Six Ionic Edge Chassis racers took advantage of 4-cycle Briggs LO206 classes offered at the Daytona KartWeek’s WKA Sprint Championships for the first time last week, and all had strong performances in the 2016 season-opening event for WKA’s Manufacturers Cup and Winter Cup series.
Dustin Demattia, Zack Skolnick and Cayla Chapman raced Kart City Performance-powered Ionic Edge karts in the LO206 Senior division, while Brian Van Cleve Jr., Alex Vrabel and Mark Steube wheeled Ionic Edge mounts in the LO206 Junior class.
Skolnick, a 26-year-old entrepreneur who founded and owns Driven Steering Wheels, made his return to karting after several years racing a wide variety of cars around the world. The Sprint Championships marked Skolnick’s first national kart race in eight years, and the Charlotte, N.C., racer wasted no time getting the Ionic Edge up to speed.
Skolnick qualified an impressive fifth of 40 entrants on day one. He got caught up in accidents in both heat races, which relegated him to a 29th-place starting position in the 12-lap final. Skolnick put on a show in the main event, overtaking more than half the field on his way to a strong eighth-place result and turning fast laps in traffic within just a couple tenths of the leaders.
Skolnick took some time after the event to comment on his first foray behind the wheel of an Ionic Edge.
“The kart was fast right out of the box,” Skolnick said. “We only made a couple small adjustments, including moving the seat up a bit to suit my style, and went out there and qualified sixth of 40 karts. We were happy, and I know when we get our own chassis and I can get the experience behind the wheel, we’ll be even faster. I hadn’t run karts in eight years and if we didn’t get knocked around in the heat races, I’m sure we would have had a top finish. I believe the Ionic Edge is the way to go for 206 sprint racing.”
After a successful return to karting at Daytona with Ionic Edge after long hiatus from national karting, Skolnick plans to make a run at selected 2015 AKRA American Sprint Cup, WKA Gold Cup and select Canadian Briggs national races.
One of the drivers Skolnick batted in 206 Senior was Ionic Edge veteran Demattia, who made his first Daytona appearance with the addition of the Briggs division. As normal, Demattia was competitive and fast throughout the event, qualifying third of 40 karts on day one. He would get turned around at the start of the first heat race and collect Skolnick in the incident. Skolnick drove back through nearly half the field to finish 17th while Demattia passed a number of karts to end up 22nd at the end of heat one.
In heat two, Dustin overtook another 11 karts to finish 11th. He was mired in traffic for most of the main event, ultimately taking the 12th finishing position.
Demattia returned for day two’s program to qualify seventh and run tenth and seventh in the heat races. He turned it up in the final, netting Ionic Edge’s best finish of the weekend with a fine third-place effort. Day two’s P3 finish gave Dustin sixth place overall in LO206 Senior.
Michigan’s Cayla Chapman made her first appearance on an Ionic Edge and was in the mix throughout the event. Chapman qualified only 23rd on day one and 19th on day two, but improved throughout each day of competition, resulting in a decent 14th-place finish on day one and a 16th-place result on day two. Chapman was pleased to finish inside or nearly inside the top 15 both days, considering the amount of karts and competition in the class. The race also marked Cayla’s first time competing at the Daytona Sprint Track.
In LO206 Junior, Van Cleve led the Ionic charge with a fifth-place overall finish of 20 entrants. Van Cleve qualified his GT Machine-powered Ionic Edge seventh and finish eighth in day one’s final, and improved on day two for a strong P.4 result in qualifying and a nice third-place finish in the main event.
Ohio’s Alex Vrabel finished eighth overall in LO206 Junior with his Kart City Performance-powered Ionic. Vrabel recorded final finishes of seventh and eighth after qualifying 10th both days.
Florida’s Mark Steube also ran in the LO206 Junior division after recently moving up from the Sportsman ranks. Steube would finish 11th on day one and 14th on day two as he continues to gain seat time and improve behind the wheel.
“Our first Daytona Man Cup event was very encouraging,” Ionic Edge owner Kyle Luttrell said. “I’m so grateful for all our loyal customers and we’re so excited to see our karting family grow. I’m really looking forward to the 2016 season. Thanks to all our customers for making it a great Daytona KartWeek.”
Next up for Kyle Luttrell’s Ionic Edge Chassis team is the WKA Winter Cup round two February 5-7 at Jacksonville, Winter Cup round three March 4-6 at GoPro Motorplex and the first AKRA American Sprint Cup Series race March 18-20 at Carolina Motorsports Park.