Chase McDermand is back with Mounce/Stout Motorsports for 2024. (Emily Schwanke photo)

McDermand Back In Comfort Zone With Mounce/Stout

CONCORD, N.C. — Chase McDermand’s sweep of both races with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series last year in Kansas was special.

Not for what it did for him in the stats column, but for what it showed about his abilities and his place in the open-wheel racing world.

McDermand, the 23-year-old family-team racer from Springfield, Ill., came to Humboldt Speedway and 81 Speedway for the first time last May and walked out of both with the checkered flag in hand — his first career sweep of a national midget series weekend.

As he prepares to return to both tracks with the series next Friday and Saturday, May 10-11, he recalled the joy of those triumphs and how much it fueled his drive to compete for the series championship in 2023.

“It helped our team a lot as far as the confidence goes and the knowledge that came with that,” McDermand said. “It was really just a good building weekend for all of us early in the season to have that success.”

Though he came up short in the points standings with a fifth-place finish, McDermand — like several others — cemented his place in the national midget ranks as a star of the Xtreme Outlaw Series and with the others ushered in a brand-new era of talent.

Midget goliaths of USAC in the late 2010s — Seavey, Thorson, Courtney, Windom — have gone on to broaden their open-wheel racing horizons, opening the door for the present-day roster of stars — McDermand, McIntosh, Daum, Timms, among others — to make their mark aboard the Xtreme Outlaw Series.

McDermand — a multi-time regional midget champion at the turn of the decade — spent many years watching the USAC and POWRi greats, dreaming of the day he’d make his mark on the national midget scene. Now a three-year regular on the Xtreme Outlaw Series, that day has dawned, and he’s never been happier now that it’s here.

“It feels good as a driver to know that I’m a contender,” McDermand said. “It goes back to maybe six or eight years ago sitting in the stands watching the national midget races with the guys that were in that position that I am.

“It’s really come full circle for me as a driver to be fortunate enough to be in that position. I think [that] says a lot about me and who surrounds me with the team and my family and stuff. It means a lot to all of us to be able to have that privilege throughout the year. I’m just looking forward to making everybody happy, hopefully.”

For the past three seasons, McDermand has enjoyed continued success with support from Oklahoma-based Mounce/Stout Motorsports, who he renewed his partnership with in early 2024. Together, they’ve won seven Xtreme Outlaw Series races — tied with Jade Avedisian for most all-time.

“It’s been good so far; it just feels like home again,” McDermand said. “We work well together. Last year showed that. It’s been helpful to have the same notebook as last year. I don’t have to learn a different engine platform and stuff like that, so that’s really helped me get back on the right foot.”

His reunion with team owners Jay Mounce and Gavin Stout came after a sudden change from his original plans for 2024.

McDermand announced in November he had entered into a deal with Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports (DMD) to pilot team owner Dave McIntosh’s flagship car and chase the Xtreme Outlaw Series championship.

However, McDermand was forced to make other arrangements before the season opener in March after McIntosh informed him that he would not be able to continue operations at DMD in 2024, and so he picked up the phone.

“I feel like I had a good plan moving forward to better myself and my racing career,” McDermand said. “The way things played out — the economy isn’t as good as it once was, and [McIntosh] decided it was better to close the doors on his racing program, at least for now.

“The way things played out so far is probably the best that could’ve happened. I feel like the speed we’ve had already this season shows that. Now, it’s just all focus on the season ahead.”

McDermand has built his racing mentality on forward thinking.

He’s back in his comfort zone at Mounce/Stout, looking forward to getting his first win of the year and defending his 2023 victories next weekend at Humboldt and 81. Though it’s been a year since those wins, he’s accepting of the challenge.

“Obviously, it’s a little bit of pressure that I put on myself to go back to place that you had good speed at before — you’re kind of expected to have that same speed again,” McDermand said. “In racing, it’s hard to stay on top of a mountain for a while, especially 365 days later.”

He currently sits 56 points behind leader Cannon McIntosh in the standings with 24 races left on the schedule. With plenty of time left, McDermand said it’s a gap he can make up in pursuit of his first career national midget series championship.

“I definitely think that we’re a contender; that’s our number-one goal and focus,” McDermand said. “To be honest, anything less than that would probably be a disappointment to us.”