KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — MGM Chassis has enjoyed a busy three-week stretch during late November and early December with Espionage racers accomplishing wins and success in the Carolinas at Carolina Motorsports Park and Trackhouse Motorplex and most recently the CKNA Winter Nationals at NOLA Motorsports Park in Louisiana.
MGM newcomer Owen Lloyd of Waycross, Ga., who joined the team this past summer, has led the charge with three feature wins and an additional podium finish between Carolina Motorsports Park on Nov. 25 and NOLA this past weekend, while racers Bryce and Junior Downs of Florida, Ryan Sukeena, George Wheeler and Katie and Connor Yonchuk of North Carolina, Zach Linsell of Pennsylvania, Collin Miller of Maryland and many others have all raced to impressive podium finishes between the three events that have made for a busy holiday season thus far.
“We’re very proud of our small team and how far we’ve come,” MGM Chassis co-owner April Rice said. “One thing we don’t do is give up, and after the Grands we came home and went straight back to work. Even in the offseason we are still doing everything we can to better our program. We’re grateful for our MGM family and the support everyone has for our small business with big dreams.”
Here’s a quick recap of MGM racers’ success at CMP, Trackhouse and NOLA the past few weeks.
Carolina Turkey Shootout —
A fun day of racing at Carolina Motorsports Park kicked off the action Saturday, Nov. 25 with the special Carolina Turkey Shootout promoted by MGM and Kart Lounge at CMP’s 0.7-mile Carolina Kart Park.
The first ever Thanksgiving weekend race at CMP was a great success with over 80 entrants in just six classes for a race that was announced on MGM’s Facebook Live show just three weeks earlier.
Dozens of MGM racers took advantage of the newly scheduled race to gain additional track time at CMP in a friendly but competitive race format that featured a couple of practice rounds prior to a qualifying round, 10-lap heat and 14-lap feature.
Owen Lloyd was the class of the two senior divisions that boasted over 20 karts in Lite and 15 in Heavy.
While Lloyd raced his sharp red No. 119 South Georgia Karting / Espionage chassis to convincing victories in both finals, there was plenty of hard-fought racing behind him.
In the Lite final, Florida’s Junior Downs edged North Carolina’s George Wheeler for P2 with Bryce Downs completing an all-MGM top four. Maryland’s Michael Robbins had an awesome drive in his first senior outing with an impressive P6 result. Georgia’s Noah Rivers ran a solid P7 with Cale Martin P8, Cam Burris P9 and Travis Manning completing the top 10, all on Espionages. Collin Miller, Austin Johnson, Brody Kelly and Tyler Dolack all finished outside the top 10 on MGMs.
In Senior Heavy, Bryce Downs matched his cousin Junior’s P2 result with a runner-up finish of his own. Bryce would cross the stripe second to Lloyd in this one by a nose over Maryland’s Collin Miller. Lloyd, Downs and Miller made it an all-MGM podium.
Cale Martin finished P6 on his MGM with Aiden White P10, Rafael Leon P11 and Noah Rivers P14.
Ryan Sukeena continued his string of wins and top finishes in Junior. Sukeena rode his blue No. 96 Espionage to his latest win at the Turkey Shootout, scoring the victory by a 3-second margin over Conor Burgess.
Anthony Louis was impressive in his first race on a brand-new 2024 Espionage. The Virginia racer led early in the race and came home an impressive P4 in his first race at CMP.
Axel Robards, Brody Clary, Peyton Worm and NFKC drivers Emily Yost and Harley Andrews all showed solid pace throughout the day. Different circumstances kept them out of the top five in the final with Robards P6, Clary P8, Worm P9, Yost P10 and Andrews P14.
Tim “Mike” Skinner led the way for MGM in Masters with a solid P3 run to complete the podium. Other Espionage racers in Masters included Jorge Ruiz (P4), Brandon Hollenbaugh (P7), Zachary Brooks (P10), Dick Timmons (P11), Grant Lockwood (P12), Elliott Fitch (P14), Jeremy Yost (P15) and Chris Kellet (P18).
In the Cadet / Sportsman division, Maryland’s Sydney Miller carried the MGM banner with a close P2 finish in both the heat and the final.
