EKN Trackside: Cup Karts North America Grand Nationals 6 – Preview

Another record breaking gathering of Briggs & Stratton 206 racers at New Castle Motorsports Park

The Cup Karts North America Grand Nationals 6 presented by Nitro Kart are scheduled to take place on September 29-October 2 at the New Castle Motorsports Park. What is been established as a ‘Briggs & Stratton Runoffs’ for North America will welcome over 380 entries in eight categories utilizing the Briggs 206 engine platform. The pre-entry total has surpassed last year’s record, thanks to the return of Canadian drivers and the continued growth of the grassroots platform the Briggs engine package provides.

The event begins on Thursday, September 29 with unofficial practice contest all day, providing four sessions for each category. The larger divisions – Senior Medium, Senior Light, Junior and Sportsman – are broken up into two groups each all weekend long. Friday is the first official day of action with two practice sessions before qualifying. This year, heat racing will begin on Friday afternoon with half of the races for Heat 1 contested before the sun sets over the Indiana cornfields. Saturday begins with the completion of the remaining Heat 1 races before the full slate of Heat 2 and Heat 3 contests are held. This year brings back the third round of heats, with all races set for eight laps each, and each heat is progressive, meaning drivers will start the next round where the finished in the previous session. When all three heat races are completed, points will be tabulated with highest point total earning the main event pole position. The top-45 in Senior Light, Senior Medium and Junior transfer automatically along with the top-35 in Sportsman. Five drivers from the four LCQ races run Sunday morning move on to the Finals Sunday afternoon.

The track layout for the CKNA Grand Nationals 6 reverts back to the original circuit after using a unique design a year ago. The 1-mile ‘National’ layout is the basis for the GN6 circuit, excluding the I-70 and utilizing the cut-through along with the ‘Monza’ section to be just under the standard mile course. Several prizes will be handed out to competitors throughout the weekend. Over $25,000 in prizes will be raffled off during the event, with Friday evening having the Champions Award banquet for the divisional programs, including a Happy Hour presented by ROCAVAKA. CKNA will once again be providing live coverage of the GN6, working with Live Broadcast Media Group. The action will be streamed online and on the CKNA Facebook page.

eKartingNews.com will be trackside throughout the event with Editorial Assistant Nate Dean providing the full trackside coverage. Dean will oversee the social media, daily reports and top-10 updates during the event while Rob Howden and David Cole return back behind the wheel to compete once again. Each will be providing their own social media blogs from the Precision Performance Karting / Brandon Jarsocrak Racing / Coyote and LSR Motorsports / CRG Nordam tents with Howden competing in Legends while Cole double dips with Senior Heavy and Masters.

Colin Warren comes in as the defending champion in both Senior Medium and Light (Photo: EKN)

The two headline divisions of the weekend will be the Senior Medium and Senior Light classes. Medium has always been the highest attended class since the beginning, however Light surpassed with 71 pre-entries compared to 69 in Medium. The defending winner in both races is 7-time CKNA Grand Nationals winner Collin Warren. The Florida driver won Medium twice, both years Light was offered in 2020 and 2021, along with three victories in the Senior Open Medium class – twice in 2017 and again in 2018. He comes in as the 2022 CKNA South Division in each of the categories. Many are doing the double dip including four-time USPKS champion Brandon Jarsocrak, EKN TaG Driver Rankings top-five driver Pauly Massimino, Austin Garrison returning and longtime 2-cycle champion Brandon Lemke, making his CKNA debut. Last year’s Junior Grand Nationals winner James Overbeck has made the transition to Senior a good one, winning the CKNA North Division title in both categories as well. CKNA Canada Division champion in Medium Jonathon Treadwell will double dip as well. Other notables include Dylan Amundsen, NWKA champion Boden Barnwell, Jed Perkins, Jake Sessler, 2019 Medium winner Jordan Prior, Logan Adams, Mick Gabriel, Zachary Linsell, two-time winner Justin Wishard and many more.

