8 September 2022
Indianapolis USA 21-year-old Kaylee Bryson has checked a few boxes in this third season of her USAC National Midget Car career driving for powerhouse Midget Car team Keith Kunz Motorsports in the fabled #71 Yahoo! / JBL Toyota Midget Car. She began her stellar season by winning her B Feature at the 36th Chili Bowl Nationals in her home state of Oklahoma and transferring directly to the A Main (the first woman to ever do so). Check.
In April – and also in her home state – this time at Port City Speedway, she became the second woman in USAC National Midget Car history to park it on the podium multiple times. Check.
During Indiana Midget Week in early June, Bryson passed eighteen Midget Cars at Tri State Speedway (the season high in USAC Midget Car competition) and missed her third career podium by just one spot, earning her the Hard Charger Award for the event. Check.
Incidentally, she was quoted in her post race interview that she “Passed a crap ton of cars”. She doesn’t swear well although claims that she could in certain situations. Check.
The next night at Lincoln Park, Kaylee qualified second - and her three female colleagues qualified 1st, 3rd and 4th – another USAC first. Check. She goes on to transfer to the A Main for the 54th time in her USAC career and – you guessed it, another USAC record. Check.
By the time the dust had settled at the close of USAC Indiana Midget Week Bryson finished 4th in IMW points and stands sixth in the national points so far. Check.
It’s June 18th, three days before the summer solstice, Port Royal (PA) Speedway and Bryson meets the Sam Pierce Racing open wheel race team in person for the first time. The mission? Her first-ever USAC Silver Crown event. She has never sat in a Champ Car before. Seat fitting goes well. Throngs of fans maintain a constant line at the trailer for her autograph and t-shirts.
Time to push off for practice and everyone holds their breath. She nails her first lap – she is fast, smooth, on the cushion and throwing rooster tails. Everyone exhales - including the engine which locks up entering turn three on her second lap. The rear wheels locked, she slides the big car through three and four and parks perfectly straight on the front stretch. She climbs out and says “Well, that beats staying at home”. Another classic quote – without swearing. She is then asked what she would like to do next, she unloads two words “Pavement Midgets!” Check.
Her summer of pavement is about to begin.
Continue reading Part 2