Lonnie Wheatley, OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (October 16, 2023) – Saturday night was a night for crowning champions in Oklahoma City as the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series and POWRi National and West Midget Leagues hosted their respective 2023 season finale at I-44 Riverside Speedway.
When the final checkered flag flew, Jade Avedisian, Karter Sarff and Michelle Decker each earned series titles with Zach Daum also earning the Xtreme/POWRi Challenge Series championship.
Seventeen-year-old Avedisian of Clovis, CA, became the first female racer in motorsports history by capturing the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series championship on the strength of five feature wins, 16 top-fives and 26 top-tens in 29 series events over the course of the season.
Avedisiana’s Xtrme Outlaw wins took place at the Southern Illinois Center (March 11), Southern Illinois Speedway (July 22), Atomic Speedway (July 29), I-55 Raceway (August 5) and Paragon Speedway (September 2).
Avedisian entered Saturday’s finale 17 points ahead of Cannon McIntosh and cruised on to the title by 59 points over Daum when McIntosh made an early exit from the feature. Gavin Miller finished one point behind Daum in third.
“It means the world to me,” Avedisian said of winning the Xtreme Outlaw Midget title. “Earlier this year when I found out I was going to switch to KKM, that was our goal to hopefully get the championship. To stand here and have a championship and five wins with it, it’s honestly a dream come true.”
“I think it’s one thing to win races and lead laps, but to show consistency all year,” Avedisian continued. “We went through a lot of ups and downs. This whole team and me never gave up, no matter if I flipped or whatever, they had a backup car ready for me and ready to have a chance at this.”
McIntosh’s mid-race exit not only cost him a shot at the Xtreme crown, but also opened the door for Sarff to swipe the POWRi National Midget League title. When McIntosh departed, “The Shark” smelled blood in the water as he needed to just finish sixth or better to overcome what had been a 100-point deficit.
The Mason City, IL, racer capitalized by rallying through the field from eighth to second over the last half of Saturday night’s 30-lap feature after bouncing back from an opening lap incident to take the title by 50 markers with series wins at Sweet Springs (May 5) and I-55 Raceway (August 4).
“I can’t even put it into words, it’s just unbelievable,” Sarff said of winning the POWRi National League championship. “I knew we had to beat Cannon by 11 spots, it wasn’t looking too good there but it worked out for us. It kinda sucks a little that we won it that way, but we won a championship with this little team here, it’s pretty amazing.”
Guthrie, Oklahoma’s Decker put the finishing touches on an accomplished career throughout Oklahoma and the surrounding areas by securing the POWRi West Midget League championship in her final planned outing.
“It means a lot,” Decker said of capturing the POWRi West Midget League title. “First of all, I hope everyone in this area realizes there would be no Midget racing in the state of Oklahoma, starting in 2014 Mark and Gloria Banister took a chance on POWRi West with Eric Fenton and bringing it back here. We owe Midget racing to Mark and Gloria in this area.”
“It’s a real accomplishment,” Decker continued. “We put in all the effort and made all the races, and here we are.”
While Daum narrowly missed out the on the Xtreme Outlaw Midget crown, he did capture a bonus for earning the Xtreme/POWRi Challenge Series title.
“It was maybe the wrong championship, not the one we wanted to win, but that’s part of it and we’ll move on to next year and see what happens,” Daum commented. “These guys (Trifecta Motorsports) are a great bunch of guys to go racing with and hopefully they’ll have me back next year and we’ll have some more fun.”