HAUBSTADT, Ind. (October 11, 2020) – Thomas Meseraull took the lead on lap eight and then held off fellow Toyota driver Tanner Thorson at the checkered flag to win by just .119 seconds at the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Harvest Cup at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana.
The victory was the second of the weekend for Meseraull and RMS Racing after he won Friday night’s POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League’s event at Jacksonville Speedway. Combining with Thorson’s Friday USAC win at Wayne County, Toyota-powered cars won all three national midget feature events on the weekend, giving the manufacturer 32 on the season.
Andrew Layser started from the pole position, but Cole Bodine was able to move past him for the lead on the opening lap with Jason McDougal running third, followed by Thorson, Meseraull and Chris Windom.
The race would be turned upside down on lap four, though, as Bodine spun coming out of turn two in the middle of the track, collecting series point leader Windom, who had climbed up to fourth. Up until that point, Windom’s Tucker-Boat Motorsports Toyota appeared to be the class of the field after earning fast qualifier honors and then winning his heat race to start sixth in the inverted field. Windom was able to return to the field, but not until losing a lap and dropping down to 21st. He would eventually place 16th.
After Bodine’s spin, McDougal would take over the top spot, with Justin Grant in second and Meseraull in third, but he would pass Grant on lap five for second before the field would go yellow again on lap seven.
McDougal would maintain the lead for one lap after the restart before Meseraull would dive beneath him through turns one and two to take the lead. McDougal would drop to second, followed by Tyler Courtney, Kyle Cummins and Daison Pursley rounding out the top five.
By lap 14, Meseraull had opened up a commanding lead of more than three seconds before a red flag came out after Pursley got upside down in turn four, bunching the field back together. At that point, it was Meseraull, Cummins, McDougal, Thorson and Courtney in the top five.
Meseraull nailed the ensuing restart and built up a solid 1.2-second lead over Cummins by lap 20. He would continue to slowly stretch the lead out over the next six laps as he held a 1.4-second margin over Cummins as they began lap 27.
What appeared to be a comfortable win would slip away as smoke started to come from Meseraull’s car on what appeared to be an overflowing radiator and Thorson, who had overtaken Cummins for second on lap 28, was closing quickly. Heading into the final lap, Meseraull’s lead had dropped to .7 seconds and by the time the leaders came off the back straight, Thorson went low through three and four and inched ahead of Meseraull coming to the finish line, but Meseraull maintained his run off the high side, narrowly pushing past Thorson for the win at the checkered flag. Cummins would finish third, Courtney was fourth and Emerson Axsom placed fifth to give Toyota three of the top-five finishers for the night.
“How about that 7X?,” said Meseraull from Winner’s Circle. “This thing was pegged. It was kind of dying at the end, but that TRD Toyota held up. I can’t thank those guys enough. And hats off to my RMS guys for believing in me.”
Four more Toyotas also earned top-10 finishes on the night. Kevin Thomas Jr. would finish sixth, followed by Clinton Boyles in seventh, Kaylee Bryson in ninth and Chase Johnson in tenth. Bryson’s top-10 showing was made even more impressive as she climbed up through the C and B Mains just to reach the feature.
Tonight’s race marked the final Midwest event on the 2020 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Championship schedule. The series will head to the Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley for a pair of races, Nov. 13-14, and then close out the season with five races in California.
Toyota USAC Tri-State Speedway Saturday Results
- Thomas Meseraull – 1st
- Tanner Thorson – 2nd
- Emerson Axsom – 5th
- Kevin Thomas Jr. – 6th
- Clinton Boyles – 7th
- Kaylee Bryson – 9th
- Chase Johnson – 10th
- Buddy Kofoid – 12th
- Chase Randall – 13th
- Chris Windom – 16th
- Daison Pursley – 19th
- Andrew Layser – 21st
- Cannon McIntosh – 23rd
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