SPENCERPORT, N.Y. – Coyote racers from across the eastern half of the country traveled to north Florida this month for the season-opening World Karting Association RLV Gold Cup Series national event at the popular 103rd Street Sports Complex, the traditional opening venue for WKA’s premier 4-cycle sprint series.
The much-anticipated Jacksonville event continued the Gold Cup Series’ recent resurgence guided by the strength of the Pro Gas Animal engine platform. Thirty racers started the premier Senior Pro Gas Animal divisions, while nearly 20 Sportsman Pro Gas teams were in attendance. The Junior Pro Gas division started 13 racers each day, drastically improved from last year’s numbers.
Four Coyote drivers accounted for five feature wins at the Gold Cup opener. Florida’s Jason Yarbrough scored a feature win in Junior Heavy Mix 1, while Jordan Mincey – another Florida racer – won both days in LO206 Heavy. Coyote owner Jim Lipari opted to run his Baker Racing Engines methanol Animal in the Animal Medium division and the 30-year-old racer swept the weekend in the class, closing it by winning a thriller Sunday afternoon over hot shoe Tyler Sandmeyer.
The weekend’s racing kicked off with Friday night’s Pro Gas Money Race, which saw Corey Towles wheel his Coyote to a dominating win over Gary Lawson, Matt Horst, Dustin Demattia and Tyler Sandmeyer. Towles started deep in the 21-kart field and had the lead by the end of lap 8.
After a mid-race break and four-kart invert, Towles worked his No. 04 back to the lead and slowly pulled away from Lawson to earn the big $500 victory. Towles, a non-Gold Cup regular, would go on to several more top-five finishes in Senior Pro Gas racing throughout the weekend.
While Lipari rode his new 2014 XP chassis to success on the track, much of his weekend was spent helping the dozens of Coyote customers in attendance. Lipari commented on the fine weekend his team experienced in Jacksonville.
“First, I want to thank Brad Farmer of Brad’s Karts & Parts for all the help,” Jim said. “Brad is our Florida dealer and not only does he help Coyote a great deal in the Jacksonville area, he also provided us and our teammates with a wealth of knowledge and setup advice throughout the weekend. I know we couldn’t have accomplished the wins and other top finishes without Brad’s help, and he’s a real attribute to our program, especially when we visit Jacksonville.”
Lipari went on to talk about some of the racing he and his team saw at Jacksonville.
“I was really happy to hop back into the kart and win the Medium races, but how about the weekend a lot of our drivers had, beginning with kid karters all the way up to the senior ranks. Jordan Mincey’s wins in LO206 were really exciting to watch and I think this class is going to grow in 2014, and Jason Yarbrough did a great job winning the Junior Heavy race. Kids like Josh Stark, Nick Fauci, Trevor Vargo and our kid kart racer, Blake Boon, all did a terrific job. And we were very well represented in the Animal senior ranks.”
Lipari is alluding to the Senior Pro Gas Animal races, which as noted saw 30 karts take the green flag. Saturday’s Pro Gas Animal main event saw six of the top-10 finishers on Coyote mounts. Sean Meier finished a strong second to Sandmeyer, while local Jacksonville racer Corey Towles ran fourth and 2013 Pro Gas Animal champion Dylan Zobkiw, who was riding a Coyote Wide Track chassis, rounded out the top five.
Josh Stiefel ran well all weekend and ended up seventh, just ahead of Cayla Chapman, who continues to improve on her Coyote. Scott Kleman, who also campaigns a Wide Track chassis, traveled to Jacksonville from his Michigan home and took ninth on Saturday’s Pro Gas Animal main.
On Sunday, Meier once again finished a close second, this time to Gary Lawson. Stiefel improved one spot on his Saturday finish, taking sixth. Towles was seventh and Kleman eighth.
Mike Curan and Joey Kuley also drove Coyotes in the Senior Pro Gas Animal races. Curran, a newcomer to sprint racing, recorded finishes of 15th and 18th while Kuley raced his Coyote to 15th and 22nd-place results.
