Kaylee Bryson had never driven a Three-Quarter Midget before Tuesday night, but that didn’t stop her from winning the annual All Star Circuit of Champions TQ Midgets race at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair.
The 21-year-old from Muskogee, Oklahoma, took the lead from Joey Paxson of Connersville on the 16th lap of the 20-lap feature and raced to the checkered flag to become the first female to win at Tony Stewart Speedway.
“All the guys out here were really good, and it was fun to come out here,” Bryson said. “This was my first time in a TQ Midget. I just tried to keep it fun. I have to thank these guys for letting me run their car, and hopefully I can do it again. The top was pretty fast. The bottom was fast.”
Bryson competes on the USAC circuit, as well as the POWRi and Late Models series. She was driving a TQ Midget owned by Larry Martz of Rushville.
“The team reached out to me,” Bryson said. “They were looking for a driver, and it all just worked out.”
Paxson finished in second, and pole-sitter Matt Lux of Manilla took third. Rylan Gray of Greenfield was fourth, and Tate Martz of Rushville came in fifth.
Stewart, who owns the series, won his heat, but blew a motor and had to withdraw from the feature.
A crew of workers labored throughout Tuesday morning and afternoon to get the track ready after the frontstretch had been transformed into a rodeo arena for Monday night’s show. The rodeo ended at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, and workers weren’t finished tearing down equipment until about 4 a.m. Crews started getting the track ready for racing at 9 a.m.
“We pretty much worked out here all day, just straightening everything up, leveling all the dirt up, packing the dirt in, watering,” fair board racing president Troy Foist said. “It’s been an all-day affair just to get the track ready for tonight.”
Stewart had full confidence they would have the track ready for racing.
“The guys do a pretty good job,” Stewart said. “To think about running go-karts on the quarter-mile when they run the go-karts, the go-karts have to have it very, very smooth. I’m very comfortable with the staff that they have to do this here.”