By Bruce C. Walls - Motorsport.oom
DAYTONA BEACH, FL-Funkhouser factory pilot Jason Knuteson, of Indianapolis, IN earned four wins at the WKA/Dunlop Tire National Enduro Series 2000 Enduro World Championships. The annual event, which is part of WKA Florida Kart week, kicked off the series' 2001 season with 675 entrees competing on Daytona International Speedway's 2.5-mile banked oval and infield road course from December 27th to the 30th .
Mother Nature waved her soggy wet red flag on the first day of racing. To make up for the rainout WKA officials rescheduled Thursday December 28th's races Friday morning with shortened race times. Knuteson captured two wins that morning starting with Piston Port Can Sprint Lite where he finished just ahead of fellow Funkhouser factory pilot Chris Tomasik also of Indianapolis, IN. Later that morning he beat Steve Thompson to Pi Research WKA Sprint Heavy's checkered flag by just .028-seconds.
Following Tomasik in the top five of 33 were Sullivan, IN racer Andy Hall, Cicero, NY competitor Keith Shampine and defending national champion James Bach of Saukville, WI. Trailing Thompson in the top five out of 25-entrees were defending national champion Ed Shampine of Cicero, NY, Boyton Beach, FL based Scott Buerman and David Bruinsma.
That afternoon Knuteson captured his third win narrowly beating Andy Hall to Piston Port Can Sprint Heavy's finish by .133. "I drafted up from third on the last lap and it couldn't have been much closer at the end," described the Dunlop/Emmick Karts/Outerwears/ Douglas Wheel sponsored winner. "The new Emmick kart did a great job it came out of the box and right to the front. I have to add a special thanks to Linda Emmick for the kart and to Ron Funkhouser for an incredible motor that brought me to the front after every mistake I made."
Tomasik, the defending national champion took third out of 22 and was followed in the top five by Ed Shampine and Ronald Simpson.
Knuteson capped his streak with a win in the final day's first feature TS Racing Yamaha Sprint Heavy beating Hall to the finish again, this time by just .037-seconds. The remaining top five of 32 were almost a repeat of Piston Port Can Sprint Heavy with Tomasik and Shampine finishing third and fourth again, but this time Thompson took fifth.
"That was another tight one," Knuteson said. "The Emmick kart handled great, but the motor was strong and that's what got me here."
Bushnell, FL based Bret Spaude bagged a trio of wins. Friday morning the 13-year-old TS Racing powered Phantom PT-4 kart pilot earned Plan B Racing Engines Junior Sprint Heavy's win just .103-seconds ahead of Jackson, NJ racer Justin Casazza.
"It took me a while to get up there," Spaude admitted. "The kart was a little loose in the beginning, but after a couple of laps the kart felt really good and the motor was running really good."
Capping the top five of 10 behind Casazza were Rebecca Bach, Scott Tomasik and Tim Barnard.
Later that day Spaude scored two more wins defending his national championships in Elite Karting Briggs Junior Sprint Heavy and CKI Trackside Briggs Junior Sprint Lite. Spaude finished Briggs Junior Sprint Heavy 2.061-seconds ahead of Mark Burt and beat Adam Romito to Briggs Junior Sprint Lite's checkered flag by 9.372-seconds.
"The kart was a little loose the first two laps," Spaude said after his second win. "Mark (Burt) and Adam (Romito) ran with me and I came out first. The motor ran real good and the TS Racing PT-4 kart handled real good."
Romito, Scott Tomasik and Braedon Maurer rounded out the remaining top five of 14 in Briggs Junior Sprint Heavy. In Briggs Junior Sprint Lite Romito was trailed in the top five by Tomasik, Maurer and Burt.
Burt, a DeBary, FL based TS Racing kart pilot, defended his Kris Buerman Racing Engines Junior Enduro Lite title beating Spaude to that finish by 14.424-seconds. Taking the top five of six positions behind Spaude were Patrick Lawrence, Donny Warren III and Romito.
Casazza captured Pudge Engineering Junior Sprint Lite's checkered flag after a 20-minute battle with Becky Bach and Bret Spaude. "I got a good start and went straight to the front and then I battled back and forth with Becky Bach an Bret Spaude," said the winning Kris Buerman Racing Engines powered Emmick kart pilot. "The kart handled good and the motor was great, really fast," Casazza added.
Following second place Bach in the top five of 10 were Tim Barnard, Scott Tomasik and Lawrence.
Easton, PA Heminway Racing powered Coyote kart pilot Tom Lutzi, Jr. won a hard fought battle against Randy Flukes and Margay Karts owner Keith Freber in New Concepts Design Yamaha Lite. "Everything was perfect from the tires to the motor so it's gotta be the shoes," Lutzi credited. "I got a tremendous start went from 28th to third on the first lap. (Randy) Fulks and (Keith) Freber were drafting together ahead of me and I couldn't catch them until they broke the draft and I got out in front."
Lutzi beat Fulks to the finish by 2.281-second with Freber following in third.
"Randy (Fulks) and I were working the draft on lap four when I made a mistake on the oval," admitted Freber. "That's when Tom (Lutzi) caught us and once Tom joined the party he was hard to run with."
Gregory Heminway and Baldus rounded out the top five of 30.
Sixteen-year-old Keith Shampine, of Cicero, NY beat his dad, Ed Shampine, to Callaway Cars, Inc. WKA Sprint Lite's finish by 5.621-seconds. "It was tight in the beginning between Mark Taylor and I. Mark got high on the second to the last lap and I got under him," Shampine described. "The Elite kart handled real good, it was a little loose in practice and I made an adjustment and it handled real good and the New Concepts Design motor was like a rocket. It's one of the best motors I've ever had."
Following Ed Shampine across the stripe in the top five of 15 were Scott Buerman, New Smryna Beach, FL racer Ed Blair and Knuteson. CKT powered Paul Tracy kart pilot Jay Spoden, of Aurora, IL, was first under 125-Shifter-1's checkered flag with two other CKT powered karts close behind. "The leader spun on the last corner and I got it from there," said Spoden. "The kart handled beautifully and the motor was perfect. I blew a piston in practice and had to put in a new one and it ran great."
CKT sponsored Clayton brothers Cory and Frank captured second and third with Dan Bates and Eric Moody rounding out the top five of 35 behind them.
Cory Clayton, a Bartlett, IL based CKT powered Paul Tracy kart pilot edged out Elite Karts factory pilot Shawn Gray of Putnam, CT by just .332-seconds for 125 Sprint-2's win.
"We had a good race I could stick it into the corners and the kart handled perfect like it was on a rail," said Clayton. "The motor was ballistic. We've been doing a lot of testing and this is the final package," he added with thanks to Jerry Clayton and Jim Perry.
Finishing out the top five of 32 behind Gray were Dan Bates Stephen Mastine and Frank Clayton.
Santa Maria, CA competitor Mark Weaverling narrowly edged out Scott Grenier by .295-seconds to capture Competition Karting, Inc. Yamaha Sportsman Heavy. "I got a good enough start," said the Woltjer powered Margay kart pilot. "I got the lead somewhere on the back straight on the first lap and held it from there," added the RLV Tuned Exhaust/Horstman/TS Racing/Dunlop/Russell Karting sponsored winner.
Completing the top five of 36 were Jim Russell, Mike Baldus and Brad Zoeller.
Baldus beat Richard Warren to Horstman Manufacturing Yamaha Sportsman Medium's finish by 26.137-seconds. Fulks Zoeller and Lutzi completed the top five of 46.
Friday morning's fifth race had three classes competing at the same time from staggered starts. Don Bootes led 20 Unlimited racers across the finish line with Kenneth Deutsch, Joe Galyon, Mike Spear, Jr. and David Kolleda trailing in the top five. Bootes also bagged Saturday's Unlimited-2 taking that checkered flag 20.456-seconds ahead of Jonathan Clark. Filling the remaining top five of 24 were Kenny Deutsch, Marc Paine and Marc Croslyn. Brian Morse beat Pierre Haung to 100cc Controlled's checkered flag by 15.531-seconds. Taking the remaining top five of 22 positions were Gregory Trimmer, Dave Williams and Tim Bryan. Ronnie Jackson ruled Custom Trophy B-Stock's finish taking the final flag 2.719-seconds ahead of Fulks the defending national points champion.
"Randy (Fulks) was with me to the half and then something happened to him," said the Birmingham, AL based CKI powered Trick kart pilot after his first Daytona B-Stock win. "We made some last minute changes to the chassis and the kart ran great and I want to say a special thanks to Pete Tyre for the SMC Clutch."
Former national champion Johnny Howard, of Baton Rouge, LA followed Fulks and was trailed in the top five of 18 by D. Aaron Griffith and Ken Forsha.
Fulks avenged himself that afternoon in taking Russell Karting Yamaha Heavy's checkered with a lap advantage over Nathan Grindell. "Everything worked great," said the Jacksonville, IN based TS Racing powered Margay kart pilot.
Jackson, NJ based Michael Casazza captured third and was followed in the top five of 35 by Baldus and Heminway.
After blowing an engine during the first lap of practice, Rev Racing Engines powered CKI Laser AV-2 pilot Todd DeMarchis posted Kart Connections Plus Briggs Sprint Medium's win just .681-seconds ahead of Rob Hindery. "This is my first time here and I blew a motor on the first lap of practice, I can't believe I won, the kart was loose and tight, all of it." said the Apharetta, GA based winner. "I want to thank WKA and dedicate this win to my grandmother who passed away recently, I had a hand on me out there."
Jerry Turner, Patrick Mahoney and Alan Pierschalla filled the remaining top five of 30 positions.
Raymore, MO based Emmick Kart pilot Jim Russell, Jr. notched his sixth straight Daytona win when he took Elite Karting Controlled Limited's checkered flag one lap ahead of Morse. "The Emmick kart was fine like always and the motor was perfect," Russell credited. "I got the lead on the first lap and led everyone of them from there."
Completing the top five of 25 were Huang, Rod Williams and Timothy Koen.
Pennsauken, NJ pilot Greg Heminway handled Euro-5 Heavy's 12-raer field finishing 26.137-seconds ahead of Connecticut racer Gene Fiegle. Following Fiegle in the top five of 12 were Erik Day, defending national points champion Craig Stone and Daniel Hart. Brian Fisher defended his Euro-5 Lite title taking that win 20.456-seconds ahead of Day. Fiegle finished third and was followed by Travis Miller and Tim Bryan for the top five of 10.
Richard Soles narrowly ruled Briggs Sprint Heavy's finish .63-seconds ahead of Pierschallia. Keith Lorentzen captured third and was followed in fourth and fifth by defending national champion Tod Spaude and Jackson Berrier.
Piston Port Can Heavy and Lite were close contests David Somers edged out Barry Motsinger by just .987-seconds for Heavy's checkered and Motsinger took the Lite win .149-seconds ahead of Brian West. Rounding out Heavy's top five were Ron Miller, Jim Ivanof and Randy Holewski. Somers finished third in Lite and was trailed in the top five by Holewski and Miller.
In other close contests, Saukville, WI racer Becky Bach nipped Bret Spaude by .529-seconds for Junior Enduro Heavy's win. Defending national point's champion Burt ran third and was trailed in the top five of eight by Ramito and Warren. David Bruinsma finished .064-seconds ahead of Buerman. Taking the remaining top five of 35 were Keith Shampine, Warren and Hall.
Warren, of Mentor, OH, defended his national point's championship in KSF Racing Yamaha Sportsman Lite with a .079-seconds victory margin over Scott Brakenridge. Fulks, Freber and Baldus rounded out the top five of 14.
Ron Schimmelpfennin ruled 33-Open racers taking the final flag with a lap advantage over Robert Lawson. Harry West finished third, defending national points champion Travis Miller, of Virginia Beach, VA and Morse completed the top five.
A full season still lies ahead for WKA/Dunlop Tire National Enduro Series racers. Their next national will be March 9-11 where they'll join Manufacturer's Cup racers for Winter Nationals at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Spring Nationals will again be hosted by Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC April 6-8 and then the tour travels to Virginia International Raceway in Danville, VA June 1-3. New Hampshire International Speedway hosts Summer Nationals June 29 to July 1 and Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, WV will host the following national July 20-22. A September date is still waiting to be announced and the season ends at back at Lowe's Motor Speedway November 9-11 during the North American Karting Championships.