Kale Drake Wins Xtreme Outlaw Midget Debut at Sweet Springs on Last-Lap Pass

White flag in the air, one-fifth of a mile remaining. Kale Drake had reeled-in leader Taylor Reimer from over a full second behind in 10 laps and was staring down an opportunity at the biggest win of his young career.

Drake – the 18-year-old national Micro Sprint champion from Collinsville, OK – drove it in deep on the bottom in Turn 1 while Reimer – the 24-year-old from Tulsa, OK, who had led most of the race – gassed it through the middle. A great drive off Turn 2 gave Reimer the advantage heading into the final two corners, but Drake was strong on the bottom.

Again, Drake dove low with speed into the corner, hugging the dirt mound that separated the track from the infield as he rounded Turns 3 and 4. Reimer tried the top lane one more time in an effort to keep her speed up, but it was not enough. Drake pulled even with Reimer off Turn 4 and beat her in the drag race to the finish line by .020 seconds to steal the win and his first career national Midget series victory with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota Saturday night at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex.

Victory Lane painted a vivid picture of two fierce competitors on opposite ends of an incredible finish – one relishing in the taste of victory, and the other awash in the agony of defeat.

“I honestly don’t have words for it at the moment,” Drake said. “It’s pretty surreal, to be honest.”

“I didn’t come here to run second,” Reimer said. “I’m pretty pissed off. Couldn’t get around the lapped car. Gave it up on the last lap.”

Drake joined the Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) team as a driver for the first time at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January – where he was named Rookie of the Year after his 14th-place finish in the A-Main – and was hired soon after as a full-time crew member with a few opportunities to do more Midget racing included.

When Xtreme Outlaw full-timer Gavin Miller was injured in a crash at a Micro Sprint event in California three weeks ago, Drake was given the nod to step into Miller’s ride for this weekend’s events while Miller continues to heal in recovery and did not forget to acknowledge his teammate after the big moment.

“He’s one of my really good friends and it sucks not having him here to race against because he is an amazing competitor, super good driver and only getting better as well,” Drake said about Miller. “I wish him a speedy recovery. We want to see him back at the track with us, and the season’s gonna be fun together.”

With that unexpected opportunity, Drake made the most of it, notching a seventh-place finish Friday at US 36 Raceway before breaking through for the win Saturday night.

From third on the Feature starting grid, Drake stayed patient inside the top three for two-thirds of the 30-lap main event. Reimer fired-off well in the opening laps, advancing from fifth on the grid up to second on Lap 11, getting around Drake with top-lane momentum. Two laps later, she drove around McIntosh for the lead in the same fashion, feeding from the top lane speed.

Drake was next to get by McIntosh, taking second from his KKM teammate with a big move to his inside in Turns 1 and 2. From there, Drake watched Reimer jump out to a lead of over 1.6 seconds at its largest in lapped traffic with only 10 laps left.

That’s when Drake turned on the jets.

“I saw Taylor just kinda become like sitting still in the middle of the track,” Drake said. “Lapped traffic was playing a huge factor there.

“Once I got clear past a few of them, I just started driving as hard as I possibly could and started hitting my marks just like I did that first lap. I got the feeling back in, and once I did, it was just a matter of putting laps down.”

That gap shrunk all the way down to under a half-second by the time Drake took the white flag.

“I saw the white, and I was like, ‘I think she’s gonna get away from us, really,’” Drake said. “I think she just missed her marks, and we were able to capitalize on that and really put down a solid lap. I made sure to burn it in super hard going into (Turns) 3 and 4 to make sure that I was gonna come off straight as an arrow coming out of 4.”

Drake crossed the finish line .020 seconds ahead of Reimer, followed by fellow KKM teammate Ryan Timms, making for an all Oklahoma-born podium.

Timms, 17, of Oklahoma City, OK, had ran fourth for most of the race and made the move on McIntosh for third on Lap 23 to capture his second podium of the season, cutting his points gap to McIntosh down to 47 in the Series standings.

“[McIntosh] moved up, and I went down to the bottom in lapped traffic and was able to use some lapped cars to get by him,” Timms said. “I felt like I was maybe catching Kale and Taylor there at the end. A lot of that was caused by being in lapped traffic as well. But we had a good car and was fast all night.”

McIntosh crossed the stripe in fourth and kept his points lead, while Chase McDermand completed the top-five.

UP NEXT

The Xtreme Outlaw Midgets are back in action next Friday-Saturday, April 12-13, for the two-day Illini 100 event at Farmer City Raceway alongside the World of Outlaws CASE Late Model Series.

Tickets are on sale now at XtremeOutlawSeries.com and will be available at the gate on race day. If you can’t be there to watch in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.

ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 97-Kale Drake[3]; 2. 25K-Taylor Reimer[5]; 3. 67-Ryan Timms[4]; 4. 71K-Cannon McIntosh[1]; 5. 40-Chase McDermand[6]; 6. 16-Kyle Jones[2]; 7. 67K-Ashton Torgerson[7]; 8. 21K-Karter Sarff[8]; 9. 89-Todd McVay[11]; 10. 43-Gunnar Setser[9]; 11. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold[17]; 12. 13-Elijah Gile[15]; 13. 5U-Peter Smith[12]; 14. 1K-Brayton Lynch[13]; 15. 44-Branigan Roark[18]; 16. 66-Jayden Clay[22]; 17. 55-Trevor Cline[14]; 18. 41-Brad Wyatt[21]; 19. 11A-Andrew Felker[20]; 20. 14S-TJ Smith[10]; 21. 88A-Austin Torgerson[19]; 22. 98-Luke Drotschie[16]; 23. 11J-Todd Jackson[23]

DIRTcar Series PR