WKA's Pit Board - 06.30.2009 *** Numerous Big Winners At Dexter Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Grand Nationals 06.30.2009 -- Sixteen WKA Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt racers left the Jimmy Rivers Performance Works Grand Nationals at ...
WKA's Pit Board - 06.30.2009
Numerous Big Winners At Dexter Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Grand Nationals
06.30.2009 -- Sixteen WKA Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt racers left the Jimmy Rivers Performance Works Grand Nationals at Georgia's Dexter Raceway with at least one victory. One driver, Evans, Georgia's Blake Cannon, had arguably the best weekend of all the dirt racers with three victories and a second-place finish over the course of the hot early summer weekend.
Other top winners at the Jimmy Rivers Grand Nationals included Dan Sox with wins in Briggs Champ Lite and Heavy and a runner-up finish in Briggs Super Heavy; Jacob Schneider, who netted wins in Briggs Jr Lite and Heavy; Jacob Owens, winner of Briggs Sportsman 2 Champ Final 1 and 2; Dustin McGraw, victor of the Briggs Lite and Heavy main events; and Dee Paschal, who drove to victory in Briggs Medium and Briggs Raptor Lite.
The "Sunday-7" Money Class winners won $300 each for their efforts. They were Austin Carter in Briggs Sportsman 1 Heavy, Houston Smith in Briggs Sportsman 2 Heavy, Schneider in Jr Heavy, Paschal in Medium, Johnny Myers in Briggs Super Heavy, Codie Rohrbaugh in Briggs Jr Champ Heavy and Sox in Champ Heavy.
One driver who didn't win a WKA national point class at Dexter was Martinez, Georgia's Chris Thompson. But Thompson made it count when the big money was on the line, driving to a popular victory over McGraw and Stevie Stephenson in Saturday night's much-anticipated Briggs Animal Money Race. The win garnered Thompson an outstanding $1,700 and a $500 bonus from TS Racing and Vega Tires for winning the race on Vega rubber. The win and bonus meant Thompson walked away from the Money Race with a cool $2,200. McGraw's second-place effort got him $400, Stephenson $300 for third and Drew Hammonds $100 for fourth. Kati Leonard finished just out of the money in fifth. Todd Reece garnered the $500 bonus put up by Firestone Tires as the best finishing driver on Firestone rubber.
The Money Race was a rousing success at Dexter. It was the highest attended class of the weekend with 19 entrants and less than seven tenths-of-a-second separated Thompson's fast qualifying time (13.751) from the 19th-fastest time. Thompson won by a close 0.270 seconds over McGraw. Eleven karts finished on the lead lap.
The gracious supporters that made the Dexter's Money Race possible included Briggs & Stratton, Firestone, Shadow Karts and Ultramax Racing Chassis. Briggs & Stratton's generosity didn't stop with just the Money Race. The Wisconsin-based outfit awarded five Speedway Dirt racers with some terrific prizes at Dexter's Saturday morning drivers meeting. In a random draw of racers entered in a national class, four drivers and their families won a Briggs Brute 2500-psi pressure washer and one racer won a generator, also provided by the great people at Briggs & Stratton. G-Man Kartworks sponsored the event's Pole Awards.
Briggs & Stratton dirt racers will now have about a month off from national competition before traveling to Staley, North Carolina's Liberty Raceway July 24-26. The national event at Liberty is the third of five 2009 stops on the Speedway Dirt tour.
Five Straight Weeks of WKA National Racing On Tap
06.30.2009 -- While the latter weekends of May and the month of June saw a bit of a lull period for WKA with only two national races over a seven-week stretch, the remainder of the summer is going to be just the opposite, starting with an upcoming five-week stretch of national races every weekend.
The busy schedule gets under way this weekend with the Spallco R.V. Sales Grand Nationals for the Bully Clutches Gold Cup Series at G & J Kartway in Camden, Ohio. The race will mark the Gold Cup Series' second of four 2009 events, and first since late March at Lowe's (N.C.) Motor Speedway. For more information, visit www.worldkarting.com/downloads/eb-2009/0703_camden_gc.pdf.
"Big Red," the official WKA hauler, will leave Camden and head to Road America for the huge Zoom Zoom Nationals at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., July 10-12. The event will mark WKA's return to Road America for national competition, featuring Round 3 of the George Kugler / Bridgestone Manufacturer's Cup Series at the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex and Round 5 of the Dunlop Tire National Road Racing Series, which will race on Road America's historic four-mile road course. For Manufacturer's Cup information, visit www.worldkarting.com/downloads/eb-2009/0710_rdamer_mc.pdf. For Road Racing information, visit www.worldkarting.com/downloads/eb-2009/0710_rdamer_rr.pdf.
