CKNA Northeast at Pittsburgh tops 100 pre-entries with inaugural series championships on the line

WAMPUM, Pa. — The final rounds of the Cup Karts North America Northeast Division are fast approaching this July 28-30 with an event that many circled on their 2023 calendars when the new Vega Tire series was announced in January.

Sandwiched between this weekend’s final round of CKNA North at Indiana’s Whiteland Raceway Park and CKNA Canada’s final round the first weekend of August at Goodwood Kartways in Ontario is a return of national-level 4-cycle sprint racing to Pittsburgh International Race Complex’s popular Wilson Circuit in western Pa.

Pittsburgh International's Wilson Circuit measuring just over three-quarters of a mile
Pittsburgh International’s Wilson Circuit measuring just over three-quarters of a mile

The event will mark the first time a major 4-cycle touring series has run Pittsburgh in around a decade.

Pre-registration remains open for CKNA at Pitt Race and late fees will go into effect at 1am on Monday, July 24, giving teams another few days to get entered at the lowest prices.

To pre-enter, go to CKNA’s online registration page at raceselect.com.

As of Monday morning the event hit 100 pre-entries with a number of expected racers still not on the list. Teams from across the eastern half of the US will be in attendance with many of the biggest names in 206 sprint racing expected to give the 0.78-mile hilly Wilson Circuit their best shot.

Series promoter Tony “The Toe” Cirillo is ready and welcomes all to help close out a very successful first season of CKNA Northeast.

“Pittsburgh is shaping up to be a big one. Northeast competitors have had the opportunity to race shorter courses at OVRP and NJMP. At Pitt, competitors will experience a longer circuit with lap times in excess of one minute. Racers from all parts of North America will be there. Additionally, Pitt Race has a large 206 following at the local level. There is a strong possibility that some of their club’s top competitors will run, making this event even more competitive for everyone in attendance,” Cirillo stated.

Points outlook –

While some local ringers may play a factor, inaugural Northeast Division championships will be on the line with a number of competitors eying class titles.

With the Charlotte Spring Nationals — a CKNA “major” with a one-final-per-class format — counting as a Northeast points race, this gave the series a best five of seven (two drops) race format with two finals each at OVRP, NJMP and Pitt. With this format in place, teams that ran Charlotte could skip either OVRP or NJMP and come to Pitt and still have a shot at a championship.

NJMP 3-time winner Eric Fagan (175) will be a driver to beat in Senior Medium and possibly Lights at Pittsburgh
NJMP 3-time winner Eric Fagan (175) will be a driver to beat in Senior Medium and possibly Lights at Pittsburgh

And that’s what several have done. Many racers from the South who ran Charlotte opted to sit out the long drive to OVRP in April and attend NJMP in June and now Pittsburgh this late July.

Current point standings do not count “drop races,” and it’s wide open for championships in a number of divisions.

Senior Medium, for example, shows at least eight drivers within striking distance for a title. These include many of the hottest drivers in 206 racing like Dylan Amundsen, Hudson Brown, Owen Lloyd and Christopher McKeithan, among others. And while he’s not a factor in Medium points due to not running the class at Charlotte, the perennial favorite has to be Eric Fagan, who swept the division’s finals at New Jersey.

Hudson Brown has two Northeast wins in Senior Light and leads the points heading to Pitt
Hudson Brown has two Northeast wins in Senior Light and leads the points heading to Pitt

In Senior Light, five drivers have run all five Northeast rounds thus far, and Hudson Brown sits atop the standings with a couple wins to his credit (OVRP Saturday and NJMP Sunday). The Maryland racer holds 29-point lead over Sunday OVRP winner Matthew Darlison. Lloyd may have an outside shot, but when factoring in the two drops, he’s still 92 points back of Brown.

With four podiums in five starts, Chris Cirillo is in control of Masters and enters Pitt with a 55-point lead over Saturday NJMP winner John Price.

Cirillo also leads Senior Heavy, but when counting each driver’s three best finals, Elmer Edmonson holds a 45-point advantage over Cirillo.

Junior has been the largest class at both OVRP and NJMP and it’s been very competitive up front mostly among Paulie Hart, Cody Lindstrom and Emil Osman.

Lindstrom and Osman both have two wins with Osman sweeping OVRP finals and Lindstrom doing the same at NJMP, while Hart has three P2 results but is still searching for his first win of the series.

The current standings show Hart ahead by 35 points, but when counting each driver’s best three finals thus far, Osman has 630 to Lindstrom’s 619 and Hart’s 600, making for a wide open championship battle heading to Pittsburgh.

Legends is very tight with Tim Stiefel, Rodrigo De Francisco, Todd Baron and Tim Hannen all with shots at the championship. All four are entered for Pittsburgh.

Colton McQuade (Sportsman), Spencer Hite (Kid Kart) and Wyatt Fink (Cadet) all go into next weekend with healthy leads in their respective divisions.

“This race, at the famed Pittsburgh International, will provide good insight into the Grand National with many of the best 206 racers in the US set to attend. Be prepared for hot temperatures, full classes and top-notch competition. I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the track,” Tony “The Toe” added.

Friday, July 28 will see a full day of controlled practice with Saturday’s Round 6 featuring a morning warmup, qualifying, two rounds of heats and a round of finals. The 2023 Northeast Division’s seventh and final round will run Sunday, July 30 with a morning warmup, qualifying, one heat race round and a round of finals to determine class championships.

Kart Lounge’s Kenny Pearson will be in attendance Saturday and Sunday to help with social media coverage of the big event. CKNA will post the complete event schedule and other details in the next week.

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