A last lap lunge wasn’t enough to phase reigning USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series Champion Chris Windom who claimed line honours at Grandview Speedway to kick off the 5-Night, Eastern Midget Week.
The 27 Car field signed in at the 1/3 Mile High bank oval located in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania. Newly crowned Indiana Sprint Week Champion Kevin Thomas Jr. set fast time and a new track record of 13.97 seconds knocking 0.34 off the previous record set by Kyle Larson’s 2019. National series point leader Buddy Kofoid was 2nd fastest and Emerson Axsom third.
New Zealand Midget Champion Hayden Williams and teenage team mate Travis Buckley qualifying 19th and 24th respectively at their first visit to the track. Windom 6th fastest.
Passing was at a premium on the fast surface with heat wins going to Pennsylvania native Alex Bright, Californian Justin Grant and Oklahoma born Daison Pursley who all started on the front row. Windom coming home 3rd in heat 3, the format awarding him pole position for the Feature. The Kiwi pair missing the top 5 transfer spots in their 8-Lap heats forcing an appearance in the Semi-Feature.
Oliver Akard flew skyward in a violent set of flips across the start/finish line in the Semi-Feature. The Floridian USAC Midget rookie climbing out of his damaged DRC-Stanton MOPAR immediately. The top 7 cars home advancing to the rear of the Feature were Jonathan Shafer, Taylor Reimer, Hayden Reinbold, Steve Buckwalter, Williams, Buckley racing his way in from grid 9 and Kevin Woody.
The 30-Lap Feature saw Windom and Chase Randall occupy the front row with 4-time winner this season Tanner Thorson and Axsom in row 2 with Kofoid and Thomas Jr. in the 3rd row. Pursley, Bright, Grant and Canon McIntosh also starting in the top ten grids.
As the cars were being started a push truck climbed Thomas Meseraull’s right rear, requiring a visit to the work area before forming up for the start.
When the race got under way on the reworked track, Randall railed the high side early on to take the lead with Windom forced to follow. On lap 6 Windom found his mojo and was on Randall’s bumper when he slid into the lead. Randall crossed him back but had no answer for the Canton Illinois Triple Crown Champion. Axsom was next to pass Randall as the top 3 gapped the fight for 4th position between Thomas Jr. and Thorson.
With only 3 laps remaining Windom encountered heavy lap traffic lap traffic as 2nd place Axsom made net gains against the leader, drawing to within car lengths. As the white flag waved Axsom slid into the lead for the first time in turns 1 and 2 but Windom was fast to react turning his car under the Franklin Indiana driver down the back straight and on to win the race.
Randall, Thomas Jr., and Thorson in the top five. Pursley, Grant, Meseraull, McIntosh and Kofoid rounding out the top ten. Williams starting 1th and finishing 16th. Buckley completing the race in 22nd.
The Round 2 of Eastern Midget Week is on 4th August in Kutztown, Pennsylvania at Action Track USA.
USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship Points
7-Kevin Thomas Jr.-1054
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