MEEKER, Okla. — Daison Pursley had been painfully close to USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series victory lane on several occasions only to see it slip away.
The Locust Grove, Okla., teen sensed an opportunity at Red Dirt Raceway’s Tuesday Night Thunder event that kicked off Mid-America Midget Week and made the most of it.
Sitting third after a caution with 10 laps remaining in the 30-lapper, Pursley ripped around the top side of the track and overtook Zach Daum and then race-leader Kevin Thomas Jr., on the 23rd circuit.
“I knew Daum wasn’t going to get off the bottom, and KTJ had been there the whole race so it would have been hard for him to jump up there and try something new like that,” Pursley explained. “When you’re running third-place you have to go wherever they don’t go and it worked out.”
Once out front, Pursley scurried away from the pack in the closing laps to take the $4,000 victory aboard the Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Toyota-powered IWX No. 71k machine. It made for a sweep of the night after also winning the NOW 600 Non-Wing Micro Sprint feature.
“I feel like this has been a long time coming,” Pursley commented. “Everyone at Keith Kunz Motorports deserves a win and unfortunately it hasn’t been me. Finally, we get to check that box off and get that first USAC National Midget win. It’s cool to do it in front of all these fans and do it on my home state.”
While Pursley ultimately won the race from the fifth starting position, it was another pair of Sooner State drivers leading the way to the green flag in the main event with Broken Arrow’s Jonathan Beason on the pole and Muskogee’s Kaylee Bryson to his outside.
The duo battled side-by-side in the early stages with Beason working low and Bryson on the cushion. Bryson made the cushion work to her advantage to slip ahead as Kevin Thomas Jr., made his way past Beason to claim second.
With Thomas working the low side of the track meticulously, Bryson continued to flirt with a treacherous cushion and the slightest of bobbles opened the door for Thomas to take command on the 11th round with Daum working into contention as well on the low side from seventh.
After the race’s previous only stoppage when fast qualifier Bryant Wiedeman went for a wild ride in turn one on the opening lap, the only other caution flew after 20 laps when Kaylee Bryson got tangled up in lapped traffic to hand second to Daum and move Pursley into third.
Pursley wasted no time blasting past both rim-riders on the restart and paced the final eight laps to secure that coveted first career USAC National Midget win.
After starting 13th, Justin Grant made a late surge through the field to capture runner-up honors with Daum settling for the show position.
“I buried us in the B and had to come from 13th, these RMS guys gave me an awesome car and the curb was tall and gnarly,” Grant explained. “They had me really stable and I had a good time.”
Daum’s first outing with the Bundy Built team was a considerable success after winning his heat race as did teammate Ethan Mitchell.
“It’s cool for me because I haven’t really run a Midget all year,” Daum explained. “Obviously the car runs really good, we can just fine-tune it a little for myself and we should be a contender tomorrow hopefully.”
Thomas, Jr., slipped to fourth in the closing rounds with reigning series champion Chris Windom climbing from 12th to round out the top five.
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott failed to make the feature, finishing 17th in the B main.
To see full results, turn to the next page.