Robert Smith Rules Milford Streets with Four Wins By: Bruce C. Walls MILFORD, DE-Veteran street racer Robert Smith, of Greenfield, Ind. ruled the streets of Milford, Del. during the 12th Annual Milford Grand Prix Black Top Kart Race ...
Robert Smith Rules Milford Streets with Four Wins
By: Bruce C. Walls
MILFORD, DE-Veteran street racer Robert Smith, of Greenfield, Ind. ruled the streets of Milford, Del. during the 12th Annual Milford Grand Prix Black Top Kart Race presented by the Greater Milford, Del. Chamber of Commerce October 9-10. More than 200 of North America's top asphalt road course, asphalt oval and dirt oval karters competed in this annual event on the newly paved 1/2-mile road course through the streets. Smith, who pilots a Comet Racing Engines powered Coyote kart, took home four wins that weekend including the coveted Rodney J. Harrington Memorial Pro Race, which earned him over $800 in cash and contingency prizes.
"We came down here to have fun and it was a great weekend," Smith said after winning the Pro Race. "We've never been to Milford. We've heard about it and decided to come this year. My friends and I have talked about coming here so we thought we'd make the trip from Indiana this year and I'm glad we did. It's been a fun weekend."
Smith started his four-race sweep with Stock Lite where he out ran Jason Trennepo. Smith started on the pole but surrendered the early lead to outside pole winner David Harding. Harding was enjoying a huge early lead and then Smith began reeling him in. Smith began challenging Harding on lap six. Before that lap was complete Smith was in control of the 12- racer field and Harding was hung up behind a lapped kart and got involved in a corner caution on the final lap. Trennepo got by him for second place. Bruce Taylor and Joey Mackenzie were fourth and fifth.
"It was pretty unbelievable," Smith, described, "There was a good battle between the 50 kart (Harding) and me for the first half of the race. I think he got tangled up in the caution at the end of the straightaway there were karts all over the track and there was only room for one kart to get through. The course here is a lot of fun it's a blast. Street races are always fun and safe if the pavement's good plus it's fun to have a big straightaway and a lot of infield to play in."
Smith started on Stock Medium's pole and never looked back leading the 12- racer field flawlessly with Trennepo again following him over the finish line. Behind Trennepo in the top five this time were Chris Toffelo, Kevin Dammons and Stephen Jorda. Jorda started on Stock Heavy's pole, but when it counted Smith led Gold Cup standout Joe Bodenschatz and a field of 13 across the strip on Park Avenue. Further back national Gold Cup Competitors Jack Krieger and Dana Lail were fourth and fifth followed by Chris Toffolo who completed the top five.
Bodenschatz was behind Smith again in the Rodney J. Harrington Memorial Race. Smith took the early lead and never looked back before taking the checkered flag with a huge lead. Toffolo was third followed by national Gold Cup racers Rowan Pennick and Justin Gumley.
I got lucky in traffic," Smith said after his crowning victory. "I was racing a great bunch of guys there. They raced me clean and we had fun. The kart was perfect, a little loose on the first lap, but the tire pressure we set it for ran great after that."
The Milford Grand Prix is unique not only in being one of the few true street races held in North America, but also because classes are offered to both 2-and 4-cycle competitors. This year a pursed 125 Shifter Pro race was added to the 2-cycle offerings.
Sam Bacchind led the 125 Pro Race field wire-to-wire. He got a clean start and built on his lead with every lap. Behind him Sean Beziat, Andy Simon, Jr. and Eric Johnson made the field.
"Just being smooth and everything staying together," is what the Washington, NJ based winner credited. "The Biesse kart worked good all weekend once I got close to the right setup and it stayed there all weekend. I like the paving. The first year I was here it was a little rough. I think it's great I love this place and I'm definitely coming back next year."
This year, as she has done in the past, Governor Ruth Ann Minner welcomed racers walking along the grid talking about her two sons who raced karts regionally at one time. She wished racers well in their competition, gave the command to drivers to start their engines and then in her personal Prowler driven by race promoter Ron LaVere they led Junior Sportsman 1 drivers in a parade lap.
Following the Governor's Prowler on front row were Brandon Sturgis on the pole and last year's defending champion Zachary Taylor next to him. Taylor took the lead with Sturgis glued to his tailpipe. Next time around Taylor opened a small gap that Sturgis was quick to close then capture. Taylor dropped to third as Zachary Deshaies drafted in behind Sturgis. Taylor closed back in on the leaders in the Library chicane. He made his move on the white flag lap and led the 14-racer field around once more before taking the checkered flag.
"I just tried to stick with it for the last lap and I got it. I never gave up," Taylor said, "The GT motor was excellent. They're the best engine builder ever and I want to thank Mr. Dave for that. The Coyote kart handled great and we picked the right set of tires. I want to thank my crew chief, Buddy Lawyer .for setting up the kart and my dad. I also want to thank my sponsors EB Taylor Construction and GMAC Real Estate."
Behind Taylor on the final lap Deshaies held second Sturgis dropped to fifth, Coraham Eichmiller made third, J.T. Knight crossed fourth.
Cameron Collins, of Millsboro, DE, earned an asphalt debut win in Junior Sportsman 2. The 11-year-old Radical Racing Engines powered Prowler kart pilot powered his way from pole to checkered with Steven Moore Jr's machine knocking on his back door the whole way. Rounding out the top five were Austin Flurer, Chase Eidle and Rodney Bambary.
"I was fast in the stretches and I just took my time in the turns and ended up in victory lane. The kart handled good, but at the end it started getting a little slippery," said the 11-year-old winner who is ranked second in the National Dirt Series.
