By Richie Murray – USAC Media
MERCED, CA-The USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship’s tour of California continues with two dates on back-to-back nights at Merced Speedway on Tuesday-Wednesday, November 22-23.
An expected field of 40-plus entries and all four past USAC National Midget winners at Merced will check in for both nights in pursuit of victory: Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Tanner Thorson and Thomas Meseraull.
ALL FOUR PAST WINNERS
Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) enters as the most recent Merced winner last November where he practically cemented his title aspirations. This Tuesday night, he could do the much the same. The magic number is 29. By gaining 29 more points, Kofoid will clinch the 2022 USAC National Midget title.
Riding into Merced on a two-race winning streak after last weekend’s $32,000 Hangtown 100 win at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway, Kofoid has finished 2nd, 3rd and 1st in his last three Merced starts. To boot, he’s also the one-lap track record holder in a midget at Merced with a time of 11.635 seconds.
RMS Racing cars have won the opening night at Merced in two consecutive seasons. Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) made his first ever visit to the quarter-mile dirt oval a victorious performance in 2020. Grant (Ione, Calif.) captured a non-stop, green-to-checkered feature at Merced in 2021, timing in with a 30-lap effort at a blazing 6:14.35. Grant also notched a 3rd on the second night a year ago.
Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) rotated turns with two other drivers during the final six laps to capture the second night victory in 2020 at Merced. He’s the only driver to finish all four USAC National Midget features at Merced inside the top-10 with a 5th in the 2020 opener followed by a 2nd and 9th in 2021.
A TRACK RECORD FOR YOU, A TRACK RECORD FOR ALL
Each visit by the USAC National Midgets to Merced has produced a new one-lap track record. Spencer Bayston (Lebanon, Ind.) set quick time on the initial visit to the speedway in 2020. The 2017 USAC National Midget champ has finished solidly too, capturing an 8th and 5th in two appearances back in 2020.
Carson Macedo (Lemoore, Calif.) lowered the Merced track record on the opening night of 2021, eclipsing the mark set by Kyle Larson on night two in 2020. The 2016 USAC National Midget Rookie was a top-10 finisher on both nights in 2020 with a 4th and 7th and garnered a 9th on night one in 2021. His track record was short-lived, however, and was broken the following evening by Kofoid, the current holder.
UPPING THE ANTE IN MERCED
Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.) won his first USAC National Midget feature in three seasons a week ago at Placerville, providing Keith Kunz his record-breaking 134th victory as an entrant in USAC National Midget competition. Carrick led eight laps and finished as the runner-up in the series debut at Merced in 2020.
Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.), a three-time USAC National Midget feature winner this season, has twice been a runner-up at Merced with a 3rd and a 5th on night one of 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.) burst into the consciousness of the USAC National Midget brethren at Merced when she battled tooth-and-nail to a 4th place result on the second of two nights in 2021.
Two-time USAC National Midget feature winner Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) posted a pair of high-quality results at Merced in 2021 with a 4th and 6th in his two efforts. He’ll be taking on this week’s two nights with the same Tom Malloy team which won the season closer at Merced in 2020 with driver Tanner Thorson.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), the 2018 USAC National Midget champion, earned a best of 5th on night two at Merced in 2021 to go along with a 6th and 8th in 2020 and 2021, respectively speaking.
Additional top-10 runs throughout the field in Merced races’ past include Shane Golobic (Fremont, Calif.) who scored a 6th in both 2020 and 2021 as well as an 8th in 2021. Golobic also reigned triumphant with the USAC Western States Midgets this past April at Merced. Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.) notched a 7th on night two in 2021. Top 2022 series Rookie Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) recorded both of his best runs on night of 2020 (10th) and 2021 (7th).
Oklahomans Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.) rounded out the top-10 on each night of the 2021 event at Merced.
RETURNING TO MERCED, WE SAID
Returning to the Merced lineup for another go are multi-time USAC National Midget feature winners Kevin Thomas Jr. and Daison Pursley. Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) was a 12th place finisher on night two in 2021. Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) picked up a 12th on night two in 2020 and led a lap in that year’s opener.
Taylor Reimer (Bixby, Okla.) collected an 11th on night two of 2021. Chance Crum (Snohomish, Wash.), who advanced 21st to 2nd during last Saturday’s Hangtown 100 at Placerville, finished 14th at Merced on night two of 2021. Jake Andreotti (Castro Valley, Calif.) took 15th in 2021 with the National series and was 5th with USAC Western States this past June. Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.) scored 16th in 2021 while Brenham Crouch (Lubbock, Texas) notched a 19th in 2021.
Two-time and current USAC Western States Midget champ Michael Faccinto (Hanford, Calif.) ran 2nd in both USAC Western States Midget races this season at Merced and was 22nd with the USAC National Midgets in 2020. Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.) pocketed 24th in 2021.
GATEWAY TO YOSEMITE & TO A FIRST START AT MERCED
First-time Merced-starting hopefuls with the USAC National Midgets include Auckland, New Zealand natives Michael Pickens and Travis Buckley.
One-time USAC National Midget feature winner Jacob Denney (Galloway, Ohio) will make his debut Merced appearance and will be joined by 2021 USAC Western States Midget champion Blake Bower (Brentwood, Calif.) who finished 3rd and 4th in a pair of 2021 USAC WS starts at Merced.
USAC’s East Coast Sprint Car titlist of 2021 and USAC Eastern Midget king of 2018, Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pa.), readies for his first run at Merced as does 2022 BC39 Stoops Pursuit victor Dominic Gorden (Clovis, Calif.).
Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association’s Blaze Bennett (Parker, Colo.) and Lance Bennett (Aurora, Colo.) will make their first stop on the California swing at Merced.
USAC West Coast Sprint Car feature winner Daniel Whitley (Ferndale, Calif.) will be on hand along with Dylan Bloomfield (Oakley, Calif.) who made a USAC West Coast Sprint Car start at Merced in 2021. Nathan Byrd (Goodyear, Ariz.) will make his Merced debut along with Austin Barnhill (Wilmington, N.C.) and Zach Telford (Middleton, Idaho) who will team with newcomer Teddy Bivert (Payette, Idaho) in a second GR Motorsports machine.
Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Rookies Mariah Ede and Gavin Miller are on the route to Merced where they both look to make first feature starts at the track. Steve Hix (Ventura, Calif.) and Kyle Beilman (Los Angeles, Calif.) aim to do the same.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday’s events pay $4,000-to-win for the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship. Winged 360 Sprint Cars are also on the card both nights.
The pits open at 2pm Pacific and grandstands at 5pm with the drivers meeting set for 5pm and cars on track at 5:30pm.
Adult general admission for ages 13 and up is $25. Kids 6-12 general admission is $10. Senior general admission is $20. Military general admission is $20.
Advance Tuesday tickets can be purchased at: https://www.myracepass.com/
Advance Wednesday tickets can be purchased at: https://www.myracepass.com/
Both Merced races this week will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3AMU46z
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-1964, 2-Justin Grant-1749, 3-Thomas Meseraull-1576, 4-Bryant Wiedeman-1532, 5-Cannon McIntosh-1526, 6-Mitchel Moles-1495, 7-Kaylee Bryson-1432, 8-Jacob Denney-1178, 9-Brenham Crouch-1177, 10-Taylor Reimer-1164.
PROJECTED MERCED ENTRY LIST: (43 CARS)
00 JAKE ANDREOTTI/Castro Valley, CA (Pete Davis)
01 BRYANT WIEDEMAN/Colby, KS (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
08 CANNON McINTOSH/Bixby, OK (Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports)
2J JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (RMS Racing)
4 MICHAEL PICKENS/Auckland, NZ (Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports)
5T KEVIN THOMAS JR./Cullman, AL (Dean Alexander)
7NZ ®TRAVIS BUCKLEY/Auckland, NZ (BSL Racing)
7x THOMAS MESERAULL/San Jose, CA (RMS Racing)
9 BLAKE BOWER/Brentwood, CA (Tony Boscacci)
9AU SPENCER BAYSTON/Lebanon, IN (Dyson Motorsport)
10 BLAZE BENNETT/Parker, CO (Blaze Bennett)
11K NATHAN BYRD/Goodyear, AZ (Kruseman Motorsports)
14J MICHAEL FACCINTO/Hanford, CA (Graunstadt Enterprises)
14T DYLAN BLOOMFIELD/Oakley, CA (Graunstadt Enterprises)
17B ®AUSTIN BARNHILL/Wilmington, NC (Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports)
17w SHANE GOLOBIC/Fremont, CA (Matt Wood Racing)
19 ALEX BRIGHT/Collegeville, PA (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
19AZ HAYDEN REINBOLD/Gilbert, AZ (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
22G ZACH TELFORD/Middleton, ID (GR Motorsports)
22s TEDDY BIVERT/Payette, ID (GR Motorsports)
25 ®JACOB DENNEY/Galloway, OH (Tom Malloy)
25K TAYLOR REIMER/Bixby, OK (Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
25x EMERSON AXSOM/Franklin, IN (Tom Malloy)
26 CHANCE CRUM/Snohomish, WA (Rudeen Racing)
31K KYLE BEILMAN/Los Angeles, CA (Beilman Motorsports)
57 DANIEL WHITLEY/Ferndale, CA (Abacus Racing)
57x STEVE HIX/Ventura, CA (Steve Hix)
58 LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA (Abacus Racing)
67 BUDDY KOFOID/Penngrove, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
67K ®GAVIN MILLER/Allentown, PA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
68 JASON McDOUGAL/Broken Arrow, OK (Six8 Motorsports)
71 KAYLEE BRYSON/Muskogee, OK (Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71E ®MARIAH EDE/Fresno, CA (Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71K ®DOMINIC GORDEN/Clovis, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71m TANNER CARRICK/Lincoln, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71p DAISON PURSLEY/Locust Grove, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
84 ®JADE AVEDISIAN/Clovis, CA (CB Industries)
88 TANNER THORSON/Minden, NV (Tanner Thorson Racing)
89 ®MITCHEL MOLES/Raisin City, CA (CB Industries)
91 LANCE BENNETT/Aurora, CO (Cappy Mason)
97 BRENHAM CROUCH/Lubbock, TX (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
97K RYAN TIMMS/Oklahoma City, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
99AU CARSON MACEDO/Lemoore, CA (Dyson Motorsport)
® Represents a USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship Rookie of the Year Contender
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET FEATURE WINS AT MERCED SPEEDWAY:
1-Justin Grant, Buddy Kofoid, 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)
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 – 11/23/2021 – Carson Macedo – 2:28.240 – 72.855 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), 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), 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), 19. Zeb Wise (19), 20. Bryant Wiedeman (20), 21. Robert Dalby* (24), 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