WKA: Pit Board 2009-11-11

WKA's Pit Board - 11.11.2009 *** Manuf. Cup season comes to competitive close at Lowe's 11.11.2009 -- WKA closed its 2009 season over the weekend with a fine event for the George Kugler / Bridgestone Manufacturer's Cup Series driven by Mazda...

WKA's Pit Board - 11.11.2009

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Manuf. Cup season comes to competitive close at Lowe's

11.11.2009 -- WKA closed its 2009 season over the weekend with a fine event for the George Kugler / Bridgestone Manufacturer's Cup Series driven by Mazda at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The SSC East / CRG Grand Nationals were run under sunny skies and warm North Carolina temperatures at one of the most famous speedways in the country -- one that will shortly be changing its title from Lowe's back to Charlotte Motor Speedway. It should be noted that WKA's Manuf. Cup season closer was the final event at the track under the Lowe's Motor Speedway tag.

But the Manufacturer's Cup racers wouldn't have cared what the track was called so long as they got a chance at the prestigious Grand National Eagle trophies. Several 2009 national championships were on the line, and the fierce competition throughout Saturday and Sunday proved the importance of the annual Grand National event to the country's best sprint-kart racers.

Wisconsin's James Bennett and New York's Santino Ferrucci split the Cadet finals, Bennett winning Saturday's Final 1 and Ferrucci taking Sunday's Final 2. Santino added a second victory to his weekend with a big win over Bennett in HPV Sportsman. But the win wasn't enough to garner the championship in the class. Bennett's runner-up finish at Lowe's was enough to keep him five points ahead of Ferrucci in the final standings. Neither Santino nor James could top Kyle Kalish in the Cadet standings. Kalish didn't crack victory lane at Lowe's but five final victories in Cadet in 2009 were more than enough to net him the class championship, finishing over 150 markers ahead of second-place Ferrucci and third-place Bennett.

Sam Beasley is the Manufacturer's Cup Series' only Triple Crown Champion this year. The Ohio driver is the champion in Yamaha Jr Lite and Heavy and HPV Jr Lite, while Florida's Nick Neri was able to net the championship in HPV Jr Heavy.

Neri finished third behind Beasley and Sage Karam in HPV Jr Lite at Lowe's. He needed Karam to pass Beasley for the win or beat him outright, which would have got him a second championship. Beasley ended up taking the title by just five points. Beasley won the Yamaha Jr Lite points comfortably over Karam, while only six points separated him from second-place Trent Hindman in Yamaha Jr Heavy. Hindman finished second to Karam in the final at Lowe's. If Trent could have managed to get the win, it would have gotten him the championship. Nonetheless, the season and weekend were fine efforts by all these young drivers.

The senior HPV finals went to California's Taylor Miinch (Lite) and Florida's Corey Reeves (Heavy) at Lowe's. Neither driver was in the points hunt, in fact, the weekend marked Miinch's first ever Manuf. Cup appearance in the senior divisions. A fourth-place finish in HPV Lite at Lowe's was enough to earn Ryan Stewart the championship. Jason Foley finished third in the HPV Heavy Lowe's final and won the championship by only eight points over Patrick Olsen, who finished fourth.

Basically all Marco DiLeo had to do to garner the TaG championship was show up at Lowe's. The Canadian not only showed up, but he made a late-race pass on Miinch to win TaG Final 1 and prove the championship laurels were heading to the right place.

Mark Vielgut held off DiLeo to win his first TaG final of the season in Sunday's Final 2. The hard-luck award on the weekend had to go to Chris Wehrheim. The Georgia racer was obviously the fastest TaG kart all weekend, but a disqualification in the Saturday's Prefinal and a DNF in Sunday's forced him to start at the rear of the pack in both days' finals. Wehrheim put on quite a driving display both days, but 18 laps weren't enough for him to get to the front. He finished third both days and second to DiLeo in the standings.

John Ferris III made his season debut in TaG Masters at Lowe's. The New Jersey driver promptly put his Margay in victory lane, winning over Nashville's Jeff Jewell. John Dixon finished fourth and won the championship. A win by Jewell wouldn't have mattered in the points as Dixon took the title by more than 50 points over the Tennessean.

Two Midwesterners were the story in the Yamaha Sportsman divisions. Wisconsin's Mike McAndrews won the Lowe's Final over Jeff Myers Jr. and won the class championship, as well. Kyle Kalish finished fourth at Lowe's and second in the points. Indiana's Kyle Tilley matched McAndrews' success, winning the Yamaha Sportsman Heavy Lowe's Final and taking the championship over a wide margin over McAndrews.

The Yamaha Supercan points are quite similar to the final HPV standings. Ryan Stewart made it a double championship year, topping Jason Foley by 38 markers in Supercan Lite. Foley got his redemption in Supercan Heavy, beating out Foley by 31 points.

Foley won Supercan Lite at Lowe's by a slim margin over Mark Dismore Jr., who was making his first Manuf. Cup appearance since the opener at Daytona. Multi-time Gold Cup champion and 2008 Triple Crown winner Gary Lawson made a rare 2-cycle appearance over the weekend. He left little doubt that he can get it done in WKA's other sprint series, sweeping the day in Supercan Heavy. He ended it with a close victory over Dismore Jr. in the final.

Jeff Jewell entered Lowe's down to Michael Burrell in the Yamaha Masters standings. Jewell opened up a big gap in the Masters final, ultimately winning it over Chuck Tate. The win catapulted him to the championship over Burrell, who only managed a fifth-place finish in the class at the Charlotte course.

