CONCORD, N.C. – Corey Towles won both his Senior Medium heat races; Tim Shutt swept the Legends heats and split the Masters prelims with Chris Cline, and Jacob Donald and Eric Fagan split the Senior Heavy heat races. Those were just a few of several stories at the Charlotte Motor Speedway kart track Saturday afternoon during the Cup Karts North America Spring Nationals.
The winner of Sunday’s Senior Medium final is anyone’s guess. There’s easily at least a dozen drivers who have a legitimate shot at the win, and every race today came down to the final corners.
If you were forced to place a bet, you’d have to at least give strong consideration to Towles. The Jacksonville, Fla., driver won both his heat races in Senior Medium and looked as smooth as glass doing it.
Towles bested Colin Warren in the second heat of round one by a close 0.062-second margin. Cole Nelson appeared to gain speed as the day progressed on his Invader. Nelson finished third in this heat before finishing P2 to Towles in the first heat of round two. Mick Gabriel ran fourth and Keegan Clark fifth.
Finishing behind Towles and Nelson in the first heat of round two were Brandon Jarsocrak, Ian Quinn and Chris Carroll.
A pair of Coyotes finished one-two in Senior Medium’s first heat of the day with Pauly Massimino scoring the win over Sean Meier. Massimino and Meier both took advantage of a last-lap incident between race-long leader Zach Linsell and Jacob Donald. Linsell and Donald made contact in the final corners while battling for the win before both slid off the track and lost several positions. Donald settled for P5 and Linsell a disappointing P7 after starting from the pole and leading most of the race. Hayden Jones was third behind Massimino and Meier. Brandon Adkins finished fourth.
The last heat of the day saw Donald get redemption. The Pennsylvania native sliced through the top five over the last several laps of the race and passed Massimino on the final lap for the win. Massimino led nearly all the race but settled for second and was denied of joining Towles as a two-time Medium heat winner on the day. Gabriel was third, Meier fourth and Dylan Admundsen, who ran second for much of the race, slid back to fifth on the final lap. Linsell was sixth and Warren seventh in an extremely competitive race.
Sunday’s Senior Medium should be an absolute barn-burner and will surely come down to the final corners.
Chris Cline and Michael Dittmer finished one-two in the heat one for Masters. Cline wheeled his IONIC Edge to the win by just 0.194 seconds over Dittmer. Tim Shutt was third in this one with Todd Baron fourth and Jeff Scott giving IONIC Edge two of the top-five positions.
The second heat was a little more interesting with Cline and Dittmer nose to tail up front until the final lap. Going into what we’ll call turn 10 on the final lap, Dittmer made a run underneath Cline in the popular passing point. The two made contact, sending Cline around.
This gave Shutt the opportunity he needed to slip through and take his third heat race win of the day after sweeping the Legends heats earlier. Baron moved up to second and MGM’s Paul Rice to third. Dittmer would settle for fourth and James Inscoe fifth. Cline slipped all the way back to 11th after leading most of the race.
Shutt and Tim Clark look to be the drivers to beat in Legends. Shutt drove his CompKart to the win in both heat races but not without stiff competition from Clark and others. The pair traded the lead several times in heat one before Shutt settled in for the win over Clark’s MGM. Gold Hill, N.C.’s Duke Zink was third on his MGM, Tennessee’s Jody Covington fourth on an MGM and North Carolina’s Todd Baron fifth on a Deadly chassis.
The second heat saw Shutt lead wire to wire for the win. Clark slipped back to fifth on the start and needed the entire 10 laps to make it back to P2. Covington made a bid for the win late in the race but would settle for third after Clark made it past him on the last lap. Zink was fourth and Neil Breitenbach rounded out the top five of 15 starters.
It’ll be tough to beat Donald and Eric Fagan in Sunday’s Senior Heavy final. The pair split the heat races with Donald winning the first and Fagan passing Donald on the last lap to win the second.
In heat one, Jacob Duvall finished third on his Eagle with teammate Aren Lloyd fourth on his Eagle. Meier rounded out the top five on his Coyote.
Meier seemed to gain speed all day in both Heavy and Medium and he’d finish third behind Fagan and Donald in Heavy’s second heat. Lloyd would settle for fourth and Duvall fifth of 32 starters.
Donald and Warren each scored wins in the Senior Light heats. Donald won over Amundsen, Clark, Massimino and Towles in heat one. The second Light heat saw Warren get his only heat race win of the day. Donald was second in this one with Jarsocrak, Towles and Clark filling the top five.
Nitro, IONIC Edge and Coyote are the three chassis makes represented at the front of the field in Junior thus far.
In heat race one, Daytona Sprint Nationals 206 Junior winner James Overbeck scored the win on his Nitro Kart. Overbeck crossed the stripe 0.089 seconds ahead of Owen Lloyd’s Coyote for the win. Parker Delong was third on a Nitro, Carter Pryor fourth on an IONIC Edge, and Christopher McKeithan fifth on his Nitro
The second heat saw Pryor and Lloyd break up the Nitro group and make it to the front of the field. Pryor would score the win with Lloyd right behind in P2. Overbeck finished third, McKeithan fourth and Delong P5.
Keelan Harvick and Isaac Malcuit both scored two heat wins in today’s Sportsman competition. Malcuit won round one’s first heat over Caleb Turner. Jase Petty was third, AJ Stoner fourth and Garrett Andexler fifth.
Round one’s second heat was shortened a couple laps due to a red flag. We don’t believe any driver was injured. Harvick was scored as the winner with Cade Jaeger right behind in second. Nash Gierke was third, Ayrton Grim fourth and Wes Gundler fifth.
Malcuit won again in round two first heat. He wheeled his No. 475 to the victory by 0.457 seconds over Grim. Jaeger was third, Petty fourth and Jared Clarke fifth.
Harvick and Gierke checked out on the field in the last heat for Sportsman, even lapping several karts late in the 10-lapper. Harvick would score the win by a mere 0.040-second gap over Gierke. Holder Harder earned his first top-five of the day with a third, Gundler was fourth and Ty Arbogast completed the top five.
Cooper Mull is the class of the nine-kart Kid Kart field so far this weekend. Mull won both Kid Kart heats and did it in convincing fashion. In probably the only races of the day that didn’t come down to the final corners, Mull won heat one by a 3.9-second margin over Titus Roberts. Jaxon Stone was third, Camdon Clay fourth and Elam Stoner fifth
The margin of victory was a little closer in heat two. Mull won this one by a 2.7-second margin over Roberts. Stone and Clay were third and fourth for the second time of the day. This time Zion Dyer scored his first top five of the day with a P5 result.
Good luck to everyone in tomorrow’s finals and we’ll look forward to getting some audio interviews posted from the winners and other top finishers.