USAC Midgets Off to Oz

By: Richie Murray
BELOIT, KS-Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be returning to Kansas!
Those exact words weren’t uttered quite that way in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. However, they were stated loud and clear by those on the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship trail this week. That is, except for the Toto part.
A new Chad McDaniel Memorial winner will emerge this Wednesday night, July 13, in one of the great annual events on the series calendar when the field converges on Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kan., the hometown of 1959 and 1962 Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward.
The quarter-mile dirt oval in the heart of north central Kansas has served as the host of all 10 previous runnings of the Chad McDaniel Memorial race since 2010. McDaniel, from nearby Concordia, Kan., lost his life in a USAC National Midget event at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway in 2009.
The Chad McDaniel Memorial boasts four different winners in its previous 10 editions with Brad Kuhn winning the inaugural race in 2010, Scott Hatton in 2012, Christopher Bell in 2013 & 2017, Bryan Clauson in 2014 & 2016, Kevin Thomas Jr. in 2015 & 2018, and Tanner Thorson a year ago in 2021. The 2011 race was rained out just prior to the feature.
The 11th running this Wednesday night is expected to consist of a field of hungry veterans and newcomers looking to add their name to the list.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.), the 2020 USAC Silver Crown champion, has finished on the podium in all three of his Solomon Valley runs with a 2nd in 2017 and a 3rd in both 2018 and 2021.
Defending series champion and current point leader Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) racked up a 4th place result in his Solomon Valley debut in the summer of 2021.
Kansan Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.) had one of his finer runs in his home state track of Solomon Valley in 2021 with a 5th place finish in his first series start in home state.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) has made the transition back to Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports team for Mid-America Midget Week, the team which won the 2021 Chad McDaniel Memorial with Thorson behind the wheel. The 2018 series champion finished as the runner-up in 2018 and earned hard charger honors in 2021 with a 17th to 7th run.
Zach Daum (Pocahontas, Ill.) has been on the cusp of a Solomon Valley victory numerous times in his career. He has scored runner-up results at the Chad McDaniel Memorial four times, starting on both nights in 2010 as well as in 2012 and 2014 to go along with a 6th in 2013 and an 8th in 2021.
Jerry Coons Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.), the 2006-2007 series champion, has made four previous starts at Solomon Valley. He finished a best of 3rd in 2013 and added another top-10 with a 10th in 2017.
A bevy of individuals who made Solomon Valley debuts in 2021 will return to the fold this Wednesday night. That includes Lubbock, Texas’ Brenham Crouch (11th), Mooresville, North Carolina’s Ethan Mitchell (14th), Bixby, Oklahoma’s Cannon McIntosh (16th), Lincoln, Nebraska’s Trey Gropp (17th), Kennedale, Texas’ Kyle Jones (18th), Muskogee, Oklahoma’s Kaylee Bryson (20th) and San Jose, California’s Thomas Meseraull who was a 23rd place finisher after setting the fastest qualifying time. Meanwhile, Anton Hernandez (Arlington, Texas), the 2015 POWRi West Midget titlist, will return to the event for the first time since finishing 21st in 2016.
Looking to crack the starting lineup for the first time at the Chad McDaniel Memorial on Wednesday are series regular Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.), plus Corey Joyner (Concordia, Kan.), Blake Spicer (Phillipsburg, Kan.) and J.R. Ewing (Phillipsburg, Kan.), all of whom fell shy of a transfer spot in the 2021 edition.
Solomon Valley debuts come from the likes of USAC National Midget leading Rookie Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.), Taylor Reimer (Bixby, Okla.), Lincoln Park Speedway Indiana Midget Week winner Jacob Denney (Galloway, Ohio), home-stater Jace Park (Overland Park, Kan.), Badger Midget champ Chase McDermand (Springfield, Ill.), Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.) and Chance Crum (Snohomish, Wash.).
This Wednesday’s race will be the 81st USAC National Midget event held in the state of Kansas dating back to Bob Tattersall’s 100-lap triumph in 1957 at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan. This week’s main event will be 30 laps in length and will pay $4,000 to the winner.
