Written by: Jennifer Henry
There’s no better place to get revved up and race go karts than Daytona Beach. The week after Christmas many families are traveling back home after the holidays but for go kart racers, they are traveling down to Daytona International Speedway. Daytona KartWeek has been a tradition for more than 4 decades. Many racers still remember the 1st race that was held at Daytona in 1974 and have returned to chase after that checkered flag and 1st place trophy.
The first race of the weekend brought more than 60 karts to the grid for the green flag. Unfortunately, a red flag on the 1st lap caused everyone to return to the grid for a restart. That did not stop teammates Scott Heath, Jon Miller, and Doug Kittelson in the CIK LO206 Sprint class from plowing through the field of go karts and taking a commanding lead within the first couple of laps. They continued to hold that pace for the duration of the race. Scott Heath took the checkered flag with less than a second separating 1st thru 3rd place and more than 15 seconds over 4th place.
According to Scott, “The cold temperatures starting the week off, made the track a little tricky to get a hold of but as the week went on, and the temperatures warmed, the track came around nice”.
On the 2nd day of racing the CIK LO206 Sprint class once again had almost 40 racers entered all looking to take home the winning trophy. Right from the start the boys in blue, Joel Negus, Craig McNeese, and Stephen Gibson teamed up and pulled away from pack. Every lap as they passed through the infield they would look back anticipating another group of karters to have caught up to them but as lady luck would have it no one ever did. The boys in blue pushed on with Joel taking the lead and the win over teammates Craig and Stephen.
“Daytona 2022 was a spectacular event. Weather was great and WKA, once again, put on a fantastic race week. It was a great finish to the week with our team of Legend Racing Chassis winning 3 of the 4 classes we entered for the week”, states Joel.
Yamaha Sr class had the numbers for race 2 with over 20 drivers looking for the win. One driver in particular, Randy Fulks was looking for his 60th win here at Daytona. Would he be able to pull it off or would someone take the win from Mr. Daytona? The 1st lap around had Rick Fulks leading the way. Around lap 4 Colin Jedrzejek had made his way to 2nd place and was able to overtake Rick coming into turn 1. From that point on Colin was never challenged for the lead and took the win.
“The weekend was great, other than move in day; where it was a bit cold, the weather was fine. The new pre-registration packet pick-up really improved and sped up the process” states Colin.
Day 2 in Yamaha Sr. was another chance for Randy Fulks aka Mr. Daytona to bring home his 60th win. With more than 20 drivers lined up on the grid looking for that checkered flag he definitely had his work cut out for him. Coming down the front straightaway on the first lap Patrick Olsen, Colin Jedrzejek and Nate Grindell had teamed up leading the pack while Randy Fulks and his brother Rick were about 2 seconds behind them. Sadly, Patrick and Colin would eventually fall out due to different issues with their karts. This left Nate to battle it out against Randy and Rick for the remainder of the race. On the final lap Nate did everything in this power to overtake the brothers but was unable to succeed and Randy Fulks was able to take the checkered flag and his 60th win at DIS.
“This win wouldn’t have been possible without so many people throughout the years. It has always been a team effort. And thanks to my dad as he keeps watching over us”, says Randy.
CIK LO206 Med class brought a good group of racers to Daytona on Day 1 of racing. Right from the start, the RSP team brought on the heat. They made their way to each other when Jon Miller was finally able to hook up with Scott Heath. They work together to catch Doug Kittelson down the backstretch. Once Jon and Scott finally caught Doug Kittelson, they were then able to freight train and pass the last remaining pack of karts to take the lead. It didn’t take long for them to break away from the pack dominate the race. The RSP team stayed together throughout the race drafting until the last lap…… at turn four coming to the flag Jon was able to pull out and side draft Doug Kittelson with Scott Heath in tow. They crossed the line inches between the three of them and Jon was able to grab the win.
Day 2 in the CIK LO206 Med class had a good number of racers all looking to add another win to their resume. As the green flag dropped, Doug and his teammates made their way through the sea of karts and avoided the accidents throughout the infield. They eventually found each other and drafted down the backstretch catching the lead pack. They would then overtake the pack and break away. On lap 5 Doug took the lead in the infield and continue to draft with his teammates until the very end. Coming down the front straightaway they broke apart each looking for the win. Doug Kittelson would take the checkered flag over Jon Miller and Scott Heath.
“Need to say thank you to the entire Roll Speed Performance team for their support and helping me get the kart ready for the (6) classes that I entered”, states Doug.
Race 3 also brought the IAME Sprint class to the grid which had almost 20 drivers entered. Right from the start Hunter Macomber was able to hook up with veteran Keith Scharf and Lamar Humphries and pass most of the field of karts and lead the pack coming onto the front straightaway. They eventually lost Humphries and scored a comfortable lead over 3rd place. Macomber and Scharf kept together until the very end where Hunter Macomber was able to take the win by only 0.015 seconds over Keith Scharf.
According to Hunter, “The race weekend overall went great, learned valuable lessons from small mistakes in my other 3 races. I always look forward to competing in the Daytona Kart Week every year, WKA does an amazing job putting these events on”.
Day 2 of the IAME Sprint class also brought some good racing here in Daytona. The race started off without a hitch but unfortunately a wreck on the second lap brought out a red flag which in turn brought everyone back to the grid for a total restart. Coming around after the restart had Hunter Macomber, Lamar Humphries, Rusty Benson and Jamey Brown leading the way. By lap 3 the lead was overtaken by Indy Kassy with the help of Joseph Gaulin. These two stuck together the entire race to keep the lead with Indy Kassy taking 1st.
