One night after giving up the lead and a win in the final laps, Jade Avedisian sang a song of redemption in Southern Illinois Raceway Victory Lane – a winner with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota and the POWRi National Midget League for the second time this season.
The 16-year-old Californian was heartbroken Friday night after defending Xtreme Outlaw champion Zach Daum got around her for the lead coming to the white flag at Doe Run Raceway, forcing her to settle for a runner-up finish. She and the Keith Kunz Motorsports crew shook it off, regrouped, came back looking for vengeance on Saturday and got exactly that.
Avedisian started up front, took the lead on a late restart and drove it back home for her second Xtreme Outlaw-POWRi Challenge Series win of the season and fourth Xtreme Outlaw win of her career.
“Lately, we’ve been in the first few rows of every Feature and had a shot to win, and [either] I mess up or something goes wrong,” Avedisian said. “To finally get back into Victory Lane for the second time this year gives us a bit more momentum rolling into the next month of Xtreme racing.”
From fourth on the starting grid, Jade kept pace with the leaders through the first half of the 30-lap main event, not letting Kyle Jones or Taylor Reimer get too far out. With the final third of the race quickly approaching, Avedisian decided it was go-time and selected the top lane as her vehicle to get her moving toward the front.
“I just tried to drive it as hard as I possibly could,” Avedisian said. “I wasn’t sure in the beginning if it was going to work. I finally got up there, and I was assuming the few cars behind me were just trying to help me clean it off. It just kept getting faster and faster.”
The faster the top got, the more she gained on leader Jones. By the time the race’s only caution flew with 22 laps complete, Avedisian had shrunk Jones’ lead down to under a half-second from what was once almost two full seconds.
On the ensuing restart, Avedisian showed her hand in her bread-and-butter lane around the top.
“I saw [Jones’] crew guys telling him to go to the top, and I wasn’t sure if he was going to, and he ended up not,” Avedisian said. “He kinda left me on the restart, but luckily I had enough speed around the top.”
With a great run off Turn 2 and a sweeping line around Turns 3-4, Avedisian sailed around the outside of Jones to take the lead at the flag stand. Now in control in the final laps with a fast car, Avedisian hit the afterburners and drove away from the field, leading them back around to the checkers to bag the $4,000 grand prize.
Crossing the stripe in second was Zach Daum, who drove all the way up from 11th on the starting grid. Though his quest for four-straight victories with his new team at Trifecta Motorsports fell one spot short, Daum was still pleased with he and the car’s performance as he charged to the front in his signature bottom-hugging lane.
“I ran a couple laps on the top – I had to get around [Andrew] Felker, and I knew he was on the bottom and wasn’t leaving, so I couldn’t waste any time messing with him,” Daum said. “I moved around a little bit, but we were just so good on the bottom that I never really felt the need to move and abandon.”
With four-straight podium finishes and five top-fives in the last five Series events, Daum and the Trifecta squad have been working well together since their first pairing in the team’s flagship #7U car at the beginning of June.
“I feel like we’re all in a really good place,” Daum said. “Janky [Bobby Milliser] works his ass off, Staton and Steve [car owners] work their ass off. They’re in this to win races, win championships, be competitive, and it shows.
“We ain’t got the biggest rig in the pits, but we got everything we need to go race. And that’s the important part.”
Taylor Reimer crossed the stripe third from fourth on the starting grid, posting back-to-back top-five finishes for the first time on the 2023 Xtreme Outlaw trail. After a slow start to the 2023 season, she’s picked up her average start and average finish and said she feels she’s been improving.
“I feel a little bit more confident; I think I was just a little down on myself,” Reimer said. “At the beginning of the year, we weren’t performing as well as we should’ve been.
“The past couple of weeks, on my down time, I’ve been trying to stay focused – watching film, going to sim when I can. Just trying to keep my head down and grind it out.”
The Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota gets back into action in less than a week’s time, starting up a three-day race weekend next Friday-Sunday, July 28-30 at Ohio Valley Speedway (WV), Atomic Speedway (OH) and Brushcreek Motorsports Complex (OH).
Tickets for all three events will be on sale at the gate. If you can’t be there in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 71-Jade Avedisian; 2. 7U-Zach Daum; 3. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 4. 16-Kyle Jones; 5. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 6. 26R-Corbin Rueschenberg; 7. 40-Chase McDermand; 8. 58-Daniel Whitley; 9. 11A-Andrew Felker; 10. 97-Gavin Miller; 11. 21K-Karter Sarff; 12. 97K-Cooper Williams; 13. 1K-Brayton Lynch; 14. 56-Mitchell Davis; 15. 31K-Jaxton Wiggs; 16. 26-Chance Crum; 17. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold; 18. 44-Branigan Roark; 19. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 20. 08K-Brody Wake