Daison Pursley’s conquests in USAC’s AMSOIL National Sprint Car and NOS Energy Drink National Midget divisions saw him pass a total of 199 cars in just 62 feature starts throughout the 2023 season.
Those efforts paid off for the Locust Grove, Okla. driver as he earned the title of ProSource Passing Master for the 2023 season in his KO Motorsports sprint car and Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports midget.
Pursley earned a $2,500 for the passing master honors and will be honored during the Friday night, December 8, USAC Night of Champions at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis.
He becomes the third different winner of the season-long Passing Master award which rewards the USAC nationally licensed driver who advanced the most positions during feature events throughout the entirety of USAC’s 2023 national season between Silver Crown, Sprint Cars and Midgets.
Since 2020, longtime USAC supporter ProSource Buck Rice has offered the reward with past winners including Chris Windom (2020) and Justin Grant (2021 & 2022). This time around, it’s Pursley’s turn, and he is grateful to become the latest to earn the badge of honor.
“Buck does a lot for this sport whether it’s passing master or hard charger throughout the night,” Pursley noted. “He’s always there to hand you your money and congratulate you. It just goes to show that USAC and its supporters are always coming up with these cool awards to give drivers who have had a little hard luck and still get a reward. It’s cool to pick that up, and we’re all thankful for Buck’s support throughout the years. It helps all of us get up and down the road.”
Officially, Pursley’s biggest advancement of the 2023 USAC season came during September’s Firemen’s Nationals midget race at Wisconsin’s Angell Park Speedway. After a rough go in qualifying where he nearly got upside down, Pursley picked his way through the field, starting on the tail in 23rd before driving up to a 9th place result.
But of all the hard charging efforts that stand out, it was his 14th to 2nd run in the sprint car during Eastern Storm at Pennsylvania’s Williams Grove Speedway where he nearly broke through for his first points-paying victory with the series. It’s one he has a tinge of regret, thinking he could’ve made his move for the lead just a bit sooner.
In the midget at Beloit, Kansas’ Mitchell County Speedway, Pursley traveled from 18th to 6th, and by the end of the race, felt he had the fastest car on the track, but just ran short of laps.
At times, Pursley felt as if he was able to get a lot of those spots because of his aggressiveness on the initial start. With no time or laps wasted, he was always on the loudpedal.
“It shows that we just never quit throughout the night,” Pursley praised. “We didn’t let our qualifying time discourage us for the rest of the night. We were able to keep grinding and clicking away and that’s what I feel I do as a driver. I’m always trying to inch forward whether it’s one spot or one inch, and I feel like I’m always trying. As soon as the green flag drops, you’ve got to be going forward and I’m very thankful for the group I had around me in the midget and the sprint car that allowed me to pull that off.”
Prior to the 2023 season, Pursley was pretty much known for his midget racing experience, namely due to his full-time seasons on the USAC national tour in 2020 and 2021. But in 2023, he became one of the new stars on USAC’s National Sprint Car circuit, earning Rookie of the Year honors.
It’s a pace of lifestyle he has embraced as he continues to pick up the accolades just just two years since a severe spinal injury nearly derailed his life and career before his determined comeback.
“Being a full-time USAC Midget and Sprint Car guy, your schedule is just busy,” Pursley laid out. “There’s just no time for rest, and if you want to do it, you’ve got to be a true racecar driver and love this stuff at heart. Where I feel like I’ve learned a lot this year is just being versatile enough to get inside of a midget and then into a sprint car. The rudest awakening was the fact that these cars are different, and you have to keep that in the back of your mind on how to drive each one of them. You’ve got about three laps of practice each night to start out. It requires you to figure it out on the fly.”
Pursley accomplished both disciplines with flying colors this year, and now it’s true when they say, he’s USAC’s master of passing in 2023.
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