Paddock Insider: 2021 United States Pro Kart Series – Carolina Grand Prix
Series finale at GoPro Motorplex to conclude ninth season
EKN’s Paddock Insider is part of our Trackside coverage, bringing you notes, updates and breaking news as it happens. The article will feature notes from the paddock at the 2021 United States Pro Kart Series Carolina Grand Prix from the GoPro Motorplex during the October 15-17 weekend. EKN Managing Editor David Cole is trackside in Mooresville, NC to provide insider info that will not be seen anywhere else. Please feel free to comment and discuss our coverage and today’s action in the EKN Global Members Discussion area below.
NASCAR Point Leader Kyle Larson Making Karting Debut
Breaking news on the weekend is the inclusion of current NASCAR Cup Series point leader Kyle Larson, who is trackside and on-track in the X30 Pro division. Larson’s participation was a deal that came together only over the last week, thanks to his working relationship with trainer Josh Wise and former karting national champion/Formula One/NASCAR driver Scott Speed. It was Speed who connected Larson with his family’s operation of Speed Concepts Racing to be aboard an OTK Redspeed. The plan is to be trackside Thursday and Friday, with the option to race on Saturday. Larson is from Elk Grove, California and began his racing career in outlaw karts. He didn’t get involved with karting until coming to GoPro Motorplex in recent years. When speaking to Larson, he told EKN that he “just loves to race”. Kyle’s just excited to be at one of the largest karting events of the season and to have the opportunity to test himself against some of the top karters in the country.
Will Power Making His USPKS Debut
Also making his debut at the USPKS program is former IndyCar champion Will Power. At the beginning of 2020 season, Power partnered up with Billy Vincent from MPG Motorsports to establish the Will Power Kart brand. The program gained success early on and they continue to develop the chassis and the brand, working with Kart Republic and KartSport North America. Power is no stranger to the kart track, having competed at the SKUSA SuperNationals multiple times and can often be seen here at GoPro Motorplex testing. This weekend marks the first time he has competed at the USPKS, as he’s entered in the X30 Pro division.
IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden Returns to Roots
A driver the karting community has seen grown from the beginning days behind the wheel to become one of the best in motorsports is Josef Newgarden. The Tennessee native progressed through the karting ranks before hitting the Road to Indy program, earning the IndyLights championship in 2011. He is now a two-time IndyCar Series champion, driving for Team Penske. It has been six years since Newgarden competed in a karting event, the 2015 RoboPong 200 at his home track of New Castle Motorsports Park, teaming up with fellow IndyCar driver Scott Dixon. He’s dabbled in a few karting test since that time, but his last roughly a year ago. He’s happy to be back at the kart track, seeing familiar faces from the past, and excited to be working directly with Power and Vincent on getting up to speed on-track.
USPKS Heading to Orlando Kart Center for 2022 Opener
An announcement was made during the Friday driver’s meeting here at GoPro Motorplex for the 2021 USPKS finale. The opening event of the 2022 season is heading to the Orlando Kart Center in Orlando, Florida for the March 3-6 weekend. Series officials have been talking with the OKC facility for the last few weeks, locking in the details. Series owner Mark Coats is happy to be opening the 2022 season at a destination location like Orlando, while supporting the many Florida drivers that compete in the USPKS program. 2021 event at Ocala, Florida was the largest event in series history, and they anticipate similar numbers to open up the 2022 program in Orlando.