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JADE’S REVENGE: Avedisian Passes Jones Late to Win Second of Season at Southern Illinois
MARION, IL (July 22, 2023) – One night after giving up the lead and a win in the final laps, Jade Avedisian sang a song of redemption in Southern Illinois Raceway Victory Lane – a winner with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota and the POWRi National Midget League for the second time this season.
The 16-year-old Californian was heartbroken Friday night after defending Xtreme Outlaw champion Zach Daum got around her for the lead coming to the white flag at Doe Run Raceway, forcing her to settle for a runner-up finish. She and the Keith Kunz Motorsports crew shook it off, regrouped, came back looking for vengeance on Saturday and got exactly that.
Avedisian started up front, took the lead on a late restart and drove it back home for her second Xtreme Outlaw-POWRi Challenge Series win of the season and fourth Xtreme Outlaw win of her career.
“Lately, we’ve been in the first few rows of every Feature and had a shot to win, and [either] I mess up or something goes wrong,” Avedisian said. “To finally get back into Victory Lane for the second time this year gives us a bit more momentum rolling into the next month of Xtreme racing.”
From fourth on the starting grid, Jade kept pace with the leaders through the first half of the 30-lap main event, not letting Kyle Jones or Taylor Reimer get too far out. With the final third of the race quickly approaching, Avedisian decided it was go-time and selected the top lane as her vehicle to get her moving toward the front.
“I just tried to drive it as hard as I possibly could,” Avedisian said. “I wasn’t sure in the beginning if it was going to work. I finally got up there, and I was assuming the few cars behind me were just trying to help me clean it off. It just kept getting faster and faster.”
The faster the top got, the more she gained on leader Jones. By the time the race’s only caution flew with 22 laps complete, Avedisian had shrunk Jones’ lead down to under a half-second from what was once almost two full seconds.
On the ensuing restart, Avedisian showed her hand in her bread-and-butter lane around the top.
“I saw [Jones’] crew guys telling him to go to the top, and I wasn’t sure if he was going to, and he ended up not,” Avedisian said. “He kinda left me on the restart, but luckily I had enough speed around the top.”
With a great run off Turn 2 and a sweeping line around Turns 3-4, Avedisian sailed around the outside of Jones to take the lead at the flag stand. Now in control in the final laps with a fast car, Avedisian hit the afterburners and drove away from the field, leading them back around to the checkers to bag the $4,000 grand prize.
Crossing the stripe in second was Zach Daum, who drove all the way up from 11th on the starting grid. Though his quest for four-straight victories with his new team at Trifecta Motorsports fell one spot short, Daum was still pleased with he and the car’s performance as he charged to the front in his signature bottom-hugging lane.
“I ran a couple laps on the top – I had to get around [Andrew] Felker, and I knew he was on the bottom and wasn’t leaving, so I couldn’t waste any time messing with him,” Daum said. “I moved around a little bit, but we were just so good on the bottom that I never really felt the need to move and abandon.”
With four-straight podium finishes and five top-fives in the last five Series events, Daum and the Trifecta squad have been working well together since their first pairing in the team’s flagship #7U car at the beginning of June.
“I feel like we’re all in a really good place,” Daum said. “Janky [Bobby Milliser] works his ass off, Staton and Steve [car owners] work their ass off. They’re in this to win races, win championships, be competitive, and it shows.
“We ain’t got the biggest rig in the pits, but we got everything we need to go race. And that’s the important part.”
Taylor Reimer crossed the stripe third from fourth on the starting grid, posting back-to-back top-five finishes for the first time on the 2023 Xtreme Outlaw trail. After a slow start to the 2023 season, she’s picked up her average start and average finish and said she feels she’s been improving.
“I feel a little bit more confident; I think I was just a little down on myself,” Reimer said. “At the beginning of the year, we weren’t performing as well as we should’ve been.
“The past couple of weeks, on my down time, I’ve been trying to stay focused – watching film, going to sim when I can. Just trying to keep my head down and grind it out.”
The Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota gets back into action in less than a week’s time, starting up a three-day race weekend next Friday-Sunday, July 28-30 at Ohio Valley Speedway (WV), Atomic Speedway (OH) and Brushcreek Motorsports Complex (OH).
Tickets for all three events will be on sale at the gate. If you can’t be there in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 71-Jade Avedisian; 2. 7U-Zach Daum; 3. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 4. 16-Kyle Jones; 5. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 6. 26R-Corbin Rueschenberg; 7. 40-Chase McDermand; 8. 58-Daniel Whitley; 9. 11A-Andrew Felker; 10. 97-Gavin Miller; 11. 21K-Karter Sarff; 12. 97K-Cooper Williams; 13. 1K-Brayton Lynch; 14. 56-Mitchell Davis; 15. 31K-Jaxton Wiggs; 16. 26-Chance Crum; 17. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold; 18. 44-Branigan Roark; 19. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 20. 08K-Brody Wake
Daum Passes Avedisian in Final Laps to Notch Third-Straight Win with Trifecta Motorsports
DOE RUN, MO (July 21, 2023) – Zach Daum’s hot streak is still burning. His third-straight Feature win with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota Friday night came in a thriller, passing Jade Avedisian for the lead coming to the white flag and holding her off to win the first-ever Midget event held at Doe Run Raceway.
