The TRD Keith Kunz Motorsports Giveback Classic presented by Rowdy Energy features more than 100 competitors in a marquee Micro Sprint showdown. Three of those racers are NASCAR Cup Series stars doing battle for $15,000 at Millbridge Speedway.
Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. are all part of this year’s KKM Giveback Classic. Of the three NASCAR Cup Series competitors, Bell is the most experienced in Micro Sprints. The Oklahoma native has even raced at Millbridge throughout the 2020 season, giving him a leg up on the competition.
“All year, the top has been really fast so you didn’t have an option other than the slider,” explained Bell. “In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the bottom come into play. Any time you can get multiple grooves going, it makes passing easier.”
While Bell and Larson have dueled many times on dirt tracks across America, Wednesday could prove to be their first showdown at Millbridge.
“I don’t think we’ve raced each other here,” Bell said. “It’s cool to see how many cars have come out. Hopefully we’re able to put on a good show. Any time he’s here, he’ll be tough to beat, so it’ll be a good race.”
While Larson has dominated on dirt tracks throughout the 2020 season, he expects the KKM Giveback Classic to be his stiffest challenge yet.
“It’s been fun, but this will probably be the toughest event I run all year,” said Larson. “It’s something I’m not familiar with. I’ve probably got five or six Micro races I’ve run in my career. They’re a lot of fun.”
While Larson lacks familiarity with the Micro Sprint, he has an extensive track record of success in Outlaw Karts at Millbridge. Watching Millbridge grow and prosper in recent years has been a thrill for him.
“We were sitting in the grandstands for the drivers’ meeting, and I look to my right. They’ve cleared so many trees. I remember coming here last year, and back here was all trees.
“It’s awesome to see what Ashly and Jeremy [Burnett] have done in such a short amount of time. They’ve built it up so quickly, and built and awesome place. When race fans come to Charlotte to come to The Dirt Track or the Speedway, they make Millbridge a stop on their list.”
For Stenhouse, the opportunity to compete in the KKM Giveback Classic came after a race at Port City Raceway a few weeks ago.
“I was running at Port City with Chad Boat a couple of weeks ago. Big Al has been on me about running his Micros with him and Joe B. [Miller]. I finally decided, hey, let’s do it, I’ll be close to home this week. I’ve been over here and watched the Mciros at Millbridge and think they put on a heck of a race and it looked like a lot of fun.”
While a $15,000 winner’s payday will be on the line for Stenhouse, he’s still looking to have fun at Millbridge during the Giveback Classic.
“It’s a lot of fun, definitely. I enjoy being able to come to the track, especially with everything Ashly and Jeremy have put into Millbridge. It’s become so nice and everyone around the country talks about racing at Millbridge. It’s fun to do this, but there is still 15 grand on the line and we’re trying to win it.”
The KKM Giveback Classic is part of a busy week for Kyle Larson, who will also be taking part in the Last Call at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In fact, his ability to even race on Wednesday night at Millbridge is in jeopardy as he will make his World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model debut.
“I’m going to run the Dirt Late Model at Charlotte,” Larson. “Hopefully things work out. I’m sure I’ll miss my qualifier [at Millbridge] tomorrow, but hopefully I’ve mede enough points that I should be mid-pack for the B-Main and still have a shot to make the feature. I’ll have to get done there and get here in time.”
Regardless of how the Giveback Classic plays out, Larson is open to competing in more Micro Sprint events at Millbridge moving forward.
“If I have a lot of fun, I’ll probably get my own Micro and play around next year, have some fun racing. The racing has been so exciting. That race last week was awesome racing, sliders after sliders and crossovers. That’s something I want to be a part of.”
Race fans unable to attend the TRD Keith Kunz Motorsports Giveback Classic presented by Rowdy Energy can watch Wednesday’s feature racing live on Speed51.TV. Speed51.TV subscribers can watch for free, while non-subscribers can purchase a video pass by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter; @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo