Pursley Stepping Up Within Keith Kunz Motorsports | SPEED SPORT

Daison Pursley hopes to seize the USAC midget championship this season. (David Sink picture)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — When Daison Pursley joined Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports two years in the past, he was a fresh-faced, 14-year-old teen who hoped to start making his identify in racing.

Quick-forward two years and not solely is Pursley’s identify beginning to turn into recognizable, however he’s additionally gained one other title throughout the KKM steady — veteran.

Odd as it might appear, Pursley is the most-tenured driver throughout the Keith Kunz-owned steady this 12 months, within the midst of his third season with the venerable midget crew as a part of the Toyota driver improvement program.

His older teammates — 19-year-old Buddy Kofoid and 20-year-old Kaylee Bryson — are every of their second years with KKM, whereas fellow youngsters Brenham Crouch, Bryant Wiedeman and Cade Lewis are all operating full seasons with the group for the primary time.

That leaves Pursley as the motive force on the crew with essentially the most expertise working with the Columbus, Ind., steady at solely 16 years of age.

Pursley admitted it’s a singular place for him to be in, in addition to an odd one to consider at instances, however the Locust Grove, Okla., native additionally appreciates the possibility he has to information a few of his teammates. It’s a possibility hebelieves might help mould him into a pacesetter inside KKM.

“It’s bizarre, isn’t it? I’m just about the veteran at KKM now, regardless that it’s solely my third full-time 12 months,” Pursley informed Dash Automobile & Midget. “After I’m solely 16 years outdated, it virtually journeys you out a bit of bit, nevertheless it’s very true that I’m the one there with essentially the most expertise working across the guys within the store. I’ve loved it, however we’ve additionally began to vary issues up just a bit bit to maintain issues contemporary as nicely. I feel, after some time, you sort of have to do this simply to see what else you may get going that works.

“Buddy and I’ve had the identical crew chief (Jarrett Martin) since final 12 months and at all times parked beside one another and leaned on one another fairly exhausting, however final month in Texas (in the course of the POWRi opener at Monarch Motor Speedway), we switched it up and I converted to Kaz (Townsend) as my crew chief, in order that was a bit of bit completely different,” Pursley added. “However I feel completely different may also be good. I felt like I might be a pacesetter of the crew [in that position], and Buddy and I nonetheless have a great friendship off the observe.

“I feel going ahead, it’s going to be much more aggressive between us each time we hit the observe.”

Six months in the past, the thought of Pursley stepping up as one of many most important gamers for veteran automotive proprietor Keith Kunz may need appeared considerably far-fetched, as Pursley had but to seize a nationwide midget victory and appeared considerably snakebitten throughout the self-discipline.

Daison Pursley (second from left) is coming into his personal with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports. (David Sink picture)

His confidence was, admittedly, considerably missing and Pursley wasn’t certain if the breakthrough win would come. Nonetheless, after he captured final season’s POWRi finale, all of these doubts had been washed away.

That, Pursley stated, was the second he felt a coming of age as a part of Kunz’s midget operation.

“That win final 12 months obtained the monkey off my again, I really feel like,” Pursley tipped. “The primary one, like everybody stated, was the toughest to get. It took us a full season or two of POWRi, mainly, to get the win … after which a full USAC season. It was fairly cool, however I did marvel generally what it will take for us to really get one knocked down. Now, I really feel like my confidence is there and the entire crew is absolutely, actually sturdy proper now. Everybody’s in a great temper and we’re hitting on all cylinders, in order that sort of makes it simpler to run up entrance and have enjoyable with all people.

“Whenever you’re having enjoyable, the wins appear to come back simpler,” he continued. “I feel a variety of Keith’s [well-known] drivers have confirmed that by way of the years. We all know Buddy’s going to be exhausting to beat each time he’s within the automotive and I do know that proper now, he’s sort of the man to beat [in midget racing]. I’m actually bored with operating second to him, it looks like, each time we race with him. Hopefully, we will change that up and begin rattling off a number of extra wins right here quickly as a result of all the fellows engaged on my race vehicles deserve that.”

As he appears to be like forward towards the later levels of the 12 months, Pursley admitted a doable transition towards pavement is on his thoughts. How may it not be? In any case, the younger gun has watched Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell and extra use KKM as a springboard to profitable NASCAR careers since he was younger.

With Kofoid now doing the identical after lately dipping his toe into the waters of late mannequin racing, Pursley is aware of his time is now to make a press release for the longer term.

He believes he can do this, not simply by profitable midget races, however by rising his footprint with KKM.

“You need to show you can take that subsequent step, proper?” Pursley stated. “It’s not solely about profitable races, however by studying the abilities it is advisable to achieve success within the sport past simply midget racing. I really feel like Keith, Pete [Willoughby, KKM co-owner], everybody with Toyota and TRD and all our companions have executed loads to assist get me prepared for no matter is in my future and I’m excited for any alternative that would come my manner.

“I’m excited to, hopefully, make a press release this season after which see what the longer term holds after that.”

Pursley ranks second in POWRi factors to Kofoid and eighth within the USAC standings by way of April 15.

He’ll return to motion with the USAC NOS Vitality Drink Nationwide Midget Collection April 30-Could 1 at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway. An outing the week prior with POWRi in Missouri is feasible as nicely.

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