Everyone expected the 2nd TRD Keith Kunz Motorsports Giveback Classic presented by Rowdy Energy to be a big deal, with a ride in a Keith Kunz Motorsports Midget at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals on the line. Practice night for the event proved that, with a triple-digit car count and some of the biggest names in racing on hand.
More than 100 during the open practice night for the KKM Giveback Classic, preparing for the marquee Micro Sprint event slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, November 3-4. The entry list includes the likes of Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., along with standouts from Midget and Micro Sprint racing alike.
For Bell, the atmosphere and energy surrounding practice night gave similar vibes to the event many on the grounds hope to compete in come January in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“It almost has a little bit of a Chili Bowl feel,” said Bell. “It’s pretty cool.”
For Bell, a win on Wednesday would carry plenty of meaning, after winning three Chili Bowl Nationals with Kunz.
“It’d be really special. I spent a lot of time with Keith, so it’d be pretty cool.”
Unsurprisingly, a Keith Kunz Motorsports entry carried plenty of speed Monday night. Daison Pursley finished second on the overall timesheet with a lap of 10.451 seconds, just behind Alex Bright’s 10.412 seconds.
Pursley left the evening pleased with the car’s performance, eager to put it through its paces on Tuesday night in qualifying and heat races.
“Every time we’ve been out in the primary car, we’ve been first or second. Keith has this thing on rails right now. I’m pretty happy about tonight and looking forward to tomorrow.”
While Kunz’s track record speaks for itself in Midget circles, the KKM Micro Sprint outfit is a new one. Pursley hopes to give the program a strong start this week.
“This is our first race and Keith’s first time with a Micro, but anything Keith puts his hands on will be fast. It’s hard on a driver, because you know the thing will be capable of winning. You have to have your mind right and be ready to win, too.”
Pursley considers Millbridge Speedway the perfect track to host an event such as the Giveback Classic.
“It’s crazy. Millbridge truly is one of the best places to have this thing. It’s an elbows-up track, just how I like it. I’m from Port City, Oklahoma, so this fits my driving style pretty nice.”
The most recent person to win a Micro Sprint race at Millbridge Speedway was local runner Brent Crews, taking the checkered flag in a $1,000-to-win feature in the Dooling Machine Prelude to the KKM Classic. Crews hopes to carry that momentum into this week.
“We’ve been pretty fast all year, and I think we can bring it on against the big dogs,” said Crews. “It’s pretty good confidence. There are some people who weren’t there last race, but I’m looking forward to this week.”
Ryan Timms is one of the outsiders who has made the trek to Millbridge Speedway for his shot at the Giveback Classic victory. The Oklahoma native made a detour to Millbridge in July on his way to Southern Illinois Raceway’s Highbanks Hustle and left with a win that night.
However, this race has drawn a much larger pool of competition.
“It’s crazy,” said Timms. “15 grand to win, that’s a lot of money to win, or obviously the Chili Bowl ride. There are 110 cars here tonight, and I’m sure there will be more for the race. It’s crazy.”
Perhaps more impressively, there are no pushovers in the field. Timms estimated that half of the drivers in the field were capable of winning the race.
“There’s a ton of cars here, and half of them could win the race. They’re all heavy hitters. It would mean a ton [to win].”
Fans unable to attend the TRD Keith Kunz Motorsports Giveback Classic presented by Rowdy Energy will be able to watch live on Speed51.TV. Speed51.TV subscribers can watch both nights of racing for free, while non-subscribers have the option to purchase a two-day pass for $20.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo