Anger erupted on night two of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series Eastern Midget Week. Daison Pursley took the win after wheel stand and crash chaos at the start caused an on-track confrontation at Action Track USA in Pennsylvania
A field of 25 cars performed 2 qualification laps on the high banked tight 5th of a mile clay oval. Tanner Thorson used the newly added banking to break the lap record he previously held in a time of 10.881 smashing the ole 11.146 mark he set last year. Justin Grant was 2nd quickest only 0.004 seconds slower. The top 12 cars all under the old track record. Pursley 7th fastest.
After qualifying 13th Hayden Williams sat on the outside of the first of three heat races. Pole sitter and pace setter Jonathan Shafer led away with Williams immediately crossing in front of the Keith Kunz Motorsport driver’s car to lead the first 7 laps before a yellow flag bought the field to his bumper.
With one lap to go the race halted again, this time for New Zealand BSL Racing team mate Travis Buckley who found himself sideways on the track after close quarters racing with USAC veterans Kevin Thomas Jr. and Tanner Thorson.
With Williams motor issues plaguing the entire tour persisting the lap count was reset to 2-Laps to go as Williams took the green flag again but nearly stalled the car in turns 3 & 4 resulting in Thomas Jr. stopping to avoid other cars. Williams going on to claim his 1st heat win of the tour.
Heat race 2 was won by Ethan Mitchell in the Bundy Built Motorsport Spike – Stanton MOPAR and Thomas Meseraull in the RMS Racing Spike – Speedway Toyota won the final 10-Lap heat race.
The 12-Lap Semi-Feature was for all drivers finishing outside the top 5 in heat racing. The race was won by Thomas Jr. and included Buckley and Christchurch born, Indiana resident Glenn Waterland. Both able to finish in the top 7 to start the 30-Lap Feature.
The Feature line up saw Daison Pursley on pole with Meseraull alongside. Former New Zealand Sprintcar Champion, Californian teenager Buddy Kofoid started with Emerson Axsom in row 2. Current Kiwi Midget Champion Williams and Mitchell from grids 7 and 8.
When the race started Pursley led onto the back straight with Meseraull forced to lift and making contact with Pursley’s tail. This gave Axsom the opening to jet ahead and be 1st into turns 3 and 4.
Coming onto the front straight Axsom’s front wheels lifted removing all hope of steering sending him into the path of Meseraull who, in turn, ended up sideways with the pack bearing down on him. It was Meseraull’s RMS team mate Grant who was the unlucky victim flipping hard over the start – finish line after hitting Meseraull. Grant taking his time to crawl from his stricken ride.
Meanwhile, as all cars stopped on track, incensed with Axsoms’ moves, Meseraull unbuckled and climbed out of his cage at a gallop towards the instigator. Meseraull inserting his whole helmeted head inside Axsom’s single-seater’s cage to be face to face, inches apart. The veteran imparting his knowledge to the rookie driver in no uncertain terms until officials were able to pull him away from Axsom’s car. Both RMS cars dragged off the track broken.
With one lap completed, at the single file restart a multi-car stoppage once again reset the field sending Thomas Jr. and Canon McIntosh out with Thorson, Logan Seavey, and others to the rear of the field.
After several more cautions Pursley held the lead with Kofoid passing Axsom to claim 2nd only to have Axsom fight back in to the position. Williams got by Mitchell to advance from 5th to 4th with yesterday’s winner Windom following passed Axsom to be 5th.
With 10 laps left Axsom caught and passed Pursley in lap traffic with the exchanging classic Midget slide jobs on the tight bullring track. Pursley able to beak free and hold on for the win. Axsom finishing 0.9 seconds behind and Kofoid rounding out the podium.
Williams was able finish 4th with no brakes, besting his 10th place finish at Solomon Valley Raceway last month. Windom was 5th from grid 13 with Alex Bright from 16th, Mitchell, Taylor Reimer, Thorson and from 20th Randall all top 10 finishers. Teenager Buckley 15th with Waterland 17th.
“Going through lap traffic. It’s usually better to be in 2nd. When we first hit it I kind of just started minding my own time.” Said Pursley of his late race run.
The Round 3 of Eastern Midget Week is on 5th August at Bridgeport Motorsports Park in Swedesboro, New Jersey.
USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship Points
8-Kevin Thomas Jr.-1084
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