By Keith Shampine / photos by Alissa Grim
NEW CASTLE, Ind. — The World Karting Association’s Vega Tire Manufacturers Cup Series presented by Summit Racing Equipment traveled to New Castle Motorsports Park this past weekend for rounds 5 and 6 of the 2022 2-cycle and 4-cycle sprint series at the famed Mark Dismore-family owned karting facility in east-central Indiana.
Ninety-two entries among 11 divisions raced each day at the annual New Castle WKA rounds and Ohio racer Gavin Bayliff left as the big winner. Bayliff was one of more than a dozen drivers to enter four classes between the two days of racing and the only driver to win all four. He’d score victories in both 12-kart Ignite Senior finals over his brother, Finnegan Bayliff, and go on to win both finals in the 17-kart KA100 Senior, again triumphing over Finnegan in each of those mains.
A number of drivers posted double wins at the event and several were in the market for three- or four-win weekends but all fell short of joining G. Bayliff in those categories.
Eli Warren won twice on Saturday with scores in KA Junior and 206 Junior. Travis Pettit dominated Micro Swift all weekend and won every round of competition in that division. James Overbeck won both 206 Senior finals, and Parker Stewart did the same in each day’s Kid Kart races.
Along with the Gavin Bayliff, Isaac Malcuit had the best shot at the four-win feat. Malcuit would come close to pulling it off but have to settle for two wins after a penalty in Saturday’s 206 Cadet final relegated the Ohio driver to a P6 finish. On Sunday, Ezekiel Height and Max Weiland bested Malcuit in a close 206 Cadet weekend capper.
In the other Ignite categories, Michael Burton and Jaiden Beckman both joined the double-win club. Burton dominated Ignite Masters all weekend to earn a pair of first-place trophies while Beckman did the same over Sam Bowman in a couple of close Ignite Junior main events.
Here’s a quick rundown of each division in action this past weekend at WKA New Castle —
Travis Pettit sweeps Micro Swift
One of the most dominant performances of the weekend came at the hands of young Travis Pettit in Micro Swift. With six drivers entered, Pettit won every round of competition and did it convincingly.
Grady Cronick was the only driver able to come close to matching Pettit’s pace. In Sunday’s pre-final, Cronick stalked Pettit throughout the race and it looked like he may have something for the New Jersey racer in the final. But once again Pettit pulled out to an early lead while Cronick battled for second with Danny O’Gara. For the second day in a row, Pettit would ride unchallenged to the victory.
In Saturday’s main, Pettit won by a huge 25-second margin over O’Gara. Drake Williamson was third, Zion Dyer fourth, Tori Daniels fifth and Cronick sixth.
On Sunday, Pettit would win by a 9.7-second gap over Cronick. O’Gara came home P3, Dyer P4, Williamson P5 and Daniels completed the field.
Overbeck sweeps 206 Senior
Only five drivers made the call in CIK 206 360# but the short field still made for some outstanding racing. Both day’s senior 206 pre-finals were a couple of the best races of the weekend with four drivers — Keegan Clark, James Overbeck, Clay Settles and Levi Wilbur — swapping the lead and top positions numerous times. Wilbur would win day one’s pre-final while Clark won day two’s.
But when the finals rolled around, Cincinnati, Ohio’s Overbeck rose to the top in both day’s contests. Overbeck raced his No. 548 Tony Kart out front in both finals while Clark settled into P2. The pair was able to move away from Settles and Wilbur as the laps wound down, and Overbeck had a little more than Clark down the stretch.
Overbeck would win both Saturday and Sunday’s finals over Clark. On Saturday, Settles took third, Wilbur fourth and Caden Taylor fifth. On Sunday, it was Wilbur crossing P3 behind Overbeck and Clark. Settles was P4 and Taylor again P5.
Click here for an onboard video with Overbeck in Saturday’s CIK 206 pre-final.
Ignite Senior is all Gavin Bayliff
The Margay Ignite Senior division offered some great competition throughout the weekend. With a number of solid drivers on the entry list, brothers Gavin and Finnegan Bayliff would have their work cut out, and both were up to the task.
In Saturday’s 12-lap final, the brothers worked together to pull out from the rest of the field, but not by much. Gavin would cross as the winner by a kart-length over Finn with Reid Sweeney P3 and less than 2 seconds behind. Sweeney was a good story as he skipped the pre-final Saturday morning due to feeling under the weather, but he was well enough to start the final at the rear of the field. He’d pass eight karts in a fine drive to move into third before the checkered waved.
Wisconsin racer Nick Ksobiech finished P4 with Evan Stamer P5.
On Sunday, once again it was Gavin Bayliff showing the way ahead of his older brother. Finn stayed glued to Gavin’s rear bumper for the entire contest but never made a bid for the lead after winning Saturday night’s Iron Man endurance race. Stamer would come home P3 and set the race’s fast lap in the process. Ignite Masters winner Michael Burton had a solid run with a P4 result. Ksobiech rounded out the top five.
