PONTOON BEACH, Ill. — The Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota heads back to Illinois for a three-race weekend this Thursday-Saturday, June 1-3, at two tracks the tour has yet to hold competition.
Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill., kicks things off on Thursday, June 1 with the first of three 30-lap, $4,000-to-win features for the weekend. The following two will be held at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Ill., Friday-Saturday, June 2-3.
The three-day stretch is the last batch of Xtreme Outlaw races before a multi-week summer break which ends with the next Series event on the calendar at Doe Run Raceway on Friday, July 21. Coupled with a visit to Southern Illinois Raceway the following evening, the weekend kicks off a stretch of four consecutive race weekends – culminating with a five-races-in-five-days, Speedweek-style event at five different tracks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Aug. 8-12.
Here are the drivers to watch and storylines to follow this weekend:
GATEWAY TO THE DIRT
With the NASCAR events taking place in St. Louis this weekend, Cup Series regulars Chase Briscoe and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be taking advantage of the nearby Xtreme Outlaw races and competing on the dirt.
Briscoe was scheduled to compete with the series last week at Millbridge Speedway but suffered terminal mechanical failure in the opening Hot Laps session, ending his week early. He’ll now pilot a Mahindra Tractors, Spike Chassis No. 5 for Paul May Motorsports Friday and Saturday night at Wayne County.
Stenhouse is set to make his series debut, piloting a third entry for Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports. The 2023 Daytona 500 winner took a midget on track for the team during USAC’s marquee BC39 event in Indianapolis last year and has linked back up with them to take on Tri-City Thursday and Wayne County on Saturday.
GUESS WHO’S BACK
News of Holly Shelton’s long-awaited return to the seat of a dirt midget broke several weeks ago, and now the time has come to get on track.
Shelton, the 27-year-old open-wheel racer from Gold River, Calif., put her driving career on hold at the end of the 2018 season after three years driving for Keith Kunz Motorsports. She got the itch to compete again over the winter and has since paired with her close friends at Bundy Built Motorsports to get a car prepared for her Xtreme Outlaw debut Thursday at Tri-City.
She’ll pilot a Spike Chassis with Bundy Built power in the event – a car which she tested last Thursday at Millbridge Speedway. She said it’s taken some adjustments to get used to her new power plant, compared to the Toyota Racing engine she’d driven with KKM, but is ready for the new challenge on a fast racetrack that she prefers over the smaller, more technical tracks.
A dominant sweep of the Double Down Showdown at Millbridge last week boosted Cannon McIntosh’s lead in the series points standings up to 89. He’s now finished either first or second in each of the last five Series races.
Next, he tackles the one-third-mile and one-fifth-mile ovals of Tri-City and Wayne County – both of which he’s done well racing in the past. In his last three starts at Tri-City, McIntosh hasn’t finished worse than seventh, and had a best finish of third there at the 2020 Gold Crown Midget Nationals. At Wayne County, he has two career top-10s with a best finish of fourth in the 2020 Jason Leffler Memorial.
He’ll play teammate to Stenhouse this weekend as part of the Dave Mac stable, now emerging as the most competitive midget teams in the nation.
It’s been a great stretch of races since the season opener for Chase McDermand. With podium finishes in each of the last four series races, he’s riding a great wave of momentum as the Series heads back into his home state this weekend.
McDermand, 22, of Springfield, Ill., has surged from lower than 20th in the points standings after the first race in March all the way up to second, now 89 points behind leader McIntosh with 3/4 of the season remaining. He did lose some ground in the standings to McIntosh after the two races at Millbridge, but back-to-back third-place finishes kept the championship goal within reach.
Historically, McDermand has not seen much of either track on tap for this weekend, but did finish eighth at Wayne County and 15th at Tri-City a year ago.
BACK FOR MORE
Gavan Boschele made his first starts of the season with the Series last week at Millbridge, posting finishes of sixth and fourth at the controls of the Keith Kunz Motorsports, Bullet/Toyota No. 5G.
Boschele, 15, of Mooresville, N.C., is slated to race all three nights this weekend, making his debut at both facilities. He’ll have several of his KKM teammates beside him including Jade Avedisian, Gavin Miller, Taylor Reimer, Ryan Timms and Cooper Williams.