Torgerson Byjoshjames
Ashton Torgerson (Josh James photo)

Torgerson Is Making His Mark In Midget Circles

CONCORD, N.C. — First wins are memorable. Especially when they make a statement like the one Ashton Torgerson’s did.

In only his ninth career start, the 17-year-old from Glendale, Ariz., earned his first Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series victory April 13 at Farmer City Raceway in Illinois.

Torgerson led all but one lap and held off Keith Kunz Motorsports teammates Cannon McIntosh and Ryan Timms to capture the checkered flag.

But that win did much more than just add another trophy to his collection — it established him as a serious contender in the national midget ranks, and more prominently, took a big step in changing the way he’s viewed in the motorsports world.

In January 2023, Torgerson was competing in his first Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla. A 16-year-old newcomer to midget racing at the time, he was involved in a rollover incident that ejected him from his car during a race event which sent him to the hospital to be treated for injuries.

While he made a full recovery in the following weeks, the incident became increasingly more attached to his name over the next several months.

“It’s an incident that I don’t think anyone wants to ever witness and something I don’t want to go through again,” Torgerson said. “Everyone thinks they know what happened and everything, but I’ve just gotta keep my head [on straight], keep moving forward. That’s in the past.

“Racing is just racing for me, so I’m just going to keep chasing those wins and see what I can do.”

Now, he’s a two-time national midget feature winner. Less than 10 starts into his new partnership with KKM, Torgerson has the win with Xtreme and one with the POWRi National Midget League, taking the checkers during the tour’s season-opening weekend in March.

All of this he’s done while the negative comments and speculation about the cause of his accident continue to fly around the internet. But Torgerson knows – the more times he goes to victory lane, the quieter those voices get.

“It really doesn’t bother me with the hate or the vulgar comments,” he said. “If it makes them feel good to talk about a 17-year-old – if that’s what they want to do, they can do it. It’s not gonna bother be or stop me from racing or anything. It just adds fuel to the fire.”

Standing behind him are some of the best mechanical talents on one of the most decorated teams in open-wheel dirt track racing history. KKM has built a modern-day dynasty of winning national midget championships, taking some of the country’s most undiscovered racing talents and giving them a platform to develop and showcase their skills.

“KKM, Keith and Beau [Binder, crew chief] – they’re just such a great team to work with and I’m beyond glad I’m with them,” Torgerson said. “The experience that I’m getting with them helps me out so much.”

With multiple micro sprint championships to his name but less than 15 midget races in his career, Torgerson has leaned on his leaders for ways to improve and adapted quickly to his new motorsports discipline.

“Working with Beau, I’m able to learn how much more I can drive the car or where to set the car at,” Torgerson said. “I’ll say it’s different from a micro, so the feeling of the car is kind of what I’ve been learning the most.”

Despite his rapid success, Torgerson’s road hasn’t been easy. He missed the first feature of the season in March, falling short of a transfer spot in a Last Chance Showdown event. But in the five races since then, he’s ascended all the way from 29th in the points standings up to fourth, where he now sits 133 points behind the leader.

“I look back at that quite a bit and realized that if I could have done better that race, it could be different for the points standings,” Torgerson said. “Each time I get on the track, I learn more and more. After driving the first time, I knew I definitely had to step-up my game.”