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STEPPINGSTONES: Spencer Bayston Talks Career Path, Importance of Midget Career

Spencer Bayston

While driving for the Toyota supported Keith Kunz Motorsports, Spencer Bayston found himself with two choices.

A path to NASCAR or a path to the World of Outlaws.

“There were a couple years there were I was really trying to figure out if there was a possibility to try your hand at the NASCAR stuff,” Bayston said. “But I quickly realized it’s not as simple as winning races. It takes a lot more than that. I quickly realized, and dirt racing has always been closest to my heart and that was a pretty quick decision that I wanted to be a full-time World of Outlaws driver.”

Now, in his second full-time season with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars, Bayston has already become an established name. He’s picked up four Series victories – three driving for his current CJB Motorsports team – and won the 2022 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year honors.

Midget racing became the steppingstone to that success, even with his fear of potentially starting too late.

Growing up in Lebanon, IN, Bayston began running Quarter Midgets at 10 years old. He did that for two years before jumping into a Micro Sprint for three years. However, while other kids his age were racing coast to coast, he rarely left the state.

“We did it a little different than a lot of kids that I race with now, who traveled coast to coast running USAC stuff,” Bayston said. “I ran the local Kokomo Quarter Midgets club. We ran 15 to 20 races a year, maybe. Did that for two years, then I ran Micros. It was kind of the same fashion there [racing mostly in Indiana] running about 20 to 25 races a year. Then, I jumped into Midgets. I didn’t have a lot of racing experience prior to getting into the national Midget stuff.”

By the time Bayston got to the national Midget scene in 2014, he said there were kids his age, some of who he races with now at the Sprint Car level, that had four to five more years of experience on him. Especially with traveling.

However, the plethora of talent supporting him helped fill some of the gap. He was hired to drive for Bryan Clauson Incorporated in 2014, diving headfirst into a nearly 50-race schedule across the country. He continued driving for Clauson in 2015 and sparked a friendship with driver coach Kevin Swindell, becoming Swindell SpeedLab’s first Sprint Car driver.

Bayston wins Midget championship
Spencer Bayston and the Keith Kunz Motorsports team celebrate their 2017 USAC Midget championship.

Staying full-time in Midget racing, while dabbling with Sprint Cars, Bayston joined Keith Kunz Motorsports in 2016. He finished second in USAC national Midget points with the team that year and then went on to win the Series championship in 2017, along with the prestigious “4-Crown Nationals” at Eldora Speedway. He ran full-time with KKM again in 2018 before trying to kick down any door he could find in the Sprint Car world.

While he wishes he made the move sooner, he still got opportunities with several teams, including Swindell SpeedLab, Premier Racing, Bernie Steuben’s Indy Race Parts team, Roth Motorsports and Sam McGhee Motorsports – who he won his first World of Outlaws race with at Attica Raceway Park in 2021 – before finding a home at CJB Motorsports.

Once paired with CJB and veteran crew chief Barry Jackson, success followed. Bayston brought the Pennsylvania-based team a home state World of Outlaws win at Port Royal Speedway in their fourth race. Then, they went on to win two more races in 2022 – at Bristol Motor Speedway and Huset’s Speedway – and clinched the Rookie of the Year title.

Now, the goal is more trophies with their Truetimber #5 car this year while they continue to follow the World of Outlaws path. It’s a path Bayston values finding through the steppingstone of Midget racing.

“It’s a good steppingstone between an Outlaw Kart or Micro Sprint to a Sprint Car,” he said. “It kind of bridges the gap a little bit. It gives you your first taste of a car with a little more substance and size. It teaches you how to race…

“There’s still a couple races and events I’d like to have my name on (in the Midget world), but it was time for me to move on. But there is a lot for me to be proud of for sure.”

Several Midget drivers hoping to be the next Spencer Bayston will kick off their 2023 championship season with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota at the Southern Illinois Center, March 10-11. Tickets can be bought at the facility, or you can watch both nights live on DIRTVision.

Bayston and CJB Motorsports will continue their 2023 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season in Pennsylvania for the final two rounds of the Low-E Insulation Spring Showdown at Williams Grove Speedway, March 17, and Lincoln Speedway, March 18. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

CJB Motorsports #5 car
Spencer Bayston pilots the CJB Motorsports #5 car / Chris Owens photo

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