Chad Boat finished fourth to lead Toyota in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink feature at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday night. The race saw numerous front-runners caught up in incidents throughout the 39-lap feature.
Early on, it looked like Thomas Meseraull might drive his RSM Racing car to victory in their first USAC start with Toyota. Starting from the pole, Meseraull went straight to the lead, with fellow Toyota driver Kevin Thomas Jr. in second, followed by Michael Pickens, Zeb Wise, Jason McDougal, Chris Windom and Dillon Welch.
The two Toyotas held down the first and second spot through the first 10 laps before Wise eventually snuck past Thomas for second. Behind them, the driver on the move was Kyle Larson, fresh off a win in Wednesday night’s Pursuit race. Larson would go from 12th to third in the first 17 laps.
On lap 18, a four-car incident would essentially end the chance at victory for Toyota drivers Gio Scelzi, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Cannon McIntosh and Jerry Coons, Jr., with Klaasmeyer and Coons’ nights coming to an end.
Wise would take advantage of the restart to slide Meseraull for the lead in turn three, with Meseraull falling back as Larson claimed second, followed by McDougal and a climbing Brady Bacon. Further back in the field, Christopher Bell had begun to make his move after having to come out of Thursday’s B Main and starting 17th. Bell would climb into the fifth spot by lap 25.
As the laps began to wind down, Larson started to turn up the heat on Wise as the two battled for the lead, with Larson falling just short of taking the point position before Meseraull would crash, bringing out a red flag.
As the cars came back to green on lap 29, Larson made his move, attempting to slide Wise for the lead in turn four, with the two cars making contact. Wise was able to continue, but Larson was forced to the pits with a flat tire, effectively ending his chance for victory. While the two leaders were battling, 2018 winner Bacon went by both to lead lap 29 with Wise in second and Bell having moved up to third.
On the restart, Bacon maintained the lead while Bell made an attempt to take over Wise for second, but was unsuccessful and fell back to fourth. Bacon, driving the Frank Manafort Racing Toyota, held the top spot through lap 32, but couldn’t hold off a Wise slider on lap 33, losing his momentum in the process and falling back.
Wise would lead Windom, Bell, Boat, Bacon and McDougal entering the last five laps, but teammates Bacon and McDougal would get together to bring out yet another caution with four laps remaining. On the restart, Bell would make one last charge, but ended up jumping the turn three cushion and coming to a stop.
From there on out, it was all Wise as he took the victory, followed by Windom, Tyler Courtney, Boat and Logan Seavey coming home in fifth to give Toyota two of the top five finishers. Behind them, Thomas would place eighth and Larson came back through the field to take ninth.
Overall, Toyota-powered drivers claimed 17 of the 26 starting positions in Thursday’s A Main feature event with 90 cars entered.
The Toyota midget car program returns to action Friday night at Jacksonville Speedway for the first of a pair of POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League Illinois feature events that concludes at Spoon River Speedway in Canton on Saturday.
Toyota IMS Results
Chad Boat – 4th
Logan Seavey – 5th
Kevin Thomas Jr. – 8th
Kyle Larson – 9th
Dillon Welch – 11th
Michael Pickens – 13th
Gio Scelzi – 14th
Christopher Bell – 15th
Brady Bacon – 16th
Jason McDougal – 17th
Cannon McIntosh – 18th
Thomas Meseraull – 19th
Tyler Thomas – 21st
Tucker Klaasmeyer – 22nd
Jerry Coons Jr. – 23rd
Toyota Racing PR