SPRING RUN, PA – For the first time in his young career, Daison Pursley is a Feature winner with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota.
Pursley, the 18-year-old open-wheel standout from Locust Grove, OK, wheeled the Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports #19 to victory Friday night at Path Valley Speedway Park, holding off a fierce challenge from Jade Avedisian in the closing laps to score the win in the Appalachian Midget Week finale.
“Ever since they started coming out last year that they were going to create a new series, I knew I wanted to put my name in the record books of winning a Feature,” Pursley said. “Pretty cool to get that job done with Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports. It shows how good their cars are and how hard they work week-in and week-out.”
Right behind Pursley in third place came Chase McDermand, who wrapped up the Appalachian Midget Week championship by 51 points over Zach Daum with his third-straight podium finish. For never having raced in the State of Pennsylvania before the week began, McDermand made his sudden impact felt with back-to-back victories Tuesday and Wednesday before the endcap on Friday to secure the $2,500 champion’s check.
“It feels really good, especially just to know that we have our speed back,” McDermand, 22, of Springfield, IL, said. “It feels really good for me, and I know it feels really good for Jay [Mounce] and Gavin [Stout] to know that their program is back on track.”
While both drivers started and finished inside the podium, both faced heavy resistance to keep their spots up front.
Pursley started outside the front row and took off in the first half of the race, setting a quick pace around the 1/4-mile. He defended on restarts and cut through lapped traffic without much issue in the first half, then came his biggest challenge of the race.
Avedisian, the 16-year-old Keith Kunz Motorsports standout from Clovis, CA, was riding second on a Lap 31 restart and got a great run on Pursley down the backstretch. Though she couldn’t make the slide job work in Turns 3-4, she set it up again in Turn 3 the next time by and held it briefly out of Turn 4 as Pursley crossed her over to regain control. The two traded sliders and crossovers a few more times before the caution was displayed with four-to-go.
“Thankfully, the yellow came out because I made a wrong decision trying to block her,” Pursley said. “I thought I was a little ahead of her, but I wasn’t ahead of her enough. She actually slid me and was probably gonna take the spot.”
The next restart, Pursley grabbed hold of the line Avedisian was running in Turns 1-2, counteracting her advantage through those corners and leading the field back around to the checkers to score the win.
“I kinda thought he was gonna figure out what I was doing in Turn 1-2,” Avedisian said. “Once he did that, I kinda had no shot; we were about the same speed.”
Avedisian crossed the start/finish line in second, wrapping up what was a tough week for her and her KKM crew. Two flips in the Feature on Tuesday and a 10th-place run Wednesday slipped her back in the Series points championship. But after Friday’s finish, she’s closed the gap to leader Cannon McIntosh back up to only seven points with 12 races left.
“We haven’t had the best week, especially after Tuesday night, flipping twice and then [the KKM crew] having to work all morning just to get me back out on Wednesday,” Avedisian said. “Can’t say enough about how good this team is.”
McDermand rounded out the podium and a great first venture into the Keystone State. He broke out of a multi-week slump that began before the summer break and is now only 74 points out of first place in the Series standings, displaying the grit and integrity of he and the Mounce/Stout Motorsports team.
“It’s a lot between Mounce/Stout and their crew – traveling from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania is probably about an 18-20-hour drive,” McDermand said. “Between that and me and my mom driving out here, it’s pretty tiring racing and then driving to the next one.
“I’m fortunate enough this year to have Jay and the crew to take a little bit of a load off me, so I don’t have to do as much on the car in terms of the maintenance stuff so I can get a little rest and be more of a driver.”
The Series now takes a two-week break before returning to action Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 24-26, at Davenport Speedway (Davenport, IA) as part of the World of Outlaws CASE Late Model Series’ marquee Quad Cities 150 event.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 19-Daison Pursley; 2. 71-Jade Avedisian; 3. 40-Chase McDermand; 4. 7U-Zach Daum; 5. 97-Gavin Miller; 6. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold; 7. 98-Briggs Danner; 8. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 9. 60X-Kyle Jones; 10. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 11. 19M-Ethan Mitchell; 12. 55-Trevor Cline; 13. 23-Preston Lattomus; 14. 25-Derek Sheaffer; 15. 11-Eric Heydenreich; 16. 75-Michael Markey; 17. 0W-Kevin Woody Jr; 18. 76-Michael Smith; 19. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 20. 46-Kenney Johnson; 21. 44-Adam Andretti; 22. 4-Ayden Hare