In their hour of need, Chase McDermand and Mounce/Stout Motorsports came through when it mattered most.
With the season winding down and time running out to make a run for the championship, McDermand urgently needed a good finish to stay in the thick of the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota points battle. Twenty-four hours after their perfect night went awry in the Feature, the 23-year-old Illinoisan redeemed himself with a clean sweep of Saturday night’s program at Highland Speedway.
Garnering the Whitz Racing Products Quick Time Award and a win in Toyota Racing Heat 1, McDermand led the final 21 laps of the main event to secure his fifth Series victory of the year.
“Being able to win so close to home with a [home-state crowd] – that means a lot added on top of it,” McDermand said. “These are really hard races to win with these guys that we run with, so to be able to do it for the fifth time this year means a lot.”
The night prior, McDermand also had a clean sweep going, and sat on the pole for the 30-lap main event. He and car owner/crew chief Jay Mounce made some adjustments to the McDermand Plumbing, Spike/Stanton #40 before leaving the pits to take the track, but those only hindered their performance. McDermand was in-and-out of the work area on multiple occasions after spinning out, though he was able to battle back to finish 12th.
The team put their heads together on Saturday, learned from their past mistakes and applied it, bringing them another $4,000 winner’s check.
“It’s bittersweet to lose one like we did last night,” McDermand said. “I feel like we definitely had the fastest car. To be able to learn what we did really helped us pick up the win tonight.”
When Gavin Miller jumped out to the early lead, McDermand kept pace with him through the first 10 laps, ripping the top side around the 1/4-mile. Miller soon entered heavy lapped traffic and stumbled when cars checked-up in front of him through Turns 3-4, opening the door for McDermand to slip by underneath for the lead on Lap 10.
From there on out, McDermand was able to race his race at his pace. Which was hammer-down on the top, running away from and gapping his opponents – nearly three seconds at its largest ahead of Zach Daum.
After the final restart with nine laps left and McDermand checked-out up front, Taylor Reimer was hot on Daum’s case, throwing a big slide job on the Trifecta Motorsports #7U in Turns 3-4 to take second on Lap 24.
“I was just waiting to time it perfectly,” Reimer said. “I knew I was faster than him, but I was just waiting for the right time. I knew if I threw it too soon, we were just gonna lose ground.”
The 23-year-old Oklahoman held her ground the rest of the way and crossed the stripe runner-up, tying her best finish of the season thus far. Despite being denied of a win yet again, she knows she was fast in the closing laps.
“We were gaining on him,” Reimer said of McDermand. “We were looking at the lap times, and we were a couple tenths faster than him. I think he started to catch lapped traffic, eventually.”
In the bigger picture, Saturday’s win brought McDermand 41 points closer to the lead in the standings. Now sitting 109 points out of first place, he knows a run for the title will be difficult, but still possible with four races remaining.
“If you win, that just takes care of everything else, and you know that’s all you could do,” McDermand said. “Tonight was really the perfect night, we did as much as we could do as far as points go.”
Securing the final spot on the podium was 17-year-old Jade Avedisian, who drove from out of the Last Chance Showdown for the first time this season, started 18th on the grid and raced her way to third by the checkered flag.
“To be honest, I’m not really sure [the issue], but we were off our game early in the night,” Avedisian said.
The Californian struggled early in the program, Qualifying dead-last in her group and finishing seventh in her Heat. She got it together for the Feature, taking third on Lap 25 and holding on for her 10th podium finish of the year. With that, she now sits tied with Cannon McIntosh for the Series points lead.
“In Hot Laps, we timed in last, and I was like, ‘Alright, I can’t turn, I’m so tight,’” Avedisian said. “Jarrett [Martin, car chief] made a few changes and it was kinda the same way for Qualifying. Heat Race was not very good. We just had to put our heads down and get to work.”
Miller, who was sent to the tail for his involvement in an incident on Lap 11, climbed all the way back to finish fourth, while Daum hung on to round out the top five.
The Xtreme Outlaw Midgets close out the Illinois tripleheader with a visit to Red Hill Raceway in Sumner, IL, on Sunday, Sept. 17. Tickets will be on sale at the gate; live stream available on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 40-Chase McDermand; 2. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 3. 71-Jade Avedisian; 4. 97-Gavin Miller; 5. 7U-Zach Daum; 6. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold; 7. 43-Gunnar Setser; 8. 55-Trevor Cline; 9. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 10. 77W-Joe Wirth; 11. 1K-Brayton Lynch; 12. 31B-Kyle Beilman; 13. 50-Daniel Adler; 14. 97K-Cooper Williams; 15. 3N-Jake Newman; 16. 35-Tyler Robbins; 17. 31K-Alex Midkiff; 18. 21K-Karter Sarff; 19. 53R-Sean Robbins; 20. 16-Kyle Jones; 21. 56-Mitchell Davis; 22. 53-Miles Doherty