2023 05 23 Millbridge Xtreme Outlaw Midgets Chance Crum Chase Mcderman Cannon Mcintosh Paul Arch Photo Dsc 5000 (412)a
Chase McDermand (40) goes wheel-to-wheel with Chance Crum at Millbridge Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)

McDermand: Plumber By Day, Racer By Night

During the week, Chase McDermand is known to most as a plumber.

He works full time for his family-owned plumbing company — McDermand Plumbing — and lives quite a normal life Monday through Thursday. But on the weekends, everything changes.

McDermand has become a formidable force at the race track with a national event-winning reputation. Sporting his typical gray-and-black fire suit, the driver of the No. 40 midget is all smiles as he reflects on how he’s started his sophomore year of racing the small cars on a national scale.

It began in January at the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals, where McDermand fought his way to third in his preliminary feature and brought home a 16th-place finish on Saturday night.

“It’s crazy, the amount of confidence that one place can give you or take away from you,” McDermand said. “Luckily, we were on the good side of it. It’s really helped us take it little by little and apply what we learned where we can.”

The Springfield, Ill., native is chasing the Xtreme Outlaw championship this year, though he’s more focused on winning races than collecting points. He’s already added two trophies to his shelf since the start of the season, which both came during the series Kansas swing earlier this month — one at Humboldt Speedway and the other at 81 Speedway.

As McDermand only tasted victory with the Xtreme Outlaw contingent once last year, he’s already doubled his record. Not to mention, there are 27 races to go, including the second night of the Double Down Showdown at Millbridge Speedway on Wednesday.

The No. 40 powered to a third-place finish on night one, during his inaugural experience at the one-sixth-mile dirt oval.

“It’s really small. Smallest track I’ve raced,” McDermand commented upon arrival. As the Mounce/Stout Motorsports driver tends to perform better on quarter-mile tracks, like the pair of Kansas speedways, he was initially skeptical of the narrow bullring.

“We’re already behind on track time here,” he added.

He missed the duo of Xtreme Outlaw races at Millbridge last May, while most of his rivals made valuable laps at the North Carolina facility. The lack of experience didn’t seem to matter much, as McDermand finished second in his heat race and started the 30-lap feature from the pole.

After his podium finish, the 22-year-old gave the track his stamp of approval.

“Normally I probably wouldn’t be too happy with a third, but I think I technically finished second. Cannon (McIntosh) here is kind of not human,” McDermand joked about the race winner. “But no, good night for us. I’m satisfied with it.”

The No. 40 driver will be hot in pursuit of his third Xtreme Outlaw victory of the year, which would match his overall win record from 2022. Along with a single Xtreme Outlaw victory, McDermand triumphed twice on the POWRi national midget tour during his rookie season.

In his sophomore year, the plumber-turned-midget driver plans to compete at nearly twice as many events, upping his total from 45 to around 75 races — among POWRi, USAC and Xtreme Outlaw.

The main thing he’s grateful for?

“I’m glad that my dad owns the (plumbing) business, because I don’t know if I’d be able to take off as many days if I worked for somebody else. I think we added it up and it was about 60 days off from March to November,” McDermand said. “It’s a pretty busy schedule.”