Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series Rookies Thriving in New Challenge

The Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota took in several drivers new to Midget racing and the Series in 2024, and their progress has shown throughout the first half of the season.

Seven rookies have made committed to following the entire Series schedule – including Ashton Torgerson, Brayton Lynch, Jayden Clay, Elijah Gile, Kale Drake, Trevor Cline and Tyler Edwards – who have combined for four wins, 11 top-fives and 29 top-10 finishes in the first 14 races.

Four of them currently sit inside the top-10 in the points standings and are poised for more success as the season returns from the summer break in two weeks – Friday-Saturday, July 19-20, at Spoon River Speedway. Tickets are on sale now at the link below.

SPOON RIVER TICKETS

Catch each of the rookies back in action with the Xtreme Outlaw Series at the track or streaming live on DIRTVision.

No. 67K – Ashton Torgerson (Glendale, AZ)

If there were a top rookie honor awarded through the first half of the Xtreme Outlaw Series season, Ashton Torgerson would be its recipient in 2024 with three wins, five top-five finishes and 10 top-10s collected through the first 14 races.

The 18-year-old former Micro Sprint champion wasted little time getting competitive in his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports (KKM) entry, bagging his first top-10 in the second event of the season at the Southern Illinois Center. From there, he recorded finishes of 11th (US 36 Raceway), seventh (Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex) and a runner-up on the first night at Farmer City Raceway in April before capturing his first career national Midget Feature win Saturday at Farmer City.

Torgerson also won the next Series event at Humboldt Speedway in Kansas before capping-off the first half of the season with another win at Coles County Speedway in May, putting him fourth in the Series points standings with 15 races left.

“Overall, so far, it’s been amazing already, and we’re only halfway through,” Torgerson said of his season after the win at Coles County. “I think we’re gonna keep clicking-off some wins and hopefully we can get more.”

No. 1K – Brayton Lynch (Springfield, IL)

Eleven Feature starts into his rookie season with the Xtreme Outlaw Series, Brayton Lynch has been working to get back into the swing of racing a full national Midget series schedule and competing against today’s top talent.

Lynch, along with multi-time Chili Bowl Nationals-winning crew chief Rusty Kunz, drove the Rexroad Racing entry to a ninth-place finish at Atomic Speedway in May – a new personal best with the Series. However, Lynch said he’s not been satisfied thus far.

“It’s been, honestly, a little underwhelming just because I think we’re a little faster most nights than our results show,” Lynch said. “At the beginning, I was kinda struggling to get comfortable, but now I’m comfortable. I think now, it’s kind of a confidence thing.”

With half of the season complete and an 11th-place spot in the Series points standings, Lynch has some clarity in his method to improve in the final 15 races on the schedule.

“I know how fast the car is and I know what my abilities are, I’ve just gotta get myself mentally back to where I know I can be better than what we’ve been,” he said.

No. 66 – Jayden Clay (Newcastle, OK)

Still navigating the challenges of a first full season driving a Midget, Jayden Clay has been gaining both speed and confidence in his time with Mounce/Stout Motorsports. Though he said he’s not yet seen the results he’s worked for, he knows his car is fast enough to get him the results he wants.

“Definitely not how I would have liked to start the season, but I think where we’re at right now with how many races in, I think I’m getting faster,” Clay said. “I definitely think my car is fast enough to finish top-10, I just haven’t been able to put it up front.”

He logged his best career Midget finish of 13th twice in May at Atomic Speedway, demonstrating an ability to control his car at high speeds that he’s been improving upon since graduating from the Micro Sprint ranks in 2023.

“I definitely think from the beginning of the year, my progress has gone up tremendously from where I started to where I am now,” Clay said. “I still have a lot to learn, as in the drivers I race with and car control and everything like that.”

No. 98K – Elijah Gile (Phoenix, AZ)

The youngest driver in history to join the full-time Xtreme Outlaw Series roster has gone through a big change in his first full season behind the wheel of a Midget. Fourteen-year-old Elijah Gile began the year piloting his family’s Gene Gile Racing No. 13 entry for the first six races of the season before switching to Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports in April.

Gile said while it’s been an adjustment in getting used to all the coaching and tutelage from Keith Kunz and his team of crew members, the knowledge he’s gained from their teachings over the last eight races has been helpful in developing his skills so early on in his career.