Trackhouse Karting Challenge —
Sandwiched between the Carolina Turkey Shootout and the CKNA Winter Nats was Trackhouse Motorplex’s final weekend of racing in 2023 with rounds 13 and 14 of the Karting Challenge.
With wet weather playing a factor on and off throughout the weekend, MGM racers kept their heads down with three drivers finding their ways to wins to close out the series.
In Briggs Heavy, Connor Yonchuk scored the Final 2 win by a slim margin over Jack Sukeena.
In Juniors, Jared Clarke returned to his winning ways with triumphs in both Final 1 and Final 2. Austin Johnson finished P3 on his Espionage in both contests.
MGM drivers swept the top three in Trackhouse’s Junior standings with Jared Clarke, Austin Johnson and Ryan Sukeena topping the standings with all three scoring wins during the 2023 series.
In Briggs Senior, veteran MGM racer Zach Linsell made the trip down from Pennsylvania and showed outstanding speed throughout Saturday on a new 2024 Espionage. After qualifying pole Saturday morning, Linsell finished P2 in Final 1 and rounded out the top five in Final 2.
One of the drivers to best Linsell in Final 2 was Katie Yonchuk, who scored the first senior win of her career in a super impressive drive in Final 2. Yonchuk beat out some of the best in 206 karting for the score; she also finished P6 in Final 1 earlier in the day.
CKNA Winter Nationals —
A number of MGM teams made the trip to Louisiana for CKNA’s first Winter Nationals this past weekend at NOLA.
In the Senior Heavy final, Espionage racers took four of the top-five spots on the podium.
Owen Lloyd continued his hard work of testing and development for MGM Chassis with three different chassis entered at NOLA among the three senior divisions.
After dominating the Turkey Shootout a couple weeks earlier, Lloyd continued his impressive early winter stretch with a convincing 5-second win in the Heavy final. After qualifying P3, Lloyd swept the rest of the class’s action with victories in both heats and the final.
Another MGM driver actually set the fast lap in the Heavy final. South Carolina’s William Lessig kept digging all weekend and his work paid off with a solid P3 in the final and the race’s fast lap. Bryce Frank and Bryce Downs would finish P4 and P5 on their Espionages to make for an outstanding showing for the Kannapolis, N.C., manufacturer.
Mike Clark, Hunter Knight and Mikey Bowlin completed the top 10 in P8, P9 and P10, while Macon Moore raced in his home state on an MGM. After not starting either heat race, Moore started last in the final and made it up to the top five before running into problems and retiring a few laps from the finish.
The highlight of Bowlin’s weekend came with an impressive pole run in qualifying early Saturday, which saw him top the 15-kart field by nearly a 0.5-second margin over P2.
Lloyd would go purple in the Senior Light final on his way to a close P3 result in a hotly contested 30-kart race. Texas’ Kelvin Xing finished just outside the top 10 in P11.
In the Senior Medium final, Lloyd overcame some bad luck in the prelim races to start P14 and drive all the way to P5 in the 16-lap race. Lessig and Frank completed the top 10 in this one, finishing P9 and P10, while Jake Duvall was P15 in one of his first weekends racing an Espionage.
In Legends, Mark Abitabilo, Steve Mox, Tim Clark and Ron Tipton all rode MGMs in the class for drivers age 50 and up. Abitabilo, who was riding a Steve Mox-owned No. 41, had the best finish in the final with a P7. Abitabilo has a new Espionage on the way that he’ll be picking up at Daytona KartWeek later this month.
Daytona Up Next —
A number of MGM teams will be back in action in less than three weeks with the prestigious WKA Daytona KartWeek taking place Dec. 28-30 at the famed Daytona International Speedway.
With Road Race and Sprint events taking place simultaneously at the World Center for Racing, Espionages will be on track at both the 3.56-mile super speedway road course and the infield kart track.
Expect MGM drivers like Zach Linsell, George Wheeler and Elmer “Moe” Edmonson to be vying for wins and top finishes at the sprint track, while there’s no telling who might ride an Espionage to victory on the road course with plenty of MGM teams primed for action.
For more info on Daytona, visit worldkarting.com or see World Karting Association on Facebook.
For information on MGM, visit mgmchassis.com and follow MGM Chassis on Facebook and Instagram.