Millbridge Midget Battles Go To Briscoe & Larson

0
11854
Millbridge Midget Battles
Chase Briscoe en route to victory Saturday at Millbridge Speedway. (Brandon Zumbach photo)

SALISBURY, N.C. – Star power was the order of the day during Saturday’s DiaEdge Carolina Midget Showdown presented by Tex-A-Con Cut Stone at Millbridge Speedway, with Chase Briscoe and Kyle Larson splitting the feature victories at the sixth-mile dirt track.

Briscoe took the 30-lap afternoon showdown after a torrid battle with Oklahoma teenager Ryan Timms, while Larson ruled the 40-lap nightcap and took the $2,000 event championship as an added bonus.

The opening main event got off to a wild start, as Larson ended up on his lid in the CB Industries No. 86 after outside polesitter Cannon McIntosh tagged the outside berm in turn two, got sideways and Larson had nowhere to go but straight into McIntosh’s stalled mount.

Larson flipped lightly before coming down on all four wheels, but with major right-front suspension damage, his night appeared to be over at that point.

His crew, however, had other ideas. Led by former driver Chad Boat, they quickly made the necessary repairs for Larson to be able to refire from the tail, while C.J. Leary and Carson Kvapil made up the new front row.

Leary escaped to the lead on the opening round, but a huge run from Timms allowed the young gun to steal the point on lap two, pacing the next seven circuits before Briscoe came calling on the far inside.

From there, Timms and Briscoe put on a show for the top spot, trading the lead four times between one another before Briscoe finally made the winning pass on lap 15 and commanded the remaining distance.

Cautions with nine and four laps to go, respectively, set Larson up on Briscoe’s tail for an epic duel to the finish. Though Larson tried, Briscoe was ultimately able to hang on for the win by .089 seconds.

Chase Briscoe in victory lane Saturday at North Carolina’s Millbridge Speedway. (Brandon Zumbach photo)

It was a stark turnaround for Briscoe, who had to change an engine overnight just to race Saturday.

“I knew he wasn’t going to pass me underneath, that’s for sure.  I was going to make him go the hard way around.  It felt like a heck of a race from my vantage point, I felt like we were on top of each other there forever,” Briscoe said in victory lane. “Those last couple laps I tried throwing it away and started missing the bottom and I could hear Kyle the entire time.

“The track was really good. … My car got better as it went on and it was a little tight at the beginning. It was super fun, though, and hopefully next year we can have an actual race with 40-50 cars here.”

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott finished third, behind Briscoe and Larson, in his midget debut. Leary and Timms filled out the top five in the first feature.

After an invert of the top six finishers, plus scheduled polesitter Kvapil failing to make the call, the second feature fired off with Leary and Timms on the front row and ready to battle at the front.

However Larson, who started third, didn’t take long to inject his name into the conversation.

Though Timms led the first four laps and Leary paced laps five through 15, once Larson got command of the 40-lapper on the 16th rotation there was no stopping him from adding another trophy to his mantle.

Larson led the rest of the way for his 46th overall dirt-track win of the season, though he had to fend off a determined Cannon McIntosh on a green-white-checkered finish after a late caution slowed the pace.

Kyle Larson won the second feature and the Carolina Midget Showdown title Saturday at Millbridge Speedway. (Brandon Zumbach photo)

“These races are never easy to win, no matter if you have a lot of cars here or not many. That was definitely tough and Cannon was fast all race,” Larson said in victory lane. “He slid me a few times in the first half and once I got to the lead I started protecting.

“I felt like I could be consistent like that and still get down the straightaways OK,” Larson noted. “He (McIntosh) was going to have to hit the top perfectly and get to my inside to slide me (for the win).”

By virtue of his win in the second feature, plus his earlier runner-up finishes and performances in qualifying and heat race action, Larson took the event title by 47 points over Briscoe.

McIntosh came home second in the nightcap, followed by Briscoe, Elliott and Leary.

Saturday’s event was run with no fans in the grandstands due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To view complete race results, advance to the next page.