Atwood confident heading to BWI after P6 Sr Light run at Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When looking back at the recent Cup Karts North America Spring Nationals at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Brady Atwood may not first come to mind when recalling which drivers had the most impressive weekends in the super competitive Senior Light and Medium divisions.

But the Eldersburg, Md., racer’s uphill battle in Senior Light deserves some recognition, as it’d be hard to find another driver who’s ever advanced 59 positions from where they qualified to where they finished the final.

Brady Atwood at Pittsburgh CKNA July 2023 (CKNA photo)
Brady Atwood at Pittsburgh CKNA July 2023 (CKNA photo)

At Charlotte the first weekend of March, Atwood did just that. After qualifying 65th of 89 drivers to take time in Senior Light, the 16-year-old racer was in a hole early.

“We didn’t go out for the morning warmup and I didn’t realize there was still a puddle in the left-hander coming onto the backstretch,” Atwood admitted. “I slid off the track and hit the barrier, and that really messed us up in qualifying. Medium qualifying didn’t go a whole lot better because we made a mistake with the wrong gear. We were still on the gear for the rain and the track had dried, so we qualified around 50th.”

Fifty-second to be exact. Now with a pair of heat races for both divisions up next, the Atwood team had to be concerned with just making each class’s final with only 46 drivers getting locked into the finals before the Last Chance Qualifying races. A Sunday morning LCQ, while fun to watch for spectators, are races most drivers do not want to be in.

“I still had confidence after qualifying. I knew our MGM (chassis) was fast, and I race well at Charlotte. It’s probably my favorite track,” Atwood said.

Atwood (P2) on the CKNA podium at Oakland Valley (NY) Race Park in April 2023
Atwood (P2) on the CKNA Northeast podium at Oakland Valley (NY) Race Park in April 2023

Atwood had terrific drives in his heats, although many onlookers may not have noticed while watching the big names like Warren, Jarsocrak, Overbeck, Lloyd and others battle it out up front.

In Light heat one, he’d drive from 33rd to 18th in 10 laps. In heat two, he’d go from P18 to P11.

In Medium, Atwood was on the march again. He’d start 26th and drive to P11 in the first heat and finish in the same spot in heat two.

The fast driving in heat race competition had Atwood solidly in the show in both classes without having to worry about running an LCQ.

While the Medium final didn’t go as planned with an engine failure while running just outside the top 10, Atwood’s drive in Light was one of the best of the event.

Starting 25th, the second-year senior driver quickly advanced a number of spots on the first lap and continued his march throughout the 16-lapper. By the end, he’d moved up to P6 and was knocking on the door of a top five. He’d cross the finish stripe right behind fourth-place Pauly Massimino and fifth-place Connor Zilisch.

“It was a really good run for us,” Atwood said about his Light final at Charlotte. “I feel like if we didn’t have a bad qualifying we would have been right there battling for the win.”

Atwood at Pittsburgh with his dad, Dave, in the background (CKNA photo)
Atwood at Pittsburgh with his dad, Dave, in the background (CKNA photo)

Now, entering his second full year in the senior 206 divisions, Atwood believes he’s ready to run with the best on the national and regional CKNA circuit. In a few short weeks he’ll get the opportunity to begin to prove it with the CKNA East Division set to kick off at United Karting BWI in Baltimore. After BWI, Atwood says his family team will run the rest of the East Division (New Jersey and OVRP), the Summer Nationals in June at Pittsburgh and the Grands in October at New Castle.

Before BWI, Atwood will travel south to Mooresville, N.C., for this weekend’s Karting Challenge event at Trackhouse Motorplex to race out of the MGM Chassis tent. It’ll be the first time the Marylander has raced at Trackhouse.

Atwood has lofty goals this season, and he’s confident after an up-and-down rookie season in seniors, his privateer, family-owned team has hit on a package that will allow him to make his presence known in Senior Light and Medium CKNA racing. He’d also love to get some support with sponsorship, and if you’re interested in helping an up-and-coming young senior driver, feel free to shoot us a message, we can get you in touch with Brady and his family.

“Last year, we struggled some to find the right setup on the karts. We tried a lot of stuff, and some things worked and some things didn’t. I guess we never really found the consistency. We did get a couple of podiums at OVRP and New Jersey in the Northeast series, but that was about it for highlights. We’ve worked closely with Paul and April at MGM, and after Charlotte, I feel like we’re really fast and we have a great opportunity to win some races this year. We’d really like to get a championship in the East series, and run up front at the nationals. When we get to those bigger events at Pittsburgh and New Castle, we want to be up there giving Owen Lloyd and MGM drivers help running against all the Coyotes.”

Keep an eye on Brady Atwood. This may not be the last time you read about him in 2024.

Learn more about Brady Atwood —

Hometown: Eldersburg, Md. (Baltimore suburb)
Age: 16
Started racing at age 6.
Home Track: Sandy Hook Speedway
Chassis: MGM Espionage
Engine Builder: Kinetic Racing Engines and GT Machine
Sponsors: None. Would love support.
Crew: Dave Atwood (dad) and James Howe (uncle)
Favorite Track: Charlotte
First Big Wins: 2021 Maxxis Sprint Series at Carolina Motorsports Park and 103rd Street Sports Complex Grand Nationals.
Biggest Win: 2022 CKNA Charlotte Spring Nationals in Junior.
2024 Goals: CKNA East championship.
Interested in Advancing out of Karts? Yes, to Formula Cars.

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