PDKA to honor Pennsylvania State Champion Karters Jan. 18
Enola PA_ The Pennsylvania Dirt Karters Association and Burris Racing will honor the 2002 Pennsylvania State Champion kart riders at the annual awards banquet Jan. 18 at the Harrisburg Marriott.
Doors open at 4:30 for the 6 p.m. banquet and the following awards program, and those who have not yet reserved seats should call Dian Diller at 717-691-5994 for tickets. The top one-third of those participating based on average kart count per class will be recognized at the banquet.
PDKA President Butch Diller will formally release the 2003 schedule and announce a return to World Karting Association (WKA) sanction in addition to affiliation with Burris.
The best riders from Pennsylvania kart tracks and many from adjoining states compete in the State Championship Series for points in six races and the best five finishes are counted toward the season titles. Karters earn a 50 points bonus for competing in all six races. The 2002 series races were held alternately at Path Valley Speedway Park and Selinsgrove Speedway.
In 2002 a total of 264 riders earned points in the 18 junior and senior classes, not counting the kid karts class for those under seven years old where every rider earns a trophy every race. In addition, each kart is electronically timed each lap and riders who set the fastest qualifying times are also honored with medals.
Two young riders won championships in two classes. Elvin Diller III of Enola won both the Yamaha Lite and Yamaha Heavy state championships. In Yamaha Lite he won two of the six features and placed second three times and third once. In the Yamaha Heavy class he won four of six features. He also won fastest time awards in five of 12 races.
Past champion Jeff Rathfon of Waynesboro won the Sr. Heavy title with three wins and two seconds. Rathfon also set three of six fast time records in Sr. Heavy. His last championship was in 2000, also in the heavy class. Rathfon also won the Controlled Heavy state championship with three wins, one second and one third. Racing in three classes, he won six fast time medals overall.
In the closest contest of the series Jonathan Pillion of Lancaster won the state championship in the Jr. I Lite class by five points. Pillion had one win, one second place and four third place finishes to beat Tyler Bear of Elliotsburg. With four feature wins, Tyler Bear won the Jr. I Heavy championship with Pillion finishing second in points. Bear also won the fast time awards three times in the Heavy class and twice in the Lites. Riders frequently race in more than one class.
Austin Hogue of Manchester won the Jr. II Lite championship with two wins, two seconds and two thirds and also won three of the six fast time awards.
Keith Blumenstein Jr. of Mechanicsburg won four features for the state title in the Jr. II Heavy class, and he also set the fast time three times. Hogue finished second in the Jr. II Heavy class.
Craig Wetzel of Pittsburgh won the Jr. III Lite state championship. Wetzel had one win, two seconds, two thirds and a sixth to beat out Matt Cooper by 17 points for the title.
Patrick Rineman of Hanover, who won two state championships in 2001, carried through to win the 2002 title in the Jr. Stock class with three wins and two second place finishes. Rineman also won three of the six fast time awards.
In the Jr. Sportsman Champ caged kart class Gerard McIntyre of New Oxford on his #16 won every feature and set every fast time.
Nathan Melton of Westminster MD won the PA championship in the Jr. Champ class. He won two features, finished second twice and won two fast time awards.
Veteran Tommy Beavers of Winchester VA, who won two PA titles last year, took the 2002 championship in the Sr. Lite karts. He had two wins, a second place and a fourth and fifth for his best five of six.
Rodney Sweger of East Waterford won the 2003 Pennsylvania championship in the Sr. Medium class riding his #88. With two wins and two second place finishes he beat past champion Beavers by only five points in the raw standings before the worst finish for each was dropped. Sweger also twice won the fast time award.
Markus Woodring with two feature wins took the title in Sr. Extra-Heavy karts as each of the four other races went to a different winner. Woodring Beat out Rathfon by 15 points, both before and after adjustment for the worst finish.
Missy Ciucci of Greencastle won the Controlled Medium championship with three wins and two seconds. This is her first state championship despite her national ranking and many local track championships in nine years of racing.
Brent Baumgartner of New Windsor MD won the title in the Sr. Champ class of caged karts with one win, a second place and two thirds. Last year, at 15 years old, he won the Jr. Champ PA championship.
John Westbrook of Dillsburg won the Star Champ state title with three wins and two seconds for his best five of six feature finishes. Westbrook also set the fast times in three of six races.
Midnite Power sponsored the Fast Time Awards. Burris Tires was the series sponsor. Individual class sponsors for the 19 divisions of karts include: JJ's Auto Body, In Memory of Kevin Gobrecht, Silver Springs Speedway, Kirby's Speed Secrets, Frank Sears Sanitation, Awards and Beyond, JS Specialty, Path Valley Speedway, Paul E. Power, Locke's Auto/Viper Engines, Little's Kart Shop, Quality Cleaning, York County Kart Supply, Trim's Automotive/T-E Motorsports, Ensor's Speed Shop in two classes, Selinsgrove Raceway Park, Silver Springs Speedway, American Carpentry/Frame to Finish.
For rules, past state champions, points per race and totals and information on the PDKA, riders can consult the series website at www.padirtkart.com/.