Teenage racing star Braden Chiaramonte closed out the USAC Midget racing season last week with two races at the Merced Speedway and at the 82nd Running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at the Ventura Raceway. The three races were his 41st, 42nd, and 43rd of the 2023 campaign. They were his last speed contests until the 39th Annual Tulsa Shootout that runs from December 26th through the 31st.
For the final three races of the USAC Midget season, Chiaramonte was back behind the wheel of the Graunstadt Enterprises – Streeter Racing/Gary Silva Ranches/T&T Trucking/Spike/Stanton/SR 11X #14J. He came into the Merced races after placing 22nd in the main the previous Friday at the Placerville Speedway.
Merced Speedway, November 21st
The El Cajon, California-based teen headed to Doug Lockwood’s always well-prepared Merced Speedway for the two nights of racing on November 21st and 22nd. Twenty-nine other cars showed up for the third to last USAC Midget race of the 2023 campaign. When time trials concluded, Chiaramonte had turned in the 15th fastest lap at 11.809. The goal in the heat races was to finish in the top five and go directly to the A main without having to run the B. That is just what the driver known as “Spare Change” did in the third 10 lapper. He placed fifth to make his second USAC National Midget main in three starts in 2023.
Chiaramonte lined up 15th in the talent-laden 23-car main event field that included World of Outlaw and USAC Sprint, Silver Crown, and Midget heroes. After 30 intense, high-speed laps, he brought the black and gold #14J home in 18th.
Merced Speedway, November 22nd
Night two at Merced saw 31 cars go to battle on the well-manicured 1/3 mile clay oval. Qualifying again kicked off the night and Chiaramonte cut .152 off his first night time with a lap of 11.657. Thursday’s heats only put the top four drivers straight into the main. Unfortunately, the talented teen ended up sixth in the second heat and unlike 24 hours earlier, he had to take on the B main for a chance to get into the A.
Except momentarily slipping back to seventh, Chiaramonte virtually held the sixth spot the entire distance to earn his passage into the 30-lap finale
For the 30-lap main on the second night of “Midget Madness,” Chiaramonte started 17th. Despite slipping back to 20th early on, he came back to finish in the same spot as he started. That gave him three straight A main appearances in the toughest midget series on the planet.
Ventura Raceway, November 25
Chiaramonte’s outdoor season ended in Ventura at the 82nd running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix. The prestigious race is the third oldest in the USA behind only the Indianapolis 500 and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. An enthusiastic sellout crowd was cheering from the grandstands and the race was streamed live on Flo Racing making it available to thousands of other fans around the world.
A strong 48-car field signed into the pits for the final race of the 2023 campaign. Chiaramonte’s time of 12.831 was the 39th best on the track that is located next to the beach on the Ventura County Fairgrounds. A ninth-place result in the first qualifying race meant that the 16-year-old driver would have to head to the B main in an effort to get one of the last four positions into the 98-lap finale.
The personable teen started 14th in the B. Getting entangled in someone else’s faux pas early on meant he had to go to the back for the restart. On a small track like Ventura, that is anything but good in a short (12-lap) race. Chiaramonte did the best he could in the limited time he had but the laps ticked off too fast. He got up to 13th by the time the checkered waved. That was not enough to get to the A main and his night was over.
The schedule slows down for the next few weeks before Chiaramonte heads to Oklahoma for the 39th Tulsa Shootout from December 26th through the 31st. While the driver and his crew will be away from the track, they will stay busy as they are working on marketing partnerships for the 2024 season. If you are interested in becoming a partner with one of the most talented and personable young drivers in motorsports please feel free to e-mail or call Daniel Chiaramonte at mailto:[email protected] or (619) 988 7563.
Chiaramonte would like to thank all his sponsors who have made his racing efforts possible. RTL Traffic Control, AM Ortega, Hyper Racing, Chop Design, Adams Motors, Hacienda Casa Blanca Fine Mexican Dining, Evil Plus Injection, King Racing Products, Tiner-Hirst Enterprises, and Keizer Wheels.
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