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Take a Bow! Axsom Wins First USAC Indiana Midget Week Race at Lincoln Park

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By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Putnamville, Indiana (June 6, 2024)………It’s quite evident that second place had no place in Emerson Axsom’s vocabulary during Thursday night’s USAC Indiana Midget Week event at Putnamville’s Lincoln Park Speedway.

In fact, second place had become a way too common gut punch for the Franklin, Indiana racer since his most recent USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship triumph nearly three years earlier in the summer of 2021.

Since that point, he’d finished as the runner-up on an astonishing nine different occasions with nary a victory to show for his efforts in USAC National Midget competition. In 2023 alone, Axsom finished second five times with the series, all while coming up just short of glory.

Even in two previous Lincoln Park midget starts, Axsom ran third in 2021 and then took second in 2023 after leading a race-high 20 laps. On Wednesday at Lawrenceburg, he led 18 of 30 laps and saw a chance at victory slip away late.

So, in other words, one might say Axsom was due to grab one when the tour rolled into Lincoln Park’s 5/16-mile dirt oval on Thursday. Axsom made his winning move on lap 19 of the 30-lap affair after dueling past his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate Ryan Timms for the lead, and ultimately, the victory in his TRD – IWX – Mobil 1/LynK/Speedway Toyota.

For Axsom, the performance marked his first career USAC Indiana Midget Week win in what was his 16th start in the five-race series across the Hoosier landscape. Overall, it was his third career USAC National Midget feature score, an achievement he had longed to conquer for these past 1055 days since last making his victory bow to the crowd at Fairbury, Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway.

“I haven’t won a midget race in a long time, but I feel like I’ve run second a million times,” Axsom sighed with relief. “I’ve gotten beat on the last lap, and it seems like stuff just hasn’t gone our way since Fairbury in 2021. I’m glad to win with these guys. (Car owner) Keith (Kunz) deserves to win all the time. He puts a lot of work into it and it’s a dream to drive for him. I’m glad we finally got one.”

Starting fifth, Axsom actually fell back a spot to sixth at the start and maintained that position for the initial 11 laps. All the while, Wednesday night’s Lawrenceburg winner Timms had already established his prowess at the front of the field, holding down a half-straightaway lead over fellow KKM wheelman Cannon McIntosh.

By halfway, McIntosh had finally begun to reel his way back into contention by snipping Timms’ lead in half to seven tenths of a second. Meanwhile, Axsom began his forward progression past Chase McDermand for fifth on lap 13, then charged past Kale Drake on the back straight for fourth a lap later on the 14th circuit.

After 19th running Ethan Mitchell stopped in turn four to bring out the caution on lap 17, Axsom did a little tweaking, which immediately paid itself off.

“I tweaked on the shocks a little bit there under that yellow and the car came to life,” Axsom explained. “It’s tough to tell yourself to make some shock adjustments on these cars just because they’re so good, you don’t want to dial yourself out. I’ve been doing it long enough. I feel like I made the right choices.”

Axsom utilized the subsequent restart to his advantage, going topside around Daison Pursley for third in turns one and two. Then, on the other end, Axsom slid under McIntosh to pocket second off the exit of turn four. Then and there, Axsom had no more second thoughts as he zeroed in on chasing down Timms for the race lead.

First, Axsom slid across the nose of Timms in turn four on lap 18, but Timms had an answer for each inquiry as he dipped back underneath Axsom to retain the position. Possessing a slight half-car length lead, Timms pulled the wheels up on the back straight and suddenly found himself in a spot to slide Axsom entering turn three. Timms slid from bottom to top across turns three and four, opening up the door for Axsom to drive under and take over as the race leader by a car length at the line.

“I knew that the top in (turns) one and two was okay, but before that yellow came out, I was running it and I couldn’t make time,” Axsom detailed. “I figured that if I could just keep my speed up, I would be able to make moves on the other end when guys would move around because they would run bottom and top. I just decided to go where they weren’t because my stuff is so good. A lot of times, this thing can make speed where others can’t. Thank God I’m in the 67K!”

