When something has never been done before, there are typically questions about the potential outcome. That was the case when Millbridge Speedway, a 1/6-mile clay oval in Salisbury, North Carolina, announced the track would be hosting a Dirt Midget event in December.
Now, with the inaugural Carolina Midget Showdown in the books, those questions have been answered emphatically. Yes, Midgets at Millbridge work, and they are bad to the bone.
This past Saturday, a strong field of 12 Dirt Midgets competed in the event. More were expected to compete in the event; however, Millbridge Speedway promoters Ashly and Jeremy Burnett made the tough decision to make it an invitational race due to strict COVID-19 restrictions in North Carolina. They also couldn’t allow fan attendance. But instead of giving up on the event, they give it a chance with a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.TV.
Kyle Larson ultimately won the race, which was split into a 30-lap and 40-lap feature. Fellow NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Briscoe won the first race and finished second behind Larson. 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott made his Dirt MIdget debut and finished third. Dirt standouts Cannon McIntosh, CJ Leary, Nick Drake and Carson Kvapil also competed in the event.
At the end of the day, the event earned rave reviews from those competing, as well as those watching on Speed51.TV.
“I honestly thought it would race good, especially when I had seen some images of Jeremy making the infield smaller to make the track surface wider,” Larson said during his appearance on The Bullring. “I thought it would race really well for a Midget. I’ve been to Millbridge a lot in Outlaw Karts and ran some laps in a Micro, but it raced like a totally different race track in a Midget. A lot of fun, and hopefully they can get some more races there in the future.”
“It was big for us to come out here and be part of this event,” Briscoe said after the race “Just thankful that Jeremy and Ashly put this on. It’s pretty incredible how awesome this place races. Hopefully we can have an actual national event here.”
“That was an awesome experience. This place races awesome,” Cannon McIntosh said. “It’s not the easiest to pass, but that’s what makes it that much harder and that’s where you have to have the skillset to get around at least one car. Hopefully we can come back soon because it puts on a good race.”
The race also had the attention of many in the racing industry, including four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.
— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) December 12, 2020
— Ron Capps (@RonCapps28) December 12, 2020
You can inject midgets at Millbridge straight into my veins, please & thank you.
— (@Walkapedia_) December 12, 2020
With the inaugural Carolina Midget Showdown deemed a major success, the question now becomes: will we see more Midgets at Millbridge in the future?
While appearing on Saturday’s live broadcast on Speed51.TV, Ashly Burnett made it quite clear that this was not planned as a one-and-done event.
“What we wanted to do was just bring a really good show, bring Midgets to the Carolinas and Millbridge Speedway, show that it can be done so that next time we can make it event bigger and more people will be apt to come. That was my main goal: to put on a good show, show everybody we can do it and then bring something better next year and move forward from that.”
If you didn’t watch the spectacular racing live on Speed51.TV, an on-demand replay of the Carolina Midget Showdown is available on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51Photos.com