SPENCERPORT, N.Y. — Plenty of 206 sprint racing was available for Coyote Motorsports racers in April with Cup Karts North America — the continent’s premier 4-cycle sprint series — holding races three straight weekends at three outstanding karting venues.
The three-week stretch began April 14-16 at the historic Oakland Valley Race Park (OVRP) in Cuddebackville, N.Y., where CKNA held their first-ever Northeast Division race. The following weekend it was off to Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati for Rounds 1 and 2 of CKNA’s original North Division. The month concluded with the final rounds of the 2023 CKNA South Division at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C., the site of many national event in past years.
Dozens of Coyote racers and teams were in attendance between the three events and many accomplished race wins and podiums.
Here’s a recap of the first two races in April that made up a busy early spring season in 4-cycle karting. A complete Coyote report on the 2023 Cup Karts South Division is coming next week.
Northeast at OVRP —
Weather played a major role in CKNA’s first Northeast Division race as unseasonably hot temperatures near 90 degrees greeted racers for Friday practice before storms moved into the Cuddebackville area overnight to make for a wet day one of racing Saturday.
The event was stopped several times for lightning Saturday morning and early afternoon until thunderstorms finally moved out to make for a rainy but stoppage-free round of finals.
The wet weather didn’t slow the Coyote chassis as five drivers wheeled their Zeniths to victory.
Rodrigo De Francisco was the first Coyote in the win column Saturday in Legends. De Francisco scored the 12-lap final win over fellow Coyote driver Tim Stiefel in P2. Wayne Handzlik finished P4 on his sharp No. 155 Zenith.
Chris Cirillo was next up with a close win in Senior Heavy aboard his Snap Ya Neck-powered No. 06 Zenith. This wouldn’t be Cirillo’s only time atop the podium on the weekend.
The following race saw another Snap Ya Neck / Coyote in the win column with Maryland’s Hudson Brown dominating a 22-kart Senior Light final. Brown won by more than 4 seconds over second place with Brady Eickhoff P16 and Joey Cline P18 on their Coyotes.
Spencer Hite made it three Coyote wins in a row Saturday with his triumph in the Kid Kart main. The Pennsylvania racer drove to a convincing 2.8-second win in the 10-lap final.
Anthony Colandro added another win for Coyote in the rain Saturday with his first CKNA victory in the 12-lap Masters main event. Colandro, who went also went purple in the race with the fast lap, led a string of four Coyotes across the stripe with Maryland’s John Price P2, Cirillo P3 and Stiefel P4. Jason Zobkiw finished just outside the top five in P6 and Handzlik was P8 of 12 starters.
In other action Saturday, Alex Raccuia and Jordan Cline led the way for Coyote in the event’s largest class — Junior — which had 25 entrants. Raccuia finished a solid P3 in the day one Junior final while Jordan Cline finished an impressive P4. Lucas Shelton was inside the top 10 with a ninth-place result while Levi Getz was 14th and Jenna Barnard was 15th on their Zeniths. Tristan Searl qualified and ran the heat but opted to sit out the final to prepare for Sunday in the dry.
John Dwyer nearly won the Cadet final but ended up a strong P2. Dwyer led most of the main event before getting passed late and he set the race’s quick lap in the process. The Maryland youngster would finish P2 in Sunday’s Cadet main, as well.
In Saturday’s last race in Senior Medium, Hudson Brown nearly made it two for two on the day but settled for a close P2. Coyote newcomer Aspen Kellner was ninth and her brother Brody opted to not start and wait for Sunday.
Racers returned Sunday to OVRP and thankfully so did the sunshine, making for a dry day of racing after the track dried out during morning practice.
Spencer Hite matched his Saturday win with another Sunday triumph in Kid Kart. Hite drove to his second victory of the weekend by an astounding 32-second margin as he continues to rack up wins before his move to Cadet next season.
Cirillo join Hite as a double winner at OVRP with his win in Masters. The Long Island native led a top-three Coyote sweep in the Sunday Masters main, besting fast-time setter Zobkiw by a tight 0.156-second gap with Stiefel in third. Price rounded out the top five, Handzlik was a solid P7, David Netherwood P11 and Saturday winner Colandro ran into problems on lap 7 and retired early.
