By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
BELLEVILLE, KS – For Zach Daum, Saturday night in Belleville, Kansas was a homecoming.
In the summer of 2014, the Pocahontas, Ill. native captured a USAC National Midget feature victory on the Belleville High Banks half-mile dirt oval during a Belleville Nationals prelim night.
Exactly eight years, nine months and 20 days later, Daum was back in victory lane for the first time since that very night with the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship, and it just so happened to take place in the same locale, albeit at a slightly smaller version of it.
One night after becoming the first driver to finish on the podium of a USAC National Midget feature at both the Belleville half-mile and quarter mile, on Saturday, Daum became the first driver to win at both venues in his career.
“We won a prelim night on the half-mile, and I was second to Rico (Abreu) in the finale,” Daum recalled. “Now we’ve won a USAC race at each track now, which is pretty cool.”
In fact, Daum’s winless drought with the USAC National Midgets is the fourth longest span of all-time between series wins, ranking behind only Arnie Knepper (1970-1983), Chuck Gurney (1974-1986) and Larry Rice (1975-1987).
Furthermore, Daum ran his record of consecutive top-four finishes with the USAC National Midgets to six dating back to the 2022 season aboard his Ramco Speed Group/The BLRH Group – American Fire Extinguishers – Jambo’s BBQ/Spike/Toyota.
It was quite a debut for Daum and the Ramco team who reached out to Daum in the week leading up to Belleville and tabbed him as their wheelman. It turns out it was a perfect match as it was the fourth USAC win as a driver for Daum and the first for the Texas-based Ramco team.
“These guys called me last week to come out here and run this,” Daum explained. “I mean, I can’t say no, even though I’ve got other (things) I could be doing at home, working and other stuff, but this is hell of a lot more fun.”
For the first three-quarters of the 40-lap main event, Bryant Wiedeman found himself in complete control. By lap 28, he had constructed a 3.298 second advantage and was successfully breezing his way between, through and around lapped traffic. However, a slowing, 22nd running Jake Andreotti brought out a caution, and thus, negated Wiedeman’s full straightaway lead.
On the ensuing restart with 13 laps remaining, second place Chase McDermand’s right front tire and Wiedeman’s left rear tire met tread to tread on the bottom of turn two, sending Wiedeman spinning into the infield and led to McDermand pulling off the racetrack shortly thereafter with damage obtained in the incident.
The disastrous turn of events for the top-two contenders concluded bids by both drivers to become a first-time USAC National Midget feature winner, and also denied Wiedeman’s opportunity to become the first native Kansan to score a USAC National Midget feature win in their home state.
Wiedeman and McDermand’s misfortune was all to Daum’s advantage. From there on out, Daum had to keep his car straight as an arrow on the well-traveled bottom groove, and more than likely, the fortune would be all his own.
No such doubts would even need to be raised as Daum did exactly that to close the deal, crossing over the stripe 1.481 seconds ahead of runner-up Jade Avedisian to claim the $6,000 top prize, then took a ceremonious and spontaneous victory lap around the adjoining half-mile oval.
Thomas Meseraull made a fantastic charge to advance from his 19th starting spot to a third place finish. Jacob Denney ran fourth with Justin Grant rebounding from a first-lap incident on Friday to round out the top-five on Saturday.
Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.) equaled the best feature finish ever recorded by a woman in USAC National Midget competition on Saturday in Belleville, grabbing second in her Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Mobil 1 – TRD – JBL Audio/Bullet By Spike/Speedway Toyota. Avedisian’s result tied Kaylee Bryson’s runner-up finish at Gas City (Ind.) I-69 Speedway in 2022, which Bryson also accomplished in the same KKM No. 71.
Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) had his work cut out for him to begin Saturday night’s Belleville program, burrowing his way out of the night’s semi-feature, then carving out a path from his 19th starting position to finish third aboard his RMS Racing/EnviroFab – Response Management Services – Engler Machine & Tool/Spike/Speedway Toyota.
