SALISBURY, N.C. — Fun. Fast. Exciting. Home.
Millbridge Speedway in Salisbury, N.C. — 30 minutes from Charlotte Motor Speedway — has gone from a small go-kart track in the middle of the woods to one of the most premier dirt tracks in the country for developing the future stars of motorsports.
To many of the drivers competing in the second annual DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota on May 23-24, the one-sixth-mile track is more than just another stop on the tour. It birthed their career or gave them their first taste of success.
Last year, Gavan Boschele won the inaugural Xtreme Outlaw event and Taylor Reimer was deemed the winner of the second event — becoming the first women to win a national dirt midget race.
Boschele, 15, of Mooresville, N.C., grew up at Millbridge — only 20 minutes from his home.
The track became his second school, teaching him skills that led to his Xtreme Outlaw victory and opportunity with Bell Kemenah Racing, driving a winged sprint car for NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell and renowned sprint car crew chief Brian Kemenah.
“It played a big role all my life,” Boschele said about Millbridge. “You kinda learn what the limit is. Once you made it around that place, you really shouldn’t be scared of anything else because that’s the closest you’re ever really gonna be to a wall or a fence and going that fast around a small track.
“It definitely impacted me a lot. No matter where I am in the future, I’ll always remember Millbridge.”
While Reimer is from Tulsa, Okla., Millbridge still feels like home, she said.
It reminds her of the tracks she grew up on and is currently the site of her biggest career triumph.
“I love Millbridge,” she said. “It kind of reminds me of my home track Port City (Raceway in Tulsa), which is also a small bullring. I really do enjoy it.”
Coming off a seventh-place finish with the Series at 81 Speedway, Reimer said she believes she and her team will be poised for two strong runs at Millbridge. And this time, hopefully celebrate a win in victory lane — after being the deemed the winner a week after the race last year when the initial winner was disqualified.
“I definitely want to be in victory lane and celebrate as I should,” Reimer said. “That’s always motivating me. Just trying to get better every week. I put so much pressure on myself to win, win, win, I think it has affected me negatively a little bit. Hoping to have some good finishes over the next couple weeks and the win will come with that.”
Full-time Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series competitor Ethan Mitchell, of Mooresville, N.C., got his first taste of four-wheel racing at Millbridge. His father, John “Bundy” Mitchell, founder of Bundy Built, moved his family from California to Mooresville with no knowledge of dirt racing or any race car with four wheels.
“Bundy” befriended Mike McLaughlin, whose son Max McLaughlin — now a full-time Super DIRTcar Series competitor — was racing at Millbridge at the time. Through that friendship, Ethan fell in love with Millbridge and wanted to race there himself.
Now, he has a chance to claim his first national midget win at the track that birthed his passion for dirt racing.
“I’d say I got more laps around Millbridge than most,” Mitchell said. “I’d definitely say that place is my favorite. When you talk the midget race, I think that gives me a little bit of an advantage over some of the guys that get to race there a couple times a year. Two, it’s my home track, so I have pretty good confidence going into that race.
“Winning at Millbridge, that would obviously be super cool because I know so many people around this part of town. I feel like it would definitely be a good time winning there and having all of my family around would be awesome. Getting that home track win in front of everybody, that’s a plus too.”
From midgets to outlaw karts, track owners Jeremy and Ashly Burnett have made Millbridge Speedway a marquee destination for drivers to build their talents and have fun. On a weekly basis, fans can see NASCAR stars like Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer coaching their kids or even step behind the wheel of a micro sprint themselves.
The DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown will bring out stars from across the motorsport spectrum, including Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Briscoe and UMP Modified standout Kyle Strickler, among others, because to them Millbridge is fun, fast, exciting and home.