Justin Grant overtook Thomas Meseraull on lap 32 of 39 and went on to win the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship’s Driven2SaveLives BC39 at The Dirt Track at IMS, Saturday night.
The victory is the second in two nights for Grant who won Friday’s preliminary and ended the weekend winning all four races he ran in including heat and qualifying races. He becomes the third consecutive Toyota-powered driver to win the Driven2SaveLives BC39 following Kyle Larson in 2021 and Buddy Kofoid in 2022.
Saturday’s feature provided non-stop action with Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) driver Emerson Axsom going straight to the lead with Thomas Meseraull, Taylor Reimer and Justin Grant falling in behind him.
Axsom, making his first start for KKM, held the lead for two laps before Meseraull would pass him with a big slider, as Axsom fell back to second. By lap four, Grant had moved into the third position and at that point the race was clearly on.
Meseraull would hold the lead through lap eight, but Axsom would go under him on lap nine to retake the lead. He would hold the lead through lap 14 before Meseraull would throw a huge slider cutting Axsom off as Meseraull moved into the race lead and opening the door for Grant to take second.
One lap later, Grant would pass Meseraull and hold the lead through lap 24, only to see Meseraull retake the lead on lap 25, but Grant would stay right on his tail battling for the lead while dicing through lapped traffic. Finally, as the two raced side-by-side on lap 32, Meseraull would get up into the wall coming back to the flag stand with Grant moving to the front. Axsom would move back into second, but Meseraull would slow the field behind Grant, allowing him to open up a comfortable lead.
From there on, it was all Grant as he took the checkered flag with Axsom coming home second two seconds behind in a Toyota one-two finish. Logan Seavey would round out the podium.
Toyota drivers would also earn four additional spots in the top-10 as Karter Sarff brought it home in sixth, followed by Reimer in eighth, Jacob Denney in ninth and Ryan Timms was tenth.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship will close out its 2023 campaign with seven races in California beginning at Bakersfield Speedway, November 14.
Justin Grant, RMS Racing: “This has to be right there near or at the top of the list of things I’ve been fortunate to accomplish - to win here at IMS and race in the honor of Bryant Clauson. It really means a lot to me. I can’t thank everyone enough who works on this car. I’m so fortunate to be here. I was hustling as hard as I could. It was really tricky. It’s unbelievable. After the first 10 laps, it got to where you were pounding the wall to get a get shot down the straightaway. It was really hard to pass lapped traffic, so TMez (Thomas Meseraull) and I would keep coming back to each other. Bryan would have been really excited to be in a race like this.”
Emerson Axsom, Keith Kunz Motorsports: “Hats off to the track crew and everyone who puts this event on. I felt really good at the start and felt we could have stayed in the lead for a while. You see all these veterans getting mad at the young kids and then you also see a guy like TMez doing a slide or die and it’s pretty hypocritical. We had a really great race car. I’m mad to finish second, but we’re racing inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These guys put on a great show. I have to thank Tim Clauson, Doug Boles and Driven2SaveLives for doing this. I felt really good at the end. I felt like TMez messed up in lapped traffic and let Justin get away from us. Keith gave us a really good race car. Thanks to Toyota, Lynk Chassis and everyone on this car who lets me run here. It sucks to run second, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just an awesome event.”
Toyota-Powered Drivers USAC Dirt Track at IMS Saturday Feature Results
Justin Grant – 1st
Emerson Axsom – 2nd
Karter Sarff – 6th
Taylor Reimer – 8th
Jacob Denney – 9th
Ryan Timms – 10th
Zach Daum – 13th
Cannon McIntosh – 16th
Jake Avedisian – 17th
Kevin Thomas Jr. – 18th
Gavin Miller – 20th
Jake Andreotti – 21st
Kaylee Bryson - 24th