EKN Trackside: 2016 United States Pro Kart Series – New Castle – Preview Part 1

Fourth season set to begin at popular New Castle Motorsports Park

USPKS-MG-Fikse logoIt has been eight months since the Fikse Wheels United States Pro Kart Series presented by MG Tires took to the track, closing out the 2015 season at the end of August. Now into the month of May, just prior to the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 down the road, the 2016 USPKS kicks off at the New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana. The 2015 season ended there, but a lot has changed since then. A number of top drivers have graduated up the ranks from Rookie to Cadet, Cadet to Junior and Junior to Senior. On-track officials have changed around, bringing a younger group of race directors and eyes on the action, with the same customer-oriented, family fun weekend the USPKS has produced since its first weekend in 2013.

The first three openers of the United States Pro Kart Series have taken place at the GoPro Motorplex during the month of April. This season begins where we end 2015 – New Castle Motorsports Park. The central Indiana facility has been part of the USPKS all four seasons, serving as the site for the season closer the last two seasons. Now, racers will begin their championship journey at the 1-mile course that puts strategy, horsepower and kart set-up to the test.

eKartingNews.com is trackside once again for a fourth straight year with USPKS to provide EKN Live coverage. Friends, family and race fans can bookmark ekartingnews.com/live for live audio with USPKS announcer Randy Kugler and live timing from Race-Monitor.com. Daily race reports, updates to the Official Discussion Thread and content in the EKN Social Media network (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) can be found all weekend long at #EKNatUSPKS


Allison Racing Engines IAME Cadet

Jason Welage leads the top returning drivers in the TaG Cadet division, now utilizing the IAME Swift engine (Photo: EKN)

Jason Welage leads the top returning drivers in the TaG Cadet division, now utilizing the IAME Swift engine (Photo: EKN)

The 2016 season marks a transition in the Cadet division, moving to the IAME brand. Many of the top contenders and winners from a year ago have graduated to the Junior ranks, leaving the now all IAME Swift class open for a new champion. Among the pre-season favorites are three winners from last year.

Jason Welage was crowned champion during the 2015 USPKS season, earning the title in the Yamaha division while place third in the TaG championship chase. The Top Kart USA driver won in South Bend, placing runner-up both days at the season finale in New Castle. Welage already added a WKA Winter Cup title to his CV this year, and looking to add more in 2016. Robert Noaker III closed out the season with a dramatic photo finish for his one and only victory in the category, finishing the championship in the fourth position. The Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver had a fair winter season program, looking to kick off the USPKS just as he closed out last year. Tyler Maxson scored his first series victory at the South Bend event last year, placing top step on the podium during the Saturday round. The Benik driver is coming off another first, placing P1 at the SKUSA SpringNationals in Phoenix.

Kyle Thome (Franklin Motorsports / Merlin) and James Egozi (Benik) showed pace at the end of the 2015 season, each landing on the podium once in the closing two events. Thome is fresh off a two podium performance at the SKUSA SpringNationals. 2015 USPKS Yamaha Rookie champion Donald Whorton II (Tony Kart) is making the jump up to the Cadet level this season, with others set to emerge as regular contenders this season.

Provisional IAME Cadet Entry List

No. Driver Chassis Engine Hometown
04 GARRETT ADAMS FA COMET GREENFIELD, IN
18 CALEB BACON COMPKART ALLISON KINGSPORT, TN
306 ISAAC BEEKMAN COMPKART ALLISON FALLS CHURCH, VA
48 JAMES EGOZI BENIK NORTH BAY VILLAGE, FL
312 RYLEE ENGEL TONY KART WOLTJER INDIANAPOLIS, IN
30 KYLE FORD TOP KART COMET NEEDHAM, IN
644 DEVIN GOMEZ BENIK WOLTJER WAKE FOREST, NC
8 GRAY LEADBETTER TOP KART MORGANTOWN, NC
76 JAMES LYNCH HAASE COMET CHICAGO RIDGE, IL
188 LUCA MARS COMPKART ALLISON SWEICKLEY, PA
74 TYLER MAXSON BENIK WOLTJER LAWRENCEVILLE, GA
03 ROBERT NOAKER III MERLIN WOLTJER DUNCANNON, PA
111 COLIN QUEEN TONY KART WOLTJER COTO DE CAZA, CA
777 ANNIE RHULE PCR WOLTJER PITTSBURGH, PA
24 NIC SHEPPARD TECNO SWITCH GOBLES, MI
17 NICK SNELL BENIK ALLISON JAMESTOWN, OH
88 NICHOLAS TERLECKI BIREL WOLTJER ELGIN, IL
36 KYLE THOME MERLIN WOLTJER DOUSMAN, WI
5 JASON WELAGE TOP KART WOLTJER CLEVES, OH
14 KADEN WHARFF TOP KART ALLISON BROWNSBURG, IN
42 DONALD WHORTON II TONY KART ALLISON MONTPELIER, VA
72 CONNOR ZILISCH TONY KART ALLISON MATTHEWS, NC


Switch Racing Engines Yamaha Cadet

Tyler Maxson is slated to be among the title contenders in the Yamaha Cadet championship chase (Photo: EKN)

Tyler Maxson is slated to be among the title contenders in the Yamaha Cadet championship chase (Photo: EKN)

The Yamaha Cadet division has been among the most competitive categories throughout the four year history for the United States Pro Kart Series. Last year’s champion Jason Welage will not defend his crown, focusing primarily on his IAME Cadet program. This has opened the door for a driver to emerge as the fourth different series champion in the category.

Among them are two of the top contenders in the IAME class. Tyler Maxson (Benik) is the only returning driver with a victory in 2015, leaving Shawano with his first series triumph. Podium finishes could be something we see a lot of from this Georgia driver. Robert Noaker III (Franklin Motorsports / Merlin) finished fifth, right behind Maxson in the championship standings despite never finishing inside the top-three in eight races. Kyle Thome (Franklin Motorsports / Merlin) and Kaden Wharff (Top Kart) finished on the podium in 2015, back for another year with promise of better results. James Lynch (Haase) is another driver that continued to improve throughout the season, and is among the top-five returning drivers.

A strong group of Cadet rookies are set to begin their 2016 season at the USPKS. Lucas Smalec (Merlin), Conner Churchill (Tony Kart) and Bayne Bennett II (Tony Kart) were among the contenders all last season in Rookie, and are now among the 21 drivers set to contest the Yamaha Cadet series opener.

Provisional Yamaha Cadet Entry List

No. Driver Chassis Engine Hometown
04 GARRETT ADAMS FA COMET GREENFIELD, IN
2 LOGAN ADAMS FA COMET GREENFIELD, IN
99 BAYNE BENNETT II TONY KART SWITCH GRANGER, IL
12 KEEGAN BOSCH MERLIN WOLTJER FRANKSVILLE, WI
199 CONNER CHURCHILL TONY KART SWITCH BELOIT, WI
58 RYAN DETLOR PRAGA ALLISON MADISON, AL
18 TALAN DRAKE MERLIN WOLTJER RIVERSIDE, IA
312 RYLEE ENGEL TONY KART WOLTJER INDIANAPOLIS, IN
30 KYLE FORD TOP KART COMET NEEDHAM, IN
76 JAMES LYNCH HAASE COMET CHICAGO RIDGE, IL
74 TYLER MAXSON BENIK WOLTJER LAWRENCEVILLE, GA
56 NATHAN NICHOLSON TONY KART BBS UNIONVILLE, IN
03 ROBERT NOAKER III MERLIN WOLTJER DUNCANNON, PA
111 COLIN QUEEN TONY KART WOLTJER COTO DE CAZA, CA
777 ANNIE RHULE PCR WOLTJER PITTSBURGH, PA
24 NIC SHEPPARD TECNO SWITCH GOBLES, MI
10 LUCAS SMALEC MERLIN WOLTJER GLENVIEW, IL
88 NICHOLAS TERLECKI RICCIARDO WOLTJER ELGIN, IL
36 KYLE THOME MERLIN WOLTJER DOUSMAN, WI
141 KADEN WHARFF TOP KART ALLISON BROWNSBURG, IN
14 JACK WOERL TOP KART WOLTJER HUBER HEIGHTS, OH


Motorsport Driver Development IAME Rookie

2016 also marks the debut of the IAME Rookie division. The Yamaha counterpart has been part of the USPKS since its birth in 2013. Three of last year’s Yamaha racers are taking part in the inaugural IAME Rookie weekend, with eight of the 13 drivers performing double duty. Brent Crews (OTK) was the 2016 WKA Winter Cup champion and Eli Trull (Fullerton) is the current WKA Manufacturers Cup Series point leader, showing the talent set to battle in New Castle.

Provisional IAME Rookie Entry List

No. Driver Chassis Engine Hometown
20 MASON CANTRELL COMPKART ALLISON SPARTANBURG, SC
14 SAM CORRY TONY KART WOLTJER CORNELIUS, NC
51 ELLIOT COX BENIK ALLISON INDIANAPOLIS, IN
27 PAIGE CRAWFORD TONY KART ALLISON COMMACK, NY
11 BRENT CREWS OTK WOLTJER DENVER, NC
3 SOFIA D'ARRIGO PCR BBS PITTSBURGH, PA
8 DANNY DYSZELSKI OTK ALLISON CHARLOTTE, NC
25 CHARLIE KNOLL PCR EBS SEWICKLEY, PA
98 RYKER MATTES TONY KART KOENE PLAINFIELD, IL
41 ADAM MAXWELL FA WOLTJER GREENWOOD, IN
206 MATEO RUBIO-LUENGO KOSMIC ALLISON ATLANTA, GA
33 ETHAN SKILES PCR BBS MARYSVILLE, OH
48 ELI TRULL FULLERTON ALLISON MOORESVILLE, NC


QPS Employment Group Yamaha Rookie

All of the top contenders from last year’s championship chase have graduated on to the Cadet level, leaving 2016 with a young and fresh group of racers set to compete. Just two racers come into the opening weekend in New Castle with USPKS experience – Elliot Cox (Benik) and Eli Trull (Fullerton). All but one is doing the double duty to help maximize their track time and improve their pace throughout the weekend.

Provisional Yamaha Rookie Entry List

No. Driver Chassis Engine Hometown
20 MASON CANTRELL COMPKART ALLISON SPARTANBURG, SC
14 SAM CORRY TONY KART WOLTJER CORNELIUS, NC
51 ELLIOT COX BENIK ALLISON INDIANAPOLIS, IN
27 PAIGE CRAWFORD TONY KART ALLISON COMMACK, NY
8 DANNY DYSZELSKI OTK ALLISON CHARLOTTE, NC
00 CHRISTIAN GORDON ARROW COMET FRANKFORT, KY
41 ADAM MAXWELL FA WOLTJER GREENWOOD, IN
606 MATEO RUBIO-LUENGO KOSMIC ALLISON ATLANTA, GA
48 ELI TRULL FULLERTON ALLISON MOORESVILLE, NC

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