Get your kicks on Route 99!
For two-straight nights on November 21-22, California’s Merced Speedway becomes the route for USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship racing.
The four cylinders of fury make their way to the quarter-mile dirt oval for a double-dose of action featuring the likes of past Merced winners Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Carson Macedo, Thomas Meseraull and Tanner Thorson among the 40 entries expected to be on hand.
Look out California! Here are six storylines to watch when USAC comes to the city known as the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
CALLING ALL MERCED WINNERS
In USAC National Midget competition at Merced Speedway, six races have been held and five different drivers have reached victory lane: Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Carson Macedo, Thomas Meseraull and Tanner Thorson.
All five drivers will be in the field on both nights this year at Merced as well. Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) is, thus far, the only two-time Merced winner in the field, scoring the second night of the event in both 2021 and 2022 en route to the championship.
Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) flew to victory in the series debut at Merced in 2020 while Thorson (Minden, Nev.) captured a barnburner the following night when he became the fourth leader in a four-lap span before pacing the final four laps on the way to victory.
Grant (Ione, Calif.) scored a non-stop victory in the 2021 opener at Merced, completing the 30-lap distance at a blistering pace of 6 minutes, 14 seconds. Macedo (Lemoore, Calif.) gave both he and his Dyson Motorsport team a first career USAC National victory on the opening night in 2022.
YOU SAY MACEDO, I SAY MERCED-O
An Australian team, a New Zealand chassis and American drivers.
The three ingredients of Dyson Motorsport, a King Chassis and driver Carson Macedo combined to make up the perfect formula during the 2022 opener at Merced. For Macedo and Dyson, it marked their first career USAC National Midget feature victory.
Macedo, the third-place finisher in World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car points for 2023, had run a full season of USAC National Midgets in 2016 where he captured Rookie of the Year honors. That same season, the Lemoore, Calif. native also collected a USAC Midwest Regional Midget title as well.
The Dyson team with driver Spencer Bayston (Lebanon, Ind.) nearly pulled off the same feat a night after Macedo’s triumph, leading 25 of the 30 laps before finishing second. Bayston captured the USAC National Midget title in 2017 and finished eighth in WoO points for 2023 while adding a single win.
On the first try, this team nearly picked off two victories in two nights. Expect them to be in the hunt again in ’23 as well.
SEAVEY SEALING IT UP?
At the rate he’s going, Logan Seavey “could” very well clinch the USAC National Midget championship on one of the two nights of racing at Merced.
Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) has pushed his lead to 230 markers over the past couple months and will enter Merced as the points leader with a shot to clinch it on Tuesday night.
Seavey is one of nine drivers to start all six previous Merced USAC Midget features along with Tanner Carrick, Cannon McIntosh, Carson Macedo, Tanner Thorson, Mitchel Moles, Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant and Kaylee Bryson.
In those six starts, he’s finished inside the top-five twice and took sixth and an eighth. His performance entering the California swing includes 16 starts, 16 top-tens, 15 top-fives and six wins. Since his win at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway on Tuesday, those numbers have all bumped up one more.
A HOME GAME FOR JADE
It was this time of the season two years ago at Merced Speedway when Jade Avedisian made a grand introduction to USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship racing.
It was there at Merced, located roughly 45 minutes away from her Clovis, Calif. home, that she finished fourth and instantly showed to all onlookers, and to herself, that she belonged.
In both Merced appearances in 2022, she qualified well (1st and 3rd), then finished with a fourth-place result on night two. This time around, she eyes an opportunity to become the first woman to win a USAC National Midget event.
CRUM & SIX8 MAKIN’ IT GREAT
It was at Merced in 2020 when Chance Crum made his USAC National Midget debut, doing so for Clauson Marshall Racing.
For this year’s west coast swing, Crum (Snohomish, Wash.) picked up a ride with Burbank, California’s Six8 Motorsports, a five-time USAC Western States Midget championship team between 2013-17.