Malcuit keeps Weiland at bay in Mini Swift
As noted above, Isaac Malcuit had a legit shot to join Gavin Bayliff in the four-win category between 206 Cadet and Mini Swift. After picking up pole awards and pre-final wins in 206, Malcuit was shut out of victory in that division’s mains, but he was able to come away with a couple of triumphs in Mini Swift.
But Max Weiland made it interesting. Weiland gave Malcuit all he wanted to handle, especially as the weekend progressed. In Saturday’s final, it was Malcuit scoring the win by a tight 0.772-second gap over Weiland, who set the race’s quick time. Race Beckman was third with Carter Barkis and Roman McCurdy fourth and fifth.
On Sunday, the two traded the lead several times throughout the first half of the race before Malcuit moved into the lead for good. The gap at the finish was even closer than Saturday at 0.187 seconds. Beckman again finished behind Malcuit and Weiland for P3. McCurdy and Barkis traded their day-one finishing positions with McCurdy P4 and Barkis rounding out the top five.
Gavin Bayliff tops KA100
KA100 Senior was the largest class of the event with 17 entrants both days, and Gavin Bayliff left no doubt that he was the fastest racer in attendance.
Similar to Ignite Senior, Gavin won both day’s KA Senior finals over his brother, Finn Bayliff. In Saturday’s main, the pair dominated with more than 8 seconds separating the top two from third-place Drew James. Brandon Adkins had a solid run for P4 and Nickolay Doukhov had his best finish of the weekend in P5.
Sunday’s KA Senior final was the last race of the weekend and again it was Gavin Bayliff showing the way. Finn ran with him early but Gavin pulled away late in the 12-lapper, crossing the stripe 2.4 seconds ahead for his fourth win of the Man. Cup Nationals.
James, who won Sunday’s KA Senior pole award during qualifying Friday afternoon, would finish 7.2 seconds back of the winner in P3. Overbeck was P4 after a wreck ended his KA final early on Saturday. Brad Brittin rounded out the top five in this one.
Parker Stewart wins both Kid Kart contests
Bluffton, South Carolina’s Parker Stewart is building quite a resume in the kid karts. Stewart, who’s won races all over the eastern half of the country the last couple years, added a couple more first-place trophies to his collection at WKA New Castle.
In Saturday’s Kid Kart Comer final, Stewart won by a huge 27-plus-second margin over Camden Powers. Charlotte WKA winner Keegan Chance, who won the pole award, was right behind Powers for third. Halaunnah Codolata was fourth and Drew Schneider fifth. Jackson Frank and Jase Macklin completed the seven-kart field.
Stewart and Schneider were the only drivers to come back Sunday for the Briggs Kid Kart races. Stewart dominated all day for the win while Schneider gained some more valuable experience behind the wheel to get credited with second.
Warren, Brickley split KA Junior
Eli Warren and Adam Brickley were the fastest racers in the KA Junior category. With 11 drivers making the call, Brickley won both pole awards Friday afternoon and came back to win Saturday’s pre-final. But Warren gained some speed late Saturday on his No. 897 RedSpeed chassis, moving past Brickley for good about midway through the 12-lap final and pulling away for a 1.287-second win over the pole winner. Brickley would settle for P2 with Christian Quijano P3. Mateo Naranjo and Lovisa Landin were P4 and P5, respectively.
Sunday’s action saw Brickley again score a close pre-final victory over Warren, and when the final came most thought it’d be another fierce battle between the two. But Warren slipped back to P3 on the start and it took him several laps to clear Naranjo for the second-place slot. Naranjo didn’t give up easily the pair traded the position a few times before Warren finally cleared Naranjo for good on lap 4.
But that battle was all Brickley needed. The North Carolina driver pulled out to a 3-second lead over Warren and by the time Warren settled into second, he was too far behind to challenge for the win. Brickley would cross the checkers 2.7 seconds ahead for his first final win of the event after winning all the KA Junior preliminary contests. Warren would settle for P2 and be denied of the hat trick after a pair of Saturday feature wins. Naranjo held on for P3, Landin P4 and Quijano P5.
Warren, Malachi Haight split 206 Junior
The 206 Junior division was probably the closest matched field of any at New Castle WKA. With nine starters, nearly every one of the them spent time near or at the front of the pack at different stages of the weekend. But when the finals rolled around, five drivers — Eli Warren, Addison Ianniello, Malachi Haight, Jase Petty and Nash Gierke — were able to separate themselves from the rest of the field.
On Saturday, it was Warren scoring his second feature win after triumphing in KA Junior earlier in the day. Warren won this one by a close 0.197-second gap over Ianniello. M. Haight was third with Petty fourth and Ethan Gray rounding out the top five.
