This year’s QRC Speed51 Open at North Carolina’s Millbridge Speedway is the richest Outlaw Kart race ever. The $5,151 check that will be given out at the end of the night has drivers coming from California, Texas, Indiana and even Canada. But there’s a strong contingent of weekly racers that believe they can defend their “home dirt” on May 24-25.
That group is led by 22-year-old Nick Hoffman. While Hoffman is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, he’s been living in North Carolina for quite a few years, and his sister, Ashly, is one of the co-owners of the race track. Hoffman has spent so much time at Millbridge, and he believes that will pay dividends in the big show.
“I helped design the race track,” said Hoffman. “I help with everything around here. I have to come here and run strong. All of the locals I think have a bit of an advantage over the guys coming from places like California and stuff, and I feel like I have more of an advantage because I’m out here so much and knowing the dirt and stuff like that.”
While in theory Hoffman should have an advantage, sometimes it doesn’t necessarily work out that way. Hoffman is still winless at Millbridge so far this season.
“These guys are really good,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of luck next week. I just have to come here and run strong. I think we’ve got a really good shot at it.”
One of the oldest drivers in the field is 51-year-old Tom Hubert who also didn’t originally call North Carolina home, but races every Wednesday night at Millbridge. Hubert already has a win this year, and he said it would be even cooler to score a win in the Speed51 Open because of how much effort he’s been putting into this race.
“We came and tested last week and that was the first time I ever tested,” said Hubert. “It was nice to test some stuff for next week. The biggest thing is just running a good qualifying lap. You never know what the track is going to do with all of those karts on the track.”
Hubert said his win earlier this year meant a lot, but a win in this race would mean even more.
“I’m one of the oldest guys out here so the kids always think they can come out here and whoop you,” he said. “Anytime I can outrun them, even at the regular shows, is cool for us.”
Speaking of the kids, Ethan Mitchell is a 14-year-old driver who calls Mooresville, North Carolina home. Mitchell, just like Hubert, already has a win this year, but that race didn’t have the star power that the Speed51 Open is expected to have.
“It would be super cool to win this race,” Mitchell said. “It would be huge to beat Larson and Rico and Thorson. They’re all great guys and so good.”
Race fans can watch the local weekly racers take on the stars in the QRC Speed51 Open live on Speed51 TV. Fans can purchase their Speed51 TV pay-per-view tickets here: http://speed51.com/speed51-tv-2016-speed51-open-at-millbridge-speedway/
Racing kicks off at the Speed51 Open on Tuesday, May 24 with open practice and qualifying for the Open Division. Support classes including the Beginner Box Stocks, Box Stocks and Intermediate Class will run group qualifying and features only that night. Speed51.com will carry a live PPV video stream of these events.
Following the conclusion of the on-track action there will be an after-party featuring a live band.
Wednesday night’s schedule includes only the Open Division for the Outlaw Karts. Heat races are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be lined up based upon Tuesday night’s time trial results. The top-four finishers in each heat race will be inverted with the winner going to the dash, second going to the A-Main and third on back going to the B, C and D Mains.
The Dash will be eight laps and the drivers will line up based upon the “revenge draw,” which allows drivers to draw for starting position and then assign that positon to another driver.
Following the Dash, B-Main, C-Main and D-Main features, the field will be set and the Outlaw Kart racers will buckle in to battle for the $5,151 top prize.
If you would like to be part of one of the rising forms of racing in the US, contact QRC Factory Karts through its website at www.qrckarts.com. JGR MX has all the latest products and parts for the Motocross industry; visit their website at www.jgrmx.com.
For more information on Millbridge Speedway, visit www.millbridgespeedway.com.
-51 Sports Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com