DAVENPORT, Iowa — One evening of practice in, and the stars of the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota in conjunction with the POWRi National Midget League are ready to battle at Davenport Speedway.
The series is coming off a two-week pause in the action following Appalachian Midget Week – a miniseries points championship won by one of the hottest drivers on the Xtreme Outlaw roster as of late, Chase McDermand.
McDermand, 23, continued the momentum flow from the two-win week in Pennsylvania by topping the overall speed chart in Thursday night’s practice sessions at Davenport with a best lap of 14.146 seconds around the quarter-mile – .085 seconds under the midget track record of 14.229, set last year by Cannon McIntosh.
That same night of McIntosh’s track record establishment, McDermand went to victory lane with the Xtreme Outlaws for the first time in his career. He’ll get two chances to win Davenport again as the My Place Hotels Quad Cities 150 presented by Hoker Trucking continues Friday and Saturday night.
“I think we definitely have a car capable of doing that,” McDermand said of his thoughts on winning Davenport again. “We’ve just gotta stay on top of the track with the Late Models. They tend to do a little bit different things to the track compared to the type of cars that we usually race with. We’ve just gotta focus on the track and make sure that we’re making changes for what the track is allowing.”
This weekend, several of midget racing’s toughest competitors not regularly found on the Series roster are expected to race at Davenport, including Thomas Meseraull, Ryan Timms and Jacob Denney. Despite their skills, McDermand said he’s not fazed.
“We’ve been fast enough to where we’ve just gotta worry about ourselves and put ourselves in a good spot from the beginning of the night until the end,” McDermand said. “That’s all I’m worried about.”
Also taking part in practice was defending Series champion Zach Daum, who clocked in a ninth-quickest lap on the chart at 14.987. Riding high on the back of three wins this season, Daum said he and the Trifecta Motorsports team were experimenting with the Blackjack Express, Stanton/Spike No. 7u during practice.
“You don’t get to test very often, so we were just throwing something at it that we thought would work, just not under the circumstances,” Daum said. “It did what we thought it would do, given the circumstances we went out in.”
After a sound showing during Appalachian Midget Week – posting finishes of second, eighth and fourth in the three-race stretch – Daum and his new friends at Trifecta have shrunken their deficit in the standings down to 103 points; a far cry from where Daum once stood, 278 points behind leader McIntosh.
“We’ve just gotta keep fine tuning the package; that’s all we’re doing,” Daum said. “Realistically, we still haven’t raced that much together. We’re maybe 10-12 races into our tenure together. Luckily, I have a decent idea of what I want in a racecar and Bobby [Milliser, crew chief] has a good idea of a setup.”
The series’ all-time winningest driver, Jade Avedisian, was second-quickest overall with a best lap of 14.162. She and the Keith Kunz Motorsports stable will work to close their seven-point gap in the standings to McIntosh this weekend.
McIntosh, the current series points leader, turned in a third-best lap time of 14.254. He’s aiming for redemption at Davenport from last year, where a mechanical failure sidelined him Friday, and on Saturday, finished 10th in the feature.