2021 USAC National Midgets at Merced Speedway

USAC Midgets Ready For Two Rounds At Merced

USAC Midgets Ready For Two Rounds At Merced

The USAC National Midget Series will invade Merced Speedway for a pair of races this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nov 23, 2021 by FloRacing Staff
USAC Midgets Ready For Two Rounds At Merced

Merced, California -- For Thomas Meseraull and Tanner Thorson, Merced Speedway was a home away home to conclude the series’ season one year ago.

While he is a native Californian, Meseraull’s first visit to the quarter-mile dirt oval came during his victorious performance in the penultimate round of the 2020 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship.

For Tanner Thorson, he rotated turns with two other drivers during the final six laps to capture the second night victory, etching his name into the record books as just the sixth driver, and the first in 20 years, to win both the first and last race during a USAC National Midget season while also establishing Merced’s 30-lap track record in the process at 7:18.810.

Those two will arrive at Merced this Tuesday and Wednesday night, November 23-24, to defend their victories in rounds 38 and 39 of the 2021 season.

They’ll have an eclectic group of drivers to contend with come the middle of this week with the past two NASCAR Cup Series champs, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott, participating, as well as three-time Indianapolis 500 top-ten finisher Santino Ferrucci.

Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champ from Elk Grove, Calif., owns the one-lap Merced USAC National Midget track record of 11.838 seconds, set in 2020, and was a 9th and 4th place finisher there in his only two appearances at the fairgrounds dirt track.

Dawsonville, Georgia’s Elliott, the 2020 NASCAR Cup titlist, will make his debut at Merced.  The son of 1988 NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, Chase has made three USAC National Midget feature starts in 2021, recently finishing 20th in last Saturday’s Hangtown 100 at California’s Placerville Speedway.

Ferrucci (Woodbury, Conn.) is a three-time Indianapolis 500 top-10 finisher in three career starts during the 2019-20-21 running of the May classic and will make his USAC National Midget debut in a car for Dave Mac Motorsports after making a few appearances with the midgets earlier this season, including the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., where he finished 10th in the semi-feature during his prelim night and 10th in the G-Main on the final night.

The USAC National Midget championship race is tight coming into the two nights at Merced.  Buddy Kofoid holds a 19-point advantage over defending champ Chris Windom in the title fight.  Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) led a race-high 22 laps on night two of last year before finishing second to Thorson.  Windom, meanwhile, took 15th and 17th across the two nights.

Kofoid’s five Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammates for Merced include last year’s second-place finisher, Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.), plus Muskogee, Oklahoma’s Kaylee Bryson (18th in 2020), and Colby, Kansas’ Bryant Wiedeman (20th in 2020), plus first-time Merced starting hopefuls Taylor Reimer (Bixby, Okla.) and Brenham Crouch (Lubbock, Texas).

Matt Wood shifts his focus from race promotion last week to car owner this week with four cars and drivers at Merced.  Three of his cars finished in the top-10 in the event last year.  Shane Golobic (Fremont, Calif.) took 6th while Ryan Bernal (Hollister, Calif.) was 7th and Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) was 10th.  Four-time USAC National Midget winner Zeb Wise (Angola, Ind.) looks to improve upon his 19th finish from 2020.

Cannon McIntosh and Carson Macedo were top-ten finishers on both nights at Merced in 2020.  McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) was 3rd and 8th while Macedo (Lemoore, Calif.) turned in 4th and 7th place performances.

Logan Seavey will wheel the Tom Malloy No. 25, the same winning team that won the Merced finale last year when it was piloted by Thorson.  Seavey, the recent Hangtown 100 overall points champion from Sutter, Calif., earned a best of 6th in two Merced starts during his last run.  He’s joined by Colby Copeland as a teammate, the Roseville, Calif. native who scored 14th and 17th a year ago.

Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) was the victor of last Saturday’s Hangtown 100 at Placerville, which netted him a $20,000 top prize.  He drives for the RMS Racing team which captured the opening night win at Merced in 2020.  The 2020 USAC Silver Crown champion pocketed a 9th place result at Merced in 2020 as his best.

Two-time USAC National Midget feature winner Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) took a best of 10th a year ago for Petry Motorsports, who’ll team with first-time Merced racer and nine-time 2021 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car winner, Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.).

Chase Johnson (Penngrove, Calif.) was 24th in the event last year, but his biggest Merced moment came with the USAC Western States series where he won at on July 9 of this year after leading the final 18 laps.  The 2021 USAC Western States Midget champion, Blake Bower (Brentwood, Calif.), was 3rd in the race and finished 4th on August 7 after leading a race-high 22 laps.  Ben Worth (Coalinga, Calif.) led the first three on July 9th before finishing 5th and was 22nd in the 2020 USAC National Midget event there.

Top USAC National Midget Rookie Chase Randall (Waco, Texas) was 19th in his Merced debut run in 2020 and will team up with Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports cohorts, Merced first-timer Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.) and defending winner Thorson.

Chance Crum (Snohomish, Wash.) was 23rd in the event and will be joined on the Rudeen Racing team by Cory Eliason (Visalia, Calif.), a recent USAC National Midget newcomer and an 18th place finisher with the World of Outlaws at Merced in 2014.

Last Thursday’s Hangtown 100 opening night winner and first-time USAC National Midget winner Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.) will make his Merced midget debut this week along with CB Industries teammate and micro sprint standout, Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.).

Two-time USAC National Midget winner Jason McDougal found a new ride with Dean Alexander in time for the Hangtown 100.  He’ll hang around with the New Zealand car owner throughout the rest of the west coast trip following a 4th place showing on the second night at Placerville, Calif.

Three-time USAC National Midget winner Zach Daum (Pocahontas, Ill.) will return to action this week at Merced as a teammate to Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.), who’s made the cross-country visit from the east coast.

Maria Cofer scored a BCRA Midget triumph at Merced in 2018 and led both USAC Western States Midget features in 2019 for a total of 24 laps.  She’s one of 20 Californians – half the field – expected to compete in this week’s events along with Carson Sousa (Red Bluff, Calif.), Jake Andreotti (Castro Valley, Calif.) and Caden Sarale (Stockton, Calif.).

325 previous USAC National Midget events have been held in California.  Billy Cantrell, Parnelli Jones and Billy Vukovich lead all drivers with 15 series wins in the state.

Pit gates open at 2pm PT, drivers meeting at 4:30pm, front gates open at 5pm and cars on track at 5:30pm.

Adult tickets are $22, seniors & military are $20, kids 6-12 are $5 and age 5 and under are free.

Both Merced races this week will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2ZpafUr.