Toyota driver Kevin Thomas Jr. went wire-to-wire, leading all 30 laps on the way to winning the opening night of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ 52nd annual Western World Championships at Arizona Speedway Friday night.
The victory is the second of the season for Thomas and the Petry Motorsports team after winning at Kokomo Speedway in April. It’s the 40th national midget feature win for a Toyota-powered driver in 2019, matching the best in program history set a year ago.
Thomas started the evening’s event on the pole position and immediately went to the lead, while Zeb Wise climbed up to second behind him, with Gio Scelzi, Tanner Carrick and Logan Seavey rounding out the top five. One lap later, Carrick and Seavey each moved up a position as Scelzi fell back in the field.
The top four then stayed intact through the first six laps before a yellow flag slowed the field. On the restart, Seavey, one of the few to run the top of the track for much of the evening, overtook Carrick, but his Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Carrick would retake the position two laps later running the lip.
By lap 10, Thomas would start to pull away from the field, opening up a one-second lead over Wise before another yellow flag waved, once again bunching the field.
After the restart, Thomas began to pull away from Wise, followed by Carrick, Seavey, Carson Macedo, Tyler Courtney and Rico Abreu. Thomas’ run would be cut short, though, when another caution came out on lap 21.
Things tightened up after the ensuing restart with Wise starting to close on Thomas. By lap 28, Wise had caught him and was able to pull up side-by-side, only to see Thomas slam the door. Wise wasn’t done yet, though, as he made another run on lap 29 and moved next to Thomas, but wasn’t able to pull off the pass as Thomas powered back to the front, pulling out a three-car length lead.
As they came to the checkers, it was Thomas taking the victory, with Wise finishing second. Carrick and Seavey placed third and fourth, giving Toyota three of the top-four finishers, with Macedo finishing fifth.
Abreu finished sixth, with Jerry Coons Jr. in ninth and Brady Bacon in tenth as Toyotas claimed six of the top-10 finishing positions.
“It feels great,” said a victorious Thomas afterward. “We’ve been working so hard. Everything aligned tonight. We were fast right out of the box. It’s a good team win.”
The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series wraps up the Western World Championships on Saturday night before heading to Placerville, California for a pair of midweek races, Nov. 19-20.
Toyota Arizona Speedway A Main Results
Kevin Thomas Jr. – 1st
Tanner Carrick – 3rd
Logan Seavey – 4th
Rico Abreu – 6th
Jerry Coons Jr. – 9th
Brady Bacon – 10th
Jason McDougal – 11th
Gio Scelzi – 12th
Tucker Klaasmeyer – 13th
Jesse Colwell – 15th
Holley Hollan – 18th
Daison Pursley – 20th
Conor Daly – 21st
Karsyn Elledge – 24th
Toyota Racing PR