LAFAYETTE, NY -- Racers in the Empire State Sprint Series capped a successful 2002 season at Cherry Valley Motorsports Park in Lafayette, NY August 2-3 where race winners of the day and season champions were crowned during an Awards Bar-B-Q following the feature races. Paulie Harraka, of Fair Lawn, NJ and Chris Wramage, of West Patterson, PA each earned triple crowns for winning three class championships in the 2002 season.
Harraka swept Tuff Kart Motorsports Yamaha Junior Sportsman along with Matt- Con Service Corp. Cadet Junior Sportsman and HPV Junior Sportsman. In Yamaha Junior Sportsman the 12-year-old Switch Racing Engines powered Invader kart pilot earned a season total of 817 points to take the championship over Alfred Weick by 73 points. Evan Kalogiannis, Mitchell Wright and Anthony Llopiz rounded out the top five.
"The Invader karts were fantastic they handled like they were on a rail and I want to thank Kevin Nelson of Switch Racing Engines and my dad for great setups. This is a great series with many national drivers in it and that makes the competition tough." Harraka said.
Harraka out ran Matthew Lee, of Hicksville, NY for the titles in Cadet Junior Sportsman where he owned a 95-point advantage and in HPV Junior Sportsman, which he took, by 63 points.
"I want to thank Marc Zartarian of Hi Rev Racing Engines for my Comer motors they were really fast and I also want to thank Russell Karting, Simpson Safety Equipment, Gold Speed USA, G-Man Kart Works Streeter Kart Stands and Horstman Manufacturing for all their great products that kept me safe and helped me win these championships," Harraka said.
Lee earned Matt-Con Services Corp Rotax Max Junior's title with a 38-point advantage over Daniel Abbale. Trailing Abbale in the top five were Felicia Leon, Peter Bortolussi and Michael Gieson.
Star Stainless/Dry Dock Farm backed Wramage took titles in Rocket Sprockets Briggs Heavy where he owned a comfortable 125 points lead over second place Dave Farnan, Sr. and he swept both Briggs Controlled Medium and Heavy.
"You've got to be there every race to win the championship, have a great dad that's willing to put in the time and someone like Paul Harraka who knows how to scale a kart, Wramage said. "The Coyote kart was great all season and I want to thank Andy Van Cleef of Advanced Racing Engines for great stock motors and Checkered Flag Fuels for great controlled motors."
Looking back over his season Wramage said the race at Cherry Valley was his most memorable. "We found out a little late that Cherry Valley Motorsports Park wasn't exactly in Cherry Valley and got a little off course and made it just in time for the race without any practice and won the race," he recalled.
Four racers were double title winners. Clearfield, PA Advanced Racing Engines powered Coyote kart pilot Nathan Russell ruled both Baker Racing Engines Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 classes Lite and Heavy over Mitchell Wright. In Lite Russell owned a 138-points advantage and in Heavy he was 125 points ahead of Wright at the end.
"Man this is fantastic getting my first championship," said the 11-year-old double champion. "I want to thank Paul and Paulie Harraka for helping us with our setup the Coyote kart handled great. I also want to thank my dad for all the hard work he did on the kart and Andy Van Cleef of Advanced Racing Engines for fast motors."
Anne Arundel, MD based, King Automotive backed Coyote factory pilot Carlos Ramirez captured two titles ahead of Jim Lipari. In G-Man Kart Works Briggs Medium he was 101 points ahead of Lipari at the end. Behind Lipari in the top 10 of that points battle were Wramage, Jeff Castellano, Rowan Pennink and Baltimore, MD based Coyote factory pilot Lawson Aschenbach.
Lipari trailed Ramirez by 120 in Briggs Lite. Following Lipari in the top five were Castellano, Aschenbach and Jason Marignoni.
Kyle Bostick bagged both Coyote Products Briggs Amateur Medium and Heavy. In the Medium points battle he edged out Dylan Zobkiw by 65 points and in Heavy he was a comfortable 137-points ahead of Ryan McDermott. Taking the top five behind Zobkiw were Mc Dermott, Dave Emens and David Farnan. Following McDermott in Heavy's top five were Zobkiw, Jason Zobkiw and Emens.
George Curtis captured titles in McDonald Motorsports Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Lite and Heavy. He owned a slim 40-point edge over Mason Wright in Lite and was 58 points ahead of Kaytlyn Fauci in Heavy.
Taking titles in Bonsignore Kart Shop Briggs Junior Lite and Heavy were Brett Peters and Anthony Albanese, both of Webster, NY, who each topped Justin Bonsignore in the title chases. Peters was just 19 points ahead of Bonsignore and Albanese beat him by 24-points. Behind Bonsignore in Lite's top five were Albanese, Christopher Mackey and Wayne Rapachietta. Following him in Heavy's top five were Peters, Matt Wihlen and Kyle Rapachietta.
Bonsignore avenged himself in Briggs Restricted Junior where he finished just 28-points ahead of Peters. Albanese ended his season in third 87- points behind Peters who was trailed by Brendan McEwan.
In the remaining 4-Cycle classes David Barry bagged Briggs Senior and Darrell Duffy dominated Briggs Super Heavy.
Daniel Abbale ruled Romeo Motorsports Yamaha Junior Super-Can and Matt Cordiner captured Romeo Motorsports Yamaha Senior Sportsman's title.
In one of the season's closest contests Switch Racing Engines powered Invader kart pilot John Martino beat out Lawrence Ubell by 25-points to take Romeo Motorsports Yamaha Masters title. Martino, of Glen Gardener, NJ said, "This is unbelievable. To win this against all the national drivers in this series is unbelievable. I want to thank Kevin Nelson for great motors, Invader karts and Paul and Paulie Harraka for all of their help with setting up the kart."
Martino is also the national Yamaha Masters and Grand National Yamaha Masters in the WKA/George Kugler Manufacturer's Cup Series.
Trailing Ubell in the Empire State Sprint Series Yamaha Masters points chase were Jim Tears, Walter Cordiner and Brad Peters.
Now that the 2002 is over plans are being made for the 2003 season. "We were very pleased at the growth this series saw this year and we hope to have an even better season next year," said Series President Anthony Rapachietta.