Mounce/Stout Motorsports has added two more rookie contenders to its stable for the 2024 Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota season – one at the beginning of his career and the other well into his.
The Tulsa-based team has tapped fellow Oklahoma natives Jayden Clay, 16, of Newcastle, OK, and Tyler Edwards, 30, of Salina, OK, to follow the entire 30-race schedule.
Clay has a deep background in Micro Sprint racing and will make his debut in a Midget at the Xtreme Outlaw Series season opener inside the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, IL, March 15-16.
“My dad told me, and I immediately said, ‘Yes.’ I’m super excited for it,” Clay said. “I can’t thank (team owners) Jay [Mounce] and Gavin [Stout] enough for this opportunity. It is super cool.”
Edwards has worked as a crew member for many years with several different drivers and teams, including Mounce/Stout Motorsports, in various capacities over the last several seasons. He also brings a resume of part-time Sprint Car and Micro Sprint experience to the table.
“Jay and I are good friends; turned out to be good working buddies too,” Edwards said. “It’s worked out pretty good. That’s kind of what led to this deal too. Jay trusts me with everything, all his equipment already. He knows my driving ability.”
Together, they’ll join forces with Arizonan Ashton Torgerson to make up a three-car squad following the Xtreme Outlaw Series in 2024. Each come with an impressive resume, but none of them have competed on the national Midget scene.
For Mounce and Stout, its exactly the kind of talent they’re looking to foster as they push to grow the next generation in motorsports.
“I think that’s more of it more than anything – just having a passion for Midget racing in general and understanding what it feels like to be the little guy, waiting and hoping and wishing for an opportunity that may never come,” Mounce said. “It’s no longer about how much money you have in your equipment. It’s more about giving the guys the opportunity to showcase what they can do in the seat.”
The Mounce/Stout partnership was founded when former Midget racers Jay Mounce and Gavin Stout came together for the 2019 Chili Bowl Nationals. Mounce was offering to help maintain more cars at his shop in advance of the indoor Midget event, and Stout – in his final Chili Bowl as a driver – took up the offer.
The two went into official team co-ownership that year, strongly built on the principles of leadership and development of the sport’s future. Today, Mounce is most often seen providing the team with his technical expertise – making car setup calls and carrying out various crew member functions on his cars at the track – while Stout works his full-time position as an electrical lineman in Tulsa, providing the team with the resources it needs and coming to the track as his schedule allows.
Young or aged, rookie or experienced – Mounce/Stout Motorsports has taken in drivers at all skill levels and given them a place to develop their abilities, and the same runs true with Clay and Edwards in 2024.
“That’s the coolest part, because everybody remembers where they came from,” Stout said. “Everybody remembers who they got their first win with, who helped them cross that bridge from being just a weekend racer to now being a professional – somebody who’s on the map. That’s the most important thing.”
Clay is the newest face to Midget racing on the team and, like Torgerson, is a continuation of the youthful wave sweeping the national Midget circuit over the past several seasons. While he’s only tested in a Midget thus far, he’s ambitious to get started.
“I feel like there’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve from a Micro to a Midget, but I think the quicker I can get into it and the more races I have, then I’ll be comfortable quicker and get up to speed a lot quicker,” Clay said.
Clay began his career racing in the Junior Sprint and Restricted Micro Sprint classes around his native Oklahoma, favoring Micro Sprint hotspots like Port City Raceway in Tulsa and I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City. Since then, he’s been gradually venturing out to new places including tracks in Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Texas and California during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
“Throttle control and just being around race cars and racing around other people, kind of how you want to be raced and being aggressive,” Clay said of the skills he’s learned. “The Midget series is going to be a big jump in being aggressive and putting your nose in spots that maybe you might be able to, maybe you won’t. Just learning that situation. Micro Sprints have taught me throttle control and how to keep the car underneath me.”
He’ll be teammates with the experienced Edwards, who has been around the block in open-wheel racing. Edwards first established a working and friendly relationship with Mounce at 18 years old and has been a childhood friend of Stout. He dipped into Micro Sprint and Sprint Car racing as a driver, but later began to split time being in the seat and on the wrenches, picking up mechanic duties for some open-wheel racing standouts including Dave Darland, Cory Kruseman, Kevin Thomas Jr, and most recently Chase McDermand during his 2023 Xtreme Outlaw Series campaign.
However, his expertise as a crew member will be on the backburner in 2024, as Edwards plans to let Mounce and the other crew members handle setup calls and other mechanical involvement during the program.
“That’s something I’ve also lacked in a lot of the teams I have drove for in the past – I do both,” Edwards said. “I think some nights I’ve struggled because I’ve had to focus on too many things. I don’t just get to focus on the driving part of it. But with this opportunity I think I’ll be able to shine and get better at the driving part of it.”
Edwards has also remained a yearly competitor at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January, once posting a fourth-place finish in a 2012 Prelim Feature. This past Chili Bowl, he again qualified for his Prelim Feature and finished in a D-Main on Saturday in his first outing in his new Mounce/Stout ride. Now that his full-time deal with the team is inked, Edwards is all eyes on the 2024 season.
“I would like to compete for a few wins. That’s the ultimate goal, win a race or two,” Edwards said. “If I can be in the top five in points at the end of the year, I would be extremely happy. But my ultimate goal is to run up front most nights, try not to DNF.”
Despite the age and experience gaps between the team’s new national Midget series rookies – Clay, Edwards and Ashton Torgerson – Mounce is confident in each of their abilities to contend for wins and potentially a points championship with the Xtreme Outlaw Series.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Mounce said. “Ashton hasn’t been in a Midget very much at all. The first time I ever got to work with him is this year at the Chili Bowl. Very nice family; Danny (father) is a very nice guy. He’s given me free reign to basically start from the beginning with Ashton.
“A lot of people don’t know who [Edwards] is, and he is going to be a new face on the scene, so to speak. But he’s going to be one of these guys the younger kids can lean on for advice and have a better understanding of what it’s going to take to be a race car driver at this level.”
Don’t miss Clay and Edwards in their Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota debut – March 15-16 at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, IL. If you can’t be there in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.