Flying High: Lauryn Burd Discovers Home In Dirt Midget Racing

Lauryn Burd

Lauryn Burd

During her four years competing in karting at the Pomfret Speedway, Lauryn Burd had visions of her racing career moving on from one little asphalt track to one of the bigger NASCAR Whelen All-American Series asphalt short tracks in Connecticut.

Then she got the opportunity to play in the dirt and things changed dramatically.

The 19-year old Burd, from Cranston, R.I., is finishing up her first season competing in a Dirt Midget car at Bear Ridge Motorsport Speedway in Bradford, VT and on the POWRi Lucas Oil Outlaw Midget Series.

“I always had always thought about racing asphalt forever,” said Burd, who started racing in Pomfret in 2010. “But I come from a dirt background. My dad used to race dirt. And he kind of like fed it to me, but I never really understood his love for it until this year.”

Last fall, Greg Olsen, founder of the POWRi Lucas Oil Outlaw Midget Series, contacted Burd inquiring about her interest in running the series.

“He allowed me to take out one of his cars and that was the decision right there,” said Burd, who is a junior at Rhode Island College studying education. “I was just like ‘I know I want to do this.’”

The POWRi Lucas Oil Outlaw Midget Series encompasses an 11-event schedule in 2014, with races at Legion Speedway in Wentworth, N.H., Glenn Ridge Motorsports Park in Fultonville, N.Y. and Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway. Olsen established the series in 2013.

Burd’s father Jim competed in dirt cars at the old Flemington (N.J.) Speedway about 30 years ago.

“It can be scary watching her race,” Jim Burd said. “We race out at Fonda, that’s probably a track that scares me because that’s a half-mile and they’re going 125 mph at the end of the straightaways. But I’d love to see her make a career out of racing. She’s worked very hard with her sponsors, finding sponsors. It’s tough, but she’s doing great.”

Going from karts on asphalt to a high-powered ride on dirt has been a learning experience.

“The horsepower is a huge difference,” Lauryn Burd said last week while making an appearance for the Willimantic Chronicle at the monthly Willimantic Third Thursday festival. “It took a lot of time to get used to throttle control. And you really don’t even drive the car with anything else but the gas. The gas turns the car, it was just so much getting used to. It’s nothing like a go-kart. The second time I started running every track I started to get a better feel for places. I’m really getting the hang of them. That’s when you realize you know what you need to do and you get that feel for where you need to be.”

Recently in an event at Glenn Ridge Motorsports Park, father and daughter got the chance to compete against each other when Jim Burd got in a ride usually campaigned by Randy Cabral.

“It meant a lot to do that,” Jim Burd said. “That was my first time in a Midget. She was happy to lap me in the feature.”

Lauryn Burd said, despite the enjoyment she’s having racing dirt this year, she hasn’t erased the thoughts of competing on asphalt or attempting to make a full-time career out of racing.

“I still want to go back,” Lauryn Burd said. “I would get into an asphalt Modified or a full-bodied stock car definitely. But at the same time, when I sit at the track and watch the Dirt Modifieds run, like the big blocks or the small blocks, that’s something I’d also want to do. I guess it depends on where money takes us.

“I’d love to make a career out of it, but I think at this point I’m a little bit too old to make a career out of it. But I’d still love it to be a hobby I would do for the rest of my life. I’m planning my career around racing so I can get weekends and holidays off.”

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  1. It’s sad when a 19 year old is saying, I am probably a little too old to make a career out of racing, and she is probably right.

    I wish there was a dirt track within the area. The local tracks are great but sometimes you just want to see a dirt track show for a change of pace. I try to get to Lebanon Valley a few times a year, they offer some great racing at a very reasonable price but a long drive away.

  2. Had the same thoughts as you..19 yr old is too old? I just dont get letting 15 17 yr olds running the top 3 series the money grubbers allow…There not going to reach there prime until there 22-25 yrs old…Its not like your hitting a 100 mph fastball or stopping a 100 mph puck…If you have the skill a smart car owner looking for a driver wont hesitate because she is 19 yrs old…I hope not anyway

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