CONCORD, N.C. — Looking back, Gavan Boschele didn’t initially expect to win the inaugural Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota feature. Now, one year removed from the night of one of the biggest wins of his career, he’s glad it was him.
“I sat in victory lane and it kinda sunk-in,” Boschele said. “It was really, really cool being the first-ever winner.
“It’s still pretty special. I’m hoping I can do it again this year.”
Millbridge Speedway was the site of that victory, where the Xtreme Outlaw Midgets debuted and will do battle again May 22-23, in the second annual DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown.
The track is where the 15-year-old from Mooresville, N.C. grew up racing, cutting his teeth in open-wheel race cars. It’s where he laid the foundation for a career in motorsports with one of the brightest outlooks. And it’s where he won that inaugural Xtreme Outlaw feature, using the years of experience he had already laid down on the red-clay one-sixth-mile.
“It was a pretty special win because it was the inaugural race,” Boschele said. “With all those cars there, it was definitely pretty good competition. I have a million laps at Millbridge, and I’ve been racing there since I was three-and-a-half, so I kinda know how to get around that place.”
Next Tuesday will mark Boschele’s second midget outing of the year as part of the Keith Kunz Motorsports stable. He last piloted his Bullet/Toyota No. 5 at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January, where an untimely collision with the outside wall while running in a transfer spot of B-Feature No. 2 knocked him out of what would have been his first career A-Feature start in the prestigious event.
“I’m hoping we can do a little bit better than we did at Chili Bowl, and I don’t make those kinds of mistakes,” Boschele said. “Beau [Binder, crew chief] and the KKM guys always give me a great car to run; it’s just my job to do my part. I think we’ll be good.”
Now, only seven days out from his return to the seat of a midget, Boschele’s recently been making laps around Millbridge in a Non-Wing Micro Sprint in weekly competition, recording three starts thus far. Though a Micro isn’t exactly a midget, he said it’s helped prime him for one of the most competitive and high-profile events the track will see all year.
“I honestly know the track like the back of my hand, so I kinda expect what it’s going to do,” Boschele said. “But at the same time, seat time is seat time, so it’s very valuable to be on the track any time you can get in the car.”
Shortly after the Chili Bowl, renowned sprint car crew chief Brian Kemenah and NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell unveiled their new open-wheel team to the racing world, announcing they’d be fielding Micro Sprints and a full-size winged sprint car for a group of hand-picked, up-and-coming drivers. Boschele was tapped to pilot the 360 sprint car at several events in 2023, and it didn’t take long for he and the team to find victory lane. Three weeks ago, Boschele drove from sixth to the win in 25 laps to bag the win at a United Sprint Car Series event at I-75 Raceway in Tennessee.
“[Kemenah], Eric [Manfrass, crew chief] and Christopher have given me a great opportunity and I’m trying to make the most of it,” Boschele said. “Finally, we’ve figured out what we like, and I think there’ll be plenty more wins to come.”
In addition to the micro and the sprint car, he’s also been getting back in touch with his asphalt roots. A graduate of the quarter midget ranks, Boschele was contacted by the Drivers Edge Development program in March of last year and began working with their coaches to further grow his skills, both on and off the track.
As one of the youngest drivers in program history, Boschele took on several asphalt late model events last year with the program and has continued that trend in 2023.
“It’s good to be racing all kinds of different things,” Boschele said. “One thing my dad always tells me is you have to be fast in anything you drive, so I make the most of the opportunities I get and try and win everything.”