Champions Abound: Karters to be Crowned at Homestead-Miami

Inaugural Florida Cup

IZOD IndyCar Series driver Jay Howard, Vitor Meira, and Dan Wheldon will take part in the Florida Cup program at Homestead Karting (photo courtesy: Homestead Karting)

Time to add one more Championship to the ever-growing list of series-crowning finales on the grounds of THE Championship Tracksm: Championship Karting International (CKI) launched the inaugural CKI Florida Cup the weekend of Jan. 29-31 at Homestead Karting, located on property at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The three-round series—which is awarding more than $130,000 in cash and prizes—is scheduled to return to Homestead-Miami the weekends of Feb. 26-28 and March 12-14.

Teams from around the nation are joined by international drivers from as far away as Russia and Norway to compete in the inaugural Florida Cup. Just how big an event is it? IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Dan Wheldon (2005) and IRL colleagues Vitor Meira and Jay Howard all are taking part in this year’s three-pronged event at Homestead Karting.

“I couldn’t say no to an opportunity to race with some of the best up-and-coming talent out there,” said Wheldon. “Those kids are keeping me on my toes, and that is not something that I take lightly.”

Included in the Florida Cup’s purse valued at $130,000 is a 2010 Mazda 3 that will go to the Champion of the Rotax Senior division. CKI also offers a Contingency Prize Package in the form of cash and products from corporate partners.

As an avid driver in the United Kingdom, Howard claimed many karting titles before moving to the North American open-wheel ranks. In 2005, the now-Sarah Fisher Racing pilot claimed the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 championship en route to the 2006 Firestone Indy Lights Championship, a title that again this fall will be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 1).

"I wanted to support the CKI Florida Cup and be there racing, and that is what I am doing,” said Howard, who has formed a new on-site engine building, repairing and service support program that also will be on site to perform engine services on karts. “We have one goal in mind, and that is winning…."

It’s difficult to keep IndyCar’s Wheldon off any racetrack, as evidenced by his competing in the Rotax Senior division during the first leg of the CKI Florida Cup at Homestead-Miami.

“Kart racing is something that is very close to my heart,” said the former IndyCar champ, who intends to return to the Homestead Karting Center Feb. 26 for the second round of the CKI Florida Cup. “It’s how I got my start in racing when I was 4 years old. And once you develop a love for kart racing it never goes away—no matter how successful a racing career you might develop over the years in other disciplines.”

The second leg of the CKI Florida Cup will take place at the Homestead Karting Center Feb. 26-28 followed by the Championship finale March 12-14. For more information, visit HomesteadKarting.net.

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