A Calculated Rise: Seavey & Abacus Reach the Top as 2023 USAC National Midget Champs

It all started with a DM.

 

When Abacus Racing owner Brent Cox reached out to Logan Seavey via a direct message on Instagram in late 2022, it turned out to be a most fortuitous decision that instantly altered the fortunes for both driver and team.

 

Just one year later, they were celebrating one of the most dominant USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship seasons in series history. Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) earned his second midget series championship after taking the crown during his Rookie season of 2018 while Abacus scored the entrant title in what was their first year of chasing the entire series schedule.

 

Their 280-point final championship margin was the largest in nearly two decades since Bobby East’s title in 2004. In one year, Seavey doubled his career feature win output from eight to 16, and his run of 22 consecutive top-10 finishes to end the season tied Jason Leffler’s record set in 1997, as fate would have it, the very same year Seavey was born.

 

Seavey and Abacus Racing’s big year with USAC wasn’t excluded solely to the National Midgets. In October, they wrapped up the USAC Silver Crown championship in conjunction with Rice Motorsports, making Seavey the first driver since Levi Jones in 2011 to collect multiple USAC national championships in a single season. The success earned Seavey $100,000 in total USAC point fund money for the year between his success in the two disciplines.

 

Furthermore, Abacus Racing became just the second entrant to win multiple USAC national titles in the same season, joining Curb-Agajanian in 2012-13.

 

It’s almost incomprehensible to think back to 2022 and realize that Seavey was down and out on his fortunes in midget racing. A winless season saw him bounce around to multiple teams while trying recapture the magic of prior years, leaving him disenchanted at the state of affairs. But soon, a message from out of the blue and a new ride were able to bottle up that passion and breathe new life into Seavey on the midget side of things.

 

“After the last year and a half, I didn’t really have any desire to go midget racing,” Seavey admitted. “I was just going to be focused on our sprint car stuff and go from there. (Abacus) roped me into this midget deal and now I’m having a lot of fun and enjoying it. That certainly helps to keep me going and keeps me excited about midget racing. It was not on the top of my list to go try and race for a midget championship this year, but once you start having fun again, it makes going to the races a lot easier and having success doesn’t hurt either.”

 

Seavey’s 2023 season began on the right path when he was victorious during January’s running of the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla. However, the result came in a one-off appearance for the Swindell SpeedLab team. The test to see if the success would ultimately translate to Abacus was a steady rise, beginning with Seavey grabbing the team’s first USAC top-five out west in 2022, followed by the team’s first win and first championship in 2023. Personally, for Seavey, the bulk of it all started with just getting right mentally first and foremost, and when he and Abacus clicked, it was like sweet, sweet music.

 

“It’s just about getting your confidence back and getting in cars you’re comfortable in that have speed,” Seavey explained. “Kicking it off with a Chili Bowl win this year was as good as you could start a year. Then to come out here and get in this car and have such good chemistry with these guys and to have speed every night, it’s really cool knowing that when I strap into this thing, we’ve got a shot. That’s what it takes, and once you lose that, it’s tough to get back. We started the year really well, and just never really slowed down. Sometimes you get up and you can fall down quickly and lose it. We got up and stayed up all year.”

 

Compared to how the season unfolded, the early season had its hurdles early in the going. In Seavey and Abacus’ first five USAC Midget starts of 2023, there were three finishes of 12th or worse. The exact turnaround of the season can be pinpointed toward one key moment in June’s USAC Indiana Midget Week round at Circle City Raceway.

 

There, a surefire victory went by the wayside just three laps from the finish line due to an ignition switch failure. Initially thinking his Indiana Midget Week title hopes were kaput, Seavey won the next night out at Gas City I-69 Speedway in dramatic fashion and rallied to his second career IMW championship and first since 2019.

 

After Circle City, Seavey found himself mired sixth in the USAC National Midget standings, 110 points out of the lead, but from that point forward, he was practically unstoppable. He won again in July at Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway and once more in August at Macon (Ill.) Speedway just hours after winning the USAC Silver Crown race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds earlier that same afternoon. In doing so, he became just the third driver to win multiple USAC national events at two different racetracks in a single day: Billy Vukovich (1967) and J.J. Yeley (2004).

 

September was purely magical as Seavey picked up a Firemen’s Nationals win at Wisconsin’s Angell Park Speedway and backed it up with a second straight triumph at Gas City, which was followed by a complete sweep of the USAC portion of the 4-Crown Nationals at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway where he won the Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown features all within a single evening, the third driver to achieve the feat after Kyle Larson in 2011 as well as Jack Hewitt who, in 1998, won all four crowns with the UMP Modifieds included.

 

By November, Seavey had such a substantial point lead, he could’ve taken a victory lap around the state of California. Nonetheless, he added two more wins to his total at Bakersfield Speedway and at Merced Speedway while wrapping up the title with three races remaining following a string of 20 top-five results in a span of 22 starts in his Abacus Racing/Honest Abe Roofing – Indy Custom Stone – Laura Kopetsky Tri-Ax/Spike/Stanton SR-11x.

