A used tear off traveled up into the whirling cloud of dust over Millbridge Speedway and floated away into the moonlit sky.
It was night one of the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series’ Double Down Showdown.
Out on the one-sixth-mile dirt oval, Gavin Miller, who had held off hard-charging Cannon McIntosh for nearly half the race, was succumbing to the pressure from the No. 08. At the checkered flag, it was McIntosh, Miller and Chase McDermand completing the podium.
McIntosh Is The ‘Milbridge Man’
Though McIntosh’s triumph in the Xtreme Outlaw event on Tuesday night was his first midget win at Millbridge, the No. 08 driver has already visited victory lane eight times in his micro sprint this season during the track’s weekly races.
Heading into the midget feature, the 19-year-old was determined to use his experience at the North Carolina oval to his advantage.
“We don’t have a lot of momentum going into tonight, so we need to just come and fire off the best that we can,” McIntosh said on Tuesday afternoon.
His expressed “lack of momentum” was in reference to his efforts during three races last weekend with the USAC national midget circuit where he finished 23rd, 14th and 14th. As his season goal is to consistently finish in the top five — be it USAC, Xtreme Outlaw or whatever else he might race — the result at the quarter-mile Kansas track was less than ideal.
Walking into Millbridge, McIntosh was eyeing a rebound — and he got it.
The Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports driver collected the $4,000 winner’s check after controlling the latter half of the 30-lap race, continuing an impressive season record. In five of his last six starts, McIntosh has either won or finished second.
A Home Away From Home?
There are a flood of up-and-coming dirt track stars who recently moved to North Carolina — including McIntosh, Jade Avedisian and Taylor Reimer — to more seriously pursue a full-time racing career.
As they now live within a close proximity to Millbridge, the dirt oval has turned into a home away from home. McIntosh and Reimer wheel micro sprints during the weekly series races, while Avedisian can often be found watching the 600cc action from the stands.
Though Reimer would never officially replace her home track of Oklahoma’s Port City Raceway — which is also McIntosh’s childhood haunt — she admits Millbridge reminds her of the one-eighth-mile dirt oval.
“It’s kind of ironic because it is so similar to Port City. They’re both small bullrings and I grew up racing micros there,” Reimer said. “It’s been fun to rip in the micro here.”
The Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) driver was the only Xtreme Outlaw contender to pull double duty on Tuesday night, racing both the micro sprint and midget divisions.
Her micro sprint experience showed, as Reimer finished second to Neal Allison in the 25-lap feature.
She had a little back luck thrown her way in the midget race, as her No. 25k entry was caught in a seven-car pileup halfway through the race and sustained minor damage. She finished 14th.
Try, Try Again
As the Xtreme Outlaw series is hosting a doubleheader at Millbridge, those who struggled on Tuesday will have another shot at it on Wednesday night.
One driver who’s ready for a second chance is Avedisian.
The No. 71 KKM driver started the night off strong, setting quick time in her qualifying session. She then battled for the lead in the feature, trading slide jobs with McIntosh and Miller. It all came crumbling down when Miller and Avedisian made contact with 12 laps to go, pushing the No. 71 into the wall in turn three.
Six other cars piled up behind her — including Reimer, Nick Drake and Ethan Mitchell.
“At the end of the day, it’s Millbridge and people want to win. It’s a really, really small track and I think that kind of stuff just happens,” Avedisian said.
After her team made adjustments to her car, Avedisian battled back to finish ninth.
“We got what we could after going into that,” Avedisian said. “We’ll just go into tomorrow and try again.”
Several other contenders will also be looking to make their mark at Millbridge.
Mariah Ede, who finished fifth, is planning to hunt down the podium with her newfound confidence. Gavan Boschele, who won a midget feature at Millbridge last May, is looking to better than his sixth-place result.
And Ryan Timms, who finished eighth, but won a USAC feature at the Belleville High Banks last weekend, is hoping to put the No. 67 KKM midget back in victory lane.