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Logan Seavey has seemingly turned himself into Mr. Midget Week this year after capturing recent Indiana Midget Week and Illinois Midget Week titles in the month of June.
In the "Tuesday Night Thunder" Mid-America Midget Week opener at Red Dirt Raceway, the Sutter, Calif. native carried the Midget Week groove into the month of July, taking his second consecutive win in the “MAMW” series following last Summer’s triumph in the finale at Sweet Springs, Mo.
In fact, he’s finished inside the top-two positions in each of the last five “Mid-America Midget Week” races dating to 2018, and achieved a sense of redemption after leading 13 laps and losing the lead late in the going in last year’s Red Dirt stop by the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship.
After a solid third place qualifying run, Seavey found the path toward a successful night most challenging, missing the transfer in his heat race before hanging on for the final transfer spot in the semi-feature. He lined up ninth and found himself in the very same spot by the halfway mark of the 30-lap feature.
“At the beginning of the night, we were actually really good,” Seavey acknowledged. “Then I kind of struggled in the heat race and I just didn’t make very good moves during the first couple of laps (of the feature). After that, it seemed like everybody was racing so hard, it was really hard to gain ground.”
The scramble for position was tantamount in the first half with Jason McDougal racing from his outside front row position to rip around the lip and secure the lead on the opening lap around pole sitter and point leader Tyler Courtney. All the while, Seavey was mired at latter end of the top-ten and was practically just hanging on.
“The first few laps, I was wondering what (Crew Chief) Connor (Ridge) had going on in his head,” Seavey wondered. “I was just trying not to get crashed. Everybody was running so hard and I was trying to run hard. It just seemed like every move I wanted to make, there was somebody already there. It’s midget racing. Everyone runs so hard and that’s what makes these races so exciting.”
On a lap nine restart, though, Courtney made his bid for the lead, sliding by McDougal into turn one to grab the spot. By the time the pair crossed the line to complete the lap, Holley Hollan became the second driver of the night to pole vault over the turn three wall after Karsyn Elledge’s similarly terrifying looking accident during the semi-feature. Both walked away from the wreckage under their own power.
On the ensuing tenth lap restart, McDougal was back on the attack, sliding by Courtney on the bottom of turn three and led the lap by inches at the stripe. Courtney returned the favor with a slider in turn one on lap 11, moving him back in front of McDougal and in control heading to halfway.
Tanner Carrick entered the fray with a first career USAC win on his mind. Carrick entered the topside of turn one side-by-side with McDougal for second. McDougal ran out of room, and as he tried to regain his footing to get back into the fight, he and fifth-running Kevin Thomas, Jr collided in turn two, sending both flipping over. Sixth-running Tanner Thorson slid sideways to a stop to avoid the carnage while 11th place Tyler Thomas had nowhere to go, plowing into the side of Thorson and becoming the third victim to flip upside down. All were uninjured, but, of the three flippers, only T. Thomas was able to restart.
Just when you thought the madness was put to rest, race leader Courtney slowed on the back straightaway with a mechanical issue with 12 laps remaining, completely opening up the list of contenders for the win down the stretch.
Carrick was in the lead role on the lap 18 restart with Chris Windom just behind. The two fought tooth-and-nail on laps 18-19, exchanging the lead on both ends of the track with Windom leading lap 18 and Carrick on 19. Meanwhile, two-time series champ Jerry Coons, Jr. surprised both by sneaking along the bottom to take the lead at the line off turn four with 10 laps to go.
Seavey made a charge and came along with Coons to second. One lap later, Carrick and Windom remained in hot pursuit of Coons and Seavey as they entered turn three with eight laps remaining. On Windom’s slider into turn three, both refused to give an inch of ground, resulting in contact and a flat left rear tire for Carrick, forcing him to slow just as Seavey made his move around the outside of Coons for the lead.
As Carrick slowed, the yellow flag flew, negating the pass for the lead, sending Seavey back to second behind Coons. Meanwhile, Carrick pitted for new left rear rubber before returning to finish 12th.
After being mired in the thick of the battle behind the leaders, Seavey’s race had finally come into his own control. Once he got to where he wanted to be, he was confident he had what it took to reach victory lane.
“Jerry’s so good at running the bottom, I knew if I was going to pass anybody I needed to get down,” Seavey admitted. “But, once the race came to me, I was patient. Once a couple of them crashed, it cleaned up the field a little bit and I was able to make the moves I really wanted to make. I knew once I got clear of those two (Windom and Carrick) and got to the top, this thing would be really good.”
Seavey put his Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian/Mobil 1 – TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota up top, and it only took one lap for him to clear Coons for the lead. From there on, it was smooth sailing for the defending USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champ, where he led the final seven laps to conquer his fifth career series win, tying him with Spencer Bayston, Mike Bliss, Lonnie Caruthers, Larry Dickson, Mike Fedorcak, Burt Foland, Mack McClellan, Danny McKnight, Cliff Spalding, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Jerry Weeks for 112th all-time.
Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier and new one-lap track record holder Zeb Wise got by Coons for second with five laps to go while Windom nipped Coons at the line at the checkered for third. Coons took a second-straight fourth-place finish at Red Dirt while Jonathan Beason raced home to a fifth-place result in his season debut with the series.
Contingency award winners Tuesday night at Red Dirt Raceway were Zeb Wise (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier), Jonathan Beason (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Holley Hollan (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Chad Boat (AutoMeter Third Heat Winner), Tyler Thomas (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Shannon McQueen (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Andrew Layser (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer) and Hank Davis (ProSource Hard Work Award).