Growing up going to a mix of both dirt and asphalt events, Jamie Kay found himself looking to get behind the wheel of a racecar. The search began, and the Outlaw Midgets immediately came to the fore front of the discussion due to the price point.
“I was looking for a car that was affordable, fun to drive, and decently fast,” Jamie Kay recalled. “I remember Mike Bradley said last year where you can buy a car this car, this size, and do lap times similar to a late model at the tracks that we go to – and it’s a ton of fun for a tenth of a price for those vehicles. From that standpoint, it’s a riot to drive one of these things.”
Kay’s search took him to marketplace where he scouted a couple different cars that were for sale. However, he became more impressed in seeing how many of those within the club were willing to share information and be helpful in purchasing the right racecar for him and his family.
Flash forward a year later, Kay is one of the faces of the Outlaw Midgets and is getting ready for his second year of competition in 2022. Admittedly while the goal was Rookie of the Year in 2021 which he accomplished, he admits not having any set expectations for the sophomore campaign.
“This year, I truly don’t know what exactly the focus is this year, other than to have a fun with the group of people that we spend time with,” he commented. “There’s so many characters in the group of outlaws and we have so much fun with all the guys on a Saturday night / Sunday afternoon. I don’t think we could ever say we could aim for a title or anything like that – that’s naive. We’re just in our second year of embarking on auto racing, but it’s been a great experience and couldn’t ask for a better experience with the boys.”
The experience has included getting o travel around the province to the variety of speedways, and unique characteristics of each.
“There’s times that I love the high speeds, banks like Sunset Speedway – then there’s other times I like the flat racing at like Sauble,” he shared. “The only track that is somewhat close to us – we’re on the other side of Belleville, but the closest track is Peterborough and I always feel like that’s kind of like my home track if you will. Every one of them is so unique and every track has been great to deal with. Sauble, my first ever track that I laid rubber on the track, and they were great to us because we were brand new and didn’t know what was going on. JP at Peterborough – I can’t say enough about him. Every time we want to rent the track and get used to the car, he’s never said no; he always has the door open.
“I am just looking forward to every one of them – even Flamboro. I’ve never been there, a lot of people in the club have been there and I hear it’s a different challenge than the other tracks. I am looking forward to the challenge of figuring out how to set-up for that one.”
As he continues his endeavors, there is a focus on building upon his reputation of a clean racecar driver, saying that was important from the day he got involved.
“But as far as a the rookie of the year in the rearview, I think that’s a lot of people that are looking for me to step up and go a little bit this year,” he added. “But realistically, there’s a lot of good drivers in the club – there’s so many good ones that they can just show up and be miles above the rest in the club. At no point last year did I ever feel our car was miles above anything else; I always thought we were middle, front of the pack. So for me, it’s about consistently getting everything out of the car that I’ve got and not having those ups and downs that you have through a season.”
While looking forward to the racing on-track, there’s also excitement in getting to experience more of the family atmosphere that he spoke of in the pits each week.
“It’s vast fully different than the racing that I’m used to as I come from a standard bred race horse background,” he commented. “Everybody is friendly – you say hello, you say goodbye – but that’s the end of the conversation. Ultimately, you’re hoping the other guy’s horse falls down. in what I’ve found in this group of people, everybody is there to help and what I find is amazing is in your time of need, everybody jumps in to help change a tire, reset the chain, fix your belt tension, and make you better and more competitive.
“At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about – the product we put on the track. Every promoter needs the fans in the stands, and the better show we put on as a group, it’ll just help everybody. If you have a club with one or two same characters at the front every night, it doesn’t help anyone and it’s not entertaining for the fans at the end of the day.”
Entertaining the fans, improving the product involves making sure car counts stay strong, which seem to appear to be the case in 2022 with the Outlaw Midgets. There are several rookies who are looking to follow in Kay’s footsteps, to which he says the biggest piece of advice to show up as often as you can.
“It’s the only way you’re going to learn,” he commented. “It is a great group of people. Up and down the whole paddock, it’s a fantastic group of people that are there for the love of racing. Let’s be honest – if you’re racing in the midgets, you’re not racing to get rich. You’re not doing it for the money but because you like the racing, and in some cases, these guys love the racing.
“If you want to learn to race and drive a car to start with and why setting up a car matters and getting that knowledge, this is the group that you want to be with. If you go above this, your learning curve grows exponentially. You’re just going to waste a lot of time and money learning hard lessons. At this level, you can learn those lessons at an acceptable price point and have a lot of fun along the way.”