Jessie Morrison defended her two wins from last year sweeping Restricted Junior Stock and Junior Stock. The 15-year-old Zanderbuilt Racing Engines powered Bandit Kart pilot posted her third straight Restricted Junior win. Pole winner Walter Myers offered several serious challenges in the opening laps, but then he lost his neck brace forcing officials to black flag him from the race for safety concerns. With Myers out of the contest Morrison cruised to an easy win.
"It feels awesome winning here three years in a row. I just want to thank the City of Milford for having this race. I look forward to it every year it's the most fun race of the season," Morrison beamed after her first win. "The Zanderbuilt motor was the fastest out there and I want to thank Tony Alexander and my dad. Walter (Myers) did awesome in practice it's a shame his neck collar came off."
Tyler Nichols was on the pole when Junior Stock racers got the initial green flag. Morrison started next to him. As they rounded Park Ave towards the start/finish line for the first time the lead pack spun and crashed together. Morrison and Nichols escaped the fate of those just behind them. Morrison led the single file restart with no laps completed. From there she led the field flawlessly to the finish where Matt Amos trailed her. Nichols finished third, Brooke Delss was fourth and Peter Minnig completed the top five of 13.
Morrison also won a Bandit kart that was raffled off. Bandit Racing Chassis donated the kart and seat and Burke's Racing provided the motor. Douglas Wheels donated the rims; Morris Karts-N-Parts supplied the tires and the sign advertising the raffle. G-Man Body Works gave the bodywork and Darcy Racing donated the nose faring; Digatron donated a tachometer and Bonsignore Kart Supply provided the chain, chain guard and catch can.
A field of eight competed in the first ever TaG water-cooled class at the Milford Grand Prix. Pole winners Rich D'Ameto and Carlos Crespo battled it out from start to finish with D'Ameto leading at the end.
"It doesn't get any better than this," said D'Ameto, a Burlington, NJ based Parilla powered Top Kart pilot. "I didn't think I'd be able to pass him (Crespo). He was faster than I was and I didn't think I could get him. But once I got him I knew I had it. The Top Kart handled great, it bottomed out in two spots, but this track is fun. This was great I feel like I could go another race that's how excited I am."
Eric Schulwitz, Brien Hames and Pedro Chauce finished third through fifth.
Crespo captured the 125 International DD class with Edward Guarenghi behind him. "The race was so nice the track is great," Crespo said. "We did the best we can. The chassis handled good. We appreciate the people who are here and we look forward to coming back next year." Francisco Leonardeli, Milton Queiroz and Carlos Tozzi took third, fourth and fifth.
Back to 4-cycle action, Silver Springs, Mar. based Paul Quattro took Stock 35 & Over's checkered flag over outside pole winner Jack Krieger and pole winner Tom Fash who led the most laps. Toni Alexander and Roger Kent finished fourth and fifth out of 18. "I just waited there for about eight laps. I let them think I couldn't pass them and then we came on by them," laughed the Morris Powered Coyote kart pilot. "That Morris Power motor was great. It was talking to me. What else can I say? I want to thank Tommy, Doug McGiffin and all the guys they're great guys. The course was great it couldn't hook up any more. Now we're going to win that money race," he wrongly assumed.
Milford native John Davis, Jr. dominated the seven-racer Limited Medium field. Morris Karts-n-Parts team MOPower driver Michael Ellerbusch, of Wyoming, DE, was second. Completing the top five of seven were Kenneth Allen, Dale Blades and Bobby Watkins.
"I've run this race for about four or five years now and this is the first time I've won it," Davis, Jr. said. "I've finished second, third, fourth and fifth, but this is the first time I've won. I've got to thank my dad for building a killer engine. It just pulled all the way down that straight. I also want to thank Mike and Ralph Moore for their sponsorship and I've got to thank Ron LaVere for putting on this race he does a lot of work and doesn't get much credit. And I also want to thank the town of Milford."
Brandon Morris, another Wyoming based MO Power team driver, captured the Animal class checkered flag. "We came here and didn't know what we were going to do, but ever since we hit the track we've been rolling and flying," he said. "This is my first time here and it's the funnest thing I've ever done. The kart was a dream; it's never handled that good. I also want to thank Matt Jester and Kevin Colborn and my family." Troy W. Davis and James J. McKinney completed the three-racer field.
Back in the seat of a super fast ICA 2-cycle kart South Hampton, PA pilot Vinnie Dinora pulled away from that pole and never looked back on his way to a half track advantage over second place and fellow Pennsylvania pilot, Charles Pistorio. Roman Hentarieo, Virgil Gross and Paul Maentopoli made up the rest of the podium.
"The Top kart handled pretty well it was a little loose at the beginning of the race and it got better after that. I want to thank my father for building a great motor," credited the 22-year-old winner.
Harold LaVere, Jr. was another double repeat winner. The Paul Kennedy Racing Engines powered Haase Kart pilot roared off Piston Port Senior's pole and went wire-to-wire for the second straight year. "The kart handled really well. It was just a little loose in a couple of areas, but otherwise it was good, real good," described the Milford, DE native who added," The new course is awesome a lot smoother than last year and it's faster than last year. It's very good."
Mike Brosman was second across the stripe followed in the top five of 14 by Matt Sides Salvatore Evola and Mike Simon.
Zacharey Wood led a field of six Yamaha Junior Sportsman racers across the finish line. Behind him in the top five were Chase Eidle, Austyn Flurer, Stephen Morgado and Brett Gilmore.
Chris Birch bagged Yamaha Senior Can's checkered flag over Kyle Mason. Marco Oldhafer, Ron Blades and Leroy Legates ran third, fourth and fifth.
Committee members are already making plans for the 13th Annual Milford Grand Prix Black Top Kart Race for Columbus Day weekend 2005.