CONCORD, N.C. — On the heels of a successful opening weekend in Illinois, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota heads back to the Land of Lincoln to contest the third and fourth races on the 2023 schedule this weekend in its debut at Farmer City Raceway.
Located along Interstate 74 in central Illinois, Farmer City Raceway will host its first-ever national midget series event, March 31-April 1, featuring a 30-lap, $4,000-to-win main event each night. The POWRi National Midget League will join the Xtreme Outlaws in the first of 13 co-sanctioned events on the schedule.
The quarter-mile, black dirt bullring also hosts the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series each night as part of the track’s annual Illini 100 event. DIRTcar Pro Late Models will join the card Friday night while the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds are on tap for Saturday.
Here are the drivers to watch for and the storylines to follow this weekend:
Jade Avedisian comes into Farmer City as the most recent Toyota Feature winner and the current series points leader by 30 over second-place Kyle Jones in pursuit of her first national midget championship.
The 16-year-old Californian is coming off a resilient weekend racing with POWRi in Oklahoma, coming home ninth after starting 18th and having to restart from the tail after a spin-out early in the 40-lap feature. She rebounded quickly, driving through the field back to finish as the only Keith Kunz Motorsports driver inside the top-10.
Farmer City’s quarter-mile size could play right into Avedisian’s hand, as all three of her series victories have come on tracks of that size or smaller. Her first win last summer at Jacksonville Speedway – another black-dirt Illinois bullring of the same size – is shaped and banked similar to Farmer City.
Kyle Jones carries the momentum of one top-10 and one podium finish in series competition into this weekend. Also taking his Chili Bowl Nationals A-Main appearance into account, Jones is off to one of the best starts of his midget racing career with Trifecta Motorsports.
Jones currently sits second in the series points standings – 30 back of leader Avedisian. This past weekend, Jones also competed in the POWRi event at Port City Raceway and chalked-up an eighth-place finish with 37 cars in the pit area.
Though Farmer City isn’t the size of Port City, Jones has reason to be confident. His three best series finishes came on tracks quarter-mile or smaller (Davenport ’22 – 3rd [quarter-mile]; Du Quoin ’23 – third [one-sixth-mile]; Port City ’22 – fourth [one-eighth-mile]).
Zach Daum’s first weekend out with his new King Chassis and self-built team in Du Quoin two weeks ago had a solid start, notching a top-five on Friday before an early retirement to the infield in Saturday’s main event broke his stride.
Like many others on the list, Daum, the 32-year-old defending series champion from Pocahontas, Ill., also made the trip out to the Sooner State to race with POWRi last weekend and made the one-day affair count, bagging a third-place run while piloting a second entry for Trifecta Motorsports.
He’ll be back behind the wheel of his own operation this weekend, aiming for his first series victory since October.
While Farmer City has never hosted a national midget event, there is at least one driver in the field with laps around the track in a midget. Chase McDermand competed in the only two known midget events held at Farmer City in July 2016 – a pair of USAC D2 Midget races – and even led laps in the second feature.
McDermand, the 22-year-old Mounce/Stout Motorsports pilot from Springfield, Ill., is coming off an up-and-down opening weekend in Du Quoin. After failing to qualify for the first feature of the season on Friday, he and the team bounced back on Saturday, driving from 12th on the starting grid all the way to second by the checkers to collect the Hard Charger honors.
This past weekend, McDermand temporarily vacated his seat while young Kansan Jace Park took over the reins racing with POWRi in Oklahoma, where he led most of the 40-lapper before Daison Pursley passed him for the win in the final corner.
The list of home state midget talent continues to expand with the addition of Jake Neuman to the projected roster.
Neuman, the 2020 POWRi National Midget League champion from New Berlin, Ill., made only one start with the series last year but made it count, bagging a fifth-place finish at Jacksonville Speedway.
He’s projected to be in the field for a second career appearance this weekend, representing POWRi’s best as they clash with the Xtreme Outlaws’ best in a battle for Midwest Midget racing supremacy.