Following the Zoom Zoom Nationals, WKA's truck driver, Bobby Gettys, and Big Red will stay on the road to complete their three-week tour of America's northern parts, heading from the Badger State to the Empire State and the running of the July 17-19, 1-800-GOT-JUNK Nationals for the Rage Karts Speedway Pavement Series at Chapel Hill Raceway in Humphrey, N.Y. The event will mark the Speedway Pavement Series' first race since early April, and the second of the five-race tour. For more information, visit www.worldkarting.com/downloads/eb-2009/0717_chapelhill_pave.pdf.
Big Red will return to WKA headquarters in Concord, N.C., following the 1-800-GOT-JUNK Nationals at Chapel Hill, and will make a shorter trek the next weekend to Liberty Raceway in Staley, N.C., for the third stop on the Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series on July 24-26. For more information on the Speedway Dirt event at Liberty, visit www.worldkarting.com/downloads/eb-2009/0724_liberty_dirt.pdf.
The final national of the five consecutive weekend stretch will be July 31-Aug. 2 at VIRginia International Raceway. The event at VIR, one of the most famous road course motorsports facilities in the world, will feature the sixth stop on the '09 Road Racing Series, and will provide an event fairly close to home for the strong contingent of Mid-Atlantic- and Southeast-based road racing teams. For more information, visit www.worldkarting.com/downloads/eb-2009/0731_vir_rr.pdf.
The five WKA national series will take the second weekend of August off before four more national events in three weeks to conclude the unofficial end of summer.
The racing is sure to be fast and furious. Whatever series in which you compete, be sure to start planning and fill out those pre-entry forms as soon as possible and watch for future Pit Boards with focus on each individual event.
Championship Karting International Shines in New Jersey
06.30.2009 (Phoenix) -- The Championship Karting International national kart racing series stormed into South Jersey for the CKI Grand Prix of New Jersey and delivered another thrilling weekend of hot competition and big prize packages, with the action captured by live video coverage. Similar to CKI's inaugural event last month in New Castle, the Grand Prix of New Jersey was a big success, with something for every race fan: dominant performances, razor sharp competition and heart-stopping finishes. Chasing a $25,000 purse, the pilots put on a show -- highlights included a thrilling come-from-behind victory by Andre Nicastro (ItalKart) in IAME Sr. and clean sweeps by Taylor Miinch (Top Kart) in IAME Jr., Gary Carlton (CRG) in KZ2 and Arie Ouimet (CRG) in KF2.
The action also showcased a great new karting facility, New Jersey Motorsport Park's F1 New Jersey karting center, which celebrated its one-year anniversary over the weekend. Once again, CKI was on display for spectators around the world through broadcast coverage by speedcasttv.com and racefanradio.com.
"We knew it was going to be a challenge to meet the high expectations set by our first event at New Castle in May, but with hard work, the help of our sponsors, a great facility and a tight racing community, we pulled off another great event," stated CKI co-founder RJ Valentine. "The CKI team is dedicated to providing the type of racing experience that trains the next generation of motorsport stars, and offers the most open, competitive karting in North America."
SSC East KZ2
The $7,000 SSC East KZ2 class featured another dominant performance by CRG's Gary Carlton. He came out blazing in the pre-final to earn a 6.5 second victory and capped off the day by taking the final by almost 9.5 seconds, pocketing the $3,000 1st place prize. Although he couldn't solve Carlton, Fritz Leesmann (CRG) put together an impressive weekend, taking 2nd place throughout all three heats, as well as the pre-final and final, good for $2,000. Another CRG driver, Alex Manglass took home $1,000 for the final podium spot, Gregory Leifooghe (Intrepid) finished 4th for $750; rounding out the money winners, Don McGregor (ItalKart) was 5th, netting $250.
The action was hot in KF2, with great competition from the start to the checkered flag. At the start of the pre-final, Brett Felkins (Intrepid) came from 4th to grab the lead from pole sitter Arie Ouimet, only to see him storm back in the second turn. From there Richard Benitez (Kosmic) and Felkins battled Ouimet -- and each other -- for the 2nd and 3rd spots. All 10 laps were tight, with Ouimet wining by a slim 0.489 second margin; Benitez landing 2nd and Felkins taking 3rd.