To kick things off Saturday night, Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) collected his 10th career Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier award, the 10th of his USAC National Midget career, tying Allen Crowe, Billy Vukovich, George Amick, Leroy Warriner and Pancho Carter for 62nd all-time.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 20, 2023 – Belleville Short Track – Belleville, Kansas – 1/4-Mile Dirt Track
HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Cannon McIntosh, 08, Dave Mac Dalby-11.889; 2. Jade Avedisian, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.946; 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 19T, Mounce/Stout-11.986; 4. Jacob Denney, 25, Malloy-12.090; 5. Chase McDermand, 40, Mounce/Stout-12.106; 6. Zach Daum, 7p, Ramco-12.109; 7. Bryant Wiedeman, 81, CBI-12.140; 8. Justin Grant, 2, RMS-12.151; 9. Taylor Reimer, 25K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.166; 10. Gavin Miller, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.206; 11. Hayden Reinbold, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-12.217; 12. Brady Bacon, 21H, THK-12.227; 13. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-12.254; 14. Daison Pursley, 19, Reinbold/Underwood-12.263; 15. Mariah Ede, 71E, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.317; 16. Jerry Coons Jr., 85, Central-12.326; 17. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, RMS-12.327; 18. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-12.369; 19. Chance Crum, 26, Rudeen-12.384; 20. Kyle Jones, 7m, Ramco-12.447; 21. Matt Westfall, 54, Bordner-12.470; 22. Ava Gropp, 5A, Mounce/Stout-12.506; 23. Mitchel Moles, 68, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.535; 24. Tanner Thorson, 28, Thorson-12.543; 25. Ryan Timms, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.599; 26. Talin Turner, 00, Chandler-12.673; 27. Kameron Key, 21J, THK-12.700; 28. Jake Andreotti, 25m, Malloy-12.811; 29. Cody Brewer, 96, Central-12.842; 30. Jeff Stasa, 91s, SBR-12.865; 31. Corey Joyner, 52J, Joyner-12.875; 32. Ben Haney, 3, Haney-12.908; 33. Lance Bennett, 91, Mason-12.995; 34. Curtis Spicer, 4s, Spicer-13.172; 35. Laike Imm, 2c, Ewing-13.251; 36. Trevor Cohn, 27x, Joyner-13.255; 37. Scout Spraggins, 07, Gariss-13.418; 38. Branigan Roark, 44, Roark-12.963; 39. Kevin Cook, 9p, Cook-13.596; 40. Devin Simmons, F5, Simmons-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Ethan Mitchell, 2. Ryan Timms, 3. Chase McDermand, 4. Cannon McIntosh, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Matt Westfall, 7. Taylor Reimer, 8. Lance Bennett, 9. Cody Brewer, 10. Scout Spraggins. 2:10.34
ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Logan Seavey, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Jade Avedisian, 4. Gavin Miller, 5. Jeff Stasa, 6. Daison Pursley, 7. Ava Gropp, 8. Talin Turner, 9. Curtis Spicer, 10. Branigan Roark. NT
T.J. FORGED THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Mitchel Moles, 2. Bryant Wiedeman, 3. Mariah Ede, 4. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5. Kameron Key, 6. Chance Crum, 7. Hayden Reinbold, 8. Corey Joyner, 9. Kevin Cook, 10. Laike Imm. NT
CAR IQ FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Jacob Denney, 6. Jake Andreotti, 7. Ben Haney, 8. Trevor Cohn, 9. Kyle Jones, 10. Devin Simmons. NT
C-MAIN (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the semi-feature) 1. Corey Joyner, 2. Laike Imm, 3. Lance Bennett, 4. Ben Haney, 5. Branigan Roark, 6. Kevin Cook, 7. Trevor Cohn, 8. Curtis Spicer. NT
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI-FEATURE: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Jacob Denney, 2. Hayden Reinbold, 3. Jake Andreotti, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Daison Pursley, 6. Kyle Jones, 7. Matt Westfall, 8. Taylor Reimer, 9. Kameron Key, 10. Chance Crum, 11. Cody Brewer, 12. Talin Turner, 13. Corey Joyner, 14. Ben Haney, 15. Jeff Stasa, 16. Ava Gropp, 17. Laike Imm, 18. Lance Bennett. NT
FEATURE: (40 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Zach Daum (2), 2. Jade Avedisian (5), 3. Thomas Meseraull (19), 4. Jacob Denney (11), 5. Justin Grant (12), 6. Ethan Mitchell (7), 7. Daison Pursley (16), 8. Tanner Thorson (10), 9. Gavin Miller (13), 10. Brady Bacon (15), 11. Kevin Thomas Jr. (4), 12. Bryant Wiedeman (1), 13. Chance Crum (23-P), 14. Ryan Timms (21), 15. Kyle Jones (20), 16. Logan Seavey (8), 17. Jerry Coons Jr. (18), 18. Mitchel Moles (9), 19. Mariah Ede (17), 20. Jake Andreotti (22), 21. Hayden Reinbold (14), 22. Taylor Reimer (24-P), 23. Cannon McIntosh (6), 24. Chase McDermand (3). NT
(P) represents a provisional starter
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-27 Bryant Wiedeman, Laps 28-40 Zach Daum.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Jade Avedisian-127, 2-Jacob Denney-124, 3-Tanner Thorson-123, 4-Ryan Timms-120, 5-Daison Pursley-119, 6-Logan Seavey-104, 7-Bryant Wiedeman-103, 8-Jake Andreotti-101, 9-Justin Grant-101, 10-Thomas Meseraull-95.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Carson Garrett-29, 2-Daison Pursley-26, 3-Justin Grant-24, 4-Kevin Thomas Jr.-20, 5-Chase Stockon-16, 6-Thomas Meseraull-16, 7-Brady Bacon-15, 8-Jake Swanson-12, 9-Robert Ballou-12, 10-Jadon Rogers-11.
NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: May 21, 2023 – Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex – Sweet Springs, Missouri – John Hinck Championship – 1/6-Mile Dirt Track
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Mitchel Moles (11.842)
Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Cannon McIntosh (11.889)
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Ethan Mitchell
Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Logan Seavey
T.J. Forged Third Heat Winner: Mitchel Moles
Car IQ Fourth Heat Winner: Tanner Thorson
Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi Winner: Jacob Denney
Hard Charger: Thomas Meseraull (19th to 3rd)