Gavin Miller-477, 9-Kale Drake-456, 10-Kyle Jones-404.

USAC NATIONAL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-119, 2-Robert Ballou-111, 3-Logan Seavey-110, 4-C.J. Leary-96, 5-Justin Grant-93, 6-Joey Amantea-89, 7-Kyle Cummins-86, 8-Chase Stockon-70, 9-Carson Garrett-63, 10-Brady Bacon-62.

NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 10, 2024 – Mitchell County Fairgrounds – Beloit, Kansas – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval – 13th Chad McDaniel Memorial / USAC Mid-America Midget Week


CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:

Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Ryan Timms (12.775)
Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Ryan Timms (13.032)
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Zach Daum
Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Gavin Miller
T.J. Forged / Car IQ Third Heat Winner: Daison Pursley
Hard Charger: Jerry Coons (21st to 8th)
Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night: Zach Daum


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NON-WING MICROS

A-Main (25 Laps): 1. 71M-Gavin Miller[1]; 2. 83-Brant Woods[4]; 3. 33K-Jack Kassik[7]; 4. 71K-Tate Gurney[10]; 5. 14L-Logan Heath[13]; 6. 98L-Matthew Laflin[8]; 7. 5A-Ava Gropp[9]; 8. 23L-Joshua Lewis[2]; 9. 99L-Kaiden Lane[15]; 10. 83W-Dawson Woods[16]; 11. 55A-Aidan Lewis[14]; 12. 42X-Luke Anderson[3]; 13. 3-Cale Coons[6]; 14. 00T-TJ Stark[5]; 15. 66-Jayden Clay[11]; 16. 297-Dillon Berglan[12]

Milestone Home Service Co Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 71M-Gavin Miller[3]; 2. 42X-Luke Anderson[2]; 3. 3-Cale Coons[5]; 4. 33K-Jack Kassik[8]; 5. 99L-Kaiden Lane[1]; 6. 297-Dillon Berglan[7]; 7. 55A-Aidan Lewis[6]; 8. 14L-Logan Heath[4]

Milestone Home Service Co Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 83-Brant Woods[1]; 2. 23L-Joshua Lewis[3]; 3. 00T-TJ Stark[5]; 4. 98L-Matthew Laflin[2]; 5. 5A-Ava Gropp[6]; 6. 66-Jayden Clay[7]; 7. 71K-Tate Gurney[4]; 8. 83W-Dawson Woods[8]

KB Racing Qualifying 1 (3 Laps): 1. 14L-Logan Heath, 00:14.055[5]; 2. 71M-Gavin Miller, 00:14.123[1]; 3. 42X-Luke Anderson, 00:14.386[6]; 4. 99L-Kaiden Lane, 00:14.483[2]; 5. 3-Cale Coons, 00:14.483[8]; 6. 55A-Aidan Lewis, 00:14.833[4]; 7. 297-Dillon Berglan, 00:16.326[3]; 8. 33K-Jack Kassik, 00:16.326[7]

KB Racing Qualifying 2 (3 Laps): 1. 71K-Tate Gurney, 00:14.034[2]; 2. 23L-Joshua Lewis, 00:14.077[8]; 3. 98L-Matthew Laflin, 00:14.201[1]; 4. 83-Brant Woods, 00:14.246[7]; 5. 00T-TJ Stark, 00:14.427[3]; 6. 5A-Ava Gropp, 00:14.478[5]; 7. 66-Jayden Clay, 00:14.564[6]; 8. 83W-Dawson Woods, 00:15.177[4]

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