Grant Claims USAC Midwest Midget Championship Crown at Jefferson County Speedway
Lonnie Wheatley, FAIRBURY, Neb. (July 14, 2018) – Ione, California native Justin Grant etched his name into the record books as the inaugural champion of the USAC National series “Riverside Chevrolet Midwest Midget Championship presented by Westin Packaged Meats and Schmidt’s Sanitation” by wiring the field in Saturday night’s 40-lap feature atop the 1/5-mile Jefferson County Speedway.
It wasn’t without a struggle though, as Grant had to outduel fellow front row starter and Clauson-Marshall Racing teammate Tyler Courtney much of the way before fending off current series points leader Logan Seavey over the closing rounds to become the series eighth different winner of the year through nine events.
With the triumph, the states to the left coast remain perfect on Nebraska’s Jefferson County soil in USAC Midget competition after Chad Boat topped the initial Fairbury event in 2016 and then Nevada’s Tanner Thorson topped last year’s tilt. Friday’s scheduled opening round of the Midwest Midget Championship fell victim to rain.
In the accompanying JayHusker Non-Wing Micro Sprint Car feature event, Lincoln’s Frank Galusha scored the victory for a third year in a row. This time, he had to outlast Locust Grove, Oklahoma’s Daison Pursley, who was gunning for a third win on the week after topping the Red Dirt Raceway card on Tuesday and then the Solomon Valley Raceway event on Wednesday. After a torrid duel, Galusha beat Pursley to the stripe with Tom Curran, Nathan Berkshire and Jake Galusha rounding out the top five.
In the 40-lap “Midwest Midget Championship” feature event, Courtney led the way to the green flag but it was fellow front row starter Grant jumping out front aboard the CMR NOS Energy Drink/Elk Grove Ford No. 17bc entry.
With Grant leading the way, Kevin Thomas, Jr., worked his way into second from the fourth starting position by the third round, only to have Courtney battle back into position by the 13th circuit. Courtney closed in and pressed Grant for the lead as the midway point approached with Seavey working his way into third aboard the Keith Kunz Motorsports No. 67.
After a quick red flag for a Zane Hendricks turn four tumble with 26 laps in the books, Seavey battled past Courtney for second by the 30th round and threw the kitchen sink at Grant over the ensuing laps for the lead with the duo swapping the point on lap 35 before one final caution flew when Courtney slid to a stop in turn four.
Retaining the point, Grant got a strong restart to open up a several car-length advantage. Seavey closed back in with two laps to go, but couldn’t put together the winning combination to steal the win.
Thomas, Jr., chased Grant and Seavey to the line with Tanner Carrick and Brady Bacon rounding out the top five. Jerry Coons, Jr., rebounded from a mid-race spin to claim sixth with Jason McDougal, Tyler Thomas, Spencer Bayston and Kyle Craker completing the top ten.
Seavey opened the night by establishing a new track record of 10.742 seconds in Qualifying with Bacon, Boat and Thomas, Jr., winning heat races before Maria Cofer edged Petry teammate Coons, Jr., to win the “B” Main.
Along with title sponsor Riverside Chevrolet and presenting sponsors Westin Packaged Meats and Schmidt’s Sanitation, other sponsors that made this year’s Inaugural “Midwest Midget Championship” possible included Napa Auto Parts, Pollman Appliance, Chappell Roofing, Ole' Red 99.5, Side Trek Bar and Grill, Z-4 Trucking, Criner's Corner, Vaughn Contracting, Starr Plumbing, Fairbury Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson County Visitors Committee, Budweiser, Hepfner Racing Products, Rod End Supply, Keizer Wheels, EMI, Mud-X, Speedway Motors, Outlaw Wings.
USAC Midgets – “Midwest Midget Championship” at Jefferson County Speedway, July 14, 2018
QUALIFYING: 1. Logan Seavey, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-10.742 (New Track Record); 2. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-10.747; 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 63, Dooling-10.781; 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 25, Petry/Goff-10.818; 5. Tanner Carrick, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-10.893; 6. Justin Grant, 17BC, Clauson/Marshall/Wood-10.908; 7. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall-10.959; 8. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-10.968; 9. Jason McDougal, 15, Petry/Goff-10.976; 10. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-11.008; 11. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-11.053; 12. Brayton Lynch, 1K, RKR-11.063; 13. Zane Hendricks, 27z, Tucker/Boat-11.091; 14. Sam Johnson, 72, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.103; 15. Kyle Craker, 76E, FMR-11.266; 16. Cole Bodine, 39BC, Clauson/Marshall-11.320; 17. Maria Cofer, 35, Petry/Goff-11.358; 18. Lance Bennett, 10, Bennett-11.368; 19. Brett Becker, 2B, Becker-11.817; 20. Dustin Weland, 88w, Weland-11.837; 21. Glenn Waterland, 11c, Waterland-11.934; 22. Blaze Bennett, 10B, Bennett-12.067; 23. Curtis Spicer, 4, Spicer-12.715; 24. Olivia Bennett, 77, Bennett-13.635; 25. Dave Darland, 85, Central-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer) 1. Bacon, 2. Courtney, 3. Seavey, 4. Bodine, 5. Hendricks, 6. B. Bennett, 7. Becker, 8. Coons, 9. Darland. NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer) 1. Boat, 2. T. Thomas, 3. Bayston, 4. Carrick, 5. Johnson, 6. Weland, 7. Spicer, 8. Cofer. NT
CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer) 1. K. Thomas, 2. Grant, 3. McDougal, 4. Lynch, 5. Craker, 6. L. Bennett, 7. Waterland, 8. O. Bennett. NT
INDY RACE PARTS SEMI: (10 laps, top-7 transfer) 1. Cofer, 2. Coons, 3. Weland, 4. L. Bennett, 5. Spicer, 6. B. Bennett, 7. Waterland, 8. Darland, 9. Becker. 1:59.34 (New Track Record)
FEATURE: (40 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Justin Grant (2), 2. Logan Seavey (6), 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (4), 4. Tanner Carrick (3), 5. Brady Bacon (10), 6. Jerry Coons, Jr. (7), 7. Jason McDougal (9), 8. Tyler Thomas (11), 9. Spencer Bayston (5), 10. Kyle Craker (15), 11. Cole Bodine (16), 12. Chad Boat (8), 13. Brayton Lynch (12), 14. Sam Johnson (14), 15. Tyler Courtney (1), 16. Maria Cofer (17), 17. Dustin Weland (19), 18. Glenn Waterland (20), 19. Lance Bennett (18), 20. Zane Hendricks (13), 21. Blaze Bennett (21), 22. Curtis Spicer (22). NT
**Hendricks flipped on lap 27 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-40 Grant.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brady Bacon (10th to 5th)
WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Brayton Lynch