From Richie Murray – USAC Media
Meeker, Oklahoma (July 12, 2022)………Cast as the pilot of a Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports car for the first time in his USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship career, Ryan Timms performed to perfection.
When the time came to roll credits, the Oklahoma City, Okla. native played the starring role during Tuesday Night Thunder at Red Dirt Raceway in Meeker, Okla. where he celebrated his second career USAC National Midget feature victory.
If running the bottom is quote-unquote like “having a job,” then Timms earned time-and-a-half for his dedication and effort. Starting fourth, Timms fell back to sixth as the field exited turn two on the opening lap in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/iBuyPower – TRD – Toyota/Bullet By Spike/Speedway Toyota.
Rather than the long way around, Timms found a short cut by taking matters into his own hands. Midway down the back straight, Timms sliced from the top to the bottom of turn three. That got his nose underneath Crouch and, by the time he exited turn four, Timms had eked out of the corner a lane lower ahead of Crouch to secure the second position.
On the fifth lap, Timms briefly jumped to the top in turns one and two, hiking the left front on the cushion and losing ground before quickly deciding that was a “no go” and tucked himself right back to the bottom behind race leader Thomas Meseraull.
Timms trailed Meseraull for the first 12 circuits, but as soon as Meseraull slid a lane out on the exit of turn four on lap 13, Timms sunk his teeth into the surface and got the bite that powered him past for the lead, using the path he had an inkling that he needed to be on.
“After the micro sprint feature, I knew the bottom was definitely going to be a lot better,” Timms stated. “I started on the outside and just got down there as quickly as I could, then just waited for T-Mez to make a mistake, capitalized on it, then went from there.”
From that point onward, Timms maintained a consistent five to six car length lead over Meseraull until 17th running Bryant Wiedeman’s lap 23 spin in turn three that brought out the caution and erased Timms’ 1.176 second lead.
However, Timms picked up right where he left off on the ensuing restart, bouncing out to a five car length lead while Meseraull, Brenham Crouch and more dug in on the bottom while in the midst of his vapor trail. Up top was Justin Grant who restarted sixth but picked his challengers off one-by-one while blazing his own trail as the lone ranger up on the cushion, going from 6th to 5th to 4th to 3rd in rapid-fire succession.
At the head of the field, Timms had the field covered as he sailed smoothly into the night with a 0.993 second triumph. Meanwhile, Grant ripped the long way around the 1/4-mile dirt oval to nip Meseraull at the line for second. Meseraull collected the final spot on the podium while Crouch scored a fourth and Buddy Kofoid rounded out the top-five after starting all the way back in the 18th position.
For the second straight year, a native Oklahoman was the hero at Red Dirt. Last year, it was Daison Pursley, also in a KKM ride, who kept the glory within the confines of the Sooner State. On Tuesday night, it was Timms’ turn, as he provided car owner Kunz with his 129th series win as an entrant, moving him to within four victories of the all-time record held by Steve Lewis at 133.
Timms possesses one of the more interesting stat lines in the USAC National Midget ranks. In 19 career series starts to date, he’s finished inside the top-five just twice. Both of those top-five finishes have resulted in victories.
It requires a complete team effort for one to jump in a car midway through the season in a “plug and play” situation and for the pairing to work as smoothly and successfully as the one Timms, KKM and crew chief Jarrett Martin took part in on Tuesday. It’s like comfort. It’s like Oklahoma. It’s like home for Timms.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) committed to the top for practically the entire duration while most never strayed from the bottom. Starting on the outside of the front row, Grant dropped all the way back to seventh near the midway point, then charged from sixth to second in the final eight-lap stretch to finish as the runner-up for the second straight year at Red Dirt in his RMS Racing/NOS Energy Drink – EnviroFab – Response Management Services/Spike/Speedway Toyota.
“It took me half the race to get (the top side) cleaned off and shaped in right,” Grant explained. “We weren’t very good on the bottom; I’m never very good on the bottom. So, I just kept pounding away at it and trying. I figured I’d go up there and pound around up there or get in line and run fifth on the bottom. I’d much rather be up there pounding around. At the end, it was a lot of fun, and everyone was starting to come back to us. We just needed to get going a little sooner.”
Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) admitted he's not the greatest racer on the bottom. Nonetheless, that's the spot in which he led the first 12 laps of the feature. In the end, he came home to a third-place finish for his best career result at Red Dirt in his RMS Racing/EnviroFab – Response Management Services – Engler Machine/Spike/Speedway Toyota.
“I’m not the best on the bottom so I was probably the second best car here on the bottom; we’ll just take that,” Meseraull said.
In Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying, Taylor Reimer (Bixby, Okla.) became the first woman in USAC National Midget history to record three fast time awards in her career. Although she's an Oklahoma native, Tuesday was her first ever visit to Red Dirt.
Feature Results (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses):
1. Ryan Timms (4), 2. Justin Grant (2), 3. Thomas Meseraull (1), 4. Brenham Crouch (5), 5. Buddy Kofoid (18), 6. Zach Daum (14), 7. Jerry Coons Jr. (17), 8. Anton Hernandez (19), 9. Mitchel Moles (11), 10. Jacob Denney (15), 11. Taylor Reimer (6), 12. Chase McDermand (21), 13. Cannon McIntosh (16), 14. Logan Seavey (10), 15. Trey Gropp (22), 16. Bryant Wiedeman (12), 17. Kaylee Bryson (3), 18. Matt Sherrell (20), 19. Hayden Reinbold (8), 20. Cade Lewis (9), 21. Jonathan Beason (13), 22. Ethan Mitchell (7). NT
See the full story and results:
Photo: Jeff Taylor / usacracing.com