The addition of Micro Sprints at Millbridge Speedway during the 2020 season gave a new platform for rising racing stars to develop their craft. It also provided a fresh, new way to race for more experienced competitors.
Nick Drake is one such racer. Still a relatively young man at the age of 25, he’s able to joke that when he first competed in a Micro Sprint, he was nearly double the age of some of the competition.
Drake’s Micro Sprint career started as a project with one of those up-and-coming drivers, Drake’s younger brother, Trevor Cline. Drake fielded it during the 2019 TRD Micro Showdown at Millbridge, and has been hooked ever since.
“We bought this thing for [Cline] originally, and I got in it for the first TRD Showdown thinking he wasn’t ready,” recalled Drake. “We put it together and ran it. After that, we just got money together to get myself one.
“It’s 20 minutes from home. We’re there every weekend, and it’s a ton of fun, so I made my Micro debut at the age of 24.”
Now, Drake often races alongside his brother during Micro Sprint races at Millbridge. Last year, Drake finished second in Millbridge’s Wednesday track championship for Micro Sprints.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s been cool to see him grow up on the same path I did. I never ran Micros until last year, but that’s why I’m in one, to race with him.
“I either go out with my brother or get in the thing myself. It’s fun. Pretty much every time we show up, we have a shot to win weekly. We just go, have fun and see what happens.”
A former USAC Eastern Midget Champion and competitor in what is now known as ARCA Menards Series East, Drake has strapped into a wide variety of race cars during his career. From that experience, he believes Millbridge is a great proving ground for young talent such as his brother.
“Millbridge in particular, there’s not many places you have to run the fence that hard. If they can get that down at that young age, it makes it easier to go to other places around the country to do that. The cars are down on power compared to a Midget or Sprint Car, but you have to run it as hard as you can to keep up.
“It teaches car control, how to run something harder than you might be comfortable. Learning to trust it goes a long way to helping these kids.”
When he’s in the car competing against those young guns, Drake is having as much fun as he’s ever had in a race car.
“Millbridge is different, but I could run the wall at Millbridge all day. For me, it’s something to do close to home that I haven’t been able to do a whole lot lately because of school. My schedule is slowing down, so it gives me a chance to go out there.
“Last year, I ran 10 races. That was more than I had run in previous years combined. It’s a fun, competitive thing to do on the side. They’re a blast. I wish I had started running them at 11 or 12 like these other kids have. I think it makes you that much better.”
The 2021 season continues at Millbridge Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 23-24. Fans can watch the racing live on Speed51.TV by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo