8th Annual Williamston Indoor Dirt Kart Championships in the Books
For the past eight years kart racers from all over the east coast make the trip to Williamston, North Carolina for the Maxxis Tire sponsored indoor championships. Over 700 karts racing in more than 30 different classes, over two days, all fighting for more than $18,000 in prize money. The weekend felt very much like Martinsville for Late Models, everyone fighting for that big pay out. The Weekly Racer made the trip this year, as it’s pretty obvious our interesting in dirt karting has certainly grown over the past year. Just like in stock car racing you have your big names who come out to the big races. Drivers like Jonathan Cash, Monk Newsome – even some names you may know from stock car racing like J.D. Eversole (South Boston) and Spencer Davis (K&N Pro East).
Sixteen races scheduled for the Friday portion of the weekend. With an early check in of 9 AM it gave teams plenty of time to settle in, set up, and run their karts through technical inspection. The day was action packed with two rounds of controlled practice, time trials and feature races. Timing issues much like at this years Martinsville Late Model race also plagued the day. Crews spent more than an hour before practice could start working at the stripe to ensure everything was in working order. Once fixed it was a nonstop train of karts on the track dialing in their machines for the feature.
One of our feature races of the weekend – we had to sit down and figure out what races to cover and report on as there were so many to choice from – was the Senior Champ Clone class running Friday night. Matt Chavis earned the pole award earlier in the afternoon setting the pace at 10.604 seconds on what I was told was 1/10th mile lightly banked dirt oval. J.D. Eversole, Daniel Ridenbour, Eric Rendleman and Caitlin Bonge rounded out the top five for their $500 to win 20-lap feature.
Due to the delay earlier this race did not get underway till almost midnight. Not sure it was the long delay before the race or the nerves but it didn’t take but 200 feet for the first caution to fly over the race as a couple karts made contact in the back of the pack and slid up the track forcing a complete restart. Second attempt much better as Chavis held onto the lead early. Good saves and racing through the middle of the pack as we clicked off laps ten seconds at a time. Rookie Ryan Richardson had a great save coming off four – which seemed to be the trouble turn all weekend – getting into the loose stuff but gathering it back up.
The field would be put back under yellow conditions from the spinning kart of Andy Applegate. Allowed for the field to bunch up and the freshly lapped karts of Clinard, Richardson, and Mullet to exit the racing surface without causing any trouble for the leaders. Remember in money races on this level, lapped karts are black flagged and removed from the track.
Once the field was cut loose again the battle for the lead immediately started to heat up. Chavis, Rendleman, and Ezzel all bumper to bumper. Just as soon as the green was displayed we were back under yellow with multiple karts making contact on the front stretch. Amanda Frye – one of our hometown drivers – who earlier in the race had an impressive three wide pass out of four got tangled up with Caton and Moffit, Frye the only one to continue racing.
Back to green flag racing and back to fighting for the win. With just four to go Chavis fell under heavy fire from second place Rendleman. That would all be negated as the field came off of turn two and Rendleman had to chase the kart up the track working to keep it off the tire wall opening the door for Ezzell to set up his attack. With the field coming to the white flag it was time for Ezzell to show his hand putting the bumper to Chavis off four. Not being able to make anything happen, Ezzell gathered things back up and made another attempt down in three this time being able to move Chavis out of the groove and lead the lap that counted the most – The Final One. Matt Chavis would come home second followed by Eric Rendleman – who would later be disqualified for fuel, Dylan Brockwell, and Chris Fahed.
The celebration would be cut short for Kyle Ezzell as he was not able to make it out of post race tech. The valve springs in the engine did not pass their post race tech – coming in one thousandth to high on the weight check. We caught up with Kyle the next day to talk about his win and the disqualification.
“I knew my stuff was good on the long run,” Ezzell told us. “I didn’t think we were going to get any green flag runs there though. We did end up getting a good little run before that one caution and when it did I knew I had a good chance.” We also asked Kyle about how he planned out his move to the lead and what we all thought would be the win. “When I moved into second I was just watching the leader and picking out where I was better,” Ezzell told us. “He was having a hard time with three and four so when I went for the pass with two to go and it didn’t work I thought my chances were over. However I was not about to give up and when he went for the block down the back stretch I knew I had him going into three.” Ezzell also let us know that a lot of teams have issues with the valve springs and get thrown out quite often citing the springs often stretch after being run.
Stay tuned as we still have stories about the impressive run from Austin Yarbrough, the Pro Clone Heavy Feature, and an opinion piece on race procedures and driver conduct.
Sr. Champ Clone Results:
P1. #01 Matt Chavis; 20
P2. #20 Dylan Brockwell; 20
P3. #5 Chris Fahed; 20
P4. #28 Ryan O’Connor; 20
P5. #01 X Camden Gullie; 20
P6. #00 Caitlin Bonge; 20
P7. #17 Daniel Ridenbour; 19
P8. #29 Amanda Frye; 19
P9. #37 Steve Caton; 13
P10. #32 Andy Applegate; 13
P11. #42 Thaed Moffit; 13
P12. #500 Scott Vargo; 11
P13. #95 Jonathan Mullett; 8
P14. #97 Ryan Richardson; 8
P15. #98 J.D. Eversole; 7
P16. #22 Dustin Clinard; 6
P17. #33 Kyle Ezzell; DQ
P18. #56 Eric Rendleman; DQ