Wednesday’s 11th running of the Chad McDaniel Memorial features the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship and the NOW600 Non-Wing & Restricted Micro Sprints.
Gates open at 5pm Central with the drivers meeting at 5:45pm and hot laps at 6:30pm with qualifying and racing to follow.
General admission tickets are just $20 with high school students and younger just $5. All access passes are available as well for $35 and available at the pit gate on the day of the show only.
The Chad McDaniel Memorial from Solomon Valley Raceway will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2Zs7zFP.
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USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-911, 2-Justin Grant-865, 3-Bryant Wiedeman-731, 4-Mitchel Moles-730, 5-Thomas Meseraull-719, 6-Kaylee Bryson-693, 7-Cannon McIntosh-692, 8-Taylor Reimer-598, 9-Brenham Crouch-591, 10-Logan Seavey-586.
CHAD McDANIEL MEMORIAL WINS:
2-Christopher Bell, Bryan Clauson & Kevin Thomas Jr.
1-Scott Hatton, Brad Kuhn & Tanner Thorson
CHAD McDANIEL MEMORIAL WINNERS:
2010: Brad Kuhn (6/4)
2011: Rained Out (7/28)
2012: Scott Hatton (7/27)
2013: Christopher Bell (7/30)
2014: Bryan Clauson (7/29)
2015: Kevin Thomas Jr. (7/28)
2016: Bryan Clauson (8/3)
2017: Christopher Bell (8/2)
2018: Kevin Thomas Jr. (7/11)
2021: Tanner Thorson (7/15)
TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT SOLOMON VALLEY RACEWAY:
1 Lap – 7/11/2018 – Holly Shelton – 11.944
10 Laps – 8/3/2016 – Ryan Greth – 2:02.67
12 Laps – 7/15/2021 – Daison Pursley – 2:32.00
PAST CHAD McDANIEL FEATURE RESULTS:
2010 NIGHT ONE FEATURE: 1. Brad Kuhn, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Brad Loyet, 4. Austin Brown, 5. Matt Sherrell, 6. Daniel Adler, 7. Mike Hess, 8. Keith Rauch, 9. Patrick Stasa, 10. Shane Cockrum, 11. Joe Boyles, 12. Chris Sheil, 13. Jeff Stasa, 14. Todd Plemons, 15. Julee Jamison, 16. Andrew Felker, 17. Bob Harr, 18. Greg Schaefer, 19. John Campbell, 20. Chett Gehrke, 21. Tony Rossi, 22. Cole Wood.
2010 NIGHT TWO FEATURE: 1. Brad Kuhn, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Brad Loyet, 4. Austin Brown, 5. Daniel Adler, 6. Andrew Felker, 7. Chett Gehrke, 8. Keith Rauch, 9. Matt Sherrell, 10. Mike Hess, 11. Todd Plemons, 12. Patrick Stasa, 13. Tim Siner, 14. Chris Sheil, 15. Jeff Stasa, 16. Joe Boyles, 17. Justin Mallo, 18. Garett Hood, 19. Kevin Bayer, 20. Greg Schaefer, 21. Rich Camfield, 22. John Campbell, 23. Shane Cockrum.
2011: RAINED OUT
2012 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Scott Hatton, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Jonathan Beason, 4. Matt Sherrell, 5. Chett Gehrke, 6. Blake Hahn, 7. Austin Brown, 8. Daniel Robinson, 9. Garrett Aitken, 10. Tim Siner, 11 Andy Malpocker, 12. Cameron Hagin, 13. Riley Emmel, 14. Garett Hood, 15. C.J. Johnson, 16. Darren Kingston, 17. Jake Blackhurst, 18. Don Droud Jr., 19. Brad Kuhn, 20. Gavin Galbraith, 21. Randy Bowyer, 22. Andrew Felker, 23. Terry Goodwin.