From there on, Axsom went unfettered to the checkered flag, prevailing by 1.318 seconds over Timms, Pursley and McIntosh with Taylor Reimer rounding out the top-five, giving the KKM stable four of the top-five spots in the final rundown.

Furthermore, for the second night in a row, the podium consisted of Axsom, Timms and Pursley. Twenty-four hours earlier, the top three stood in a slightly different orderly fashion featuring Timms, Pursley and Axsom.

By virtue of a victory and a runner-up result during the first two nights, Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.) has climbed atop the USAC Indiana Midget Week standings by a single point over Pursley. Over his past four USAC National Midget starts in 2024, Timms has accrued an impressive stretch of 2nd, 2nd, 1st and 2nd aboard his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/JBL Audio – IWX – Mobil 1/LynK/Speedway Toyota.

Likewise, Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) has been equally as proficient, notching four top-three finishes in five USAC National Midget starts this year. At Lincoln Park, he took third in his CB Industries/PristineAuction.com – NOS Energy Drink – TRD/Spike/Speedway Toyota and extended his lead in the season-long USAC National Midget point standings to 10.

Gavin Miller (Allentown, Pa.) was the biggest mover in the feature event. The 2023 series Rookie of the Year advanced 16th to 10th in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Sound Gear – TRD – Mobil 1/LynK/Speedway Toyota, which earned him a $100 bonus courtesy of Irvin King.

This girl is on fire! Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.) was the recipient of the Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night. In the second heat race, she charged from her seventh starting spot to score a dramatic victory in her Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Mobil 1 – TRD – Peelz – Curb Records/Lynk/Speedway Toyota.

===============

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 6, 2024 – Lincoln Park Speedway – Putnamville, Indiana – 5/16-Mile Dirt Oval – 20th Annual USAC Indiana Midget Week

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Daison Pursley, 86, CBI-12.705; 2. Emerson Axsom, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.740; 3. Ryan Timms, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.742; 4. Taylor Reimer, 25K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.844; 5. Cannon McIntosh, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.844; 6. Kale Drake, 97K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.859; 7. Kevin Thomas Jr, 9, Mounce/Stout-12.883; 8. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-12.948; 9. Jacob Denney, 25, Malloy-12.954; 10. Zach Daum, 7p, RAMCO-12.973; 11. Jake Andreotti, 14, 4 Kings-12.973; 12. Gavin Miller, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.994; 13. Ricky Lewis, 54, 4 Kings-13.029; 14. Hayden Reinbold, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-13.089; 15. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-13.103; 16. Kaiden Manders, 7m, RAMCO-13.131; 17. Kyle Cummins, 3G, Styres-13.135; 18. Logan Prickett, 37, MKP-13.168; 19. Justin Grant, 2, RMS-13.190; 20. Chase McDermand, 8w, Ford-13.202; 21. Kyle Jones, 27x, Joyner-13.241; 22. Kayla Roell, 4K, Roell-13.255; 23. Michael Pickens, 54NZ, Mounce/Stout-13.258; 24. Zach Wigal, 89, CBI-13.302; 25. Hank Davis, 8, Cornell-13.314; 26. Jade Avedisian, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.354; 27. Drake Edwards, 3p, Petty-13.461; 28. Blake Brannon, 40, Brannon-13.562; 29. Lance Bennett, 91, Mason-13.823; 30. Weston Gorham, 18N, Dickerson-13.854; 31. Steve Buckwalter, 25B, Buckwalter-13.877; 32. Tom Dunkel, 17A, Ford-13.943; 33. Jeff Schindler, 8x, Schindler-13.949; 34. Adam Bolyard, 4, Bolyard-14.017; 35. Glenn Styres, 0G, Styres-14.343; 36. Robert Carson, 99K, LOK-NT; 37. Justin Dickerson, 21D, Dickerson-NT; 38. Abby Hohlbein, 27, Joyner-13.796.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Kyle Jones, 3. Daison Pursley, 4. Jacob Denney, 5. Cannon McIntosh, 6. Ricky Lewis, 7. Hank Davis, 8. Lance Bennett, 9. Jeff Schindler. 2:14.732