 

It’s been quite a road for Abacus Racing’s Brent Cox whose idea of forming a racing team came to him in September of 2020 while he was watching a USAC National event from Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway on FloRacing while sitting in his garage. Cox, who is an accountant by trade, graduated from Ball State University and was among the founders of CG CPAs. It’s been a perfect marriage between the two parties with Abacus’ racing acumen and a championship level driver who had regained his midget racing mojo.

 

“We got their first top-five out here on this swing last year, and to now have 20-something top-fives and eight wins, it’s incredible,” Seavey exclaimed. “I feel like I’m far enough along to where I’m getting better at being able to communicate with (crewmen) Kirk (Simpson) and Johnny (Cofer) about what I need in the car and not being scared to throw my opinion out there and tell them what I need. Or if they make a change I don’t like, they’ll listen to me and go back on it or change something. I feel like I know what I need in the car, and especially throughout the year, I’ve gotten better at just knowing what feels right for me and what makes me able to run the car as hard as I need to.”

 

In nearly every category, Seavey and Abacus were top-shelf, leading the most feature laps (214) while earning the most top-fives (21) and top-tens (24) and fast qualifying times (4) in 27 series starts on the year. As Seavey full well knows, it’s not a cake walk no matter who you are, and it takes the right people and the right equipment in your corner to make it all work.

 

“These midget races are no joke,” Seavey iterated. “If you’re not comfortable running these races 99 percent every lap, these guys will eat you up. It’s tough. You’ve got to run your car really hard all the time, and if your car’s not good, you can’t do that. I’m at the point where I feel like I’m confident enough in myself that I know what I need and I feel like I can help Kirk and Johnny make the right decisions, and usually, we’re pretty dang close to the same page anyway. There have been a few times when they’ve wanted to go one way and I’ve wanted to go the other way, and they usually back me up and will go with me, and it’s been working so far.”

 

In all, 13 drivers raced to a USAC National Midget victory in 2023. Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla) added three to the win column, including the season opener in May at the Belleville (Kan.) Short Track and again in June at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway and in September at Angell Park.

 

Also at the Belleville Short Track, Zach Daum (Pocahontas, Ill.) landed his first USAC victory in nearly nine years, and it just so happened to take place in the same locale as his last one, albeit at a slightly smaller version of it. His 2014 victory came on Belleville’s 1/2-mile-high banks, which he promptly took a victory lap around after winning this past June.

 

Just one week prior to his high school graduation in May, Jacob Denney (Galloway, Ohio) was victorious at Missouri’s Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, then scored the Indiana Midget Week opener in June at Tri-State Speedway. Two-time USAC National Midget champion Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) picked off a couple Indiana Midget Week wins in June at Circle City and Lincoln Park Speedway.

 

Bryant Wiedeman and Gavin Miller both became first-time USAC National Midget winners in 2023. Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.) finished third in series points and scored a home state victory at the Mitchell County Fairgrounds with a pass for the lead coming to the white flag. Miller (Allentown, Pa.), meanwhile, earned win number one at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway to become the first Keystone State winner since Steve Buckwalter in 2010. As a result of his win and eighth place finish in the standings, Miller was named the 2023 Bob Stroud USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year, just the third Pennsylvanian to do so after John Andretti in 1983 and Andrew Layser in 2019.

 

Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) started his own team and took it to victory lane twice in July’s Midwest Midget Championship at Jefferson County and then became the first multi-time Jason Leffler Memorial victor in August at Wayne County Speedway in Illinois.

 

Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) posted a victory in his first USAC Midget start of the season in September at Eldora while RMS Racing teammates Thomas Meseraull and Justin Grant followed up a week later with substantial victories at The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

After a long winless drought to open the season, RMS swept the event with Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) leading wire-to-wire in the first of two BC39 prelims. Grant (Ione, Calif.) followed suit with a triumphant performance during the night two prelim as well as in the $20,039-to-win finale before finishing second overall in the season standings for the second occasion in as many seasons.

 

The California swing in November was practically owned by Kyle Larson (Elk Grove, Calif.) who went on an undefeated tear with the series, winning all three of his starts on the year. He took two at Placerville Speedway’s Hangtown 100 before becoming a four-time Turkey Night Grand Prix winner in the season finale at Ventura Raceway.

 

Additionally, Spencer Bayston (Lebanon, Ind.) captured his first USAC National Midget win in more than five years during a November stop at California’s Merced Speedway for Australia’s Dyson Motorsport.

 

Six drivers started all 27 feature events in 2023: Seavey, Grant, Timms, Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.), Taylor Reimer (Bixby, Okla.) and Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.). Avedisian made history in May when she became the first woman to lead the USAC National Midget point standings in the 68-year history of the series.

 

Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) was a frequent frontrunner with the series, bagging five runner-up finishes in limited duty. At Ventura, he made the biggest charge of any driver with the series in 2023, racing his way up 17 positions from a 23rd starting spot to finish sixth.

 

USAC PR

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