RACE RECAP – Ten feature winners in first Maxxis Sprint night race at CMP

206 Masters racing at CMP
206 Masters racing at CMP

KERSHAW, S.C. — The Maxxis 4-Cycle Sprint Series closed their 2021 points season Saturday night at Carolina Motorsports Park’s Carolina Kart Park, where 10 drivers raced to feature wins under CMP’s new state-of-the-art MUSCO LED lighting, an impressive system installed earlier this summer that gave teams a unique opportunity to compete throughout the evening and into the late hours of the night on the challenging 0.7-mile course.

A hot day with temperatures over 90 degrees was cooled by an afternoon pop-up shower about an hour before the 3pm drivers meeting. The track dried quickly, and cloud cover set in around the start of qualifying with what appeared to be another threat of heavy rain. But only a few sprinkles fell about midway through the heats, and the overcast skies gave racers and teams very comfortable weather conditions in which to compete, something series officials had hoped for when announcing the race would be run at night instead of during the daytime hours.

Following post-race tech, which lasted past midnight, 10 drivers were solidified as winners in the first-ever Maxxis Sprint night race. One driver — Georgia’s Adam Wein — notched double wins in the Cadet divisions to close out his mostly dominant 2021 season in Maxxis competition. 

Peyton Bridges and Brently Miller split the Junior features. Bridges, who won Junior Black, nearly swept the entire night between qualifying, heats and mains until Miller passed him on the final lap to win the last race of the night, Junior Yellow, which finished shortly after 11pm. Bridges’ and Miller’s wins gave Razor Chassis victories in both junior classes.

As has been the case all summer, MGM Chassis drivers dominated the Senior and Masters categories. Tim Skinner scored his first Maxxis win of the season in the Masters final, while Eric Fagan won a close race over Ryan Bennett in Senior Heavy. Cale Martin won his first feature of the year in Senior Medium and clinched the class’s points championship in the process.

Vintage racing was dicey all night with some tempers flaring after the mains. When the dust settled, Tyson Swann and Billy Johnson split the Vintage Stock features and Kenny Buff continued his domination of Super Stock with another convincing drive.

Lanie Thigpen won her first Maxxis feature of the season in Kid Kart with a close win over heat winner Parker Stewart.

With Razor winning five classes compared to MGM’s three, the Georgia chassis manufacturer claimed the 2021 Maxxis Sprint Manufacturer championship, a coveted award for chassis builders. Razor owner Stevie Roberts later said he was hoping it would be a tie with MGM, and it nearly was, but Wein’s pair of Cadet wins and their sweep of the Junior features made the difference.

Here’s a recap of each class’s competition Saturday night at CMP’s Carolina Kart Park.

Kid Kart

Kid Kart winner Lanie Thigpen
Kid Kart winner Lanie Thigpen

The 206 Kid Kart division has been a competitive one all season and six youngsters made the call at Kershaw. Lanie Thigpen won the Roberts Kart Shop pole award but Parker Stewart got out ahead of her in the heat to drive to a flawless victory. 

Thigpen found some more speed in the 12-lap feature and jumped out to the lead with Stewart in tow. Parker hung with her throughout the race but wasn’t able to make it past. Thigpen would cross the stripe 0.597 seconds ahead of Stewart for her first win of the 2021 Maxxis series. Stewart would settle for second with Barrett Turley third, Barnesville winner Ryan Hall fourth and Logan Hall fifth. Canon Love dropped out 8 laps into the race and was credited with sixth.

Cadet Yellow

Cadet double winner Adam Wein
Cadet double winner Adam Wein

Adam Wein and Thomas Nichols had raced hard all year in Cadet Yellow and entering Saturday whichever driver won the feature likely would win the championship. Wein was fast Saturday as has been the case all year, winning the pole and heat race before driving to a dominant 11.6-second feature win over Will Franklin. The win would give Wein his third of the year in Cadet Yellow and the class championship. Will Haire was third while Nichols settled for fourth. Charles Applegate rounded out the top five.

Cadet Green

Applegate, in his first Maxxis appearance, was the driver to beat all night in Cadet Green. Riding a Kosmic, Applegate qualified a close P2 to Franklin and won the heat race by a fairly large gap over Wein. He jumped out front in the final and kept at least 10 kart lengths between him and Wein throughout the 12-lapper. Applegate would cross the stripe nearly 2 seconds in front of Wein for what appeared to be his first Maxxis win, but tech officials would later disqualify Applegate’s No. 90 for an infraction with the engine’s slide. 

Applegate’s misfortune would hand the win to Wein, giving the Georgia racer his fifth Cadet Green win in five starts in 2021 and the class championship. Javier Soto had his best day of the 2021 Maxxis season and raced to an impressive P2 result. Pole winner Franklin completed the podium while Hudson Williams and Camden Harp rounded out the top five in the 11-kart field.

Junior Black

Junior Black winner Peyton Bridges
Junior Black winner Peyton Bridges

With Razor sweeping the Cadet and Kid Kart mains, and MGM winning both Seniors and Masters, as many expected going into the night, the chassis points came down to the Juniors. 

Peyton Bridges certainly did his part for Razor in Junior Black. The Georgia racer dominated the class all night, winning the pole and stretching out a big lead on his way to the heat win. Brady Atwood, on an MGM, was able to hang with Bridges in the final and through the early stages of the race it looked like he may have had something for Bridges’ black No. 4. But as the laps clicked away, Bridges slowly put some distance between himself and Atwood and would hit all his marks on the way to a 1.8-second win over the Maryland racer. 

The race for third was the best in the 12-lap contest with Brently Miller, Jaxson Ghent, K Mike Chidester, Mason Donahue and Luke DaCosta all trading spots numerous times in a spirited battle. Miller was able to fend off the challenges to take the final step on the podium with Ghent P4, Chidester P5, Donahue P6 and DaCosta P7.

Junior Yellow

Junior Yellow inner Brently Miller (00) and Mason Donahue
Junior Yellow inner Brently Miller (00) and Mason Donahue

The last race of the night was another good one and Bridges was in the market for a clean sweep of all junior competition. However, Miller and Donahue had other ideas and both drivers made it clear they had the speed to hang with Bridges and challenge in him in the late laps. The trio was able to pull away from Atwood and Chidester to make it a three-kart battle for the win. 

After losing the lead for a moment, Bridges shot his Razor back to the front and would take the white in the lead. Miller, also riding a Razor, was right there and he waited until the infield to make his move in the double-right. Miller shot to the inside of Bridges to make the pass, bringing Donahue’s Coyote along with him. The Jacksonville racer would hold off Donahue through the last several corners to score his first Maxxis win 2021. Bridges had to settle for third with Atwood fourth and Chidester fifth.

Senior Medium

Senior Medium winner Cale Martin racing ahead of Cam Burris
Senior Medium winner Cale Martin racing ahead of Cam Burris

The Senior Medium final was a wild one. After dropping out of the heat, Zach Linsell started shotgun in the 10-kart final and he made quick work of the field. Linsell moved his MGM into third by the end of lap 1 and a lap later he’d pass Cam Burris for second to go to work on leader Collin Miller. 

Approaching halfway, Linsell made the pass on Miller in the double-right and looked to run away for his first feature win of the 2021 Maxxis series. But Miller wouldn’t go away; the Maryland driver would hang with Linsell for the entire second half of the race and make an inside move on Linsell at the end of the backstretch and into turn five on the final lap. The pair made contact, sending Linsell around and denying him of an impressive last-to-first win. 

With Linsell and Miller slowed, points leader Cale Martin was in a position to capitalize. Martin would race past the accident scene and shoot into the lead with about a three kart-length lead over Burris. That was all Martin needed, and he was a Maxxis winner for the first time in his career by a 0.414-second advantage over Burris. Florida’s Moe Edmonson, who had a relatively quiet night, would take third and Linsell would have to settle for fourth. Aiden White rounded out the top five.

Senior Heavy

Eventual Senior Heavy winner Eric Fagan (51) chasing early leader Ryan Bennett
Eventual Senior Heavy winner Eric Fagan (51) chasing early leader Ryan Bennett

Veteran 4-cycle sprint racer Ryan Bennett used his experience at CMP to win the Senior Heavy pole and race to a convincing heat win. It looked like Bennett was going to be tough to beat in the main, and he was, but fellow MGM driver Eric Fagan was up to the task. 

Fagan, who wasn’t able to hang with Bennett earlier in the night, didn’t let the North Carolina racer get away in the feature. He rode on Bennett’s rear bumper early in the 12-lapper until making a mid-race pass and moving into the lead. 

But Bennett wasn’t going to give Fagan an easy win; he’d stay glued to the Ohio driver’s rear bumper throughout the second half of the race and look high and low on Fagan throughout the final corners. But Fagan drove smart and kept Bennett at bay to score his third Maxxis feature win of the season after a double-win Saturday at Charlotte in June. 

Bennett would settle for second with local racer JT Swygert completing the podium. Edmonson was P4 and Miller P5 in the 10-kart field.

Masters

LO206 Masters was the largest class of the day with 14 racers making the call. Fagan won the pole award and the heat and similar to Bennett in Senior Heavy, he looked to be very tough to beat heading into the final. 

Tim Skinner holds off Todd Horton for the Masters win
Tim Skinner holds off Todd Horton for the Masters win

When the green waved, Fagan jumped out to the early lead and quickly put some distance between himself and P2 running Tim Skinner. But just past halfway, officials noticed Fagan’s sidepod dragging and were forced to black flag him in the interest of safety. Fagan obeyed the black and pulled to the scales, handing the lead over Skinner with local runner Todd Horton now in second.

Horton wouldn’t give up and he started to close on Skinner’s MGM late in the race. It appeared Horton was slightly faster than the GoPro Motorplex regular with a couple laps to go, but Skinner continued to hit his marks and never let Horton close enough to mount a serious challenge. Skinner would cross the stripe 0.728 seconds ahead of Horton for the win, his first of the year. 

Coyote driver James Inscoe was in the top-three mix throughout the day but he faded in the feature. Inscoe would take third but was over 3 seconds back of Skinner at the end. Sunday Charlotte winner Neil Moore was fourth and should capture the Masters class championship when final points are calculated. Steve Bushell had a good run to round out the top five just ahead of Brandon Hollenbaugh.

Vintage Stock Medium

Vintage Stock victors Billy Johnson (75x) and Tyson Swann (16)
Vintage Stock victors Billy Johnson (75x) and Tyson Swann (16)

After big vintage fields at Charlotte, only five racers made the call for the Vintage Stock Medium feature but it was still very competitive. Tyler Swann and Billy Johnson raced wheel to wheel for much of the 8-lap contest until the last lap when Swann slipped off the track on the backstretch. Johnson would go on to cross the finish line first, but officials didn’t approve of his racing with Swann. They’d penalize Johnson three spots for pushing Swann off, handing the win to Tyler’s father, Tyson Swann. Josh Loftin was a close second and Tyler Swann settled for third. Johnson was credited with fourth and Kenny Buff completed the field.

Vintage Stock Heavy

Johnson redeemed himself in the Stock Heavy main, driving his No. 75x to a solid win by a 0.834-second gap over Steve Loftin. The race for third was a good one with Tyson Swann, Doug Rink and Duke Zink all battling hard. Rink passed Swann in turn 10 on the final lap, but then slowed to let Swann back past along with Zink. Swann would cross the stripe third, Zink fourth and Rink fifth. But Rink and Zink weren’t done; the pair had a disagreement about something and it boiled over to the scales, where pushing and shoving ensued between the drivers and other crew members. Both were disqualified, handing P4 to Ken Dillard and P5 to Darren Allen.

Vintage Super Stock

Kenny Buff wins Vintage Super Stock
Kenny Buff wins Vintage Super Stock

Kenny Buff continued his domination of the Vintage Super Stock division at Kershaw. Buff would race out to over a 12-second lead in the main over heat winner Cameron Plyler before the checkers waved. With the win Buff will take the 2021 class championship.

Following Buff and Plyler across the line were Archie Kennedy, Kevin Frische and Todd Hammond.

The Maxxis Sprint Series has some time off until their next race. With the points season now over, all that’s left on the 2021 schedule is the Grand Nationals November 19-21 at 103rd Street Sports Complex in Jacksonville, Fla. We’ll announce when details and pre-registration is open for the annual Maxxis Grand Nationals.

Once final points are calculated, we’ll share a post on the 2021 series points champions.

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