- SALISBURY, N.C. – Tanner Holmes had misfortune end his night early at Millbridge Speedway on Tuesday, but the Oregon teenager put on a show while he was on the track.
Holmes, 14, hopped behind the wheel of Jimmy Elledge’s usual Durst-sponsored No. 81 QRC two-stroke during the opening night of the QRC Speed51 Open presented by HMS Motorsport, racing double duty in both the 500 Outlaw class and the premier Open class.
He qualified seventh in the No. 18t Open entry, placing him on the front row for his heat race on Wednesday night, but it was in the Outlaw class where Holmes shined.
After a carburetor issue while leading his heat forced Holmes to the pits and mired him deep in the B main, he charged from 14th to finish fourth and claim the last transfer spot into the night’s 25-lap, $1,000-to-win main event.
Holmes rose from 20th to 11th in the first half of the feature before contact with three-time Millbridge Speedway track champion Tom Hubert led to a right-front suspension failure that ended his run through to the front.
“Tom Hubert … very fast guy; he’s very good. He just made a move – I left a little bit of a lane open for him – and he took advantage of it,” said Holmes. “We made a little bit of contact and, with a car on the outside of me, we sandwiched and everything went downhill after that.
“It was a racing deal and nothing intentional,” Holmes added. “I decided to keep my foot in it and see if I could make it through, and it didn’t really work. The two options there were either lift and get caught in a crash, or hammer down and see what happens, and it ripped the whole right front off. It’s definitely a bummer because we had such a fast kart, but that’s just how racing goes sometimes. It was a really fun night.”
Holmes is an avid vlogger on YouTube, nicknamed ‘The YouTube Kid’ and boasts more than 6,000 subscribers on his web channel.
“It’s just something I really enjoy,” he said. “I like to give the fans that follow me an inside look and let them know as much as we can what we’re up to and how this crazy journey is going down.”
– Karsyn Elledge, the niece of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and granddaughter of seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, hearkened back to “the good ol’ days” on Tuesday when she debuted a new paint scheme on her QRC No. 3.
Elledge’s kart, which was formerly neon orange and black, rolled out of the trailer with a solid, matte-black look on Tuesday night, carrying a white, stylized No. 3 that evoked memories of the iconic GM Goodwrench cars her grandfather drove for Richard Childress.
“I didn’t even know we were doing new paint schemes on all the house karts,” admitted Elledge. “Today when I was sitting in staging, I thought to myself, ‘Man, this thing really resembles that black No. 3 that so many fans know and loved to see on the track.
“It’s a lot different than our usual look, but I really like it. It’s really simple and really clean,” Elledge continued. “Hopefully it looks really good at the front of the field Wednesday night.”
– NASCAR pace car driver Brett Bodine was busy as a dad and a mechanic on Tuesday, working on outlaw karts in three different classes.
Bodine has drivers racing in the Box Stock, Intermediate and Open divisions this week.
“They ought to call me the Jack Roush of Millbridge,” he joked.
– Brandon LaChance, who won Monday night’s Clash at the Creek at nearby Mountain Creek Speedway, went from the penthouse to the outhouse in less than 24 hours.
LaChance struggled in his heat and ran into more problems in the B-Feature, ultimately missing the main event and a shot at adding to his $2,000 payday from Monday.
– Among the 45 karts that took time on Tuesday night during Open division qualifying, all but three are looking for their first Speed51 Open victory.
The last three event winners – Nick Hoffman (2017), Kyle Larson (2016) and Logan Seavey (2015) – are represented in the field. Oregon’s Mike Wheeler won the inaugural event in 2014, back when it was known as the SPEED SPORT Challenge.
– Notable names that have been in attendance for outlaw kart action so far this week include Cup Series star Kasey Kahne, in the pits to cheer on his nephew Eli Adams in the Intermediate class, and well-known midget team owner Keith Kunz, who will offer a Chili Bowl ride to the winner of the Oct. 31 season finale at Millbridge.
Cover Photo by Jacob Seelman