Coyotes also were out in full force in the Animal Heavy Mix races, which pitted Pro Gas Animals versus the methanol Animals. On Saturday, Towles finished second on a Pro Gas Animal, and just needed a little more to pull up to Paul Headley, who was on a methanol Animal. Patrick O’Neal and Brad Farmer finished fourth and fifth, while the father-son duo of Tim and Josh Stiefel recorded seventh and eighth-place results.
In Sunday’s Heavy main, Towles was again the top Coyote finisher with a third-place result. Farmer was fast again but settled for sixth. O’Neal took seventh, Tim Stiefel eighth and Curran ninth.
Jordan Mincey turned some heads with his victories in the new LO206 Heavy class. Mincey’s win in Sunday’s main was a thriller and came down to the last lap. The victory net Jordan a cool $300 from sponsor Briggs & Stratton.
Joshua Stark really came into his own at Jacksonville, and the New York racer accomplished his best Gold Cup weekend to date. In his debut in the 12- to 15-year-old Junior classes Stark finished in the top five in all six Junior features!
Joshua took home third and fifth-place finishes in the hotly contested Junior Pro Gas main events. He finished second both days in Junior Medium and recorded strong finishes of second and third in Junior Heavy Mix. Congratulations to Josh on a terrific weekend at Jacksonville!
Other Junior racers on Coyotes were Matt Tortorell, Benjamin Withers and Saturday Junior Heavy Mix winner Yarbrough.
In addition to his win, Yarbrough took home finishes of second in Junior Heavy Mix 2 and fourth in Junior Pro Gas 2. Tortorell, a newcomer to Gold Cup, ran to a pair of respectable eighth-place results in Junior Pro Gas. And Withers ran 10th in Saturday’s Junior Pro Gas feature.
Nick Fauci, Trevor Vargo and Brian Van Cleve Jr. led the Coyote charge in the Sportsman Pro Gas divisions.
Fauci, who was recognized Saturday night for his pair of 2013 Gold Cup national championships, rode his Coyote XP to three top-five finishes in four starts. The Brockport, N.Y., racer ran third in Sportsman Pro Gas Lite 1 and fifth in both Sportsman Pro Gas Lite 2 and Sportsman Pro Gas Heavy 1. Fauci’s only non-top-five finish was in Sportsman Pro Gas Heavy 2 on Sunday, which saw the talented youngster finish sixth.
Vargo returned to the Gold Cup for his sophomore campaign on the national circuit and impressed in the opener. The young New Yorker ran 10th in Saturday’s Sportsman Pro Gas Lite 1 but returned Sunday to net a strong sixth-place result in Sportsman Pro Gas Lite 2. Trevor add another top-10 finish in Sunday’s weekend capper, Sportsman Pro Gas Heavy 2.
Van Cleve traveled to Jacksonville all the way from Illinois and left 103rd Street with a top-five finish. Brian finished fifth in Sunday’s Sportsman Pro Gas Heavy feature after a 10th-place result in Saturday’ race.
After making his Gold Cup debut at Kershaw, S.C., last October, young Blake Boon returned to the series for the 2014 opener at Jacksonville. And Blake did a great job on his Coyote Kriptonite Cadet Chassis. Racing the LO206 engine platform, Blake raced hard to impressive second and fourth-place finishes in the Kid Kart features. It will be fun to watch Blake improve throughout the 2014 Gold Cup season as he continues to gain more experience behind the wheel of his Coyote Kryptonite kart.
It’s worth noting that Blake was racing a completely redesigned Coyote Kriptonite at Jacksonville. He was the first youngster on track with the new chassis, and his feedback was excellent all weekend.
Coyote racers located north of the Mason-Dixon Line are still waiting for the temperatures to warm and local and regional kart racing to kick off their 2014 series and club events.
The next WKA national race on the schedule is round two of the Gold Cup, this July 11-13 at G&J Kartway in Camden, Ohio.
If you’re interested in attending a Gold Cup Series national event this summer, or you’d like more information on a Coyote chassis or parts, be sure to visit Coyote’s official website at CoyoteKarts.com or call the shop directly at 585-352-0806.