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Jade Avedisian, 2. Kale Drake, 3. Emerson Axsom, 4. Zach Daum, 5. Hayden Reinbold, 6. Kayla Roell, 7. Logan Prickett, 8. Weston Gorham, 9. Abby Hohlbein, 10. Adam Bolyard. 2:16.805

T.J. FORGED THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Ryan Timms, 3. Jake Andreotti, 4. Michael Pickens, 5. Ethan Mitchell, 6. Steve Buckwalter, 7. Drake Edwards, 8. Glenn Styres, 9. Kevin Thomas Jr. 2:14.070

CAR IQ FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Chase McDermand, 2. Zach Wigal, 3. Taylor Reimer, 4. Gavin Miller, 5. Logan Seavey, 6. Kaiden Manders, 7. Blake Brannon, 8. Tom Dunkel, 9. Robert Carson. 2:16.906

ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Kaiden Manders, 2. Ricky Lewis, 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 4. Drake Edwards, 5. Kayla Roell, 6. Hank Davis, 7. Blake Brannon, 8. Weston Gorham, 9. Lance Bennett, 10. Logan Prickett, 11. Abby Hohlbein, 12. Jeff Schindler, 13. Glenn Styres, 14. Adam Bolyard, 15. Robert Carson, 16. Steve Buckwalter, 17. Justin Dickerson. 2:54.024

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Emerson Axsom (5), 2. Ryan Timms (4), 3. Daison Pursley (6), 4. Cannon McIntosh (2), 5. Taylor Reimer (3), 6. Chase McDermand (9), 7. Jade Avedisian (10), 8. Kale Drake (1), 9. Kyle Cummins (7), 10. Gavin Miller (16), 11. Logan Seavey (12), 12. Jacob Denney (13), 13. Hayden Reinbold (18), 14. Kyle Jones (20), 15. Justin Grant (8), 16. Kevin Thomas Jr. (11), 17. Jake Andreotti (15), 18. Michael Pickens (21), 19. Drake Edwards (23), 20. Zach Wigal (22), 21. Zach Daum (14), 22. Ricky Lewis (17), 23. Kaiden Manders (24), 24. Ethan Mitchell (19). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-18 Ryan Timms, Laps 19-30 Emerson Axsom.

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-355, 2-Ryan Timms-345, 3-Cannon McIntosh-345, 4-Logan Seavey-277, 5-Zach Daum-277, 6-Justin Grant-260, 7-Kyle Jones-259, 8-Jacob Denney-258, 9-Kale Drake-255, 10-Kevin Thomas Jr.-229.

 

USAC INDIANA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Ryan Timms-155, 2-Daison Pursley-154, 3-Emerson Axsom-151, 4-Cannon McIntosh-136, 5-Taylor Reimer-124, 6-Hayden Reinbold-107, 7-Jade Avedisian-102, 8-Kale Drake-100, 9-Justin Grant-99, 10-Jacob Denney-96.

 

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-81, 2-Robert Ballou-74, 3-Daison Pursley-73, 4-Logan Seavey-70, 5-Joey Amantea-54, 6-Brady Bacon-50, 7-Carson Garrett-50, 8-Kyle Cummins-47, 9-Justin Grant-46, 10-Matt Westfall-45.

 

USAC INDIANA MIDGET WEEK PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Ryan Timms-18, 2-Justin Grant-14, 3-Daison Pursley-12, 4-Kale Drake-12, 5-Taylor Reimer-11, 6-Jade Avedisian-11, 7-Lance Bennett-9, 8-Drake Edwards-8, 9-Emerson Axsom-7, 10-Kyle Jones-7.

 

NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 7, 2024 – Bloomington Speedway – Bloomington, Indiana – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval – 20th Annual USAC Indiana Midget Week

 

 

CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:

 

Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Daison Pursley (12.666)

 

Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Daison Pursley (12.705)

 

Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Kyle Cummins

 

Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Jade Avedisian

 

T.J. Forged Third Heat Winner: Justin Grant

 

Car IQ Fourth Heat Winner: Chase McDermand

 

Irvin King Hard Charger: Gavin Miller (16th to 10th)

 

Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night: Jade Avedisian

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