July 11, 2024 | By Richie Murray, USAC Media

Pursley wins Chad McDaniel Memorial

Photo by John Lee of High-Fly'n Photos

BELOIT, Kans. — Mid-America Midget Week. Indiana Midget Week. Shark Week on Discovery Channel. Seemingly every week that Daison Pursley has faced this year in USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship competition, he has prevailed.

Well, maybe not Shark Week as of yet, but at this point, you probably couldn’t count him out of contention!

During Wednesday night’s 13th running of the Chad McDaniel Memorial at Beloit, Kansas’ Mitchell County Fairgrounds, the Locust Grove, Okla. native showcased his prowess of the 2024 season once again as he became the final leader in a 30-lap affair that featured five lead changes among four different drivers on the 1/4-mile dirt oval.

Leading the final 10 laps behind the wheel of his CB Industries/PristineAuction.com – NOS Energy Drink – TRD/Spike/Speedway Toyota, Pursley won his second series main event within a 24-hour span after scoring the night before at Oklahoma’s Red Dirt Raceway.

Dating back to the USAC Indiana Midget Week finale at Kokomo Speedway in June, Pursley has now reeled off three consecutive series victories to become the first driver to achieve that feat since Buddy Kofoid scored four-in-a-row during the 2022 season.

Additionally, with the win in Beloit, Pursley’s latest triumph tied an all-time series record for the quickest any driver has earned his fifth win of the USAC National Midget season. Victory number five for Pursley came in his 10th start of the 2024 campaign, equaling the mark that J.J. Yeley (2003) and Tyler Courtney (2019) established during both of their respective championship seasons.

Furthermore, Pursley provided team owner Chad Boat his 38th career win as an entrant with the USAC National Midget series, thus moving Boat into the top-10 all-time in that category alongside Corey Tucker, one of Boat’s former partners who he achieved a series title with in 2020 under the Tucker-Boat Motorsports banner.

Pursley also delivered Boat’s CB Industries outfit its second consecutive Chad McDaniel Memorial score after the team captured last year’s event with driver Bryant Wiedeman. In doing so, CBI became the first team to repeat in the event, which debuted back in 2010.

Although Pursley had won each of his past three USAC National Midget features after starting in the seventh position, he didn’t mind starting one row closer to the front at Mitchell County as he rolled off for the feature from the fifth slot. Early on, however, he had dropped back a spot to sixth while the likes of Justin Grant just drove by him, giving Pursley a bit of a Maalox Moment for the time being.

“I think the first handful of laps is really what kind of told the tale of how the race was going to end up,” Pursley explained. “When Justin got by me by cruising around the bottom, I thought it was going to be very hard to get by him and Logan (Seavey). Then the track kind of just threw everybody for a curveball. The cushion got over the edge during the heat races and it allowed the bottom and the middle to come back into play. I think that’s what you were able to see here tonight. It was another great racetrack for us to race on and move around on, and it kept us guessing.”

At the front, it was pole sitter Kyle Jones muscling his way into the lead on the opening circuit as he led his first career lap in USAC National Midget competition. That proved to be short lived, nonetheless, as Meseraull fought back from his outside front row starting spot to grab the lead on lap two.

As Meseraull jetted out to a half-second lead by lap 10, behind him, Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier Zach Wigal got sideways through the middle of turns one and two while tussling for third with Justin Grant and promptly spun to a stop. Without suffering any contact, Wigal restarted his race at the tail of the field but managed to drive himself back to eighth at the finish line.

More trouble hit one of the premier frontrunners on the 11th lap restart as defending USAC National Midget champion and second running Logan Seavey clipped the turn three infield berm with his left front tire, briefly upsetting the car. As he bounced sideways, third running Justin Grant tapped Seavey’s back bumper, sending Seavey completely askew before sliding to a stop right in the path of eighth running Kale Drake whose right rear tire caught Seavey's left rear, resulting in a flat tire and damaged wheel for Seavey. Seavey restarted, but ultimately came home 19th in the final rundown.

On the ensuing restart, Grant advanced into the lead as he charged under Meseraull in turns one and two. Pursley came along in short order as he dipped underneath Meseraull in turn four to overtake second. Pursley then went to work on tracking down Grant, sliding him for the top spot in turn one on lap 15. It was only for a brief moment though as Grant cut back under and beat Pursley back to turn three to reassume the position at the top of the leaderboard.

Pursley refused to go astray as he slid his way back past Grant in turn three on the 18th lap, beating Grant back to the stripe by a wheel. Grant carried the edge back into turn one moments later and swiped the lead right back from Pursley and proceeded to stretch his lead out as Pursley now had to contend with the resurgent Meseraull for the runner-up spot.

A yellow flag on lap 20 halted the fight after fifth running Jones slowed suddenly in turn while running fifth, the victim of an engine issue. However, one lap following the restart, more misfortune befell a driver at the front. That happened to be race leader Grant whose car over rotated and glided to a stop in turn two on the 21st circuit, ending his bid for a first USAC Midget win in 2024. He managed to restart but finished a distant 16th.

“I think it was going to be one heck of a race between Justin and I with how the track was developing,” Pursley noted. “Then T-Mez looked like he was just hammering the top in T-Mez fashion.”

