VENTURA, Calif.--On Friday afternoon after practice for the midget racers, Kaylee Bryson and Taylor Reimer spent time together atop one of the Keith Kunz Motorsports haulers, admiring the sunset over Buenaventura Beach.
A day later, the two women recorded times to admire in qualifying for Saturday’s feature. Bryson clocked in at 11.678 seconds on her second lap, just .003 seconds off the track record of 11.675 seconds (61.67 mph) set by Johnny Cofer on Nov. 18, 1995.
“It’s pretty cool,” Bryson said. “This is my first time here so I’m really looking forward to the feature. It’s pretty cool to sit on the pole, to go out there and get quick time. All we can do now is hope for the best in the feature and gas it up.
“I can just hang out here and watch all the other races until it’s my time. It’s going to be a long couple of hours just sitting here waiting, anticipating what’s going to happen in the feature. Just looking forward to that.”
Despite the experience of other drivers in the Keith Kunz Motorsports stable, Bryson relied solely on her instincts to post the top lap in qualifying.
“I just showed up and started racing,” Bryson said. “Really, I’ve never been here. This is my first race here so this is all quite new to me. That’s just part of racing. You’re always traveling, going places you’ve never been before. I’m kind of used to that right now.
“I really love the beauty of this place. You can get on top of the trailer and literally look at the ocean. I love views like that. It’s so beautiful. And to watch the sun go down, that puts me in such a great mood. Honestly, I think that helps me perform better on the track.”
Reimer posted 11.724 seconds on the first of her two laps to qualify second. She scored her first fastest quick time at Placerville earlier this month. Since the top 10 qualifiers were locked into the first five rows of the 98-lap feature, Bryson and Reimer earned the front-row starting spots, the first time two women have started side-by-side at the front of a USAC national midget A-main.
Bryson is the first woman to win the pole for Turkey night. And with Maria Cofer qualifying seventh at 11.782 seconds, three female drivers started in the top seven in a national main event for the first time in USAC history.
Coincidentally, Cofer is the daughter of the track record holder, who served as a grand marshal for Saturday night’s race.
Qualifying was good to Buddy Kofoid, too. Third in time trials at 11.735 seconds, Kofoid all but locked up the national midget championship, needing just to push off for the main event to secure the title.
Mitchell Moles qualified fourth, followed by Ryan Timms, Cannon McIntosh, Cofer, Kyle Larson, Logan Seavey and Ryan Bernal.