Over 700 race pre-entries set for Mid-Ohio AKRA / Dart Kart Road Race Nationals

Aerial view of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Aerial view of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

LEXINGTON, Ohio — The Mid-Ohio Road Race Nationals, annually one of the biggest kart races in the United States is now less than two weeks away, and current pre-registration numbers suggest the June 18-20 event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course may be the best-attended road race karting event in recent memory.

Dart Kart Club officials reported 240 practice and 703 race entries are already signed in for Mid-Ohio as of Monday morning, June 7. The practice entry count indicates the amount of actual drivers that will be in attendance as each driver is required to pay for a single Friday practice pass. While some drivers will enter only one or two classes, others will race in at least four divisions and sometimes more, which leads to an average of about three class entries per driver.

** UPDATE – Dart Kart Club received 12 more practice entries and 51 more race entries Monday and Tuesday morning bringing totals to 252 practice and 754 race pre-entries.

This year’s Mid-Ohio Nationals serves as the first race of the season for the Dart Kart group and the second round of the 2021 AKRA National Road Race Series. The event also is a points race for the WKA National Road Racing Series, Championship Enduro Series (CES) and the Karters of America Racing Triad (KART) series.

CIK 125 Shifter grid from a recent Mid-Ohio National (Bruce Walls photo)
CIK 125 Shifter grid from a recent Mid-Ohio National
(Bruce Walls photo)

Officials will continue to accept pre-entries until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, June 9. After that, racers will have to enter at the track. For the online pre-registration link, race schedules and more information, go to dartkartclub.com.

Gene Davis, treasurer of the Dart Kart Club who has been involved in various capacities with the club for over 30 years, says he’s never seen this many pre-entries for Mid-Ohio or any road race he’s been involved with. Davis pointed out that traditionally this race gains approximately 18% of the pre-entry count in at-track entries. If that holds true for this year’s edition, when all the entries are counted there will very likely be well over 250 drivers in attendance and over 800 race entries. 

While we don’t have official statistics from the different road race series and events around the country, it’s safe to say this will be one of the best-attended road race nationals over the last couple decades, at least. 

While exciting to say the least, the magnitude of the event has everyone involved working long hours to prepare for everything that goes into hosting a successful national-level kart race. Tasks such as pit pass sales, parking, registration, tech inspection, track setup, staff meetings and more are all important jobs that need to be planned for and executed once the event kicks off.

When some 200-plus race haulers and drivers with their teams and families come pulling into the gate between Thursday and Friday, June 17-18, the workload for these jobs will be greater than ever before. Many of the helpers and club officials are volunteers, and Dart Kart representatives have already asked teams and competitors for respect and patience as the weekend unfolds.

Big class counts expected

When looking through the race day schedules, about the only type of kart you won’t find at Mid-Ohio would be a dirt oval chassis. Nearly every type of road race and CIK sprint-style kart will be represented, including super karts, single and dual engine enduros, 2-cycle and 4-cycle sprint-enduros, CIK-style shifters, TaGs and LO206s, and vintage karts. 

Yamaha enduro is always a popular division at Mid-Ohio<br />
Yamaha enduro is always a popular division at Mid-Ohio
(Bruce Walls photo)

We’d expect the largest classes will be the usual suspects — Yamaha Pipe for laydown enduros, CIK LO206, 4-Cycle Sprint 360 and/or 380, and Mid-Ohio normally attracts a big crowd of CIK shifters that will enter Stock Honda, 125 Shifter and/or Hegar/Fisher 125 Pro Shifter class, which is expected to be in the 50-kart range. 

Other classes that should attract solid counts include the TaG and IAME CIK categories, Unlimited, Piston Port Sprint for 100cc pipe sprint-enduros, and the various Formula 100 and 100cc Controlled laydown divisions. 

Margay Ignite Junior and Senior are included in each day’s schedule for the first time at Mid-Ohio. These classes are only for the LO206-powered Margay Ignite chassis. 

Interest has picked up for the B Stock division for dual-engine enduros. The class should have a great crowd on Saturday with the Battle of the Twins race that has been promoted on Facebook by Christy Kendall and others in an effort to get as many of these karts active and on the track as possible.  

The goal has been 20-plus entries and that number is expected, which would make it the largest B Stock field in many years.

Individual class promotions continue to help road racing

Since Texas road racer John Brown and others created and promoted the super successful 50-Kart Challenge for Yamaha Pipe at December’s WKA Daytona KartWeek, other promoters have stepped up to do the same for other classes at road race events, such as the Battle of the Twins at Mid-Ohio.

Josh Nevels has been one of those promoters and he, Jonathan Tedder, 4-Cycle Central and others worked together to help attract 54 racers for the Animal Nationals for the Briggs Animal 380 division at the Woodbridge Kart Club-hosted AKRA opener at Summit Point Motorsports Park in May. 

Nevels now has his sights set on the September 24-26 AKRA season closer at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, where he believes there’s a legitimate shot at 1,000-plus entries. While Nevels has already started his efforts to help the Pittsburgh national, they are going to kick into high gear at Mid-Ohio, where his team will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets throughout the paddock all weekend. The drawing will be held at Sunday morning’s Drivers Meeting and half of the proceeds will go to the raffle winner and the other half toward cash purses for multiple classes at Pittsburgh.

More details about Nevels’ promotions for the Pittsburgh Dart Kart / AKRA national will come in another post. 

Weekend schedule

While the size of the crowd in attendance will be greater than usual, little has changed over the years regarding the Mid-Ohio Nationals weekend schedule and procedures. 

Pit pass sales, pre-registration pickup, trailer drop off and pre-tech will all be available Thursday evening, June 17 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Gates will open for credentialed competitors at 6 a.m. Friday with pit pass sales, registration and pre-tech reopening at 7. An 8 a.m. Drivers Meeting will precede a full day of group practice, which will start at about 8:30 and run till 5 p.m. 

A couple rounds of practice will go off Saturday and Sunday mornings before seven jam-packed race groups hit the track between 10:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day.

This event should be another great step forward in the resurgence of road racing and continue the recent momentum this style of karting has enjoyed in recent months and years. 

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