SALISBURY, N.C. — Some drivers play golf. Some basketball. Each have their own way of finding time away from their hectic racing careers. Chase Briscoe goes dirt racing.
The NASCAR Cup Series star will climb back behind the wheel of his midget during the second annual DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented May 23-24 at Millbridge Speedway.
“It helps me on Sunday,” Briscoe said. “I feel like any time I run a sprint car or a midget or a late model, that following weekend… I definitely think it helps me. But at the same time, it is kind of like going playing golf. It helps you get your mind off everything. It is something I still love to do. I’m still passionate about. I still watch Outlaw races every chance I get. USAC races every chance I get. And still love competing in them. Just don’t get the time a lot of the time to do it.
“These midweek races, especially at Millbridge, being so close to where we live now, make it easy to go do and it is something that I want to support. I’ve been going to Millbridge for a long time. When I first moved to Charlotte, (track owners) Jeremy and Ashly (Burnett) were the two first people I met. So anytime I can help support one of their bigger races I try to do it.”
With the track resting in the heart of NASCAR country and the backyard of several motorsport personalities – and leading to the Coke 600 weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway – the Xtreme Outlaw event attracts a diverse group of racing stars.
Briscoe is helping to bring one of them with UMP modified champion and late model star Kyle Strickler set to drive one of Briscoe’s cars.
Through the connection of a former Stewart-Haas Racing team member, Briscoe got to drive Strickler’s late model earlier in the year. As a trade, Briscoe is providing a midget for Strickler in select races, including next year’s Chili Bowl.
“It’s just something I’ve wanted to do,” Strickler said. “I’ve wanted to run a midget for a while now. Originally, being from Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania and central Pennsylvania, I grew up around the sprint car guys and it’s kind of odd that I never drove one or didn’t dabble in any of that. My mom had a lot to do with that too. I kind of went the Northeast Big Block Modified way and she wanted to keep me out of the winged sprint cars as much as possible. It still makes her nervous running a midget now.
“But with the way short-track racing is going now, you see a lot of guys jumping around and branching out. I think it is a really neat time in short track racing and racing in general to have these types of opportunities.”
The Monday before the two-day event will be Strickler’s first time sitting behind the wheel of a midget. However, he’s been running a micro sprint at Millbridge to prepare.
Last year, Briscoe finished 12th and eighth, respectively, in the DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown – which was the debut event for the Xtreme Outlaw Midgets.
Along with Millbridge being close to home for Briscoe, it’s also one of his favorite tracks to race a midget.
“I love, in the midget, running these tight little bullrings,” he said. “Du Quion, Illinois, the indoor track, is one of my favorite places to run because it is so small. Millbridge is kind of the same. Millbridge is still really fast for how small it is. The corners are really, really wide so you can throw these major sliders. The straightaways are a little narrow. The track just races awesome I feel like for the midgets. I try to run the small tracks. Running there, Wayne County (Speedway in Wayne City, Ill.), those small tracks are what I enjoy doing. And Millbridge is just a lot of fun. No matter the car, the Outlaw Karts or the Midgets, I feel like always put on a good show.”