The third round of the United States Pro Kart Series is underway with the four rounds of practice and qualifying into the record books at the New Castle Motorsports Park. The first official day of action for the Indiana Grand Prix was completed on Friday under overcast skies for much of the day, with the sun breaking through the sky for five-lap qualifying sessions around the 1-mile ‘National’ layout.
< Making his USPKS debut, Kyle Wick (GFC) found clear track in the SRP Engines Pro Shifter session, posting a 1:01.276 lap to claim the pole position for the three heat races on Saturday. Wick cleared the field by two tenths, with Speedsportz winner AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA) in second and now championship leader Marijn Kremers (PSL / Birel ART) in third. Jacob Gulick (GFC), also making is first USPKS start coming off two big wins at the SKUSA SpringNationals, put in the fourth best lap with Tahlon Yockel (Magik Kart USA) in fifth.

Drafting is a big part of qualifying at New Castle, and Diego Ramos (PSL / Birel ART) timed it just right in the Franklin Motorsports X30 Pro session to clock in the quickest time. A 1:04.511 lap time put him at the top of the order by 86 thousandths over top qualifier at Speedsportz, Helio Meza (IRM / Tony Kart). Blake Nash (Nash / EOS) was impressive on the stop watch all day, placing third ahead of British driver Harley Keeble (Piquet / Sodi Kart) while two-time series champion Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) ended up fifth. Championship leader Brandon Carr (RPM / Tony Kart) put himself in ninth while Speedsportz winner Joe Turney (CDR / Kart Republic) ended up 11th.

Second year Senior driver Austin Jurs (Redspeed) put himself at the top of the time charts in the Mike Doty Racing KA100 Senior class. Jurs used the draft off pre-qualifying top drivers Brandon Lemke (Exprit) and Braden Eves (MPG / Kart Republic) to clear the field by two tenths with a lap time of 1:07.467. Championship leader Peyton Phillips (Hi5 / Tony Kart) was second with Connor Ferris (TFR / Kart Republic) in third. Speedsportz winner Helio Meza (IRM / Tony Kart) was fourth with Lemke and Eves rounding out the top-six in the session.

Another driver recorded his best qualifying performance on the season in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior class. Canadian Anthony Martella (SCR / Redspeed) cleared the field by two tenths with a 1:06.022 lap time to lead the field to the green flag in the heat races. Two-time winner and championship leader Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) will go from the outside of the front row while Charlie Smith (Nash / CompKart), Jensen Burnett (REM / Kosmic) and Jackson Wolny (RPG / Kosmic) make up the fast five.

Draft was a key part in helping to put Fernando Luque (Supertune / Tony Kart) to the top of the time charts in the BBS Racing Engines KA100 Junior class. Luque used the draft to post his quickest lap of the session on the final circuit, a 1:08.559. Austin Olds (MPG / Kart Republic) nearly clipped that time, missing out by just 98 thousandths. Caleb Tarter (MPG / Kart Republic) was third with Orlando top qualifier Steven Miller (CDR / Kart Republic) in fourth. Isaac Malcuit rounded out the fast five with championship leader and two-time race winner Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) back in 10th.

New Castle has been always good for Laurentiu Mardan (Tecno Kart USA) and it showed in qualifying for the Speed Concepts Racing KA100 Masters class. Mardan timed the draft perfectly to put in a 1:08.928 lap time, clearing two-time winner and championship leader Mike Rolison (RPG / Kosmic) by 39 thousandths for the pole position in the three heat races on Saturday. Niki Coello (FMS / Merlin) was third with Speedsportz standout Adam Crepin (Gillard) in fourth. Mario Barrios (RPG / Kosmic) rounded out the fast five.

The five-lap qualifying sessions allowed drivers to hook-up around the big 1-mile course, and that showed in the opening category of DNJ International Services Mini Swift class. Three drivers locked up at the front with Tristan Murphy (RPM / Nitro Kart) one of them. It was Murphy putting in the best lap of a 1:12.189 with Jackson Tovo (RPM / Parolin) off by only one thousandth of a second. Fion Shi (Supertune / Tony Kart) and Travis Pettit (TKG / Kart Republic) slipped into third and fourth ahead of Michael McGaughy (RPM / Parolin) who was part of that three-driver group. The top five were all within 95 thousandths on the stopwatch. Two-time winner and championship leader Lucas Palacio (TKG / Kart Republic) lost his fast lap in the pre-qualifying session for impeding and had to go out in the C group for qualifying, ending up back in 21st.

Indiana driver AJ Stoner (A-MAXX / Tony Kart) began his defense of the home track advantage in the Team Ferris Racing Micro Swift class. In his first start at USPKS this season, Stoner put in a 1:13.683 lap time to start the heat races from the pole position. Two-time winner and championship leader Parker Ives (RPM / Nitro Kart) came up 24 thousandths short with Aston Wyatt (Speedsportz / Birel ART) and Emerson Laine (TKG / Kart Republic) a close third and fourth. Enzo Digennaro completed the fast five.

The eight fields are set heading into Saturday with three rounds of heat races on the docket to help line them up for the main events on Sunday. Follow the coverage all weekend long on the EKN Social Media accounts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news, updates, photos, videos and more, including the top-10 results after each session beginning with qualifying on Friday. Listen to the racing action by heading to the EKN Live page or tune in on the EKN Radio Network.