According to Indy, “I went into the weekend not knowing what to expect as it was my first time on the big track after racing the sprint race before. Didn’t get much help in the draft all weekend until the last race of the weekend and the be able to win at a place as cool as Daytona I’d an unbelievable feeling and it was a great event”.
The 125 Sprint Shifter race for day 1 had almost 25 racers in their class. The start of the race again went off without any issues but then sadly another red flag was thrown due to an accident and the drivers were called back to the grid for a restart. Leading the way on the 1st lap after the red flag was Skitchy Barnes and Joe Hovorka. These two continued to work together for most of the race. Then as a yellow flag came out Joe Hovorka made a move to pass Skitchy Barnes and took the lead. He continued on his quest for the 1st place win for the duration of the race without any challenges from his fellow karters. He took the checkered flag with more than 25 seconds between him and 2nd place Alex Laughlin.
“As they say in racing when it’s your day it’s your day and today was definitely my day. Although not without drama this was definitely one of the biggest and most satisfying wins of my racing career”, states Joe!
Day 2 in 125 Sprint Shifter did not have as many racers as on day 1 but there is not doubt that the competition would still be fierce. With 16 drivers on the grid the green flag dropped, and everyone cleared the first lap without incident. Coy Dayton would take a early lead and continue his reign until the checkered flag. There was a 45 second difference between Coy and 2nd place driver Skitchy Barnes.
The 100cc AC Tag Sr. race for Day 1 also brought out an impressive numbers to the grid. As the green flagged dropped the racers made their way to the infield and out onto the oval. Leading the 100 AC Tag Sr. class on the 1st lap was Wes Schroeder and Eric King. By lap 2 Scott Heath had made his way to the front of the pack and took over the lead. He held onto the lead until lap 4 where a red flag was thrown due to a fire in the infield. All the drivers were brought back to the grid as the track officials took care of the fire. After careful consideration by the officials it was announced that the race was officially over which gave Scoot Heath the win.
Day 2 of the 100cc AC Tag Sr race brought out even more racers to fight for the 1st place trophy. Coming to the green flag on the 1st lap leading the charge in the 100cc AC Tag class was Craig Bogan, Wes Schroeder, Eric King and Brandon Harding. These four drivers would continue to battle for quite a few laps. Wes and Eric gained some distance from the other two but eventually Wes Schroeder dropped back. In the meantime Scott Heath had made his way to the front of the pack along with Kristina Griffith. These remained drafting partners to the very end with Eric King taking with win with less than 1 second separating the 3 drivers.
The CIK LO206 Sprint Hvy class for both days had over 30 drivers ready to race the high banks of Daytona. Unfortunate for the other racers, one driver would dominate both days and take the 1st place trophies. Right from the start Stephen Gibson teamed up with his other boys in blue, Joel Negus and Craig McNeese and made their way through traffic and came out on the oval unscathed. With both of the races being cut in time Stephen knew that they had to make sure they were taking the right lines and making good passing decisions. In the end Stephen and his teammates kept the pace with Stephen taking the checkered flag on both days.
According to Stephen, “My buddies and I have started coming to Daytona the last few years and we feel this event has it all-great facilities, proud history, wonderful weather and super competition. WKA does a great job putting this event on and we thank them for the opportunity to race at this historic venue”!
TaG Heavy was also another class that brought out over 20+ drivers but once again one driver would dominate both days in this class adding 2 more cups to his collection. Once the green flag dropped all the drivers made their way out onto the oval without any issues. After the 1st lap drivers Ryan Bjerke, Jason Lorang and John Morris came by leading the way. Ryan was able to take the lead by catching the draft while Jason remained in 2nd. On the last lap coming out of turn 4 Jason Lorang was able to time it just right and pass Ryan to take the checkered flag.
Day 2 in TaG Heavy also had a stacked field and had a good start with Jason Lorang, Ryan Bjerke and Indy Kassy ahead of the pack but then about 10 minutes into the red flag was thrown and again all the drivers were brought back to the grid. When the green flag dropped again Jason was able to keep the position he had and forge a small gap between him and the rest of the group. He continued to drive had and keep the lead and pace to secure another 1st placed win in TaG Heavy.
“Big thanks to Drew Hockenson for all the hard work and last minute engine swap and to Blaine Aarup for lending me the engine” says Jason.
Stock Honda was the last race on Day 1 and the first race on Day 2 each bringing a good amount of drivers ready to compete. With the race being shortened due to the amount of red flags through out the day the drivers were only going to have 15 minutes to race. Within the first couple laps Steven found Skitchy Barnes and they worked together to create a significant gap between them and 3rd place. They continued this pace until the last lap where Steven withdrew from the draft in order to gain the speed to make a last-minute pass which work in his favor and took the checkered flag.
Day 2’s race in Stock Honda didn’t have as many competitors but it was still bound to be a good race. Coming through the infield Skitchy Barnes made his way from almost last to leading the way onto the oval. His lead would be short lived as Joe Hovorka and Steven Rougeou would draft past him. Those 3 drivers would continue to use the draft to create a gap between them and the rest of the group. After a few laps Skitchy was able to break up the Joe and Steven and tuck in behind Joe and gain some distance from Steven. With only a few laps left Skitchy was able to take the lead from teammate Joe and hold on for the win even with Joe making a minute hail Mary move.
Thank you to all the drivers, crew members and family members who came to Daytona Kartweek. See everyone at Roebling Road, the next stop on the Vega Road Race Series!!