Last year, as separate entities, the pair had some of their finest runs on the national scene at Merced. Crum led two laps and finished fourth on night one at Merced while Six8 scored its first USAC National Midget podium result with a third on night two with Jason McDougal at the wheel that night.
Together, this could be a formidable pair to watch as both eye another fine result on the big stage.
PICKING APART THE POINTS
While most eyes are naturally affixed to the top of the USAC National Midget point standings, the race between third, fourth, fifth and sixth is completely up for grabs.
The shuffling between the four spots has been immense with a 43-point gap separating Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.), Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.), Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.).
Each position represents a difference in point fund money along with pride, and two nights in a row could snowball one way or another in determining positioning.
On the entrant point side, the points race is practically the same, but there’s one more interesting aspect to keep a watch on. Keith Kunz Motorsports’ top-four entries currently reside sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth in points.
Making this all the more intriguing is the fact that KKM has had at least one entry finish inside the top-five of the points in 18 consecutive seasons since 2005. Furthermore, KKM has put one entry into the top-three every year since 2010, a run of 13 seasons in a row. It’s a streak that’s on the line, but he has highly capable shoes in Ryan Timms, Jade Avedisian, Gavin Miller and Taylor Reimer in his stable who will attempt to keep the streak intact.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday’s events pay $4,000-to-win for the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship.
Both nights, the pits open at 2pm Pacific with the drivers meeting set for 4:30pm. Grandstands open at 5pm and cars get on track at 5:45pm.
On Tuesday, adult general admission for ages 18 and up is $20. Ages 55 & up, military and ages 11-17 general admission are $18. Ages 6-10 general admission is $5. Kids age 5 & under are free. Support classes include IMCA Sport Mods and Hobby Stocks.
On Wednesday, adult general admission for ages 18 and up is $25. Ages 55 & up, military and ages 11-17 general admission are $23. Ages 6-10 general admission is $10. Support classes include winged 360 Sprint Cars.
Advance tickets can be purchased at: https://www.myracepass.com/
Both Merced races this week will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/40w7aPg
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET FEATURE WINS AT MERCED SPEEDWAY:
1-Justin Grant, Carson Macedo, Thomas Meseraull & Tanner Thorson
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET FEATURE WINNERS AT MERCED SPEEDWAY:
2020: Thomas Meseraull (11/20) & Tanner Thorson (11/21)
2021: Justin Grant (11/23) & Buddy Kofoid (11/24)
2022: Carson Macedo (11/22) & Buddy Kofoid (11/23)
TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT MERCED SPEEDWAY:
1 Lap - 11/24/2021 - Buddy Kofoid - 11.635 - 77.353 mph
10 Laps - 11/23/2021 - Chris Windom - 2:00.070 - 74.956 mph
12 Laps - 11/23/2022 - Taylor Reimer - 2:27.310 - 73.315 mph
30 Laps - 11/23/2021 - Justin Grant - 6:14.350 - 72.125 mph
MERCED SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL MIDGET FEATURE RESULTS:
2020 NIGHT #1 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Thomas Meseraull (6), 2. Tanner Carrick (2), 3. Cannon McIntosh (5), 4. Carson Macedo (8), 5. Tanner Thorson (15), 6. Shane Golobic (3), 7. Ryan Bernal (9), 8. Spencer Bayston (11), 9. Kyle Larson (19), 10. Emerson Axsom (14), 11. Mitchel Moles (7), 12. Buddy Kofoid (21), 13. Logan Seavey (16), 14. Tyler Courtney (23-P), 15. Chris Windom (22), 16. Justin Grant (17), 17. Colby Copeland (18), 18. Kaylee Bryson (13), 19. Chase Randall (20), 20. Daison Pursley (1), 21. Zeb Wise (12), 22. Michael Faccinto (10), 23. Cole Bodine (24-P), 24. Jesse Love (4). NT
2020 NIGHT #2 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tanner Thorson (4), 2. Buddy Kofoid (1), 3. Tyler Courtney (2), 4. Kyle Larson (6), 5. Spencer Bayston (3), 6. Logan Seavey (5), 7. Carson Macedo (8), 8. Cannon McIntosh (10), 9. Justin Grant (7), 10. Mitchel Moles (11), 11. Shane Golobic (14), 12. Daison Pursley (13), 13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (12), 14. Colby Copeland (15), 15. Emerson Axsom (16), 16. Tanner Carrick (21), 17. Chris Windom (18), 18. Kaylee Bryson (23-P), 19. Zeb Wise (19), 20. Bryant Wiedeman (20), 21. Robert Dalby (24-P), 22. Ben Worth (17), 23. Chance Crum (22), 24. Chase Johnson (9). 7:18.810
2021 NIGHT #1 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Justin Grant (2), 2. Tanner Thorson (1), 3. Buddy Kofoid (3), 4. Emerson Axsom (6), 5. Cannon McIntosh (5), 6. Shane Golobic (7), 7. Mitchel Moles (4), 8. Logan Seavey (11), 9. Carson Macedo (10), 10. Jason McDougal (14), 11. Chris Windom (9), 12. Zeb Wise (12), 13. Tanner Carrick (16), 14. Thomas Meseraull (13), 15. Ryan Bernal (18), 16. Kaylee Bryson (8), 17. Kevin Thomas Jr. (17), 18. Ryan Timms (21), 19. Jade Avedisian (19), 20. Maria Cofer (20), 21. Chase Johnson (22), 22. Brenham Crouch (15), 23. Bryant Wiedeman (23-P), 24. Hayden Reinbold (24-P). 6:14.35
2021 NIGHT #2 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (6), 2. Chris Windom (2), 3. Justin Grant (17), 4. Jade Avedisian (1), 5. Logan Seavey (5), 6. Emerson Axsom (9), 7. Bryant Wiedeman (11), 8. Shane Golobic (12), 9. Tanner Thorson (8), 10. Ryan Timms (16), 11. Taylor Reimer (13), 12. Kevin Thomas Jr. (23-P), 13. Maria Cofer (18), 14. Chance Crum (24-P), 15. Jake Andreotti (20), 16. Cannon McIntosh (4), 17. Mitchel Moles (14), 18. Kaylee Bryson (19), 19. Brenham Crouch (15), 20. Carson Macedo (3), 21. Thomas Meseraull (21), 22. Tanner Carrick (7), 23. Jason McDougal (22), 24. Kyle Larson (10). NT
2022 NIGHT #1 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Carson Macedo (5), 2. Buddy Kofoid (14), 3. Justin Grant (4), 4. Chance Crum (1), 5. Logan Seavey (6), 6. Mitchel Moles (3), 7. Kaylee Bryson (7), 8. Cannon McIntosh (19), 9. Tanner Thorson (13), 10. Brenham Crouch (23-P), 11. Spencer Bayston (15), 12. Thomas Meseraull (17), 13. Ryan Timms (9), 14. Tanner Carrick (12), 15. Bryant Wiedeman (8), 16. Emerson Axsom (22), 17. Jade Avedisian (10), 18. Michael Faccinto (18), 19. Jacob Denney (16), 20. Daniel Whitley (11), 21. Taylor Reimer (20), 22. Daison Pursley (21), DQ. Jake Andreotti (2). NT
2022 NIGHT #2 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (3), 2. Spencer Bayston (1), 3. Jason McDougal (7), 4. Jade Avedisian (5), 5. Jacob Denney (14), 6. Carson Macedo (4), 7. Cannon McIntosh (15), 8. Kevin Thomas Jr. (11), 9. Mitchel Moles (6), 10. Tanner Carrick (17), 11. Justin Grant (16), 12. Thomas Meseraull (23-P), 13. Ryan Timms (9), 14. Chance Crum (24-P), 15. Taylor Reimer (12), 16. Brenham Crouch (10), 17. Tanner Thorson (21), 18. Gavin Miller (20), 19. Jake Andreotti (13), 20. Kaylee Bryson (19), 21. Logan Seavey (8), 22. Bryant Wiedeman (18), 23. Daniel Whitley (2), 24. Dylan Bloomfield (22). NT