The final featured the same trio in the lead pack -- Ouimet, Benitez and Felkins -- with Chris Wehrheim (Top Kart) and Shin Iguchi (kosmic) joining in the mix. A fast start landed Ouimet in first, but Felkins sprung free and grabbed the lead on the 3rd lap, with Benitez moving up to second, Ouimet dropping to third. Working on new tires, Ouimet eventually hit his groove and moved back in front. Felkins took a strong hold on 2nd, leaving Beintez and Iguchi to fight for 3rd. At the checkered flag Ouimet cruised to the win by 3.40 seconds, earning a $3,000 payday. Felkins took 2nd by 10 seconds for $2,000, Benitez outlasting Iguchi for third and $1,000. Igushi secured 4th ($750), and Wehrheim in the 5th position ($250).
Italian Motorsports IAME Sr.
IAME Sr. produced the largest class and some of the best racing in the event. It featured action-packed racing all day with dramatic charges keeping the pilots on edge. In the pre-final Andre Nicastro (ItalKart) jumped in front from the pole position, fighting it out with Kyle Wiegand (Top Kart), Neil Alberico (Top Kart), Tyler Wheeler (ItalKart) and Eric Jones (Arrow). In the fourth lap, Nicastro would drop out with equipment problems. By the half way point Neil McCoy (Top Kart), Michael Hogg (Top Kart) and Joe Paterson (Tony Kart) would join the mix from the back of the field, with each racer trading shots at the top position. The intense racing rolled on with McCoy grabbing the lead from Alberico and hanging on for the victory, with Wiegand taking 3rd, Paterson and Mason Marotta (Intrepid) close behind.
The final featured even more thrills and chills. McCoy, Alberico and Paterson jumped out in front on the Green Flag. By the second lap, Wiegand would lead, with Paterson, McCoy, Alberico and Wheeler close behind; trading the top slots back and forth. By the halfway point of the 14-lap race, Remo Ruscitti (ItalKart) would join the drama, along with Nicastro, improbably fighting through the pack from the 15th position. When the dust settled, Nicastro would pull away on the last lap, with less than 2 seconds separating the top 5. Nicastro would earn the $2,500 first place, Wiegand in 2nd for $1,500, McCoy taking the final podium and $1,000 and Paterson hanging on for 4th ($750) and Alberico 5th ($250).
Great racing and 'nail-biting' finishes ruled the day in KF3. After a strong performance in all 3 heats and qualifying, Phil DeLaO (CRG) was on pole for the pre-final and led from the start, with Taylor Miinch (Top Kart), Shawn Sharkey (Merlin) and Tristan DeGrand (Kosmic) close on his tail. Over the course of the 10-lap contest, DeLaO and Miinch would run away from the pack and battle for the top spot, while DeGrand and Sharkey would put on a show fighting for third. DeLaO would just barely hold off a determined Miinch to take the checkered flag, with DeGrand gaining control of third over Sharkey and Madeline Komar (Maranello).
Drama in the final started even before the green flag dropped, with pole sitter DeLaO having mechanical problems that popped up in the warms-up; he would be forced to retire after 2 laps. DeGrand would grab the lead from the outside pole at the start, with Miinch holding tight in second -- RC Enerson (Tony Kart), Sharkey and Evan Komar (Maranello) in fast pursuit. DeGrand and Miinch would eventually pull away from the rest of the field and take the battle into their own hands. In yet another heart-stopping finish, Miinch would finally solve DeGrand -- and taking the lead on the last lap and holding on for victory by a slim 0.857 seconds -- DeGrand settled for 2nd, Sharkey would lock up 3rd, with Enerson and Komar rounding out the top five.
Russell Karting Specialties IAME Junior
IAME Jr. featured tight racing from the top pilots as well as a few surprises. The pre-final featured a wild start with pole sitter Camden Geise (CRG) grabbing the first lap lead, with a big group including Raquel Martinez (Top Kart), Taylor Miinch (Top Kart), Phil DeLaO (CRG), Shawn Sharkey (Merlin) and Austin Self (Birel) in hot pursuit -- highlighted by Miinch going sideways, but holding on to stay in the top pack. After several shuffles at the top and some terrific racing, Miinch would take the lead mid-way through the race, with Austin Self coming from the 7th position into 2nd, DeLaO staying tight in 3rd, Martinez in 4th and Trevor Hindman (Merlin) 5th. Miinch got faster and faster, pulling away from the pack for the victory, while DeLaO locked up 2nd place after a tight fight with Tyler Thomas (Top Kart) 3rd, Hindman would hold off Self for 4th; Geise fading to 6th.
