DAYTONA BEACH, FL-Five of the 1,761racers who entered the 21st annual WKA/Briggs & Stratton 2001 Dirt World Championships presented by American Power Sports earned double World Championship wins on the 1/2-mile dirt oval at Daytona Beach, FL's...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL-Five of the 1,761racers who entered the 21st annual WKA/Briggs & Stratton 2001 Dirt World Championships presented by American Power Sports earned double World Championship wins on the 1/2-mile dirt oval at Daytona Beach, FL's Municipal Stadium December 27-30 dominating 10 of 25 classes offered.
Southern Express Karting backed and powered, Dahlonega, GA based Shadow kart pilot Bradley Gerrells earned that Thursday's Team Simpson Racing Briggs Controlled Medium and Saturday's Bordeaux Dyno Cams Briggs Controlled Heavy's World Championships. Gerrells rocketed off Controlled Medium's pole, which he earned with a 19.852 seconds lap, and fought off Thomas Jernigan's challenges down to a close 0.626-seconds difference at the finish line.
"I just got lucky he stayed underneath me," Gerrells admitted. "The Southern Express Karting motor ran great and the Shadow kart worked good, it got a little loose, but it was fast. I want to thank my wife Stacy for her support and my daughter Siera too."
Trailing Jernigan in the top five of 30 were King Williams, VA based, Avis Electric backed Stephanie Pitts, Brett Miller and Justin Moorefield.
Jernigan turned Controlled Heavy's fastest qualifying lap of 18.249 seconds for the pole and led the early laps with Gerrells trailing in a distant second. Just before halfway the race's only caution flag waved which cut Jernigan's lead over Gerrells. Gerrells grabbed the lead when the field got the green again and blasted away from a falling field before taking the final flag with a healthy 5.491 seconds advantage over Greensboro, SC based Ultramax Racing Chassis factory pilot Brad Sellers.
"Everything worked great again," Gerrells said after his second win. "I want to thank G-Man Kart Works and Gold Speed USA for their support," added Gerrells whose winning kart is now on display at Daytona USA (see side bar).
Taking the remaining top five positions behind Sellers were Pitts, Ralph Nelson, and Chris Beazley.
Jacksonville, FL based Blaze Martin quickly proved he's up to the challenge of piloting the famous #56 Moon Powered Shadow kart formerly driven by Rohn Moon who earned a record four national dirt championships last year. Martin won the first ever Animal Heavy class featuring the new Briggs & Stratton Animal Intek engine Thursday and backed it up with a win Friday in Dixie Karting/Longacre Racing Products Briggs Super Stock.
Shadow Racing Chassis factory pilot Dan Sox, of Columbia, SC, claimed Animal Heavy's pole with a 20.241-seconds lap and hustled into the early lead. Wayne Overton grabbed a piece of the led from Sox in time to lead the race's only restart. Sox quickly recaptured the lead and then let Martin slip by him. Martin held off Sox's challenges until the end where he held a slim 0.130-seconds edge over Sox for the first ever Animal Heavy points race win.
"The Shadow kart worked great, it was easy to keep smooth and consistent laps and the Moon Power motor was there the whole time," Martin credited. "This new (Animal) motor is great, it's great right out of the box. This will be a new deal for karting and a good deal for karting," he added with thanks to his parents for their support.
Gerrells grabbed third, Kenneth Wells finished fourth and Mike Schumacher followed in fifth.
Jason Scruggs turned an 18.241-seconds lap for Briggs Super Stock's pole and led the field until lap 17 when Martin, who battled his way from 14th, took over the top spot and beat Scruggs to the stripe by 0.485-seconds.
"The Shadow kart was perfect and the Moon Power motor was awesome it had unbelievable top end and it dug all day. We struggled earlier in qualifying and pulled it off," Martin said after earned his second World Championship.
Rock Hill, SC racer Stevie Stephenson ran third and was followed in the top five by Brandon McGee and Barney, GA racer Brett Williams.
Stephenson earned Phantom Racing Chassis Briggs Seniors' pole and win. After turning the pole time at 20.981 seconds, his Shadow kart led the first two laps and then surrendered the front to Jacksonville, FL racer Chester Wright. Wright put a kart length between them and Stephenson quickly closed the gap and grabbed the led in time to lead the race's only caution restart with six laps to go. Just after the restart mechanical troubles took Wright from being a contender to 28th as Stephenson held off late race challenges from Ronald Bradsher who trailed by 0.224 seconds.
