Gas Seavey: USAC Midget Point Leader Strikes Another Win at Gas City
Back in June, Gas City I-69 Speedway served as the turning point of the 2023 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship season for Logan Seavey.
On Thursday night during the fifth running of the James Dean Classic, the Sutter, Calif. native cemented the case that his quest for a second career season championship shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Seavey racked up his second straight series win at the Gas City, Ind. 1/4-mile dirt oval this season, doing so with even more late-race heroics in his Abacus Racing/Honest Abe Roofing – Indy Custom Stone – Laura Kopetsky Tri-Ax/Spike/Stanton SR-11x.
Three months earlier, Seavey took over the lead just two laps from the finish line en route to victory at Gas City during USAC Indiana Midget Week, but on Thursday, he got a bit of a head start on his pursuit, swiping the lead from Jacob Denney six laps from the checkered flag in the 30-lap affair.
In the end, Seavey bested Denney to the stripe by a 0.728 second margin to earn his fifth victory of the season and the 13th of his career with the series. That elevated him to 56th on the all-time list alongside Steve Knepper, Don Meacham, Ryan Newman and Stevie Reeves.
Entering the Gas City round in June, Seavey was mired an astonishing 110 points out of the championship lead and stood sixth overall in the standings. In the 12 races since, he’s reeled off 12 consecutive top-five results and now leads the series standings by a staggering 183 points.
Seavey started his feature run on Thursday from the eighth position and had already surged into the second spot by lap three. Up front, outside front row starter Justin Grant nipped pole sitter Hayden Reinbold by about a foot or two to lead lap one, but soon had to contend with a surging Seavey.
However, on lap six, defending James Dean Classic winner Buddy Kofoid found himself in an unsavory position when he cracked the turn one cushion with his right rear tire, causing him to helicopter several times before landing upside down. By that point, the 2021-22 USAC National Midget champ had already advanced from 12th to 5th. After his car spent time in the Indy Metal Finishing Work Area, Kofoid restarted at the tail and worked his way back up to a seventh place finish.
The night’s Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier, Cannon McIntosh, scooted to third by lap seven, but soon after, clipped an infield tire, which knocked his left front suspension a little wonky and askew, forcing him to a stop in between turns one and two on lap 12. He too returned to action after time in the work area, ultimately finishing 11th.
Nearing halfway, Grant worked high in turns one and two with Seavey operating the low line, but on lap 16, Seavey attempted to slide Grant in turn two, and instead, swung wide, thus matadoring Denney right by him into second.
Denney drove past Grant for the lead on the bottom of turn four on lap 18, and a half lap later, lightning struck Grant twice as he slid sideways in turn two, allowing Seavey to fly around the outside of him and slot into second.
Seavey stayed with the game as he chased down Denney, drawing nearer and nearer with each passing lap until, six laps later, he zipped past into the lead on lap 25. Seavey revealed that the seas sort of parted due to the pressure from Denney on Grant, which forced Grant to search around on the track’s surface.
“I knew the track was slowing down and I knew the bottom was just going to keep getting trickier,” Seavey explained. “I knew Grant would have to do something different for me to pass him. I was trying to show my nose on the bottom, and I got him to go down there once but I wasn’t close enough. It’s cat and mouse when you’re running against somebody that good.”
However, it was a chain of successive events that brought Seavey to the forefront, seemingly all occurring within a split second of each other amid high speed and high stakes.
“Denney was a lifesaver, really,” Seavey revealed. “He got Grant searching for me, which got Grant kind of messed up and I was finally able to go by him. I was just a hair too free to cut the bottom like that, and Grant knew that as long as he didn’t screw up, he was probably okay, then Denney came by.”
If this scenario sounds oddly familiar, perhaps you saw last Friday night’s USAC National Sprint Car feature when a much similar scenario played out during Seavey’s victorious last lap performance at Indiana’s Circle City Raceway.
“It felt a lot like Circle City when (Shane) Cottle pulled Kyle (Cummins) off my back bumper and I was able to get clean track again, make some good laps and run him back down,” Seavey documented. “Denney and I were wheel-to-wheel over in turns three and four for like five or six laps. I was on the chip for the whole straightaway, but the SR-11 ran great all day and Denney ran a great race too.”
Seavey had a few fisticuffs with traffic to avoid in order to navigate his way home during the final six voyages, but not a single misstep was detected as Seavey became just the second driver, along with Shane Cottle, to earn multiple USAC National Sprint Car and USAC National Midget feature victories in a career at Gas City.
Jacob Denney collected a second-place result with Bryant Wiedeman third, Daison Pursley fourth and Justin Grant fifth.
Denney (Galloway, Ohio) felt the bottom of the track going away quite abruptly late in the race and practically knew it was a matter of time before the sand in the hourglass would run out on the bottom in his Tom Malloy/Trench Shoring – Rodela Specialty Fabrication/King/Ed Pink Toyota. However, it was quite the homecoming for Denney who missed the last two series races due to a crash in an Xtreme Outlaw series event at Paragon (Ind.) Speedway that forced him to take some time off. In his Gas City return, Denney raced all the way from 10th to finish second, earning hard charger honors for the evening.
After getting upside down in the James Dean Classic at Gas City a year ago this weekend, Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.) scored a third-place finish in his CB Industries/Nutrien Ag Solutions – PristineAuction.com – K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota at Gas City. In USAC competition, it was Wiedeman’s first podium result since his July victory at the Mitchell County Fairgrounds in his home state of Kansas.
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