Chase McDermand needed a rebound. A cold streak of no top-five finishes in six races left he and the Mounce/Stout Motorsports team scratching their heads heading into August and a busy stretch of seven races in nine days.
Tuesday night at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, they found the answer with the car and got their redemption, winning the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota’s debut at the 1/8-mile oval and the opening race of Appalachian Midget Week.
“It feels great to kick off a big week here in Pennsylvania – one with a lot of attention now that the Midgets are coming back here for the first time in a couple years,” McDermand said. “It means a lot.”
The win makes three on the Xtreme Outlaw season for McDermand and four in his career. He had not been to Victory Lane since a weekend sweep of the Series events in Kansas in May, and soon after started the slump of finishes which he said was partly due to difficulties with some new internal components.
“The last few weeks haven’t been very great,” McDermand said. “We’ve been struggling with a different type of motor, so it’s good to get back on the track of where we know we can be and where we really should be.”
Engine issues were discovered following the event at Brushcreek Motorsports Complex two weekends ago, prompting McDermand and the team to switch back to a model they were more comfortable with. Three races down that path, and they’re standing in Victory Lane.
“We just went back to the drawing board, back to the baseline,” McDermand said. “At [I-55], we didn’t run as good as I feel we had the speed for. But we’re making good strides back in the right direction, and tonight showed that.”
From the time the team unloaded Tuesday, McDermand was quick and competitive. He went third-quick in his Qualifying group, won Toyota Racing Heat #1 and took the green in the Feature from fourth on the grid.
He stayed patient in the opening laps, keeping it inside the top three as the halfway point neared. When race leader Jade Avedisian took a tumble through Turn 3 on Lap 10 and gave up the lead, McDermand knew this was his opening.
The ensuing restart put McDermand behind Hayden Reinbold at the drop of the green. As Reinbold tried to hold the lead in the top lane, McDermand stayed smooth on the bottom and zoomed past him for the lead out of Turn 4.
“I really wasn’t trying to slide him there on that restart,” McDermand said. “I was able to get a good enough run off of Turn 2 and then kinda run the middle in 3-4. I didn’t see his nose, so I was able to go back to the top and start running the rest of my race.”
McDermand pulled out to a slim advantage over Zach Daum and held it as the laps continued to wind down. Despite Daum’s best efforts and even one final restart with four laps remaining, nobody was able to get close enough to try a move for the lead as McDermand cruised across the finish line – a winner in the State of Pennsylvania for the first time in his career.
“I really just had to focus on hitting my marks,” McDermand said. “The top had a little bit of character; it wasn’t too bad. We were able to get our car dialed in there running the top good, and I was able to make clean laps on the top and bring it home.”
Coming into Tuesday, Jade Avedisian held the Xtreme Outlaw Series points lead by eight over Cannon McIntosh. Avedisian rolled over hard in the Feature – once while leading after forcefully hitting the Turn 3 cushion; again three laps later after contact with another car and the outside wall – and suffered her first DNF of the season, scored 18th.
McIntosh chalked up a seventh-place finish after starting ninth – good enough for him to retake the points lead following Avedisian’s rough night. He now leads the standings by 35 over Avedisian.
Appalachian Midget Week continues Wednesday, Aug. 9, at Action Track USA in Kutztown, PA. Tickets will be on sale at the gate; streaming available at DIRTVision.com.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 40-Chase McDermand; 2. 7U-Zach Daum; 3. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 4. 29-Tim Buckwalter; 5. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold; 6. 97-Gavin Miller; 7. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 8. 19M-Ethan Mitchell; 9. 23-Preston Lattomus; 10. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 11. 55-Trevor Cline; 12. 4-Ayden Hare; 13. 76-Michael Smith; 14. 75-Michael Markey; 15. 19-Daison Pursley; 16. 25-Steve Buckwalter; 17. 98-Briggs Danner; 18. 71-Jade Avedisian; 19. 00-Zach Curtis