Some drivers play golf. Some basketball. Each have their own way of finding time away from their hectic racing careers. For Chase Briscoe…
He goes dirt racing.
The NASCAR Cup Series star will climb back behind the wheel of his dirt Midget during the second annual DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota, May 23-24.
“It helps me on Sunday,” Briscoe said about his dirt racing ventures. “I feel like any time I run a Sprint Car or a Midget or a Late Model, that following weekend… I definitely think it helps me. But at the same time, it is kind of like going playing golf. It helps you get your mind off everything. It is something I still love to do. I’m still passionate about. I still watch Outlaw races every chance I get. USAC races every chance I get. And still love competing in them. Just don’t get the time a lot of the time to do it.
“These midweek races, especially at Millbridge, being so close to where we live now, make it easy to go do and it is something that I want to support. I’ve been going to Millbridge for a long time. When I first moved to Charlotte, (track owners) Jeremy and Ashly were the two first people I met. So, anytime I can help support one of their bigger races I try to do it.”
With the track resting in the heart of NASCAR country and the backyard of several motorsport personalities – and leading to the Coke 600 weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway – the Xtreme Outlaw event attracts a diverse group of racing stars. Briscoe is helping to bring one of them with UMP Modified champion and Late Model star Kyle Strickler set to drive one of Briscoe’s cars.
Through the connection of a former Stewart-Haas Racing team member, Briscoe got to drive Strickler’s Late Model earlier in the year. As a trade, Briscoe is helping Strickler check more boxes in his illustrious racing career, piloting a Midget at Millbridge and potentially more races – including the 2024 Chili Bowl.
“It’s just something I’ve wanted to do,” Strickler said. “I’ve wanted to run a Midget for a while now. Originally, being from Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania and central Pennsylvania, I grew up around the Sprint Car guys and it’s kind of odd that I never drove one or didn’t dabble in any of that. My mom had a lot to do with that too. I kind of went the Northeast Big Block Modified way and she wanted to keep me out of the Winged Sprint Cars as much as possible. It still makes her nervous running a Midget now.
“But, with the way short track racing is going now, you see a lot of guys jumping around and branching out. I think it is a really neat time in short track racing and racing in general to have these types of opportunities.”
The Monday before the two-day event will be Strickler’s first time sitting behind the wheel of a Midget. However, he’s been running a Micro Sprint at Millbridge to prepare.
Last year, Briscoe finished 12th and eighth, respectively, in the DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown – which was the debut event for the Xtreme Outlaw Midgets. He knows his team enters the event a step behind others since he only runs the Midget a few times a year. However, with Millbridge being his prime testing ground for Chili Bowl, Briscoe said he’s confident they should have a solid baseline.
“Hopefully, we’re good,” he said. “I feel like we have a pretty good set up for there. It is hard though, because our team, outside of Chili Bowl, we only race three times during the year against some of these teams that run eight cars and 50 to 60 races a year. It is a little hard for us sometimes to be right where they are, at least those first couple laps – Hot Laps, Qualifying, Heat Race – trying to figure out where our stuff is and what we need to do to work on it. Where those guys, they race so often they know what they need out of the car and where they need to start.
“Hopefully we’ll be good again. Millbridge, I feel like, is a place where we do have a pretty good package just because that’s where we always test for Chili Bowl. We should be good. But hopefully go in there and have a safe night and some fun.”
Along with Millbridge being close to home for Briscoe, it’s also one of his favorite tracks to race a Midget at.
“I love, in the Midget, running these tight little bullrings,” he said. “Du Quoin, Illinois, the indoor track, is one of my favorite places to run because it is so small. Millbridge is kind of the same. Millbridge is still really fast for how small it is. The corners are really, really wide so you can throw these major sliders. The straightaways are a little narrow. The track just races awesome I feel like for the Midgets. I try to run the small tracks. Running there, Wayne County (Speedway in Wayne City, IL), those small tracks are what I enjoy doing. And Millbridge is just a lot of fun. No matter the car, the Outlaw Karts or the Midgets, I feel like always put on a good show.”
After Millbridge, Briscoe plans on joining the Xtreme Outlaw Midgets again at Wayne County Speedway (IL) during the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Showdown, June 2-3.
Tickets for the Xtreme Outlaw Midgets’ DIAEDGE Double Down will be available at the gate. If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.