INDIANAPOLIS – In the debut of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series at Circle City Raceway, Clovis, Calif., teenager Corey Day made his name during a humid Indiana night.
Wheeling the Clauson Marshall Racing No. 47bc, Day raced to his first national midget triumph during the fifth round of USAC Indiana Midget Week Wednesday at the newly built, quarter-mile dirt oval.
Day fended off numerous charges from Petry Motorsports teammates Kevin Thomas Jr. and Emerson Axsom en route to the $4,000 victory – which came in just his fifth USAC start and his seventh race overall behind the wheel of a national midget.
He took the top spot by ripping the high side on the opening circuit of the 30-lap feature and never officially gave the lead up, pacing every lap in a scintillating performance.
In securing the John Andretti Memorial Double trophy, Day became the youngest winner in USAC national midget history at the age of 15 years, six months, and 12 days old.
Day eclipsed the record of former Clauson Marshall driver Zeb Wise, who previously held the youngest winner mark at 15 years, eight months, and 21 days after triumphing in Lanco, Pa., in 2018.
“It’s surreal,” Day said amid a veritable mob of people in the CMR pit area after the feature. “I’m speechless; I don’t even know what to say to all this right now.”
Though Thomas started from the pole, it was Day who soared to the point off turn two on the opening lap, marching to a lead he wouldn’t relinquish during a wild feature at the Marion County Fairgrounds.
Further back, however, misfortune struck the incoming runner-up in the Indiana Midget Week point standings as Buddy Kofoid spun to a stop facing the wrong way in turn three on lap four, setting his night on a path that wouldn’t get better as the race wore on.
The restart saw a high-low battle break out between Day and Thomas, as Day worked the cushion and Thomas tried everything he could to get past on the bottom groove, to no avail.
By lap nine, Day had worked out to a two-second advantage, but three laps later the yellow lights blinked back on for a stack-up in turn one which collected Justin Grant, Brian Carber and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in turn one – erasing Day’s 2.105-second lead at the front of the field.
The next restart brought a new player toward the front of the field in Thomas’ teammate, Emerson Axsom, who slid from fourth to second in turn four at lap 13 before Thomas Meseraull stopped in turn two to bring out the third caution of the race.
At that point, the meat of the lead battle began as Axsom through slider attempts at Day for the top spot on laps 14, 16 and 18, but each time Day was able to cross back past and lead at the flagstand.
“I’ve raced micros with him forever,” Day said of Axsom. “So, I know he’s going to race me clean and I’m going to race him clean back. When someone’s throwing a slide job, and you see them coming, you already go to diamond under him as soon as you see him. It’s fun racing clean like that.
“Emerson, he’d never take me out, so it’s cool racing with him.”
Kofoid then brought the red flag out with 11 laps to run as – while sliding Kaylee Bryson for ninth in turn three after restarting from the tail due to his earlier spin – his car dug into the dirt and flipped as a result.
The Penngrove, Calif., native was OK, but relegated to a 19th-place finish – his first non-top-10 run all season.
The penultimate restart on lap 20 saw Day escape to seemingly certain victory as he ran the fastest lap of the race, but with the white flag in his sights, the stalled car of Cannon McIntosh set up a green-white-checkered restart and gave Day’s pursuers one final chance to get to him.
Day shut those attempts down, however, racing to victory over the final half-mile despite a scare in the final corner after his car jumped several times before coming down on all fours and sprinting home.
In the end, Day took the checkered flag .423 seconds clear of Thomas, with Brady Bacon filling out the podium ahead of Axsom and Brenham Crouch – who ran as high as second during the 30-lapper.
A seventh-place finish was enough for Logan Seavey to rise to second in the USAC Indiana Midget Week point standings, just 13 behind Chris Windom, who held the lead despite finishing 12th.
USAC Indiana Midget Week continues Friday night at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.