“They help break down what mistakes I made and what I can do different,” Gile said. “I’ll go out there and try to correct it, and if not, they’re always there just waiting to tell me what I did wrong and what they’ll change with the car to make it better.

“It’s pretty cool. They’re very respectful, I respect them a lot and I’m very excited for the rest of the year.”

He garnered his best finish of the season at Atomic Speedway in May, finishing 10th on the big, 3/8-mile oval – a place where his new Toyota Racing Development (TRD) engines shined the brightest in keeping speeds high.

“With Keith’s stuff, they have TRD [engines], so you have to drive them a lot harder and be [smoother] with the throttle, and you can’t dump out of it as much,” Gile said.

No. 97 – Kale Drake (Collinsville, OK)

From out of the Micro Sprint ranks and into the Midget world, Kale Drake has already made his mark on national Midget series racing and with its most decorated team at Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports.

RELATED: How Kale Drake Evolved from Micro Sprint Champion to Xtreme Midget Winner with Keith Kunz Motorsports

The 18-year-old Oklahoman joined the team as a crew member in February and got his first shot in the seat with the Xtreme Outlaw Series at US 36 Raceway in April. A seventh-place run there was a sign of his early abilities but did not outshine the Feature-winning performance he gave the following night at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, taking the lead out of Turn 4 on the final lap to net his first career Midget victory.

“I didn’t think it was gonna come that quickly,” Drake said. “It definitely wasn’t an easy one. I’ve always been super confident at Sweet Springs; I’ve rolled really well around that joint since the beginning.”

Since then, Drake has had up-and-down results but still managed to push his way into the top-10 of the points standings despite missing the first two races of the season. He currently sits ninth in points with four top-fives and seven top-10s in 12 starts.

“Going into this last half of the season, I feel like I have a lot more confidence knowing that we’ve been on both sides of the stick, in a way,” Drake said. “We’ve struggled, and we’ve been really good. Putting it all together and meeting in the middle to have consistent, solid nights is really the name of the game.”

No. 55 – Trevor Cline (Mooresville, NC)

Through the first eight races, 16-year-old Trevor Cline did not have a single top-10 finish and had notched a best finish of only 14th. But come a trip back to his home track of Millbridge Speedway in May, the light switch flipped on and has powered his string of recent success.

Cline, the two-time and reigning Micro Sprint champion of the 1/6-mile North Carolina oval, bagged his first two top-10 runs of the season in the two-day midweek event, placing 10th on Tuesday and ninth on Friday, showing the speed and consistency that was missing from his program in the opening rounds of the season.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot as a driver,” Cline said. “Going into Millbridge, we had a bunch of confidence because I have about as many laps as you can in a Midget or a Micro there.”

From there, Cline bagged two more top-10s at Atomic Speedway later that week before scoring his best career finish and his first-ever Midget podium with his third-place effort at Doe Run Raceway to cap the month of May.

“I think it’s gone better than we anticipated it to,” Cline said of the first half of his season. “Obviously, we started out the year struggling pretty bad; almost killed a racecar at Du Quoin. Struggled since then, finally started to get our program back up, and then ran third at Doe Run.”

No. 14S – Tyler Edwards (Salina, OK)

The second of two new Mounce/Stout Motorsports entries on the Xtreme Outlaw Series roster this year, 30-year-old Tyler Edwards currently sits 10th in the standings with a best finish of fourth, which came at Atomic in May.

Atomic is only one of the many new tracks the former Sprint Car and Micro Sprint racer has had to adapt to, but he’s navigated the challenges well, also notching four top-10s in the first 14 races.

“Having to learn some of these tracks, that’s kinda been the biggest learning curve for myself,” Edwards said. “But I definitely feel like we’ve made improvements since the beginning. Just as a team too, we’ve kinda learned each other, what we like and what we don’t like about each other and what we need in the racecar every night.”

In enduring some mechanical struggles as well, Edwards is still in high spirits and said he’s prepared to take on the rest of the season in pursuit of his first career national Midget series victory.

“Overall, it ain’t bad for dealing with some of the thing we’ve had to deal with – motor woes and me having to learn all these new tracks,” Edwards said. “I feel like we’re getting really close to being right where we want to be and being able to compete up front every night.”

DIRTcar Series PR