Nolen Racing's Axsom Gains Experience at Eldora
ROSSBURG, Ohio, Sept. 25 — Nolen Racing’s Emerson Axsom flirted with a top-10 finish in the USAC Silver Crown feature that was part of the 41st 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway over the weekend. After qualifying 13th on Friday, he was as high as 11th and ended up 14th in the series’ 50-lapper in a program that started Saturday night and ended in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
The top 20 drivers in Friday’s qualifying session locked themselves into the starting line-up for the feature. Axsom was among them when he took just 17.926 seconds to circle the half-mile clay oval in the famous bright yellow Nolen Racing No. 20, a Maxim/Tranter Chevy sponsored by KECO Coatings and Advanced Racing Suspensions.
He actually got to start 11th in the main event, however. The driver who qualified third, Brady Bacon, suffered an eye injury so Tyler Courtney substituted for him and went to the rear of the field for the green. Mario Clouser qualified ninth but he was unable to start the feature after he crashed in a practice session Saturday night. Axsom was eighth in that practice session.
Moving up two positions before the race even started was countered by dropping three spots at the end of lap one of the feature, as the pack ran close together and diced for position. However, Axsom was able to regain two spots by lap two to rise to 12th. That was an early indication of Axsom’s 2023 Eldora Silver Crown experience, as he was embroiled in several battles throughout the race with several veterans. Axsom is a series rookie; he’ll turn 19 on Sept. 30.
He was still in 12th place with six laps down when Matt Mitchell brought out the race’s only caution flag. Axsom was able to capitalize on the restart and passed Carmen Perigo on lap seven to regain 11th place. Perigo would go on to regroup and finish fourth.
On lap nine Perigo passed both Brian Ruhlman and Axsom, which pushed Axsom back to 12th. He dropped another spot on the next lap when Mitchel Moles snuck by. That was the same lap that the eventual winner, Logan Seavey, took the lead from the initial leader, Chase Dietz.
Axsom passed Ruhlman on lap 16 to regain 12th place. Courtney passed him two laps before the halfway point to push him back to 13th, and Wayne Johnson got by on lap 36. Axsom was 1.251 seconds behind Johnson at the checkered flag, and
0.787 ahead of the 15th place finisher, Ruhlman.
Logan Seavey won the race over Matt Westfall and Dietz, lapping up to tenth place. Seavey also won the USAC sprint and USAC midget races at Eldora on Saturday night. Axsom finished third in the USAC sprint car feature driving for Clauson Marshall Newman Racing.
The race was streamed live on Flo Racing.
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