SPENCERPORT, N.Y. — Big news came out of GoPro Motorplex in early December when Precision Performance Karting (PPK) — a South Florida-based Coyote Racing Chassis LO206 race team — announced the addition of teenage karting standouts James Overbeck and Christopher McKeithan to their 2023 driver lineup.
Both Overbeck and McKeithan will ride PPK / Coyote Zenith chassis exclusively in Briggs 206 racing next season. Overbeck, the two-time 2022 CKNA Spring Nationals winner who’s wrapping up his first season in the senior divisions, switches to Coyote from a Tony Kart while McKeithan will move on from a NitroKart to Coyote for his upcoming rookie season in the senior ranks.
The additions of McKeithan and Overbeck add to Coyote’s recent momentum in 206 sprint racing. The Zenith — manufactured at Coyote Motorsports in Spencerport, N.Y. — had an outstanding 2022 campaign with drivers including Ryan Cassity, Brandon Jarsocrak, Owen Lloyd and Sean Meier racing to a number of big wins at many of the most competitive races in the country, including CKNA, WKA and GoPro’s Karting Challenge.
Of those drivers, only Lloyd is under the age of 20.
John Seglem, whose PPK team has helped lead the recent Coyote surge with 4-time USPKS X30 Pro champion Brandon Jarsocrak as lead driver and tuner, noticed a need for younger drivers to further solidify Coyote’s future.
“We have great drivers racing Coyotes, but a lot of these guys are getting older,” Seglem said, noting longtime Coyote staple drivers like Cassity, Meier and Chris Carroll. “Earlier this season Jim Lipari (Coyote co-owner), Ryan Cassity, Chris Carroll and myself all saw a need for a Coyote youth movement. The two drivers we pointed to were Overbeck and McKeithan. They’re both talented, young racers, and they’re also really good, respectful kids. They were the two we all agreed we wanted to lead this youth movement. Brandon Jarsocrak has been instrumental in testing and fine tuning the Zenith, and the kart is ready for drivers like James and Christopher to go out and win races and championships. We couldn’t be more excited for the future.”
Jarsocrak will continue to split his time with PPK between testing, tuning and driving. The Pennsylvania native offered his thoughts.
“I was very excited for this weekend as I have been watching James and Christopher these last few months,” Jarsocrak said. “The weekend went very well with both really enjoying the kart and being dominant. I’m excited to work with them both in the future. I think there is a lot of success coming with the three of us teamed up.”
Both Overbeck and McKeithan got a head start on next year’s racing at GoPro’s season-ending rounds this past weekend.
Overbeck dominated, winning every round of competition he started beginning with Saturday’s second Briggs Heavy final when the track finally dried after rain early in the day. The Cincinnati, Ohio, racer would go on to sweep the 32-kart Briggs Senior class Sunday, qualifying fastest, winning both prefinals and both main events in convincing fashion.
“We came down here to practice (Friday) and got a couple sessions but I didn’t realize how fast we really were because there were no times or anything,” Overbeck said, alluding to GoPro’s alternate full course layout, which was run this past weekend and is rarely used.
Referencing his run in Saturday’s 2nd Briggs Heavy final Overbeck said, “To be able to come from 14th and get up to fourth by the end of lap 1, and I just picked the rest off one by one and was able to pull away by a reasonable margin. I didn’t expect to be that quick, but we were.”
LISTEN TO JAMES OVERBECK on his move to Coyote in 2023 —
McKeithan ran his first event with PPK / Coyote in Sunday’s Briggs Senior division. After a transponder issue in qualifying forced him to start last in both pre-finals, the Gastonia, N.C., pilot wheeled his new No. 19 Zenith to finishes of P6 and P3 in the Senior finals. The day marked McKeithan’s official advance to the senior ranks after running juniors the last couple years.
LISTEN TO CHRISTOPHER MCKEITHAN talk about his move to Coyote in 2023 —
As noted in the interviews, both Overbeck and McKeithan plan to race out of the PPK stable at CKNA majors including the Winter Nationals this January at Jacksonville, the third annual Spring Nationals at Charlotte in March and the Grands at New Castle Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
The 2023 racing season officially kicks off in the final days of 2022 with WKA’s annual Daytona KartWeek Sprint Championships at Daytona International Speedway’s infield kart track. Overbeck will be in action on his No. 48 Coyote while McKeithan’s Daytona plans are still undecided.