The talented field put up fast times in an entertaining final. Pole sitter Miinch took the lead from start, with DelaO, Thomas, Hindman, Self and Geise tight on the leader -- first lap drama included Martinez getting tangled up with Hans Saurino (Top Kart), knocking both out of the race. Early laps saw Miinch steadily gain on the field, while DeLaO and Thomas battled for 2nd. A great fight played out in the second group for 4th and 5th places with Geise, Sharkey, Hindman joined by Mark Pellegrini (CRG) -- who worked his way into the mix with the class's fastest lap. Miinch would cruise to a 2.5 second win, DeLaO and Pelligrini put on some last lap drama with DeLaO losing, then re-gaining the 2nd spot over an impressive Pellegrini; Geise held onto to 4th and Thomas rounded out the top 5.
Kartel Motorsports Cadet
The Cadet class is always a crowd favorite featuring hot competition and great strategy -- it held true to form at the Grand Prix of New Jersey. In the pre-final, pole sitter Gresham Wagner (Birel) had a great start, with Santino Ferrucci (Top Kart) taking 2nd, local entry Ryan Raffa (Top Kart), Austin Schoonmaker (Merlin) and Brandon Jarsocak (Birel) rounding out the lead group. In the middle stages of this 8-lap contest, Raffa, Ferrucci along with several others shared turns at the top; Ashley Rogero (Kosmic), Josh Saurino (Top Kart) and Zane Smith (Top Kart) would also join the lead pack. In the end, Wagner would make a bold last lap pass to grab the victory over Raffa by only 0.058 seconds. Rogero, from the eighth spot, claimed 3rd, just 0.161 off the pace, Saurino 4th and Schoonmaker 5th.
The thrills kept coming in the Cadet Final. Pole sitter Wagner, Raffa, Saurino, Ferrucci and Jarsocrak got out of the gate in a fast front pack. Smith and Schoonmaker would join the lead group as the racing intensified. Raffa kept pushing hard and grabbed the lead on lap 6, as some on-track drama played out between Saurino, Wagner and Schoonmaker. Raffa eventually pulled away from the pack, leaving a fierce battle for 2nd and 3rd. At the checkered flag, Raffa would take the victory, with Saurina in 2nd, less than 0.2 seconds over Schoonmaker (3rd), Smith and Jarsocrak in 4th and 5th respectively.
The $1,500 Rotax Masters class offered a local option for more pilots to enjoy the CKI experience. In the pre-final, leader Russell Hamel (CRG) was pushed hard by Christopher Rock(Maranello), who worked his way past a tenacious Tim Hannen (Maranello). Neck and neck to the finish, Hamel took the win by 0.626 over Rock; Hannen holding 3rd over Thomas Healy (CRG) and Ed Oberholtzer (Birel).
In the final, a close start saw Hamel edge out Healy in the first turn with Rock in fast pursuit. In the middle stages, Rock would get by Healy to apply constant pressure on Hamel for the lead. In the end, Hamel would pull away to dominate by 6.684 seconds, grabbing $500; Rock would secure second place, earning $400, with Healey taking 3rd for $300, Hannen 4th ($200) and Oberholtzer 5th ($100).
CKI Tuners' Challenge
Another highlight of the weekend was the first annual CKI Tuner's Challenge. A fun way to showcase some of the race talent behind the scenes, the Tuner's challenge pitted mechanics working with drivers entered in the Grand Prix of New Jersey against each other -- as well as a few CKI staffers -- in a 'winner take all' event. With a full field of 30 competitors registered, the Challenge held 3 qualifier heats and a final, with a field of 16. After 19 laps of great entertainment and some top-notch competition, Eric Bartolero prevailed over Tad Funakoshi, Renato Lopes, Jim Schultz and Tony Loniewski.
Next up on the 2009 CKI schedule is a stop at the CalSpeed Kart Center at Southern California's world famous Auto Club Speedway on August 7-9 and a season finale at Oklahoma Motorsports Complex, Norman, OK on October 9-11. Entries are now being accepted at the newly launched event pages on CKI's Web site, offering racers an easy to use, one-stop portal to register for races. Check it out at www.championshipkartracing.com.
Upcoming WKA Divisional Events:
Delaware Dirt Divisional Series
Saturday, July 11
U.S. Kart Club Track in Delmar, Del.
Northeast Speedway Pavement Series (WKANESPS)
Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12
Route 106 Race Park in Pembroke, N.H.
Pennsylvania Dirt Divisional Series / PDKS
Sunday, July 12
Shippensburg Speedway in Shippensburg, Pa.