Justin Grant took the lead on lap two of 30 and never looked back in a dominating performance in winning the NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ season-opening Winter Dirt Games XIII at Bubba Raceway Park, Friday night.
The win is the third in the last five USAC national midget feature events for the RMS Toyota driver. He also won both his preliminary feature night and the Race of Champions at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January.
Grant opened his night on the outside of the front row with fellow Toyota driver Cannon McIntosh starting from the pole. McIntosh went out to the early lead but was passed by Grant who dove to the bottom of turn one on lap two. Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid and Tanner Thorson rounded out the top five.
Grant would quickly open up a comfortable margin through the midway point of the race before getting caught up in heavy traffic with Axsom and Thorson, who had climbed into second and third, closing up on Grant’s tail.
Once he maneuvered through the lapped cars, Grant once again pulled away. The race ran caution free for the final 27 laps before Axsom would get upside down on the final lap just as Grant crossed the finish line 0.639-seconds ahead of Thorson with Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota driver Brenham Crouch earning a career-best USAC finish in third.
Thomas Meseraull placed fourth, while reigning series champion Kofoid finished fifth as Toyota drivers took home four of the top-five finishing positions.
Four more Toyota drivers placed in the top 10 as McIntosh came home in sixth, one spot ahead of Logan Seavey in seventh, while Bryant Wiedeman was eighth and Mitchell Moles was tenth.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series is back in action Saturday with the second night of the Winter Dirt Games at Bubba Raceway Park.
Justin Grant, RMS Racing: “We’ve got the team, we’ve got the car and we’ve got all of our partners involved. RMS does a great job. We spent last year building and were able to get there at the end of the year. We went to the Chili Bowl with speed, then came down here to Florida with speed. It feels great to start off strong. This car was awesome from start to finish.”