PPK DAYTONA RECAP — Thek, Stewart clinch championships, McKeithan sweeps Sunday Light, Medium finals

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Precision Performance Karting drivers closed out the 2024 Cup Karts North America South Division Memorial Day weekend at the Daytona International Speedway kart track, a tricky 0.56-mile course located inside turns 3 and 4 of the 2.5-mile super speedway.

Daytona provided a new challenge for many drivers and the PPK team was up to the task. With some having experience racing the circuit during WKA’s annual KartWeek in December, others were running the 11-turn course for the first time.

South Division championships were also on the line as the event served as the final rounds 6 and 7 for the super competitive regional series. Two PPK drivers — Lucas Thek and Parker Stewart — would leave Daytona with class championships.

Thek clinches Junior championship

Starting with Lucas Thek, the Miami, Fla., driver had a memorable weekend on his No. 52 PPK / Coyote Zenith. He’d open competition with a win in Saturday’s Round 6 Junior final. Thek took the lead late in the 10-lap race and kept teammate Carter Barkis at bay for a 0.122-second win over Barkis to lead a PPK 1-2 finish.

Junior winner and champ Lucas Thek // Twelve One Content

Thek would run P2 in most of Sunday’s Junior final before slipping to P5 at the finish. He went purple in the race with a fast lap of 47.168. While he was hoping for another win to close out the weekend, the pair of top-five finishes was easily enough for Thek to capture the Junior championship by a convincing 172-point margin over P2.

“I’m super happy with how the season went and it took no time to get used to working with Precision Performance Karting,” Thek said about his championship season in the South Division. “John (Seglem) and my teammates were very welcoming and have helped make me a better driver. Also, the Coyote chassis is amazing everywhere we go. I’m truly grateful for this opportunity and to be able to win a championship right away. To finish it off with a win at Daytona is very special for me. We have a really strong team and I’m looking forward to the national races!”

Barkis would finish P4 in the Sunday Junior final and end up fourth in the class’s final standings. The Florida driver joined PPK for the first time at Trackhouse Motorplex’s Karting Challenge Round 5 on May 11, and Daytona marked the first time Barkis raced a PPK / Coyote Zenith in CKNA competition.

Stewart wins Cadet championship

Parker Stewart has been a welcomed addition to the PPK team beginning at Jacksonville in February.

Cadet champion Parker Stewart // Twelve One Content

Since then, he’s done nothing but win on his No. 22 Coyote Kryptonite with scores at Jacksonville, the Spring Nationals at Charlotte in March, and now Daytona in May.

After finishing P3 in Saturday’s Cadet final, Stewart drove his PPK / Coyote machine to a big win Sunday to close out the weekend. The Sunday win was crucial as the championship was also on the line. Stewart would end up capturing the CKNA South Cadet class a mere single point over his closest competitor.

In an impressive accomplishment, Stewart won the championship with only attending three of the four CKNA South races in the series. He skipped AMP in April, meaning he had to use those two rounds as drops. In the five rounds he ran between NOLA, Jacksonville and Daytona, the youngster finished on the podium every round, including two wins, two P2s and a P3.

McKeithan returns to winning ways

Christopher McKeithan returned to the win column at Daytona for the first time since winning the IKF Grand Nationals in Texas last fall.

Christopher McKeithan wins // Twelve One Content

McKeithan overcame a disappointing day Saturday where he was in contention for wins in both Senior Light and Medium but different circumstances prevented them.

In a huge rebound, the North Carolina driver wheeled his No. 19 PPK / Coyote Zenith to a sweep of the Light and Medium features in the final day of racing.

In Light, McKeithan ran fourth for most of the 14-lapper before making his move late in the race. He’d advance to P2 on lap 12 and make the winning pass on lap 13 to pick up his first CKNA win of 2024.

Later in the afternoon, McKeithan kept his Coyote in the top two throughout the Medium final. He’d make the winning pass on lap 10 and never relinquish the lead from there, crossing the stripe 0.061 seconds in front of P2 for his second win of the day.

“We had solid pace all through the weekend,” McKeithan commented. “On Saturday we won on the racetrack but we were given an unfortunate penalty. Then in Medium I was involved in a first-lap crash, ending my race. An unfortunate end to Saturday only made me want to push harder for Sunday where I was able to win both finals. It was a fun weekend.”

Capilongo and Seglem show progress in Junior

PPK racers Nicholas Capilongo and Hunter Seglem joined Thek and Barkis in Junior at Daytona. Both drivers showed some tremendous progress throughout the event.

PPK juniors set to hit the DIS kart track // Twelve One Content

Capilongo, a Canadian, continues to improve on his No. 228 PPK / Coyote. He finished P13 in Saturday’s Junior final and advanced to an outstanding P6 result in Sunday’s final, running in the lead pack with a legitimate shot at the win. Capilongo is a product of PPK’s growing arrive-and-drive program, which he began with a solid showing at the Charlotte Spring Nationals in March.

Seglem, a rookie who’s gaining experience racing the North Florida Kart Club series at 103rd Street, made his first start at Daytona. Seglem did well, qualifying P13 of 22 on Saturday and finishing 13th and 16th in the two heat races. Unfortunately, he was involved in a lap 1 incident that caused him a DNF in the final.

Hunter returned Sunday and would qualify 15th and finish 16th in the heat to lead up to a P18 result in the final. Seglem continues to gain on it and we’re looking forward to more progress from the rookie this summer.

Clarke wins Sunday Light pole, P5 in final

Former Daytona Junior winner Jared Clarke was in action in Senior Light on a No. 16 PPK / Coyote. Clarke had a tough Saturday and like McKeithan he rebounded nicely on Sunday.

Jared Clarke // Twelve One Content

The South Carolina racer would win the pole award in Sunday’s Light qualifying round, and go on to a P5 result in the final to round out the top five. Clarke will be back in action June 8 at Trackhouse, where he’s scored a win already this season in the Karting Challenge.

The PPK team has the biggest race of the summer on the horizon with the upcoming CKNA Summer Nationals at Pittsburgh International Race Complex June 21-23. The team has a full tent of talented racers ready to challenge the Pitt Race Wilson Circuit in what will be a super competitive race.

For more information on PPK, visit ppkarting.com and contact John Seglem at 941-284-4035 or ppkartingfl@gmail.com.

For arrive-and-drive opportunities, contact Brandon Jarsocrak at brandonjarsocrak@gmail.com.