CONCORD, N.C. — WKA sprint racing is back in action in Florida in less than a month with the 2023 Vega Tire / Summit Racing Equipment Gold Cup Series South Region season opener set for Feb. 17-19 at 103rd Street Sports Complex on Jacksonville’s west side.
This February’s Gold Cup race marks a return to 103rd Street’s traditional counter-clockwise layout including the long 1,000-foot straightaway and no chicane. The last three touring series races at Jacksonville (two CKNA, one WKA) have run the 0.7-mile course in reverse (clockwise) with the chicane as that layout continues to gain popularity in LO206 sprint racing.
We’d have to go back to the Maxxis Grand Nationals in November 2021 since a touring series has run the track counter-clockwise.
WKA has made some class and schedule updates to the 2023 Gold Cup Series that should improve the series.
Five rounds of practice will open the weekend Friday, Feb. 17 and run from 9am till about 4:30pm. The final Friday round — tagged “Happy Hour” — will determine drivers’ grid spots for Saturday qualifying.
The 2022 Gold Cup Series banquet will be held Friday night at Autobahn Indoor Speedway at 6601 Executive Park in Jacksonville.
Practice will have a later start Saturday with Super Masters scheduled to hit the track first at 10am. Following one round of practice, WKA will hold a pair of 5-minute qualifying rounds — one for Round 1 and one for Round 2. After qualifying, a pair of pre-final rounds will be held back to back — again, one for Round 1 and one for Round 2. Saturday’s on-track action will run later into the evening with the last pre-final slated to go off at approximately 6:30pm.
Teams will return for “Super Final Sunday” which is scheduled to be a shorter Sunday compared to Gold Cup shows in 2022. A single round of practice will start at 8am and run till 9. At 9:15am the first round of finals will take place for Round 1. A lunch break will be held and then another full slate of finals for Round 2 will run between Noon and 2pm.
The goal is to have racing wrapped up just after 2pm to give racers and teams an early start home for work or school Monday morning.
Click here for the Jacksonville event schedule.
There are some class structure changes for 2023, as well.
Vintage Briggs flathead divisions will no longer be included in the series. The vintage classes, which gained a decent following during the run of the Maxxis Sprint Series, struggled to get entries at WKA shows in 2022 and the organization opted to not bring them back this year.
206 Senior class weights have been adjusted to 350 and 370-pound minimums, respectively. This is a reduction of 10 pounds for each division compared to last year’s series and December’s Daytona KartWeek Sprint race.
For 206 Masters, drivers age 33 and up may compete in the class as long as he/she weighs at least 200 pounds with no race gear. Any driver age 35 and up may still enter the class and the weight remains the same as last year at 390 pounds.
Two Cadet (Green and Yellow slides) and two Junior (Yellow and Black slides) classes will continue to be offered in 2023. In Cadet, drivers must enter the Green class to be eligible to race in the faster Yellow division. In Junior, drivers must enter the Yellow class to be eligible to race in the faster Black division.
206 Super Masters — one of the most popular divisions in 2022 — will continue for drivers age 50 and up at a 375-pound minimum.
206 Kid Kart is back in the North and South regions and in the North a Comer Kid Kart class will be offered, as well.
Click here for the 2023 Gold Cup Series class structure.