"I wanted to run Chester (Wright), he runs good," Stephenson said adding. "But I didn't want to see the caution, it made it tough. The Shadow kart was fast and I want to thank Dan Sox and Bully Clutches," he added.
Veterans Jeffery Nye, Lonnie Hall and Max Deese handled the remaining top five positions.
Buller Racing Engines powered Twister kart pilot Chris Harrell, of Lake Park, GA, claimed a pair of 2-Cycle World Championships to start off his season. Five time World Champion Victor Peters posted American Power Sports Yamaha 2-Cyle's pole time with a blistering 17.981 seconds lap and grabbed the early going. Several laps into it Harrell took charge of the field and opened a comfortable lead that he held until it was cut at lap nine by the race's only yellow flag. Harrell led the restart and led to the finish where he owned a comfortable 2.016 seconds cushion over former national champion Barrett Terry, of Lenior City, TN.
"I knew I had a big lead when I got to lapped traffic and cones were flying everywhere, that was a trip, lapped traffic was tough I just hung in there," Harrell said. "I want to thank Kermit Buller for the motor and set up, Davis Motor Sports, Megadyne karts, Black Magic Tires and my wife Cindi who's home with the kids."
Peters crossed third; Charles Lee finished fourth and was followed by Gregory Thorpe who completed the top five.
Terry took the early lead in Bully Clutches Unlimited 2-Cycle, but several laps into it he surrendered the front to Harrell who led the field through a lap five caution restart before beating Archdale, NC competitor Scott Bazen to the finish by 0.129 seconds.
"The Twister kart was awesome, my dad's setup was great and the black Magic tires gripped real good, but the Buller motor made the difference," Harrell credited.
Behind Bazen in the top five were Terry, Chris Seay and Michael Gordon.
Seay was first under Clark Fabrication Stock 2-Cycle's checkered flag, but the Spartanburg, SC competitor was disqualified at tech and Terry was awarded the win. Following Terry in the official top five were Jason Seay, Raymond Seaman, Ed Schrieifels and Gordon. Harrell turned an 18.510 seconds lap for the pole.
Tyler Racing Engines powered Phantom kart pilot Justin Lindsey, of Columbus, MS, earned a pair of World Championships starting with Friday's Power Products/Super Seat Briggs Limited Heavy where he beat Greensboro, SC based Ultramax Racing Chassis factory pilot Brad Sellers to the finish by just 0.207 seconds.
"I had to work hard for this one," Lindsey said. "I want to thank Ben Tyler his motor was strong, very strong and Phantom karts for a great handling kart."
Barney, GA based Blake Williams finished third, James Lindley followed in fourth and Michael Kane completed the top five.
Saturday Lindsey piloted his kart to perfection in Robinson Speed Shop Briggs Super Heavy. After earning the pole with a 19.137 seconds lap, Lindsey led the field wire-to-wire finishing just 0.223 seconds ahead of Dan Sox.
"I can't say enough about this Tyler Racing Engine, this is its third national win in a row. I want to thank Jake and Ben Tyler for that," Lindsey said after his second win. "It takes a great team, good kart, a great motor and a lot of luck to win two nationals here at Daytona."
Filling out the remaining top five positions were Shane Evans, Gary Hutchison and Michael Schumacher.
Savannah, TN based Phantom kart pilot Jake Tyler topped the event's second feature Trick Olimpic Karts Briggs Lite and Saturday's first feature Bandit Racing Chassis Briggs Medium. Andy Whiten earned Lite's pole and owned the early laps with Tyler threatening from behind. Tyler took it after several laps and built a small advantage over Whiten that was cut by a lap nine-caution restart. When the green flag flew again Tyler's Tyler Racing Engines powered kart blasted away from the field for a huge lead that was once again cut by the yellow flag this time on lap 15. Tyler led the restart and beat Whiten to the finish by 0.590 seconds.
"I want to thank Larry Williams and his family they taught me everything I know about karting, my dad for an awesome motor and Harrill Wiggins for a great kart," credited the 15-year-old winner.
Gerrells grabbed third, Ward, SC competitor Mark Hall made his way from 11th to a fourth place finish and Pitts completed the top five.
Pitts earned Briggs Medium's pole with an 18.974 seconds trip and led the first two laps before Tyler took over for a never surrendered lead to the stripe where he was 0.737 seconds ahead of her.
"I used my head and my dad's horsepower to win this one," Tyler said after his second World Championship win along with adding thanks to Harrill Wiggins for the Phantom kart.
Trailing Pitts in the top five were Brad Pittman, Paul Noblitt and Justin Moorefield.
A 22.379 seconds lap put Bobby Anthony on RLV Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Lite's pole, but when the final flag flew it was for the Hi Tech Racing Engines powered Tempest kart of Eastland, GA racer Aaron Martin for the 10-year-old's first national win. Anthony hustled into the early lead with Martin close behind. Martin grabbed the lead the first time around and held it from there through a lap nine caution restart to the finish where he was 1.747 seconds ahead of Anthony.
"That was fun," Martin described. "It feels good getting my first national win in Daytona. The kart and motor ran good and the Bully Clutch worked great on the restart."
Taking the remaining top five positions were Justin Ashley, Derrike Bullins and Chase Walden.
With just five laps left in Tommy's Karts-n-Parts Briggs Junior Champ, Jacksonville, FL based Ultramax Racing Chassis factory pilot Brandon Cameron burst into the lead and beat Andrew Pugh to the finish by 1.508 seconds. Anthony Johnson, Jr. clocked the pole-winning lap at 21.483 seconds and led the 30-racer field through a pair of caution restarts before Camron's Capps Racing Engines powered kart captured the led.
"I don't know how I made that last pass," admitted the 14-year-old winner. "The Ultramax kart handled good and the Capps motor was fast. I want to thank my mom and dad for supporting me and God for a safe race."
Dustin Chisholm crossed third, Brandon Bull bagged fourth and Matt Hawkins handled fifth.
In the final turn of the final lap `Awesome' Austin Hubbard, of Seaford, DE, burst from fifth to first in time to take Ultramax Racing Chassis Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Heavy's checkered flag 1.339 seconds ahead of Daniel Cordova. Martin earned the pole with a 21.082 seconds trip and rocketed into the early lead with Justin Ashley closed behind as battles for positions unfolded behind them and Hubbard threaded his way from 15th to fifth. Then with just three laps remaining the race's only caution flag flew. Ashley led the restart and the battle continued with Hubbard holding on to fifth. Ashley took the white flag and as they were rounding turns three and four the top four karts tangled leaving Hubbard a clear track to the waving checkered flag.
"I never would have though I'd win this one," admitted the nine-year-old Hubbard. "I was really scared on that last lap and though I'd be in the wreck ahead of me, but the Phantom kart handled good and the Beef Performance motor was really fast. I also want to thank Hammer for all of his help."
Cordova was disqualified a tech moving Casey Holt into the official second place position. Cole Canady was third, Ashley moved to fourth and Ross Bohmann completed the top five.
Schu Powered Titan kart pilot Grant Crossland, of Millin, GA, was first across Williams Motosports Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Lite's finish line by a comfortable 4.828 seconds over Ricky Keisler. Blake Shaw topped qualifying with a 20.304 seconds lap.
"Lapped traffic was kind of tough to get through, but the Titan Kart and Schu Power motor ran good," said the 12-year-old winner.
Jamie Griffin, Chris Windom and Landon Cassill rounded out the top five behind Keisler.
Prowler kart pilot Andy Partridge was first under Shadow Racing Chassis Briggs Lite's checkered flag, but he and second place Jess Mattox were disqualified. Jesse Lefevers was awarded the win and he was followed in the official top five by Dustin Chisholm, Justin Clark, Pugh and Bull. Andy Whiten produced qualifying's fastest lap at 20.162 seconds.
Trevor Bayne, of Knoxville, TN, bagged ARC Racing Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Heavy's win 3.636 seconds ahead of Jake `The Snake' Crum.
"The Titan T-3 kart was perfect. It would go anywhere I wanted it to and the Schu Power motor kept pulling down the straight away and never quit," said the 10-year-old Performance Motor Graphics/Pace America sponsored winner. ""I want to thank Bully Clutches, Kermit Buller Dennis with Speed Rat and Matt Nelson for stitching my driving suit," added Bayne who earned a Triple Crown in the Tennessee Dirt Divisional Series in 2001 and won Junior Champ in the Florida State Winter Series. For the Tennessee Triple Crown he led the point's chases in Junior Sportsman-2 Lite and Heavy and Junior Sportsman Champ.
Filling the remaining top five positions were Krystina Estep whose 19.667 seconds qualifying lap earned her the pole, Ryan Nicholas and Nicholas Molin.
Tod Miller Racing Engines powered Twister kart pilot Shawn Parker posted Ratech Corp. Briggs Senior Champ's win. Parker beat pole winner Jody Miller, of Salisbury, NC, to the finish by 0.158 seconds. Miller clocked the pole time at 20.050 seconds.