Cirillo also finished a close P2 in the Sunday Senior Heavy final.
Sunday’s Junior final again saw Raccuia go purple in the 15-lap contest and grab the last spot on the podium with another outstanding P3 result. Other Coyote finishers were Shelton in P13, Jordan Cline in P14, Barnard in P15, Searl in P17 and Getz in P19.
Stiefel finished in the runner-up position for the second consecutive day in Legends. De Fransico didn’t match his Saturday win but came away with a final podium position with a third. Stiefel leads the CKNA Northeast Legends points heading to the next rounds at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The day two Senior Light main had two up-and-coming Coyote racers in the top five with Joey Cline taking P4 and Eickhoff rounding out the fast five. We believe these were Cline and Eickhoff’s first top fives in Cup Karts competition.
Brown retired early from the Light final in a bid to sweep the class’s main events on the weekend. He’d return to cross the finish stripe P1 in Senior Medium, but was penalized to P4 for avoidable contact while racing for the lead. He was still the first Coyote in the finishing order and will lead the Medium points heading to New Jersey. Brody Kellner had his best run of the event on his new No. 36 Zenith with a P6 effort. Brody’s sister, Aspen, rounded out the top 10 on her No. 8 Zenith.
Next up for Cup Karts Northeast is a June 2-4 date at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Liberator Course. The new CKNA series closes July 28-30 at Pittsburgh Int’l Race Complex.
North at MCC —
Coyote Motorsports racers entered Junior, Senior Light, Senior Medium and Legends at the CKNA North opener April 21-23 at the gorgeous Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati and came away with wins in three of the four divisions.
The North Division is CKNA’s original series and continues as its best-attended in most cases. In 2023, the series opened at MCC and has rounds at Autobahn Country Club near Chicago, Badger Kart Club in Wisconsin and Whiteland Raceway Park in Indiana.
At MCC, Cade Jaeger’s success at Charlotte Motor Speedway in March carried over to CKNA North at MCC. With Precision Performance Karting owner John Seglem making the trip from Florida to help tune Jaeger’s No. 64 Coyote Zenith, the Wisconsin racer was super impressive in his first outing as an official PPK / Coyote team driver.
After finishing P2 in Saturday’s Junior final, Jaeger returned Sunday to score his first career win on a PPK Coyote. Jaeger drove to victory in the 15-lap final and left Cincinnati with a share of the Junior points lead.
Illinois’ Ryan Cassity swept the Legends main events. The veteran Coyote driver qualified pole both days, won two of the three heat races and both main events. Cassity dominated, winning Saturday’s final by more than 6 seconds and Sunday’s by a huge 15-second advantage.
Ohio’s James Overbeck was back on the top step of the podium at one of his home tracks. Overbeck entered Senior Light and Medium at MCC and would win Saturday’s Light final over his teammate Christopher McKeithan and finish P5 in the day one Medium main.
On Sunday, Overbeck would win his second Light main of the event — once again over McKeithan — and close out the weekend with a P3 result in the Medium final.
McKeithan was the most consistent driver in Senior Light and Medium throughout the event. While the North Carolina native did not score a win, he’d finish P2 both days in Light to his PPK / Coyote teammate Overbeck. In Senior Medium, McKeithan again was a top runner but just missed a win; he’d finish third Saturday and a close P2 in Sunday’s main event.
Anthony Dimaggio was the only Coyote New Yorker to make the trip to Cincinnati after sitting out the Northeast race at OVRP. Dimaggio entered Senior Light and finished P16 in Saturday’s final and P18 in Sunday’s main.
Michigan’s Scott Kleman was in attendance and raced in the Senior Light and Medium divisions. Kleman’s best result was a P9 in Sunday’s Light final, which started 21 karts. Kleman also qualified P5 Sunday in the Light division.
With a hot spring season wrapped up, Coyote Motorsports teams will be working to continue their winning ways at action throughout the country this summer between CKNA North, CKNA Northeast, CKNA Canada, WKA Gold Cup and numerous club series throughout North America.
If you have not yet jumped on the hottest 206 kart on the market, contact Coyote today at 585-352-0806 or firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to an authorized dealer near you!