Logan Seavey narrowly made the A Main feature, but at the end of the night, it was the 2018 series champion who would take the checkered flag in winning the opening night of the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship “Mid-America” Midget Week event at Red Dirt Raceway, Tuesday night.
It was Seavey’s second USAC win of the season, his tenth overall national midget feature win of the year and the 21st for a Toyota-powered driver in 2019.
Seavey struggled earlier in the evening, finishing fifth in his heat race and then narrowly squeezing into the A Main field with a sixth in the B Main to take the last transfer spot. That’s when a wild night of racing would take over, as six different drivers would lead laps over the course of the 30-lap event.
In the early going, it was Jason McDougal, driving the Frank Manafort Racing Toyota, who would take the lead by driving around Tyler Courtney on the outside of the opening lap. McDougal would hold on to the top spot for the first eight circuits before a caution would slow the field.
With 22 laps remaining, it was McDougal, Courtney, Tanner Thorson, Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Chris Windom making up the top-five. Courtney would take the lead going into turn one on the restart, but the race was quickly halted for a red flag after Holley Hollan flipped in turn three going over the retaining wall. She would walk away from the crash, but was done for the evening.
On the lap 10 restart, McDougal would throw a huge slider at Courtney to take the lead, only to have Courtney return the favor, but McDougal would go by in turn three to lead lap 10, before Courtney retook the lead in turn one on lap 11. Behind them, it was Tanner Carrick joining the hunt as he moved into third by working the low side.
The race would see a drastic change on lap 15 as McDougal got up high into turn one, going off the track and then clipped Kevin Thomas Jr. as he came back over the berm, flipping Thomas’ car and ending their nights. Behind them, Thorson, Tyler Thomas and Tucker Klaasmeyer all were caught up in the incident. Of the five Toyota-powered cars involved, Thorson, Tyler Thomas and Klaasmeyer would be able to rejoin the race at the tail end of the field.
The field restarted at the midway point with Courtney leading Carrick, Windom, Zeb Wise and Jerry Coons, Jr. rounding out the top five. By lap 17, Windom had moved past Carrick for second, while Coons had gained the fourth position as Seavey was on the move up to the seventh, but the field would see another drastic shake-up that lap as Courtney would slow on the back straight, resulting in a caution. He would not return.
Windom would lead the field back to green on lap 18 as Carrick came up to challenge. The lead duo threw slider after slider at one another, with Carrick taking the lead on lap 19. As the battle raged on, the top two cars would eventually make contact in turn four on lap 20, opening the door for Coons to take over the top spot with 10 laps to go and Seavey moving up to second while finding his groove on the high side of the track. Seavey would use that high side and take over the lead with eight laps remaining, only to see Carrick slow to a stop, bringing out another caution and reverting the field back to their positions from the previous lap.
Coons would lead lap 23, but Seavey pulled side-by-side on him on the back straight, inching ahead of him into turn three and narrowly leading as they came to the start/finish line. It was a lead that he would never relinquish as he would take the checkered flag ahead of Wise, Windom, who passed Coons for third on the final lap, Coons and Jonathan Beason rounding out the top-five.
Behind them, four additional Toyota drivers earned spots in the top 10 as Chad Boat finished seventh, followed by three of the drivers involved in the mid-race incident in Thorson, Klaasmeyer and Tyler Thomas.
“We struggled just to make the race,” said Seavey. “But, the race kind of came to me. We gained a few positions in the big incident midway through the race. I knew I could run the top side. Once I got clear of Jerry (Coons), I knew we’d be tough to catch running up top.”
USAC’s “Mid-America” Midget Week continues at the Concordia High Banks in Concordia, Kansas, on Wednesday night.