DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Coyote Motorsports racers of all ages and experience levels spent their final few days of 2023 at the track competing at the famous World Karting Association Daytona KartWeek Manufacturers Cup Nationals at the Daytona International Speedway kart track, the 50th running of the prestigious event held each year between Christmas and New Years Eve.
The annual December 27-30 Daytona KartWeek, still after 50 years a headline event on many kart teams’ yearly calendars, attracted another solid crowd to DIS’s infield kart track for the once-a-year Daytona Sprint Nationals.
With two other national karting events taking place during KartWeek at DIS’s Flat Track (dirt) and the 3.56-mile super speedway road course for enduro-style road racing (where a number of Coyote drivers and chassis were in competition, as well), hundreds of sprint teams took advantage of the year’s only opportunity to race Daytona’s tricky 0.56-mile kart track.
When the final checkered flag waved Saturday, Dec. 30, it was James Overbeck of Cincinnati, Ohio, capturing the lion’s share of the headlines at the Sprint Nationals with two dominant wins on two different 2024 Coyote Zenith chassis fielded by Precision Performance Karting in the 206 Featherweight and 206 Senior 365 finals.
Overbeck’s weekend was an interesting one. After qualifying P2 in Featherweight Thursday afternoon, he’d return later in the afternoon to time fastest of 32 entrants in Senior 365 only to be disqualified for weighing in 0.3 pounds light.
Despite the DQ, the Ohio driver kept his head in the game and worked on overtaking moves in the Friday morning practice to ready himself for having to work through the field in the two rounds of heats.
He’d win one of his four heats in the 206 categories Friday with a score in the second Featherweight race. In Senior 365, he advanced 17 spots in heat 1 to finish P10 and finished a quiet P8 in heat 2.
A top-10 starting position was all Overbeck needed for the 14-lap Senior 365 prefinal Saturday morning. After winning the Featherweight prefinal to open the last day of racing, Overbeck returned to drive a calculating race in Senior 365. Starting P8, he made it through the opening laps around Daytona’s tight course without incident, advanced into P2 by halfway and up to the lead on lap 11.
Overbeck would never relinquish the lead in 206 racing for the remainder of the day.
In Featherweight, he’d drive the throwback pink and blue PPK / Coyote Zenith to a wire-to-wire victory by a convincing 2.241-second margin over P2.
The Senior 365 final was more of the same. Starting pole, Overbeck jumped out to a healthy early lead and maintained a multi-second gap on P2 throughout the 16-lapper. He’d score his second win of the day by nearly a 4-second margin to become one of two double winners at the 2023 edition of the Daytona Manufacturers Cup Nationals.
“It was a really good weekend overall,” Overbeck said shortly after his Senior 365 win. “I had a feeling we’d be able to pull away if we got out front, and I was able to. I can’t thank John (Seglem / PPK) and Jim (Lipari / Coyote) enough for all they’ve done for me, and the rest of the BJR (Brandon Jarsocrak Racing) and MDR (Mike Doty Racing) team.”
While Overbeck was winning in the senior ranks, another Coyote driver was adding his name to the win column at the 50th anniversary of Daytona KartWeek.
Indiana’s AJ Stoner would give Coyote chassis three Daytona KartWeek wins at the sprint track with a huge win aboard his No. 214 A-Maxx Racing / Coyote Kryptonite chassis in the 206 Cadet Advanced Green final.
Stoner drove an outstanding, hard-working race to score the Daytona Cadet win. Riding P3 early on, he’d advance to P1 midway through the 14-lap final before losing the lead on lap 10. But in a showing of impressive composure, Stoner wouldn’t give up after losing the lead. The youngster kept focus and would retake the top position on the last lap to score the popular victory.
With his win at Daytona, AJ gave Coyote’s Kryptonite cadet chassis it’s first national win after regional triumphs in summer 2023 in the Route 66 Sprint Series. He also finished a strong P6 of 34 in the Cadet final at the CKNA Grands in October.
AJ is proving race after race the Kryptonite is one of the fastest cadet chassis on the market, and we’re proud to have him and A-Maxx Racing on the Coyote team.
A-Maxx Racing fielded three other Coyotes at Daytona with Adam Maxwell in 206 Senior 365, Lincoln Wiley on a Kryptonite in Cadet Red and Stoner on another Kryptonite in Mini Swift.
Maxwell had an awesome start to the event with a pole award over 32 competitors in Senior 365. He’d get shuffled around in the prelim races and ultimately start deep in the field in the final. While he’d make it up to P19, the finish wasn’t what he’d hoped for.
While his weekend in 206 competition was a tough one, Maxwell did score one of the biggest wins of his career at KartWeek 2023. The Indiana racer would triumph in the 35-kart KA Senior final in a popular win to join Stoner as a winner for A-Maxx Racing at Daytona.
While Stoner retired early from the Mini Swift final, his A-Maxx teammate Lincoln Tilley had a good showing in Cadet Red. Willey would drive his Kryptonite to a solid P7 result as he gained valuable experience at Daytona in his first visit to the track.
We’re looking forward to following Lincoln’s progress on his Kryptonite with A-Maxx in 2024!
Lucas Thek and Ronnie Klys podium in 45-kart Junior final
The event’s largest division was 206 Junior for racers age 11 to 15 with 45 drivers taking time in qualifying Thursday afternoon.
Florida drivers Lucas Thek and Ronnie Klys would carry the Coyote banner in the juniors, and both were extremely impressive throughout the three-day event.
Thek was quick from the start with fast time in both of Thursday morning’s timed practice sessions on a damp DIS kart track due to overnight and morning showers.
With limited practice on a dry track, he opened competition Thursday afternoon with a solid P6 qualifying run of 45 drivers to take time.
With two heat races on tap Friday, the Miami native was eager to improve and break into the top five. He’d do just that, recording finishes of P5 in heat 1 and P4 in heat 2.
Thek started Saturday with a bang, going purple in the 6-lap morning warmup and showing onlookers he’d be one of the top juniors to contend with in the prefinal and final.
A pair of P2s would close out KartWeek for Lucas. He’d finish a close second to fellow Florida Coyote driver Ronnie Klys in the prefinal, and back it up with a fine runner-up finish in the 16-lap main event.
An outstanding KartWeek for Thek backed up a solid showing at CKNA’s Winter Nationals earlier in December at NOLA Motorsports Park in Louisiana, where Lucas finished P4 in the final in his PPK / Coyote debut.
The pair of impressive performances at two national events plus a Sunshine State Karting Challenge win at his home track, AMR-Homestead, has PPK pleased to announce we have extended the Coyote Motorsports factory supported ride for Lucas Thek.
“In a very short period of time Lucas has shown tremendous progress while working with PPK and Brandon Jarsocrak Racing. We look forward to continuing Lucas’s development and helping him grow as a racer,” PPK’s John Seglem stated.
From a South Florida wheelman with Lucas Thek to a North Florida standout with Jacksonville / NFKC regular Ronnie Klys.
Like Thek, Ronnie was at the controls of a 2024 Coyote Zenith at Daytona and he was one of the fastest juniors in attendance throughout the three days.
Qualifying P5, Klys kept his sleek No. 17 Coyote near the front of the pack in the two heats and during Saturday’s prefinal and final.
Finishes of P2 and P8 in the pair of heat races had the High Springs, Fla., native in solid position for Saturday’s main event. In a wild race, Klys would open the final day of competition with a big win in the Junior prefinal by a 0.095-second advantage over Thek to make it a Coyote Zenith 1-2 of over 40 starters.
Klys would drive a consistent race in the final, keeping his Coyote inside the top five throughout the 16-lap race and coming away with a fine P3 podium result, just a few kart-lengths back of Thek.
Also in juniors, Jack Feiber, Levi Getz, Jacob Schaible and Joseph Sheppard entered Coyote chassis.
Feiber ran into mostly bad luck until the final, which saw him gain 16 positions for a P28 finish.
Schaible was out on his new 2024 Zenith and showed great speed. The Midwest-based racer drove to a solid P15 finish in the Junior final after gaining four spots in the 16-lap race.
Sheppard was another driver racing a Coyote Zenith for the first time. He’d finish the Junior final in the top 25.
Getz unfortunately recorded a DNF. But he was on the move in the final until contact forced him out of the race a few laps from the finish.
Huntington Bolton and Ethan Bole both raced their Coyotes in Senior 365, and both had good runs in the Saturday final. Bolton gained 10 spots in the 16-lapper to finish just outside the top 15 in P16, while Bole advanced nine spots in the race to finish P18.
In addition to Ronnie’s P3 in Junior, the Klys family accomplished more success at Daytona between the Featherweight and Masters divisions.
Ronnie also entered the Featherweight division, which is open to junior drivers who are at least 14 years old. Racing against the seniors, Ronnie drove to a solid P5 finish in the final to give Coyote two top-five finishes in the division.
Ronnie’s dad Ron Klys entered Masters at Daytona and he raced inside the top five in each round. After heat finishes of P4 and P5, Ron returned Saturday to net another P5 result in the prefinal before driving to a strong P4 finish in the main.
Nick Lefferdo rode a “new-to-him” No. 00 PPK / Coyote Zenith that he picked up at Daytona. Lefferdo adapted quickly to his new chassis, staying inside the top-10 speed charts all weekend in the competitive 206 Senior 365 class and finished a respectable P8 in the final.
Jacksonville senior drivers Shawn Chiarello and Jack Hughes entered their Coyotes at Daytona.
Chairello ran well in Friday’s Senior 365 heats, racing just outside the top five most of the day and coming away with top-10 results. Saturday didn’t go as well for the Florida driver. He’d get bounced around in both the prefinal and final and ultimately finish outside the top 20 after incidents in both races.
Chairello still showed some solid speed at Daytona and we expect he’ll be fast at Jacksonville again this season.
Hughes ran the Featherweight divisions and like Chairello he showed good speed at Daytona. He’d finish P7 in the Featherweight prefinal and race inside the top 10 in the final before slipping to P11 at the finish.
Jack did a great job and we expect he’ll be right up front at Jacksonville this year.
Jacksonville is the site of the next big race for many Coyote teams.
The second round of the 2024 Cup Karts South Division will take place at 103rd Street Sports Complex February 2-4. Pre-entries totals for the event have already reached 100, and a number of Coyote drivers and teams will be in attendance for one of the biggest CKNA regional races of the year.