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Pursley Pounces to Bloomington Win, Takes Over USAC IMW Point Lead

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Bloomington, Indiana (June 7, 2024)………Although we’re merely a week into it at this point, Daison Pursley has seemingly declared June as his breakout month.

He made that declaration with his right foot and the steering wheel once again in a victorious performance during round three of USAC Indiana Midget Week on Friday night at Bloomington Speedway.

Less than a week after collecting his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car points-paying victory at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway on the first day of June, the Locust Grove, Okla. racer added his first career USAC Indiana Midget Week feature triumph to his accomplishments on Bloomington’s 1/4-mile red clay aboard his CB Industries/PristineAuction.com – NOS Energy Drink – TRD/Spike/Speedway Toyota.

In the span of four June starts under the USAC national banner, Pursley has yet to finish off the podium. Now, he’s surged to the top of both the USAC Indiana Midget Week standings with two events remaining as well as the season-long USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship points.

“This car is unbelievable to drive right now,” Pursley complimented. “It makes my job so much easier. I have all the confidence in the world to start wherever I want to start in the feature, and I know we’re going to have a car capable of winning.”

This time around, Pursley started seventh on the grid. However, he wasted no time getting to work. By lap one, he was fifth and by lap two, he was third behind only pole starter Justin Grant and third-starting Jacob Denney.

“I got the bottom rolling pretty good the first handful of laps, then was able to sneak by Logan (Seavey) for fourth,” Pursley replayed. “I wanted to get by him so I could control whether I wanted to go to the top or not because Logan runs the top very, very hard. Once I got by him, I knew it was going to be okay and we were able to mind our Ps and Qs there and run a good, solid race.”

On lap seven, the night’s Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier, ninth-running Chase McDermand drifted over the cushion in turns one and two before stopping. Behind him, Kale Drake biked on two wheels as he too got over the curb in the same spot but kept on moving. McDermand ultimately bowed out with a 23rd place finish while Drake took home a 12th.

Pursley went back to the grind on the lap seven resumption. While the two frontrunners – Grant and Denney – occupied the low line, Pursley took matters up to the top side. He swung around the outside of Denney to grab second at the line by roughly an inch (.026 sec.), then set forth toward Grant and the race lead.

On lap 10, for the second time in the early going, USAC Indiana Midget Week point leader Ryan Timms came to a stop to bring out the caution. Restarting at the tail, Timms managed to drive back to 11th, but in the grand scheme, relinquished his IMW point lead to Pursley.

Grant continued to lead the way around the bottom as the 30-lap race moved past the halfway mark. Pursley found his groove by working the high side in turns one and two, then driving to the bottom of three and four right on the coattails of Grant.

Suddenly, on lap 16, the roles reversed in turns one and two. Grant headed for the top for the first time while Pursley saw an opening to shoot to the bottom and charge his way into the lead for certain by the time the pair reached turn three.

“I felt like if I kept hindering him up top and let him hear the motor eat up there, he would eventually try to start moving around,” Pursley explained of his Grant pass. “He went to the top just that one time and that was all it took. Justin didn’t have any laps up there at all. He had to jump up there on the fly. I think that just hurt him on how hard he had to run it.”

In the ensuing laps, Pursley opened up a 0.6 second lead over Grant as he worked lapped traffic. By lap 23, Pursley snuck past the lapped car of Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association champion Lance Bennett and raised his advantage to a full second over Grant. Being forced to run the top during the latter half of the contest due to lapped traffic occupying the low line, Pursley felt right at home after being one of the few high line takers early on.

“Fortunately, I was able to move around and run the top early on in the race,” Pursley recalled. “When we got to lapped traffic, it was nothing to go up there and just hammer it lap-after-lap.”

However, a red flag threw a wrench into those well-laid plans of victory for Pursley. With four laps remaining, 15th running Jade Avedisian flipped wildly over the banking in turns one and two, barrel-rolling five times before coming to rest after ramping over the right rear tire of Kyle Jones, whose car had slowed in front of her due to a mechanical issue. Avedisian walked away.

Without traffic in his path, Pursley had a comfort cruise ahead of him for the final four circuits as he closed up shop with a 1.169 second advantage and crossed under the checkered flag ahead of Justin Grant, Jacob Denney and Logan Seavey with 2023 Bloomington Indiana Midget Week winner Gavin Miller rounding out the top-five.

Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) led the entire first half of the feature on the bottom but felt like that particular path was slowing down and was having a growing difficulty of hitting his marks. Simultaneously, he heard and felt the presence of Pursley’s ride up top, so he moved that direction and was suckered off the bottom. Still, it was Grant’s best USAC National Midget performance of the year, finishing as the runner-up in his RMS Racing/NOS Energy Drink – EnviroFab – MPV Express/Spike/Speedway Toyota.

Meanwhile, Jacob Denney (Galloway, Ohio) equaled his best result of the season with a third-place finish at Bloomington at the wheel of his Tom Malloy/Trench Shoring – Rodela Specialty Fabrication/LynK/Ed Pink Toyota. His two previous USAC  National Midget starts at Bloomington in 2022 and 2023 netted results of 13th and 8th. On this night, he rose +5 once more to finish third.

Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) kept his fantastic run to start the season intact. Over his first six USAC National Midget starts this year, he's finished 1st-4th-5th-4th-4th-6th. At Bloomington, he advanced to a sixth-place finishing position after starting back in 13th to earn hard charger honors and a $100 bonus from Irvin King.

Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) earned the Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night following a quite unique experience. Danny Sullivan made the “spin & win” quite famous during the 1985 Indianapolis 500. However, it’s not often you hear of a “flip & win.” Seavey experienced that when he was involved in an opening lap mishap during the second heat race in which he got upside down along with Jade Avedisian and Taylor Reimer. Restarting at the tail of the field, Seavey drove by them all to score the victory going away.

Chase McDermand (Springfield, Ill.) became a first-time USAC National Midget fast qualifier on Friday night at Bloomington. The Josh Ford Motorsports team he was driving for has endured a lengthy wait to return to the top of the time trial charts in USAC National Midget competition. Sixteen years earlier, during the 2008 season opener at the defunct Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz., Josh Ford himself wheeled the family car to fast time honors.

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USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 7, 2024 – Bloomington Speedway – Bloomington, Indiana – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval – 20th Annual USAC Indiana Midget Week

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Chase McDermand, 8w, Ford-12.143; 2. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-12.183; 3. Kyle Cummins, 3G, Styres-12.216; 4. Jacob Denney, 25, Malloy-12.218; 5. Hayden Reinbold, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-12.264; 6. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-12.296; 7. Justin Grant, 2, RMS-12.310; 8. Daison Pursley, 86, CBI-12.325; 9. Kevin Thomas Jr, 14s, Mounce/Stout-12.338; 10. Taylor Reimer, 25K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.339; 11. Kaiden Manders, 7m, RAMCO-12.342; 12. Cannon McIntosh, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.362; 13. Hank Davis, 8, Cornell-12.387; 14. Zach Wigal, 89, CBI-12.388; 15. Jake Andreotti, 14, 4 Kings-12.415; 16. Drake Edwards, 3p, Petty-12.470; 17. Gavin Miller, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.473; 18. Jade Avedisian, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.486; 19. Kyle Jones, 27x, Joyner-12.487; 20. Ryan Timms, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.543; 21. Kale Drake, 97K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.582; 22. Zach Daum, 7p, RAMCO-12.600; 23. Michael Pickens, 54NZ, Mounce/Stout-12.670; 24. Weston Gorham, 18N, Dickerson-12.696; 25. Blake Brannon, 40, Brannon-12.726; 26. Kayla Roell, 4K, Roell-12.756; 27. Tom Dunkel, 17A, Ford-12.765; 28. Steve Buckwalter, 25B, Buckwalter-12.858; 29. Ricky Lewis, 54, 4 Kings-12.954; 30. Lance Bennett, 91, Mason-13.133; 31. Robert Carson, 99K, LOK-13.735; 32. Justin Dickerson, 21D, Dickerson-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Gavin Miller, 2. Kale Drake, 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 4. Hank Davis, 5. Chase McDermand, 6. Hayden Reinbold, 7. Blake Brannon, 8. Ricky Lewis. NT

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Logan Seavey, 2. Ethan Mitchell, 3. Zach Wigal, 4. Kayla Roell, 5. Lance Bennett, 6. Jade Avedisian, 7. Taylor Reimer. 2:11.919

T.J. FORGED THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Jake Andreotti, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Zach Daum (#7m), 4. Michael Pickens, 5. Kyle Cummins, 6. Kyle Jones, 7. Tom Dunkel, 8. Robert Carson. 2:12.986

CAR IQ FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Daison Pursley, 2. Drake Edwards, 3. Cannon McIntosh, 4. Ryan Timms, 5. Jacob Denney, 6. Steve Buckwalter, 7. Weston Gorham. NT

ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Hayden Reinbold, 2. Kyle Jones, 3. Jade Avedisian, 4. Ricky Lewis, 5. Blake Brannon, 6. Steve Buckwalter, 7. Weston Gorham, 8. Tom Dunkel, 9. Taylor Reimer, 10. Robert Carson. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Daison Pursley (7), 2. Justin Grant (1), 3. Jacob Denney (3), 4. Logan Seavey (5), 5. Gavin Miller (9), 6. Cannon McIntosh (13), 7. Zach Daum (#7m) (12), 8. Ethan Mitchell (2), 9. Hayden Reinbold (10), 10. Jake Andreotti (8), 11. Ryan Timms (18), 12. Kale Drake (19), 13. Kevin Thomas Jr. (11), 14. Michael Pickens (20), 15. Kyle Cummins (4), 16. Taylor Reimer (24-P), 17. Drake Edwards (15), 18. Kayla Roell (21), 19. Zach Wigal (14), 20. Lance Bennett (23), 21. Kyle Jones (17), 22. Jade Avedisian (16), 23. Chase McDermand (6), 24. Ricky Lewis (22), 25. Hank Davis (25). NT

(P) represents a provisional starter

**Jade Avedisian, Taylor Reimer & Logan Seavey flipped during the second heat. Jade Avedisian flipped on lap 26 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-15 Justin Grant, Laps 16-30 Daison Pursley.

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-433, 2-Cannon McIntosh-406, 3-Ryan Timms-391, 4-Logan Seavey-351, 5-Zach Daum-335, 6-Justin Grant-334, 7-Jacob Denney-329, 8-Kale Drake-301, 9-Gacin Miller-295, 10-Kyle Jones-285.

USAC INDIANA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-232, 2-Ryan Timms-201, 3-Cannon McIntosh-197, 4-Justin Grant-173, 5-Jacob Denney-167, 6-Hayden Reinbold-159, 7-Logan Seavey-156, 8-Emerson Axsom-151, 9-Gavin Miller-149, 10-Kale Drake-146.

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