Franklin, Indiana teenager Emerson Axsom took home the $10,000 to win prize at Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Nebraska but not without controversy after spinning out race the leader. That was not the only on track incident that saw drivers hot under the collar in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series, Mid America Midget Week closer.
The 2 night Midwest Midget Championship format utilising last night’s 30-Lap Feature line up in lieu of qualifying set the heat race order with the first 4 cars home last night starting from grid 6 of the 4 heat races. Each 10-Lap heat inverting the fastest 6 with the first 4 cars to finish transferring to the 40-Lap Feature.
Thomas Meseraull, Cannon McIntosh, Zac Taylor of Wyoming and Colorado’s Jake Bubak winning the heat races. Auckland BSL Racing drivers Travis Buckley finishing 6th from the 8th grid and team mate Hayden Williams from 7th up to 5th, one spot shy of the transfer. Axsom home 3rd in heat four.
The Semi-Feature was a 12-Lap affair won by Trey Gropp from grid two. Chase Randall, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Johnson, Keith Rauch and Shannon McQueen also making it to the final. With 3 laps to go Buckley retired and Williams and Hayden Reinbold came together and locked wheels forcing the tow truck to prize the interlocked cars apart. The incident with Williams in 6th just 2 laps away from transferring to the Feature by deed however the Kiwi Midget Champ lucky to receive a provisional start from 23rd and last in the 40-Lap main event.
For the Feature, finishing 6th on night one and 4th in his heat, former USAC National Midget Series Champion Logan Seavey sat on pole position alongside fellow Californian Justin Grant. Axsom, Chris Windom, Kevin Thomas Jnr. and back to back winner of the previous night’s Tanner Thorson completing the front 6 starters.
The field took the green flag on the wide fifth of a mile banked clay oval with Seavey and Axsom side by side across the line to complete the opening lap. The pair switching lines and positions several times in the opening 7 laps until the race was slowed for Williams who was on his side in turn 1 and restarting from the rear.
On lap 13 Thorson clipped the rear of McIntosh, spinning him in the first turn. This stopped McIntosh and half spun Thorson nearly shunted his car back to life when hit unavoidably by Meseraull. All 3 cars sent to the rear of the field.
One lap later all cars stopped while safety crew checked on Bubak who rolled on the back straight but was unhurt. Thorson going to the work area where his crew checked over his car before re-joining the race last.
Seavey took the green flag in the Tom Malloy owned King Chassis – Ed Pink Toyota over the half-way point and had established a small lead when Randall bought out the caution. Williams departing the race at this stage.
With 8 laps remaining Seavey was slowed slightly in lap traffic with Petry Motorsports driver Axsom close behind. Seavey receiving contact from behind several times before turning under a lapped car to pass. Axsom unable to slow his car enough collected the leaders tail sending Seavey into a turn two 360 degree spin bringing out the caution lights. The USAC rules sending any spinner to the rear whether innocent victim or not. An aggrieved Seavey running into Axsom under yellow to show his displeasure before tagging the back of the single file restart.
Kofoid had started 15th and was in the top 10 after 12 laps. With 15 laps remaining he had hit the top 5 and then worked his way past season points threat Windom for 4th. Seavey’s exit gifted him 3rd behind Thomas Jr. for the 8 to go restart.
Axsom in the #15 Bullet by Spike-Speedway Toyota controlled the start over Thomas Jr. while Kofoid gathered momentum on the cushion in turns 3 and 4 then slid into 2nd. Windom next to move past Thomas Jr.
With big money on the line heated emotions were once again on display as Thorson, who had rallied back from last on lap 13 to be 6th with 3 laps to go, was drilled from behind on the pole line in turns 3 and 4 by Grant. Thorson’s body language to Grant questioning the manoeuvre and motives.
The final 3 laps saw Axsom take the win with Kofoid and Windom rounding out the podium. Grant 4th and Daison Pursley 5th from 14th on the grid. McIntosh, Thomas Jr., Jerry Cons Jnr., Brenham Crouch and Meseraull inside the top ten.
Axsom stalled his motor post victory donut and was accosted by Seavey’s crew chief, Jerome Rodela, who was quickly intercepted by an official before in reach the teenager.
“I want to apologise to Logan and Jerome. You know I think that was kind of the lapped cars fault. I was on the brakes and I wasn’t trying to wreak him. I like Logan and I like Jerome. I was trying to race him clean.” Said Axsom after a mix of cheers and jeers from the stands.
Kofoid able to keep his lead over Windom in Series points
USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series Points
9-Kevin Thomas Jr.-983
The series race is August 3rd at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania for the first of the 5 round Eastern Midget Week.
For live and on demand footage visit https://www.floracing.com/