But without Grant in the picture, Pursley went away scot-free for the final 10 laps, although Meseraull made it tight on the final two laps as he zipped around the outside of Jerry Coons Jr. in turn four with the white flag in sight, then advanced to within five car lengths of Pursley at the finish line with Pursley officially winning by a 0.408 second margin over Meseraull, Coons and Jacob Denney as Zach Daum rounded out the top-five.

Pursley’s seventh career victory moved him into the top-100 all-time in terms of USAC National Midget feature wins, coming in at number 97 alongside Tommy Astone, Jack Hewitt, Don Horvath, Page Jones, Cannon McIntosh, Kenneth Nichols, Larry Patton, Les Scott, Len Sutton and Johnnie Tolan.

Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.), in just his second USAC start after breaking his collarbone three-and-a-half months earlier in a racing accident, led nine laps and finished second in his Tim Engler/Engler Machine & Tool – T-Mez TV – Indy Performance Composites/MF1/EA Stealth, earning the Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night for his performance.

“I just want to thank Tim back home,” Meseraull praised. “Tim has given me everything I need to be up here on the podium. Daison has been the guy to beat so I feel like what we have is pretty close. I was reeling him in at the end there, but we couldn’t get it done so I’ll be more than happy with a second-place finish. I felt like we did a really good job. My boss built this midget motor to compete against the Toyotas and here we are.”

Jerry Coons Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) earned his best USAC National Midget finish since his Mid-America Midget Week trip to Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway in 2022. On this night, he scored a third in his Central Motorsports/Schmidt’s Inc. – Gateway Paintball – Paintball Dave/Spike/Stanton SR-11x.

“We started a little further forward tonight and being able to win that heat race probably saved the night,” Coons stated, referencing his 21st to 8th run in the feature one night earlier at Red Dirt Raceway. “We were good early, but it definitely slicked off. I was good there for a while, but I kept making adjustments under the yellows trying to keep up with it. I felt like I was pretty good in three and four for a long time, then the exit of four just blew off. I was having to get in lower and lower and finally I was running my left front through the drainage or something over there. It was upsetting the car, and I just really lost a lot of forward drive off four because you had to keep it down so low. It was just a matter of keeping up with the car a little bit with the shocks and some adjustments in there.”

Gavin Miller (Allentown, Pa.) earned hard charger honors after picking his way through the field from his 16th starting position to a fifth-place finish in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Sound Gear – TRD – Mobil 1/LynK/Speedway Toyota. It's the Keystone State native’s third seventh place finish in his past four USAC National Midget starts


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

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Zach Wigal, 89, CBI-12.311; 2. Daison Pursley, 86, CBI-12.339; 3. Zach Daum, 5d, RAMCO/Daum-12.373; 4. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-12.385; 5. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, Engler-12.419; 6. Kyle Jones, 27x, Joyner-12.437; 7. Kale Drake, 97K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.446; 8. Jade Avedisian, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.461; 9. Daniel Whitley, 60x, LeVecque-12.471; 10. Justin Grant, 2, RMS-12.519; 11. Cannon McIntosh, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.525; 12. Jake Andreotti, 14, 4 Kings-12.552; 13. Ryan Timms, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.555; 14. Gavin Miller, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.558; 15. Jacob Denney, 25, Malloy-12.635; 16. Ricky Lewis, 54, 4 Kings-12.687; 17. Jerry Coons Jr., 85, Central-12.799; 18. Jeff Stasa, 91, SBR-12.830; 19. Trey Zorn, 00, Chandler-12.877; 20. Zack Merritt, 43, Oerter-13.416; 21. Ashley Oerter, 44, Oerter-14.179; 22. Curtis Spicer, 4s, Spicer-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Ryan Timms, 3. Ricky Lewis, 4. Zach Wigal, 5. Kale Drake, 6. Logan Seavey, 7. Trey Zorn, 8. Curtis Spicer. NT

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Jerry Coons Jr., 2. Gavin Miller, 3. Cannon McIntosh, 4. Daison Pursley, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Jade Avedisian, 7. Zack Merritt. 2:11.11

T.J. FORGED / CAR IQ THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Jacob Denney, 2. Kyle Jones, 3. Jake Andreotti, 4. Daniel Whitley, 5. Zach Daum, 6. Jeff Stasa, 7. Ashley Oerter. 2:10.88

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

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Kyle Jones, Laps 2-10 Thomas Meseraull, Laps 11-17 Justin Grant, Lap 18 Daison Pursley, Laps 19-20 Justin Grant, Laps 21-30 Daison Pursley.

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-747, 2-Cannon McIntosh-641, 3-Ryan Timms-605, 4-Zach Daum-595, 5-Logan Seavey-572, 6-Jacob Denney-553, 7-Justin Grant-543, 8-Gavin Miller-536, 9-Kale Drake-483, 10-Zach Wigal-456.

USAC NATIONAL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-123, 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 RACES: July 12-13, 2024 – Jefferson County Speedway – Fairbury, Nebraska – 1/5-Mile Dirt Oval – Midwest Midget Championship / USAC Mid-America Midget Week


CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:

Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Daison Pursley (12.253)
Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Zach Wigal (12.311)
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Justin Grant
Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Jerry Coons Jr.
T.J. Forged / Car IQ Third Heat Winner: Jacob Denney
Hard Charger: Gavin Miller (16th to 7th)
Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night: Thomas Meseraull

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