Local 5-year-old signs with Kyle Busch Motorsports

June 9, 2024 | 12:14 am

Updated June 9, 2024 | 12:52 am

Stetson Stroup | Race photo by Blake Hagan Photography Motorsports, courtesy of Stroup family

At just 5 years old, Stetson Stroup is already starting to make a name for himself in the racing world. The youngster from Maceo recently signed on with Kyle Busch Motorsports and will race on Tuesdays for the next few months at Millbridge Speedway in Salisbury, North Carolina. 

Stetson, a rising 1st-grader at East View Elementary School and the son of Dakota and Mallorie Stroup, is a third-generation racer and has grown up spending weekends traveling across the eastern half of the country with his dad. Dakota has been racing asphalt late models since he was 10 years old and has competed in events alongside big names such as Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, John Hunter Nemecheck, Bubba Pollard, Erik Jones, and Noah Gragson. 

“I’ve raced my whole life, so from the time Stetson was in his mother’s belly to now, he’s been at the racetrack,” Dakota said. “That’s pretty well all he knows. I’ve even built a track in my backyard for him and me to practice on.” 

Stetson first started racing go-karts in November 2023 and has claimed 10 feature wins and many poles. He is the 2024 Beginner Red points champion for the Southern Kentucky Indoor Racing series. 

A couple of weeks ago, Stetson tested with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in a wing kart on a Monday night and ran his first race in that division the next day.

“Kyle thought he was ready,” Dakota said of Stetson’s test run. “He showed showed good speed and good car control. So, we elected to race on Tuesday. He qualified 10th out of 24 cars then won his heat race and started on the pole in the feature race. He got tangled up and fell back to the rear of the pack but made his way back up to finish second.”

For the next 12 weeks, Stetson will race in the #47 KBM at Millbridge Speedway.

“I’m very excited and blessed for the opportunity,” he said.

Dakota said many of the NASCAR drivers’ kids and crew chiefs’ kids race at Millbridge. He noted that Busch’s son Brexton races the same style of wing karts that Stetson is now racing. 

“Kyle’s son has moved up at a very fast rate. What we’re hoping for in this deal is maybe to follow in Brexton’s footsteps,” Dakota said. “They’ve created a great path and a great program there. We hope to move up to the next class.” 

Dakota said there’s a learning curve with going from flat karts to wing karts but that Stetson adjusted quickly.

“It’s a big difference. The flat karts have no roll cage and no wing. The cage karts have a wing and carbon fiber bodies,” Dakot said. “They have a racing seat and seat belts. Then he’s got a receiver with earplugs in his ear to communicate when there’s a caution or if anything happens on the racetrack. He’s never had that stuff before. He adapted very well and very quickly.”

Stetson’s opportunity came about thanks to Dakota’s friend Cody Glick, who’s worked for Busch in the past. Dakota is thankful his son is learning from one of the sport’s top competitors.

“Kyle is a great guy, a great teacher. He talked with Stetson a lot on how to change up his line and his entry to the corner and his exit of the corner, how to be in the gas, different points on the race track,” he said. “It was the same way Kyle talks with his son. Kyle is one of the best by far, and to have him as a coach and a leader is big. At 5 years old, there are not many kids who get the opportunity to do this.”

Dakota said they don’t have many specific goals for this year at Millbridge but hope they can gain some valuable experience.

“Our goal is of course to win some races, to get good seat time, to race against good competition,” he said. “Everyone over there is really good. With that being said, as long as we can gain plenty of experience and win some races, then we’ll see what next year holds and go from there.”

Stetson, meanwhile is focused on one thing, and it’s what he said was his favorite part of racing:


June 9, 2024 | 12:14 am

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