Four wins on the national Midget scene as a rookie last year has Gavin Miller more excited, confident and determined than ever to go after his first championship in 2024.
The 17-year-old from Allentown, PA, is returning to Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) to chase a championship with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota, looking to take the skills he developed in his first year and establish himself as one of the nation’s brightest young open-wheel racers.
“This year, I’m going into it thinking I’m going out every race and can win every race possible,” Miller said. “There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be up front.”
One year ago, Miller joined the KKM stable as a graduate of the Northeast Micro Sprint ranks with only a handful of Midget starts, looking to gain experience in his first year on the road. What came out of that was the single most consistent season recorded on the Xtreme Outlaw Series, compiling 27 top-10 finishes in 29 starts – most of any single driver – and two Xtreme Outlaw Feature wins, in addition to one USAC win and another with POWRi.
“I thought it was a very successful season for just starting out and not having that many races under my belt,” Miller said. “Having a crew chief that was new, I was new – it makes me feel better now that I’ve got that season under my belt, and it makes me feel more confident going into next season especially.”
But despite that early success, Miller is not satisfied. He recognizes the mistakes he made in 2023 and is determined not to repeat them.
“It definitely showcased some of my talent that maybe some people didn’t see or didn’t know, or didn’t know me at all,” Miller said. “I thought we threw away a lot of races too – a lot of races that we should’ve won and some races that we got a little lucky in, too.”
Over the past 30 years, Keith Kunz Motorsports has established itself as the single most decorated team in dirt Midget racing history, amassing 17 championships across all three national Midget tours including the 2023 Xtreme title. Armed with top equipment, skilled crew chiefs and the most knowledge and experience of any other team on the road, Miller has been a student of team co-owner Keith Kunz and his program for over a year and has seen the difference the KKM team members have made on his skillset.
“There’s nothing like it – the knowledge they have is crazy helpful with being a new driver or even being experienced and learning things you might not already know,” Miller said. “They’ve developed most of the best drivers that go into other things and race other cars. Their expertise and knowledge is very helpful.
“It’s a very special opportunity. I’ve just got to thank them for having me and letting me be in their racecar. Not many people are able to do that, and it’s a huge opportunity that opens a path for wherever I want to go or whoever has things open.”
Toyota Racing has also been a longtime partner of KKM and its drivers, equipping each team car with a TRD engine. Miller is getting more involved with the Toyota program this season and recently took part in the team’s media production day with a host of other motorsports talent.
“That’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” Miller said. “It was a very cool opportunity being able to go down there and be a part of something like that, especially being around bigger names in the (NASCAR) Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series and all those bigger-name pavement people. It’s cool being around and just being a part of that program.”
Like many other TRD program graduates, Miller has aspirations for the upper echelons of motorsports. But until that opportunity knocks, he’s focused on more Midget wins in 2024. He grew in skill, confidence and knowledge racing last year and is eager to see what he can do coming back to some of the same race places for a second time as he strives toward a national championship in his second year on the road.
“I’m looking forward to going back to those tracks that we’ve raced on already,” Miller said. “Racing on them at least one time (already) helped me, so now going back to them is going to help me a lot better. I already have some sort of idea – I know the track’s not the same every single night – but it makes me have a better idea going back to it and makes me more confident going back to it.
“I feel like there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to run up front and contend for wins, no matter who it’s against.”
Miller and KKM start their chase for the 2024 Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota championship in the season opener – March 15-16 inside the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, IL.
Tickets for the two-day event will be on sale at the gate on race day. If you can’t be there to watch in person, stream every lap live with a subscription to DIRTVision.