One driver competing in all three Senior classes is defending Heavy winner Adam Maxwell. He comes in with two top-six finishes in the last two years, however, is not the only defending winner in the field. 2020 winner Gary Lawson is back for more as the Rock Island Grand Prix ‘Emperor’ is looking for a third victory at the CKNA Grand Nationals. Speaking of the RIGP, two King of the Rock Briggs 206 winners will be in the field as well with 2021 crown winner Michael Dittmer and the new monarchy of Drake Ostrom making his presence, fresh off his wedding and honeymoon. Riley Scott is another Briggs winner at RIGP that will be in the Heavy field along with Connor Lund – the first Briggs 206 winner at the Labor Day street races, and he headlines the three divisional champions in the field. Lund won the North Division with Sean Maier taking the South title while Canada champion Logan Ferguson is coming down over the border to battle. The top three from last year’s podium will be in attendance including 2021 runner-up Matt Lyda.

Michael Dittmer the defending Masters champion (Photo: Mark Schwigen – Alpha Se7en Media)

A majority of the field in Masters are returning from last year and Grand Nationals in the past. Defending race winner Michael Dittmer is set to for a repeat in 2022 with fellow podium finishers Steve Knight, Jakab Nyiri, and Ryan Spierowski looking to move up the further on the steps. Sean OShea and JD Gunn both finished last year in the top-10. Provisional winner Eric Fagan is back for redemption along with many others who finished outside the top-15 returning. All three divisional winners are in the field with a shot at the victory – Geoff Shaw (North), Todd Baron (South) and Mathieu Demers (Canada). The 2019 winner Nick Tucker – owner of Nitro Kart – is set for a return as well, making this one of the deepest fields in CKNA Grand Nationals Masters history.

The Legends class – for drivers 50 years and older – made its debut at the Grand Nationals last year. It has grown now to 35 entries with everyone having their sights on defending winner Todd Baron. The North Carolina driver is coming off a CKNA South Division championship program, as well, making him a two-class threat. CKNA North Division champion Ryan Cassity made headlines in August at the series finale, winning in this category along with the Senior Medium division. Three other drivers from the top-10 return are James Inscoe, Joe DeBoever, and Michael Wells, which should see some new names in contention with nearly half the field making their Grand Nationals debut in the class.

The Junior class is another category with a lot of new names on the roster, however, a handful of returning contenders from last year. Leading the way is 2021 runner-up Spencer Conrad, along with fellow podium finisher Addison Ianniello. Cale Zimmerman, Garret Andexler, Henry Wheeler and Eli Warren also finished inside the top-10 a year ago, returning for better results this time. Two Junior rookie drivers stand out following their podium performances last year at the Grand Nationals. Caleb Tarter finished third with Cade Jaeger placing fifth in Sportsman, making their Junior debuts this weekend. All three divisional champions are in the field with Owen Lloyd (South), Malachi Haight (North), and Quebec driver Branco Juverdianu (Canada).

The Sportsman division is just above the Junior field in terms of numbers with 55 pre-entries for the cadet drivers. No former winners are in the field, leaving Aryton Grim as the only double winner still in the history books, winning 2017 and 2019. The top returning driver from last year’s event in the field is Isaac Malcuit. The 2022 CKNA North Division champion placed fourth a year ago, and the EKN Driver of the Month for August 2022 will have all the stop watches on him all weekend. CKNA South Division champion Robert Arana joins Malcuit as the two champions in the field. Porter Trudell is the only driver who finished inside the top-10 retuning, placing eight in 2021. The majority of the drivers returning finished outside the top-15 last year, so this year’s front of the field will have a number of new contenders. The top Kid Kart graduates are Kacen Hendrickson and Cooper Mull, who place third and fifth last year.

The 15-driver Kid Kart field has six who are returning with nine making their Grand Nationals debut. Elam Stoner is the top returning driver, placing sixth last year. Brayden Clossey was seventh a year ago, however, comes in as the CKNA North Division champion. The CKNA South Division champion Parker Stewart is looking to build on a 16th place result last year. Giovanni Fiorita out of Illinois is the only driver to compete for a third year in the Kid Kart class in this event’s roster, with a best finish of eighth thus far.

Be sure to follow all the EKN Social Media outlets for updates, photos, videos and more from the Cup Karts North America Grand Nationals 6 presented by Nitro Kart.

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