Sunday’s 206 Junior final saw a five-kart breakaway up front with Warren leading much of the contest. However, in the late stages of the race Warren would get shuffled back to P5 and never be able to advance his position from there, getting denied of a weekend hat trick. Up front, it was M. Haight doing battle with Ianniello as Gierke and Petty traded the third spot.
M. Haight was able to hang on, scoring an impressive win for his first of the weekend. He’d finish just 0.115 seconds in front of Ianniello for the victory. Gierke crossed the stripe a half-second back for P3 with Petty P4 and Warren rounding out the top five.
Quinn Ahrens, Ezekiel Haight split 206 Cadet
The 206 Cadet division featured a couple more hotly contested races with some very talented youngsters in the field. As the first class on the schedule all weekend, the cadets showed their skills with all 10 entrants looking good on NCMP’s reverse national layout.
Malcuit entered Saturday’s final as the clear favorite but made a mistake in the opening corners of the final. Ezekiel Haight made it past Malcuit for the lead in turn one, and Malcuit quickly made an inside move on E. Haight to retake the lead a few corners later in the Monza. But there was contact and officials didn’t like it. While Malcuit would go on to cross the finish line first by a healthy margin, WKA race director Erik Graham issued an avoidable-contact penalty on Malcuit that would relegate the Ohio driver to a P6 result, behind E. Haight in P5.
This would give the unofficial win to Max Weiland, but only for about an hour. Weiland was disqualified in post-race tech for an engine infraction, and this would give the victory to Quinn Ahrens, who crossed the finish stripe third. Ahrens had to be thrilled with the result and as they say in racing, “a win is a win, no matter how it comes.”
Jacob Schaible had his best result of the weekend with a P2 finish. Carter Barkis was third, Grady Cronick fourth and E. Haight fifth.
By the time Sunday’s 206 Cadet final rolled around, a number of drivers had gained speed and were able to challenge Malcuit at the front of the pack.
The race came down to E. Haight, Weiland and Malcuit as the three drivers swapped the top position several times throughout the 12-lapper. As Malcuit would move his No. 475 Kart Republic back to the lead, either E. Haight or Weiland would quickly pounce, passing Malcuit back to keep him fighting hard for position.
As the leaders entered the final set of corners, E. Haight would come away with the lead as they passed the grid area. Weiland would follow and Malcuit was moved back to third. With only a couple corners to go, there was no time left to retake the lead and Ezekiel Haight would score a popular win over Weiland. Malcuit, who set the race’s quick lap, settled for P3 just ahead of Schaible, who was only a couple kart-lengths back of the top three in P4. Saturday winner Ahrens rounded out the top five in this one.
Burton and Beckman double up in Ignite
Michael Burton and Jaiden Beckman left New Castle as double points-class winners in the Ignite categories.
In Ignite Junior, Beckman and Sam Bowman were the class of the field and both had their stints at the front. Bowman led a number of laps on the weekend, but both days Beckman was able to pull ahead for the win.
Saturday’s Ignite Junior final saw Beckman score the victory by a 0.122-second gap over Bowman. Brady Tyler ran well early but would have to settle for P3, over 18 seconds back of the leaders. Mason Kuhn was fourth.
On Sunday, Bowman led most of the race and it looked like he was on his way to victory. Beckman had other ideas, and on the final lap she shot her No. 18 Ignite to the inside of Bowman in the sign-board corner, taking the lead and never relinquishing it. She’d finish 0.153 seconds ahead of Bowman for the win. Tyler was third and Kuhn fourth for the second day in a row.
In the Ignite Masters, Burton and Mike Stephenson were the fastest in attendance and similar to Bowman in the juniors, Stephenson gave Burton all he could handle in most rounds but would get shut out of victory lane.
In Saturday’s Masters final, Burton passed Stephenson on the last lap to score the win by just 0.067 seconds. Jason Froemming was third and Scott Blind fourth.
Sunday, Burton made sure it wasn’t as close as Saturday with a dominating drive. He’d cross the checkers more than 9.2 seconds ahead of Stephenson for the win. Froemming and Blind once again finished third and fourth.
Click here to read about Burton, Beckman and Finn Bayliff’s wins in the Saturday Ignite Iron Man endurance race.
Click here for WKA New Castle results on RaceHero.
With rounds 5 and 6 at New Castle now in the books, one weekend remains for the 2022 WKA / Vega Tire Manufacturers Cup Series presented by Summit Racing Equipment.
The series will head to Batavia, Ohio, the weekend of August 12-14 for the annual Man. Cup Grand Nationals, this year at the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati. The event will mark the first-ever WKA national held at the scenic Motorsports Country Club, and it will serve as rounds 7 and 8 of the series.
Announcements, including pre-entry, track map and event schedule, for the Motorsports Country Club Grand Nationals will be out soon. Keep an eye on the WKA Pit Board email newsletter and the Manufacturers Cup Series page on worldkarting.com.