2013 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Rico Abreu, 3. Jerry Coons, Jr., 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Darren Hagen, 6. Zach Daum, 7. Brad Kuhn, 8. Bryan Clauson, 9. Tanner Thorson, 10. Cody Ledger, 11. Shane Golobic, 12. Andrew Felker, 13. C.J. Johnson, 14. Garett Hood, 15. Dalton Armstrong, 16. Bob Harr, 17. Jeff Stasa, 18. Caleb Armstrong, 19. Chett Gehrke, 20. Cody Brewer, 21. Cole McDaniel, 22. Randy Boyer. NT
2014 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Christopher Bell, 5. Rico Abreu, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Tanner Thorson, 8. Isaac Chapple, 9. Keith Rauch, 10. Michael Pickens, 11. Bob Harr, 12. C.J. Johnson, 13. Randy Boyer, 14. Cody Brewer, 15. Garett Hood. NT
2015 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Spencer Bayston, 5. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 6. Cody Brewer, 7. Keith Rauch, 8. Bob Harr, 9. David Wheeler, 10. Mark Hamilton, 11. Bryan Clauson, 12. Christopher Bell, 13. C.J. Johnson, 14. Garett Hood, 15. Troy Simpson, 16. Zach Daum, 17. Jerry Coons, Jr. 18. Chett Gehrke, 19. Isaac Chapple, 20. Tyler Thomas. NT
2016 FEATURE: (35 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Spencer Bayston, 4. Carson Macedo, 5. Chad Boat, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Ryan Robinson, 9. Tyler Thomas, 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 11. Holly Shelton, 12. Chett Gehrke, 13. Casey Shuman, 14. Bob Harr, 15. Keith Rauch, 16. Jeff Stasa, 17. Ryan Oerter, 18. Terry Goodwin, 19. Ryan Greth, 20. Matt Johnson, 21. Anton Hernandez, 22. Cody Brewer, 23. Brayton Lynch. NT
2017 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Holly Shelton, 4. Tanner Thorson, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Spencer Bayston, 7. Brayton Lynch, 8. Tanner Carrick, 9. Shane Golobic, 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 11. Chad Boat, 12. Tyler Nelson, 13. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 14. Joe B. Miller, 15. Troy Simpson, 16. Tyler Thomas, 17. Tyler Courtney, 18. Chett Gehrke, 19. Ryan Robinson, 20. Matt Johnson, 21. Cody Brewer, 22. Paul Babich. NT
2018 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (1), 2. Logan Seavey (2), 3. Justin Grant (5), 4. Jason McDougal (8), 5. Tanner Carrick (9), 6. Holly Shelton (6), 7. Chad Boat (3), 8. Tyler Courtney (7), 9. Kyle Craker (10), 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer (15), 11. Spencer Bayston (13), 12. Brady Bacon (11), 13. Ryan Robinson (4), 14. Jerry Coons, Jr. (12), 15. Maria Cofer (17), 16. Zane Hendricks (16), 17. Holley Hollan (20), 18. Cole Bodine (21), 19. Sam Johnson (19), 20. Dave Darland (18), 21. Tyler Thomas (14), 22. Shaun Shapel (22). NT
2021 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tanner Thorson (5), 2. Emerson Axsom (7), 3. Justin Grant (9), 4. Buddy Kofoid (1), 5. Bryant Wiedeman (2), 6. Chris Windom (13), 7. Logan Seavey (17), 8. Zach Daum (14), 9. Ryan Timms (12), 10. Hayden Williams (18), 11. Brenham Crouch (10), 12. Chase Randall (20), 13. Kevin Thomas Jr. (6), 14. Ethan Mitchell (8), 15. Jake Bubak (16), 16. Cannon McIntosh (4), 17. Trey Gropp (22), 18. Kyle Jones (21), 19. Shannon McQueen (19), 20. Kaylee Bryson (3), 21. Daison Pursley (11), 22. Jason McDougal (15), 23. Thomas Meseraull (23-P). NT