McCarthy Tops POWRi Field Again At Valley

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Ace McCarthy (POWRi photo)

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — Against an armada of factory-backed Toyota entries out of the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports stable, Ace McCarthy stood taller than all the rest Saturday night at Valley Speedway.

McCarthy, in his first year driving for Dave Mac Motorsports, raced from the outside pole to victory lane during the opening night of Thunder in the Valley at the third-mile, high-banked clay oval.

The Tahlequah, Okla., native led all 30 laps aboard the Dave McIntosh-owned, Cody Cordell-wrenched No. 28 Spike/Toyota for his second career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League win and first of the year.

Despite a rash of cautions and numerous restarts, McCarthy pulled away each and every time, eventually finding a line on the bottom of turns one and two and the top of turns three and four that suited his rhythm and allowed him to comfortably gap the field.

“Towards the end we started to get pretty tight,” said McCarthy, who also earned his first POWRi win at Valley Speedway last season. “Daison was putting some pressure on me late, but we were able to hold on. I can’t thank everyone at Dave Mac Motorsports enough for giving me a great car to drive tonight.”

Once McCarthy overhauled polesitter Zach Daum on the initial start, he never looked back after that.

The most severe incident of the night came on lap eight, when Amber Balcaen flipped out of the park in turns three and four after Ethan Mitchell had initially spun to bring out the caution.

Balcaen was reported by POWRi TV to have removed her helmet, unbuckled and climbed from the car under her own power before walking to a waiting ambulance. She was taken to a local hospital for observation.

Following an open red-flag period, racing resumed on lap nine with Daison Pursley slipping past Zach Daum for the runner-up spot, a position that Pursley then held virtually to the finish line.

The caution waved again one lap prior to halfway, for a double spin involving Trey Gropp and Tristin Thomas, and then for the fifth and final time with eight laps left when Shelby Bosie slowed in turn two.

Following the final restart at lap 23, Pursley was able to stay with McCarthy, so much so that he pitched a final-lap slider to the bottom of turns three and four in an effort to steal the victory away.

However, McCarthy was able to drive back underneath the 15-year-old and get to the finish line first by .306 seconds.

Buddy Kofoid completed the podium after racing forward from ninth, followed by Cannon McIntosh, who rallied through the field to come home fourth after being involved in an early incident.

Andrew Felker was fifth, with Emerson Axsom, Jake Neuman, Daum, Chance Morton and Jesse Love filling out the top 10 finishers.

The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League completes its tripleheader weekend Sunday with the second and final night of Thunder in the Valley at Valley Speedway.

RESULTS: POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League; Valley Speedway; July 11, 2020

Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Emerson Axsom [1], 2. Emilio Hoover [2], 3. Kaylee Bryson [4], 4. Buddy Kofoid [8], 5. Jake Neuman [5], 6. Kyle Jones [7], 7. Chad Frewaldt [3], 8. Michelle Decker [6].

Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Ace McCarthy [3], 2. Chance Morton [2], 3. Tristin Thomas [4], 4. Andrew Felker [7], 5. Jonathan Shafer [5], 6. Chad Winfrey [6], 7. Kyle Wilson [1], 8. Xavier Doney [8].

Heat #3 (8 laps): 1. Ethan Mitchell [3], 2. Zach Daum [7], 3. Sam Johnson [1], 4. Joe B. Miller [5], 5. Heath Murry [4], 6. Cade Cowles [2], 7. Casey Hicks [6].

Heat #4 (8 laps): 1. Cannon McIntosh [3], 2. Trey Gropp [1], 3. Daison Pursley [7], 4. Luke Howard [2], 5. Mark Chisholm [5], 6. Amber Balcaen [6], 7. Noah Gass [4].

Heat #5 (8 laps): 1. Jesse Love [2], 2. Shelby Bosie [4], 3. Brenham Crouch [1], 4. Kade Morton [5], 5. Branigan Roark [6], 6. Trevor Casey [7], 7. Aaron McDonald [3].

Last Chance Showdown #1 (10 laps, top three transfer): 1. Luke Howard [3], 2. Kade Morton [1], 3. Amber Balcaen [7], / 4. Kyle Wilson [11], 5. Brenham Crouch [2], 6. Cade Cowles [8], 7. Trevor Casey [6], 8. Aaron McDonald [10], 9. Jonathan Shafer [4], 10. Heath Murry [5], 11. Noah Gass [9].

Last Chance Showdown #2 (10 laps, top three transfer): 1. Kyle Jones [5], 2. Jake Neuman [3], 3. Sam Johnson [1] / 4. Michelle Decker [10], 5. Chad Winfrey [6], 6. Xavier Doney [7], 7. Chad Frewaldt [9], 8. Mark Chisholm [4], 9. Branigan Roark [2], 10. Casey Hicks [8].

Lucas Oil Feature (30 laps): 1. 28-Ace McCarthy [2], 2. 9-Daison Pursley [5], 3. 67-Buddy Kofoid [9], 4. 71k-Cannon McIntosh [4], 5. 44s-Andrew Felker [10], 6. 15-Emerson Axsom [8], 7. 3n-Jake Neuman [20], 8. 5d-Zach Daum [1], 9. 7m-Chance Morton [12], 10. 97-Jesse Love [6], 11. 21k-Emilio Hoover [11], 12. 7u-Kyle Jones [18], 13. 00-Trey Gropp [13], 14. 2h-Luke Howard [17], 15. 72-Sam Johnson [22], 16. 08-Noah Gass [23], 17. 19m-Ethan Mitchell [3], 18. 84m-Kade Morton [19], 19. 71-Kaylee Bryson [14], 20. 26-Tristin Thomas [15], 21. 3b-Shelby Bosie [7], 22. 10-Amber Balcaen [21], 23. 49-Joe B. Miller [16].

Lap Leader(s): Ace McCarthy 1-30.

Hard Charger: 3n-Jake Neuman (+13)