The busiest day of the season was completed on Saturday for the 2023 United States Pro Kart Series with racing getting underway at the Carolina Grand Prix. A total of 30 heat races were contested along with two Last Chance Qualifiers around the Trackhouse Motorplex. All that remains is the eight main events to be held on Sunday at the Mooresville, North Carolina facility. The weather on Saturday began with a wet race track but dried out by the end of warm-ups in time for the heat races. A short delay as local police were searching for a person around the perimeter of the facility just as lunch was wrapping up. Racing resumed as ‘Situation Saturday’ came to a close.
It was a two driver fight all day at the front of the Franklin Motorsports X30 Pro division. Top qualifier and two-time champion Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) battled with Round Three winner Austin Garrison (SCR / Redspeed) throughout the day. Norberg struck first in the opening heat and held on for the win in the second. Garrison was able to edge out Norberg for the win in the third heat race that was among the wildest heat races of the season. Senior rookie Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) was able to claim third in the opening two motos before the last 12-lap heat of the season took place. In the end, Garrison and Norberg had a 12-second advantage thanks to the heavy shuffling and lots of contact behind them. Senior rookie Brandon Carr (RPM / Tony Kart) climbed 11 spots to finish third in the race that saw championship leader Diego Ramos (PSL / Birel ART) continue to receive bad luck, losing a chain while battling for position.
The SRP Engines Pro Shifter class was led by AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA) for most of the day. He was leading the opening heat race until his engine expired, which allowed top qualifier Kyle Wick (GFC) to claim the win. Myers came back to win the final two heats with Wick trailing. Wick and Myers will make up the front row with Alan Isambard (Sodi Racing USA) and Tahlon Yockel (Magik Kart USA) from row two. Yockel was third in two of the heat races while Isambard placed third in Heat #2. Jacob Gulick (GFC) was second, fourth and a DNF after contact in the hairpin to put him fifth in the main event grid.
It was a perfect day for Round Two winner and championship contender Helio Meza (IRM / Tony Kart) in the Mike Doty Racing KA100 Senior class. The Texan won all three of his heat races after qualifying second overall on Friday. That moves him to the pole position for the main event. Pauly Massimino (BJR / LN Racing Kart) won two of his heats, placing second to Meza in their one battle together to advance from 12th to second on the main event grid. Top qualifier Westin Workman (TimmyTech / CompKart) put a string of second, third and second results to start the Final from third alongside Connor Ferris (TFR / Kart Republic) – who was consistent on the day with three top-four results. Defending series champion Alex Stanfield (GWR / Gillard) retains the fifth spot with Dalton Hanes (CDR / Kart Republic) – who is running all three Senior categories on the weekend – starting alongside in Row Three. Brandon Lemke (FMS / Exprit) was the other heat winner on the day. He suffered a DNF in his opening heat and finished 10th in his third and will start back in 21st.
Three different drivers took a heat win over the course of the day in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior class. Top qualifier Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) won the opener ahead of Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed) and Carter McMurray (TimmyTech / CompKart). It was Wolny that was able to pull away in Heat #2 for the win over Enzo Vidmontiene (MottazSport / Kart Republic) and Steven Miller (Nash / EOS). Then in the final heat, McMurray was able to move up to the win on the final circuit, beating out Davin Roberts (RPM / Tony Kart) and Sarah Bradley (SCR / Redspeed) in a wild ending. Wolny and McMurray will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday ahead of Miller and Vidmontiene while Ardiles and Bradley make up row three.
Diego Guiot (IRM / Tony Kart) was one of three drivers to win all three heat races on the day. He will lead the BBS Racing Engines KA100 Junior field to the green flag on Sunday following his solid performance on Saturday. Enzo Vidmontiene (MottazSport / Kart Republic) won two of his heats, while placing second to Guiot in their head-to-head matchup on the day. That puts the Florida driver on the outside of the front row. Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon / Tony Kart) was the other driver to win a heat race on the day. That win matched with a fourth and second puts him third on the grid alongside local driver Mason Walters (BJR / LN Racing Kart) who strung together three top-four results. Three top-five results have Ty Fisher (Racelab / TB Kart) in the hunt, starting fifth. Top qualifier Chase Buscaglia (GWR / Gillard) had issues in the opening two heat races to record DNFs while placing seventh in the final heat. He will start back in 41st.
Championship leader Mike Rolison (RPG / Kosmic) has set the tone at the front of the Speed Concepts Racing KA100 Masters class. The top qualifier was able to win all three heat races, but not without challenge. Former USPKS champion Danillo Ramalho (Sodi Racing USA) put on the pressure, but ended up finishing second in Heat #1 and Heat #3. Rolison was able to get away in the second heat, with former series champ Scott Kopp (FMS / Exprit) trailing. They will retain their spots of second and third for the main event with William Isaias (IM / Kart Republic) working up to start fourth now ahead of Round Three winner Laurentiu Mardan (Tecno Kart USA).
The battle at the front of the field continues in the DNJ International Services Mini Swift category. Each heat race was highly contested at the front with no clear run-away driver. Provisional champion Lucas Palacio (TKG / Kart Republic) won the second heat while Royce Vega (Benik) won the two others. They matched their heat points and the better qualifying effort by Palacio gives him the pole position for the Sunday main event. Michael McGaughy (RPM / Parolin) was in contention all day, putting together three runner-up results to start the Final in third alongside Max Cristea (MottazSport / Parolin), who advanced up from qualifying 17th all day. Marco Sammut (MDR / LN Racing Kart) and Rocco Simone (MottazSport / Parolin) fill up row three for the main event.
Parker Ives (RPM / Nitro Kart) has not put a wheel wrong the entire weekend in the Team Ferris Racing Micro Swift class. Ives pulled away from the field in all three heat races to earn the win in a comfortable advantage at the checkered flag. The fight has been for second place which saw Cade Wolfe (TimmyTech / CompKart), Josh Bergman (Sodi Racing USA) and Isaac Payn (Parolin) earn over the three heat races. It will be Maxwell Macha (SLA / Sodi Kart) starting alongside Ives on the front row with results of third, fifth and third. Wolfe and Aston Wyatt (Speedsportz / Birel ART) that start from the second row while Payn and Bergman go from row three.
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