The exciting finish was his third-straight Series victory with his new team at Trifecta Motorsports, which he joined after the seat of the flagship #7U car was vacated in early June. One phone call from team owner Steve Carbone was all it took to turn Daum’s early season hardships around, as they walked out of their first race weekend together with two wins at Wayne County Speedway before the Series’ summer break.
Now, they’ve got a third. The big smile on Daum’s face in Victory Lane said it all – it’s a memorable time for him in his open-wheel racing career.
“I don’t know that this is the best I’ve ever done, but it’s right up there,” Daum, of Pocahontas, IL, said. “Everything’s playing together right now. We’ve been fast, I feel like I’m driving good, I have confidence – just everything it takes to put these types of races and championships together.”
A third-place run in his Heat Race set the defending Xtreme Outlaw champion up with a ninth-place starting spot for the Feature. Using his preferred lane around the bottom, Daum surged all the way up to second in 15 laps.
“I had a good rhythm on the bottom and in the middle,” Daum said. “I was picking off cars, especially when people would start sliding each other, I could get both of them at once because they both had to check up and I could get ahead and drive back around them.”
As he hit the halfway point of the 30-lap Toyota Racing Feature, only one car remained ahead of him – Jade Avedisian.
Avedisian, the 16-year-old championship contender from Clovis, CA, had led all but six laps up to that point and was maintaining a big lead over Daum. A caution flag with six laps left erased that gap and put Daum right on her tail-tank for the restart.
Avedisian got a great start, using her preferred line around the top. But three laps later with Daum right on her heels, she decided it was time to change lanes to protect the lead.
“I wasn’t sure what to do [on the restart]; I knew the top was getting really far around and it shelfs-off really bad here,” Avedisian said. “I finally saw [Daum] poke his nose, and I still thought with like three-to-go that I would have enough and by that time, he was almost right next to me. So, I decided to go down there, and I had no clue he was in the middle.”
“I knew as soon as I peeked my nose down there, she was gonna come down, which she had to,” Daum said. “The problem was we weren’t running the bottom; we were running the middle and kinda floating around.
“She just had no idea. She ran 20-plus laps on the top and then tried to run the last couple on the bottom. It’s hard to transition.”
Despite her best efforts to keep Daum at bay, Avedisian was unable to hold the 7U off in the end. Daum countered her new line on the bottom by moving up into the middle, wound-up the momentum and made the pass to her outside as the white flag was displayed out of Turn 4.
“When [KKM crew] told her to move to the bottom, I thought, ‘Well, here’s my chance,’” Daum said. “If I can get a good restart, and she puts two car lengths on me, she’s gonna win the race. She kinda did, and then I just got back to her.
“She moved down, and it was like, ‘Okay, it’s over now because I know I can roll through the middle better.’”
Avedisian didn’t go away silently, however, trying to scrape-up the momentum she needed for a pass-back attempt coming to the checkers, but it wasn’t enough. Daum sailed across the line to bank the big check and his fourth career Series victory.
Though slightly dejected after the checkers, Avedisian still held her head high with a runner-up finish, knowing it turned out to be a great points night. Despite her best efforts on the top side of the track for much of the race, she stood by her decision to move down, considering she wasn’t gaining anything by trying to race any higher up.
“I ran [the top line] as hard as I possibly could when he was right next to me, and [Daum] was still gaining on me,” Avedisian said. “I think I moved down at the right time, I just moved down too low, and he just went around me.”
Abacus Racing driver Daniel Whitley came home third to notch his best career Xtreme Outlaw victory. Taylor Reimer crossed in fourth and Series points runner-up Gavin Miller crossed fifth.
The top-five runs by Avedisian and Miller turned out to be very valuable in the championship standings as points leader Cannon McIntosh struggled throughout the second half of the night. Fuel problems in his Heat left him with a 15th-place starting spot for the Feature, where he made it all the way to 10th before a crash sent him tumbling through Turn 2, effectively ending his night early with a 20th-place finish and shrinking his points lead down to 55 on Miller.
The Xtreme Outlaw Midgets are back in action Saturday, July 22, with a visit to Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion, IL, for the second leg of the weekend doubleheader. Get a ticket at the gate or stream every lap live on DIRTVision.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 7U-Zach Daum; 2. 71-Jade Avedisian; 3. 58-Daniel Whitley; 4. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 5. 97-Gavin Miller; 6. 51B-Joe B Miller; 7. 11A-Andrew Felker; 8. 21K-Karter Sarff; 9. 32-Trey Marcham; 10. 44-Branigan Roark; 11. 33-Kyle Jones; 12. 97K-Cooper Williams; 13. 26R-Corbin Rueschenberg; 14. 40-Chase McDermand; 15. 16-Garet Williamson; 16. 26-Chance Crum; 17. 31K-Jaxton Wiggs; 18. 08K-Brody Wake; 19. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 20. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 21. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold