CONCORD, N.C. — Plenty of drivers made headlines this past weekend, March 24-27, at a super competitive World Karting Association A-Maxx Racing Manufacturers Cup Nationals #KartingChallenge at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Kart Track, where approximately 275 entries raced between Saturday and Sunday’s rounds.
Following up the Dec. 28-30, 2021, season opener at Daytona International Speedway’s infield Kart Track, Saturday’s action marked Round 3 of the eight-race Man. Cup Series with Round 4 taking place Sunday. The series travels to Indiana’s New Castle Motorsports Park May 13-15 for rounds 5 and 6 and closes with rounds 7 and 8 on August 12-14 at Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Rain cleared out of the Charlotte area Wednesday night to make for a mostly clear and sunny but cold, windy four-day event that began with an optional day of practice Thursday. Official practice and both rounds of qualifying were held Friday before stiff, swirling winds moved into the area Saturday and remained for the duration of the weekend. While temperatures were in the 50s each afternoon, it felt much colder.
WKA ran the “super-speedway” version of Charlotte’s 0.65-mile track which cuts out the twisty left-right-left section after Turn 1. The layout makes for a very fast circuit consisting of 11 corners and most of them flat out.
On the race track, two drivers scored the weekend hat trick. Senior racer Gavin Bayliff won both finals in the 17-kart KA100 Senior division, the largest class of the weekend. Bayliff added the Margay Ignite Senior Sunday final to his total to give him the triple.
And in the Cadets, Isaac Malcuit won three of the four classes he entered. The Ohio youngster — #littlesizzle75 — won both Mini Swift finals and Sunday’s 206 Cadet main event to join Bayliff in the triple-win column.
In the double-win category, Adam Brickley won both days’ KA100 Junior finals on his Trinity Kart Group / Kart Republic entry.
Jared Clarke scored the win over Christopher McKeithan in both Saturday and Sunday’s 206 Junior finals to join Brickley as a double winner.
Florida TS Racing driver Colin Warren returned to the win column at Charlotte with victories in each day’s CIK 206 360# main events and successfully defending his 206 Senior win at the 2021 Charlotte Man. Cup round.
In other action, Michael Burton captured convincing wins in both Ignite Masters finals; Carter McMurray was able to deny Malcuit of a four-win event with his triumph in Saturday’s 206 Cadet main; Keegan Chance dominated Kid Kart Comer; Moe Edmonson and Daniel Armstrong split the CIK 206 375# finals, while AJ Stoner and Grady Cronick did the same in Micro Swift; Jaiden Beckman, Nick Ksobiech, Parker Stewart, Tyler Swann, Tyson Swann and Isaac Wells all left Charlotte with first-place hardware after a long four-day event.
Here’s a rundown of each class’s WKA racing at Charlotte —
Issac Malcuit and Carter McMurray raced at the front of the pack in every round of competition between 206 Cadet and Mini Swift. While the two clearly separated themselves from the rest of the 15-kart field in 206, Max Weiland showed good speed and at times was able to challenge and pass the top two, mostly early in the races.
While Malcuit went on for the triple, he got beat by McMurray in Saturday’s 206 Cadet final, the first main event of the weekend. The pair swapped the lead a couple of times on the final circuit until Malcuit blocked the bottom into the tight Turn 10 right-hander. McMurray ran his normal line and carried much more speed than Malcuit on exit. His Timmy Tech / COMPKART No. 440 went past Malcuit’s Kart Republic into Turn 11 and to the finish line with 0.082 seconds separation at the finish. The impressive win would go down as McMurray’s only one of the weekend.
Malcuit settled for P2 with Max Weiland 2.638 seconds back in P3. Grady Cronick and AJ Stoner rounded out the top five with Christopher Youtsey P6, Sam Tutwiler P7, Carter Barkis P8, Kaleb Johnson P9 and Jacob Schaible P10.
McMurray raced Malcuit hard in Sunday’s 206 Cadet final but the Ohio racer would have enough speed on his Kart Republic to keep the North Carolina driver at bay. Little Sizzle would score the win over McMurray by a 0.249-second gap with Weiland again coming home third. Cronick was P4 for the second day in a row with Schaible improving five spots from his Saturday finish to take fifth.
Youtsey, Johnson, Tutwiler, Barkis and Danny O’Gara finished sixth through 10th.
Briggs Vintage Stock
The Briggs Vintage Stock class ran as a local option for the first time with WKA. With the Maxxis Sprint Series not returning in 2022, the class — which had over 15 competitors at last year’s Maxxis Charlotte round — is in need of a series and WKA is working to provide that.
Six drivers entered this past weekend with the father-son duo of Tyson and Tyler Swann the fastest in attendance. Tyler would pass his dad on the final lap of Saturday’s 10-lap contest to score the win. Tyson finished P2 after leading the entire race. Robert Davis was third, Josh Loftin fourth, Cameron Plyler fifth and Matthew Sapp sixth.
On Sunday it was Tyson Swann’s turn for victory. He’d cross the finish stripe 0.061 seconds in front of Tyler. Davis again finished third with Plyler fourth, Sapp fifth and Loftin sixth.
We hope to see more Vintage 4-cycle racers out for WKA’s 206-only series which opens June 24-26 at Charlotte.
Nine drivers made the call in Margay Ignite Senior at Charlotte after 35-plus entered at Daytona in December.
Midwest racer Nick Ksobiech scored the win on day one in a super close four-kart race. Ksobiech crossed the checkers only 0.089 seconds ahead of Reid Sweeney with Gavin Bayliff right there for P3 and Michael Burton a close P4. Finnegan Bayliff won Friday’s pole award but didn’t have the same speed in the final; he’d settle for fifth.
Gavin Bayliff jumped out to an early lead in Sunday’s Ignite Senior final and stretched it out to over 10 kart lengths at one point. But Ksobiech, Sweeney and Finnegan Bayliff worked together to close the gap on Gavin late in the race. Ksobiech was in position to challenge with a couple laps to go before jumping a curb and handing P2 to Sweeney. This gave G. Bayliff a little extra gap and he was able to secure the win by a 0.407-second margin over Sweeney.
Ksobiech was third after his Saturday triumph with Finnegan Bayliff fourth. Burton rounded out the top five.
Fifteen Kid Kart Comer drivers took the green Saturday in one of the largest fields of the day.
Keegan Chance never left a doubt in the 8-lap final as the youngster pulled out to a huge lead on his No. 61 machine. Chance, who also won the pole award, would finish nearly 33 seconds ahead of P2 finisher Parker Stewart with Jackson Frank coming home third. Drew Schneider was fourth and Harper Gage rounded out the top five.
Camden Powers, Alexander Banciu, Garrett Michel, Anthony Mazzuoccolo and Reagan Hodges crossed the stripe sixth through 10th.
The kid karts ran the Briggs LO206 engine Sunday and only five drivers entered. Multi-time feature winner Parker Stewart scored the win by a 6.998-second gap over Elam Stoner. Lincoln Wiley was third, Drew Schneider fourth and Reagan Hodges fifth.
Adam Brickley opened the event with a pair of Friday pole awards in KA100 Junior and never slowed down from there.
The Trinity Karting Group racer out of Mooresville, N.C., scored the win in Saturday’s KA Junior final by a 0.454-second margin over Christian Quijano. The top two separated themselves from the rest of the 13-kart field with Lovisaa Landin coming home third, more than 3.6 seconds back of the winner. Mateo Naranjo finished P4 with Ayrton Grim rounding out the top five.
On Sunday, Quijano was fastest all day, crossing the finish line first in the pre-final and the final by more than 4 seconds over Brickley. But Quijano’s No. 812 did not pass post-race tech inspection, giving the win to Brickley for the second consecutive day.
Landin would improve one spot from her Saturday result to take second. Naranjo was third, Grim fourth and Ignite Junior winner Jaiden Beckman rounded out the top five.
Brickley would become one of four drivers to score double wins at the event.
CIK 206 360#
Eleven racers entered the 206 360# division and several of the best 206 sprint racers in the country were in attendance.
AEM Karting racer Mick Gabriel and TS Racing’s Colin Warren were the class of the field in Saturday’s action. But similar to Sunday’s KA Junior final, the driver who saw the checkered flag first wasn’t the driver who’d be credited with the win.
Gabriel would beat Warren by a kart length to the finish in Saturday’s final in what appeared would be Mick’s first win at the Charlotte Kart Track. However, Gabriel wouldn’t make it through post-race tech, handing the win to Warren. MGM drivers Dylan Amundsen and Zach Linsell completed the podium in P2 and P3. James Overbeck was fourth on his Tony Kart with pole winner Adam Maxwell settling for P5 on his Evo chassis.
Warren and Gabriel were back Sunday to battle it out once again. This time they had company with Eric Fagan making it a three-kart battle and Overbeck not far behind throughout the 16-lap final.
In the closing laps, Fagan would push Warren away from the rest of the field while Gabriel tried to close the gap. With the white flag in the air, Fagan made his move to the inside of Warren in Turn 1. He’d take the lead until Warren would retake the top spot later in the lap. The swapping for the lead allowed Gabriel to close and make a bid for second on the exit of the turn 8 double left. Gabriel and Fagan would make contact behind Warren, sending both spinning into the grass and ending their races a few corners from the finish.
This gave Warren an easy final few corners and the VLR driver would complete the weekend double with a 1.467-second win over Overbeck. Maxwell was third, Linsell fourth and Amundsen fifth.
Warren dedicated his double-win weekend to fellow Florida kart racer Neil Breitenbach, who sadly passed away earlier this month after a long illness.
The Micro Swift action was furious all event. With 11 racers in the field, AJ Stoner and Grady Cronick separated themselves from the rest of the pack and raced hard both days for feature wins.
On Saturday it was Stoner earning the victory by a 2.851-second margin over pole winner Cronick. Travis Pettit was a little over 4 seconds back in P3 with Christopher Youtsey P4 and Danny O’Gara P5.
Sunday’s Micro Swift final was an exciting one as Stoner and Cronick traded the lead several times over the 14-lap contest with some close calls for both. With less than two laps to go, Stoner had the lead and made a mistake exiting the Turn 6 left-hander at the end of the backstretch. He’d slip wide and spin right in front of Cronick, who was able to make his way past. This would give Cronick an easy final last lap and the win to split the class with Saturday winner Stoner.
Pettit and Youtsey both moved up one spot from their Saturday finishes to take P2 and P3. Stoner would settle for P4 with Cade Wolfe completing the top five.
Ignite Junior / Ignite Masters
The Ignite Juniors and Masters made for the only combined class of the weekend. Eight drivers made the call in Masters and three in the Juniors.
In Junior, Isaac Wells and Jaiden Beckman split the main events. Wells won Saturday by slim gap over pole winner Beckman. Mason Kuhn was third.
Sunday’s race was another tight one and this time Beckman came out on top by just 0.111 seconds over Wells. Kuhn was third.
Michael Burton dominated Ignite Masters all weekend. The longtime Margay pilot scored Saturday’s feature win over a big 6.567-second gap over Mike Stephenson. Brandin Moore was third, Jason Froemming fourth and Rick Fulks fifth.
On Sunday, the gap between Burton and Stephenson shrunk to 2.8 seconds but it was still Burton with the victory to move into the double-win column. Stephenson settled for second, Froemming third, Daniel Fiehrer fourth and Jeremy Franko fifth.
Similar to 206 Cadet, the top of the Mini Swift field belonged to Ohio’s Isaac Malcuit and North Carolina’s Carter McMurray.
In Saturday’s final, McMurray hung tough with Malcuit for most of the race until Malcuit pulled away late. He’d cross the stripe nearly 2 seconds ahead for his first final win of the event. McMurray, who won the pole award, settled for P2, Max Weiland P3, Race Beckman P4 and Sam Tutwiler P5.
On Sunday, McMurray jumped out to the early lead with Beckman moving into second and relegating Malcuit to third. But Malcuit wasted no time moving his No. 175 back into the top spot. He’d race ahead of both McMurray and Beckman in the early laps to take the lead and never relinquish it. Malcuit would finish 1.375 seconds ahead of Beckman at the finish, who had his best run of the event with a fine P2 result. McMurray’s P3 was his lowest result of the weekend while Weiland settled for fourth and Paul Hart fifth.
The Sunday win gave Malcuit the hat trick after he scored the 206 Cadet rounds 3 and 4 finals over McMurray.
CIK 206 375#
In Saturday’s 206 375# main, Mick Gabriel won what appeared to be his second race of the day until post-race tech. Gabriel’s No. 523 EOS kart was DQ’ed to give the victory to Florida’s Moe Edmonson. The MGM Chassis racer, who won two finals at Charlotte in last June’s Maxxis race, returned to the top of the podium at America’s Home for Racing, scoring the win by a 2.272-second gap over Eric Fagan.
A-Maxx Racing driver Adam Maxwell was third, Eli Fox fourth and Todd Baron fifth.
Maxwell returned Sunday to lead most of 375# final until Daniel Armstrong caught him late in the race. The pair swapped the lead several times in the last laps before Armstrong made the final pass in the Turn 8 double left-hander.
Armstrong, one of the top Speedway Dirt kart racers in the country, would go on to capture his first win in sprint competition by a 0.059-second advantage over Maxwell. Baron had his best finish of the event with a third-place result, Brayden Johnson was fourth on an A-Maxx entry and Mick Gabriel rounded out the top five after contact early in the race with Eric Fagan.
206 Winners –
The junior LO206 category was a barn-burner all event. Of the 15 entrants, nearly half of them raced at the front of the pack at different times throughout the weekend. As the event continued, Jared Clarke and Christopher McKeithan continued as staples at the front while most drivers battled behind them.
In Saturday’s final it was Clarke capturing the win on his No. 216 Nitro-Kart over McKeithan in a hard-fought race that included pole winner Addison Ianniello and Will Loller. Ianniello, who led laps in the final, would settle for P3 and Loller P4 on his new Nitro-Kart. Nash Gierke rounded out the top five.
Sunday’s final featured a three-kart breakaway with Clarke, McKeithan and Loller. The trio traded positions numerous times over the 16 laps and for the second day in a row Clarke had the final say with a 0.094-second victory over McKeithan to score the WKA Man. Cup double. Loller looked solid all event but had to settle for the last slot on the podium in this one. Gierke improved one spot from his Saturday finish to take P4 while Ianiello slipped a couple spots from her Saturday result to take P5.
The final class in each day’s schedule was the largest of the event with 17 entrants in KA100 Senior.
The division featured identical podiums both days with Gavin Bayliff earning WKA Man. Cup wins over Aiden Levy and Finnegan Bayliff.
Saturday’s race saw Bayliff keep Levy at bay throughout the 16-lapper and crossing the stripe a few kart-lengths in front on his Trinity Karting Group No. 964. Veteran Brandon Adkins was fourth behind the Bayliff brothers and Levy while GoPro Motorplex regular Alex Murray rounded out the top five.
Levy led most of Sunday’s KA Senior final and for awhile it looked like he was going to end G. Bayliff’s dominance. But Bayliff continued to close on Levy throughout the second half of the race before making the pass with just a few laps to go. From there he’d pull out to a 0.352-second lead at the finish to capture his third win of the event including Sunday’s Ignite Senior main earlier in the day.
Levy had to settle for second after making a strong push for the win. F. Bayliff was third, James Overbeck continued to improve all event at had his best run of the weekend to take fourth. Adkins rounded out the top five in a race retired several drivers on lap 1 in a first-turn accident. No one was hurt.
The next kart race at Charlotte will be WKA’s new 206-only series June 24-26. Kart Lounge will once again be in attendance to cover the action.
Many thanks to WKA for having us to cover this past weekend’s Man. Cup event!