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Brayton Lynch, Rusty Kunz Taking Rexroad Racing No. 1K on 2024 Xtreme Outlaw Series Trail

A full national midget series has been absent from Brayton Lynch’s schedule for almost six years. But 2024 is his comeback season, and he’s bringing his grandfather, famed Midget crew chief and car owner Rusty Kunz, with him on the trail of the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota.

Lynch, 24, of Springfield, IL, will pilot the Rexroad Racing, Bullet/Toyota No. 1K at all 30 Series events in 2024 with help on the wrenches from Kunz – the multi-time Chili Bowl Nationals winning crew chief and brother of Keith Kunz Motorsports co-owner, Keith Kunz.

The two have been away from full-time national Midget series competition since 2018. So, what brings them back?

“I’m coming back because Brayton wants to race,” Rusty said. “He’s a young guy and doesn’t get many opportunities.

“He’s got the opportunity, and I figured if he gets the opportunity, I might as well come and do it with him.”

Lynch made his Series debut last year, recording two top-10 finishes in four starts with a best finish of seventh at Red Hill Raceway, where he won a Heat Race during the program. He’s also been a Chili Bowl Nationals entrant every year from his rookie debut in 2017, keeping his grandfather’s legacy going every January.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself just to keep his reputation upheld, even though I probably don’t even have to,” Lynch said. “It’s special. It was different growing up with him as my mechanic and everybody wishing they were in my car.”

Since the 1970s, Rusty has been carving his own legacy as both a car owner and crew chief, collecting a long list of accomplishments in the national Midget ranks that includes wins with Page Jones, Kevin Doty, Johnny Parsons, Jason Leffler, Jerry Coons Jr. and, most recently, the late Bryan Clauson.

Lynch spent many years around the racetrack watching Rusty manage his cars and drivers, learning the intricacies of the sport with which he continues to shape his own career.

“You just kinda learn from them, and I’ve watched and helped out when I was younger and growing up, so I was able to kinda visualize and see what [Rusty] does, what they do, [hear] their feedback and stuff,” Lynch said. “Just learning how to give [Rusty] feedback, really.”

In his first year back on the road, the 73-year-old Kunz has some goals set with his grandson as they enter their 10th season of racing together – all in the name of improving. While Lynch still hunts for his first Feature win on the national circuit, Rusty said it’s the fundamentals they’re looking for – qualifying for every Feature, completing every lap, and posting top-five and top-10 finishes.

“I’d like to see him advance,” Rusty said. “The better he gets, who knows what happens. But he can’t get any better if we don’t go racing.”

Lynch and Kunz kick off their 2024 Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota campaign with the season opener inside the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, IL – Friday-Saturday, March 15-16.

Tickets for the two-day event will be on sale at the gate. If you can’t be there to watch in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.