"The Twister kart ran great and Tod Miller's motor ran great," credited the King, NC based winner. "I want to thank Johnny at Twister karts and Tod Miller for this win," Parker added.
Third through fifth were taken by Jason Moates, AJ Curreli and Jason Higginbotham .
Tampa, FL racer Jason Kimball captured Proto Type Engine Sales 4-Cyle Modified's checkered flag with a very comfortable 6.016 seconds advantage over Dan Sox. A blistering 16.737 seconds lap put Adam Bedenbaugh on the pole. Bedenbaugh led the early going through the race's only caution restart before Kimball came on strong in the second half of the race.
"The Prowler kart was perfect and the Storming Race Engines motor pulled strong the whole way," Kimble said. "I want to thank Prowler karts and Williams Wheels for their support."
David Collins came in third and was followed in the top five by Bedenbaugh and Brad Stevens.
Jason Scruggs produced a 16.941 seconds lap for Sunday's first pole CKI, Inc. Limited Lite. Gerrells captured the outside front row starting position with a 17.038 seconds lap and rocketed into the early lead. Gerrells led most of the way but when it counted Barrett Terry Racing Engines powered Shadow Racing Chassis pilot Adam Ingram was in charge of the field 0.685seconds ahead of Gerrells.
"The Shadow kart kept getting better and better at the end and as far as Barrett's motor, there's nothing else he could have done to make it better," said the Sweetwater, TN based racer after his first national win. "I also want to thank Kermit Buller for the great Bully Clutch they're the greatest clutch out there."
Scruggs strolled in third, Whiten followed in fourth and Tyler took fifth.
Jody Miller cranked out an 18.198 seconds lap for Seigler Motorsports Star Champ's pole. Miller jumped into the early lead over outside pole winner Keith Wyrick. Wyrick captured the lead after three laps and then surrendered it to Aaron Marlin who took it to the finish line where he owned a 1.759 seconds advantage over Parker.
"The Olimpic kart ran great and Mike Bates engine pulled strong, real strong the whole time," credited the Ocala, FL based winner.
Ultramax Racing Chassis factory driver Roger Padgett crossed third and was followed in the top five by Miller and Wyrick.
Chesterfield, VA based Cory Roberts captured Jammer Clutches Briggs Junior Sportsman Champ's checkered flag from the pole. Roberts turned a 21.363 seconds lap for the pole and only briefly surrendered the front to John Stancill before taking the final flag just 0.366 seconds ahead of Justin Ashley.
"It was tough," admitted the winning 11-year-old Ogles Racing Engines powered RB kart pilot. "The brand new motor ran great, it was real fast and the RB kart handled good too."
Stancill settled for third, Lucas Ransone ran fourth and Bayne rounded out the top five.
E-Z Bore Briggs Junior Heavy's checkered flag waved for pole winner Andy Pugh, of Jeneva, AL who's WP Racing Engines powered Phantom kart produced a 19.296 seconds lap for the pole. Pugh hustled into the initial lead then let Nick Kennedy grab a piece of it before the race's only caution restart. When racing resumed Pugh quickly shot by Kennedy for a never surrendered lead to the end where he was a comfortable 2.973 seconds ahead of Michael Estep.
"I have to thank WP Racing Engines for a great motor, the best I've ever had. The kart ran good it took about five laps for it to come in and it was perfect from there," Pugh said.
Taking third through fifth were Clint Mills, Kyle Boweres and Rob Humphreys.
Richmond, VA racer Jason Higginbotham ruled Twister Karts/Davis Manufacturing Briggs Heavy. Lindsey earned the pole with an 18.824 seconds lap, but surrendered the early led to Whiten who started outside pole. A.J. Foyt IV took over just after mid race and held it under the white flag, but next time around Higginbotham moved into second and got a slim edge Foyt and beat him to the stripe by a mere 0.086 seconds for the event's closest finish.
"I got a good run on both of them on the last lap," said the winning Higgy's House of Power powered Phantom kart pilot. "The kart was a little loose at first and then it started digging and started coming off the corners like a rocket and the motor was killer."
Whiten, Kevin Smith and Bradsher made up the remaining top five.
With the 2001 World Dirt Championships in the record book racers in the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series still have four nationals ahead of them in the 2002 season. Spring Nationals will be hosted by Crossroads Motorplex in Jasper, FL April 26-28, followed by Summer Nationals which will be raced June 14-16 at Low County Kartway in Aynor, SC, Grand Nationals July 19-21 at Southern Pitt Raceway in Greenville, NC and the season finale Fall Nationals scheduled for Margarettsville Speedway in Margarettsville, NC September 6-8.