NEW CASTLE, Ind. (photos by CKNA) — Precision Performance Karting capped a terrific 2023 national season with an unforgettable Cup Karts North America Grands 7 at the famous New Castle Motorsports Park Sunday, Oct. 1 during the biggest day of the year for Briggs 206 kart racing.
On Grand Finals Sunday of the four-day event, which boasted over 500 entries this year in CKNA’s largest race in its history, three PPK drivers combined to drive their Coyote Zenith chassis to Grand Final wins and sweep the three senior classes in a feat that’s never been accomplished at the Grands.
Chris Carroll of Summerville, S.C., drove his No. 12 2024 Zenith to his first career Grands triumph in the Senior Heavy final.
James Overbeck of Cincinnati, Ohio, followed up Carroll’s Heavy win to lead a top-four PPK sweep in the 90-kart Senior Light division. Overbeck won on his No. 48 2024 Zenith over teammates Pauly Massimino, Christopher McKeithan and Brandon Jarsocrak.
Christopher McKeithan of Gastonia, N.C., would close the day with his first career Grands win in his rookie season in seniors.
With Senior Medium considered the headline division at the Grands with over 100 drivers entered, McKeithan’s impressive performances late in the summer made the North Carolinian one of the favorites entering the Grands. He didn’t disappoint, running up front in every round and keeping his No. 19 PPK / Coyote Zenith in contention throughout the Friday and Saturday prelims.
In the wild final that saw multiple passes inside the top 10 every lap amongst the best 4-cycle racers in North America, McKeithan raced inside the top three every lap and took the lead for good on lap 10. He’d hit his marks down the stretch and hold P1 until the checkered flag waved to score his first career Grands victory.
Pauly Massimino would join McKeithan and Coyote driver Adam Maxwell on the Senior Medium podium. Massimino, who many considered the fastest Senior Light and Medium racer throughout the event, would round out the podium with a fifth-place result. Massimino would also join McKeithan as the only drivers to record podiums in both Light and Medium, the two largest classes of the event.
While Jarsocrak didn’t end up on the podium in Medium, he may have had the most impressive drive of the race. Riding a throwback pink and blue Coyote, a DNF in a heat race relegated Jarsocark to a 41st-place starting position in the final. He’d immediately start moving forward, advancing 31 spots in 16 laps to finish 10th in the day’s final race.
First-year PPK driver Cade Jaeger led the Coyotes on his No. 64 PPK / Zenith in the super competitive Junior final, one of three divisions that needed to run a Sunday morning LCQ to bring the final starting field down to 60.
The Wisconsin racer, who scored multiple national and regional wins in his first year on a Coyote in 4-cycle competition this past summer, completed the podium with a fine P5 result. Jaeger’s heat race results, including two wins, placed him on the pole for the final.
Wisconsin’s Mason Rick and Ontario, Canada’s Nicholas Capilongo joined the PPK team at New Castle for arrive-and-drive programs. While both drivers have karting experience, this was their first time on the Coyote Zenith chassis.
Both Rick and Capilongo piloted new 2024 model Zeniths, and once they got comfortable they both showed solid speed. Both drivers qualified for the Junior main without running the LCQ with Mason finishing P25 and Nicholas P26 in the final. Great run by both kids in their first drives on Coyotes.
eKartingNews.com‘s Rob Howden joined the Precision Performance Karting (PPK) camp for the second straight year at the Grands to race a No. 37 Coyote Zenith in both Legends and Masters. After P5 in the Legends final at the Grands in 2022, Howden had another solid drive this year, this time rounding out the top 10 of 38 starters on his PPK entry.
Howden would add a P19 finish in the age 35-and-up Masters final to complete his solid showing.
PPK team owner John Seglem was pleased with the results, and he offered his thoughts on his team’s dominant top-four Light sweep and three race wins.
“Our success is a direct result of the passion Mark and Jim Lipari have in continuing to develop the Zenith into a dominant chassis. Every PPK driver is committed to growing the Coyote brand and it’s continued success,” Seglem stated.