Tony Jump won over Kevin Nelson in the Yamaha Pipe Final, and he also won over him in the final points. Jump ended up nearly 100 markers ahead of Nelson. Both drivers drove to two final wins on the season, while third-place points finisher Ryan Stewart won the other.

Six kid karters took to the track at Lowe's, gaining valuable experience along the way. They were Connor and Tyler Ferris, Matthew Duncovich, Hudson Jenkins, Caleb Tate and Jack William Miller.

Pennsylvania driver Kyle Smith suffered a back injury in Saturday's Yamaha Jr Lite Final. Smith was transported to a local hospital and later released. The up-and-coming racer was said to be sore but not seriously injured in the incident. The delay for the accident forced the last two Saturday finals to be moved to 8 a.m. Sunday. They went off without a hitch and racing was completed well before the sun went down Sunday evening.

Final Manufacturer's Cup points will be updated on the World Karting Web site Wednesday morning. They can be viewed at www.worldkarting.com/pg/series/mc/mc-standings.html. Racers and teams will then have 30 days to question their point tallies before the final standings are marked official.

In one of the shortest between-season turnarounds in motorsports, the Manuf. Cup racers now have less than 50 days before the 2010 season kicks off at Daytona Dec. 27-30. The entry blank will be available online at www.worldkarting.com shortly.

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BRM Manufacture signs agreement to sponsor PRI / CKI Karting All-Stars Classic

11.11.2009 (PHOENIX) -- Championship Karting International is pleased to announce that luxury watch maker BRM Manufacture has become an associate sponsor for the upcoming PRI/CKI Karting All-Stars Classic. As part of the sponsorship, BRM will provide custom watches to the winning driver and the winning team principal of the Karting All-Stars Classic All-Star Finale.

Each watch will feature a PRI/CKI Karting All-Stars Classic logo inscription and will be custom made to the same exacting standards that all of BRM's products are measured against. "Every race is a race against time. Many watch manufacturers have paid tribute to the world of Motorsports, but none has created a wristwatch able to match the feeling of raw power emanating from a high performance engine. BRM makes timepieces for the true racing enthusiast. Wear a GT on your sleeve," comments Frederic Gasser, President and Director of North American Operations for BRM.

"We're happy to welcome BRM Manufacture on board for the PRI/CKI All-Stars Karting Classic. It's yet another great way to add reward kart industry distributors, teams and the high-profile drivers for their commitment and competitive efforts at PRI," states CKI Director of Operations, Kevin Williams. "I hope the beautiful watches our champions earn will stand as a reminder of the event for years to come -- and serve as added incentive for other competitors to come back next year for a shot at winning this great race."

The PRI/CKI Karting All-Stars Classic will be held at the annual PRI Show, December 10th, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. After PRI, CKI will gear up for the 2010 season. It will be offering two series in 2010; a three-event 2010 WSK North American Series Florida Cup in January, February, and March and a six-event 2010 WSK North American Series National Championship with events beginning in April and running through October. CKI is associated with the European-based WSK international series; the debut of WSK North America in 2010 marks WSK's expansion, in conjunction with CKI, into the North American karting community. The Series is sanctioned by the World Karting Association, under the WSK banner. For more information, visit www.championshipkartracing.com.

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Slate of speakers for RRDC / FIA Young Drivers Symposium announced

11.11.2009 (HILLARD, Ohio) -- The Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) announced today its slate of industry experts who will speak at the RRDC/FIA Young Drivers Symposium at the 22nd annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Fla., on December 11.

The goal of this first in a series of free RRDC/FIA workshops, supported by a grant from the FIA Motor Sport Safety Development Fund, is to help young drivers raise their awareness of safety by teaching them to effectively manage their racing vehicles and themselves in all aspects of their careers.

The workshop is open to drivers from all motorsports disciplines, and participants may register for the symposium on www.rrdc.org.

Leading the "class" as moderator will be Indy 500 winner, Rahal Letterman Racing principal and president of the RRDC, Bobby Rahal. He will be joined by other RRDC members (to be announced later) and the following panel of experts:

Townsend Bell, Sponsorship Coaching, Beverly Hills, Calif. - SPONSORSHIP/BRANDING
The 2001 Indy Lights champion and fourth-place finisher in this year's Indy 500 has raised over $10 million in motorsports sponsorship. His proven track record includes sponsor relationships with companies such as Rock and Republic, Toshiba, Toyota, Maxim, Herbalife and Intel. He has used his talents and experience to help young drivers maximize their personal sponsorship portfolios.

Jacques Dallaire, Ph.D., Founder and President, Performance Prime, Concord, N.C. - MENTAL PREPARATION
For over 30 years, Dr. Dallaire has helped thousands to improve their mental skills and achieve their performance goals. More than 650 racers from 40 countries -- including Helio Castroneves and Ron Fellows -- have benefited from Dr. Dallaire's Performance Enhancement process that helps to develop a broad set of mental skills to perform in challenging situations and underlies championship performance.

Jim Leo, C.S.C.S., President, PitFit Training, Inc., Indianapolis - PHYSICAL FITNESS
Leo is renowned as one of auto racing's premier fitness trainers. With a client list that includes Scott Dixon, Kasey Kahne and Dario Franchitti, and rising stars such as J.R. Hildebrand, PitFit Training has grown into a worldwide operation. In 1993 Leo designed a training program and cutting-edge fitness center for Penske Racing. He founded PitFit Training in 1997, offering driver training, pit crew performance training and sports nutrition programs.

Stephen Olvey, M.D., Associate Professor/Vice Chairman for Clinical Affairs Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Miami School of Medicine - SAFETY
Dr. Olvey has been a pioneer in improving driver safety and safety measures for over 30 years. He was Director of Medical Affairs for IndyCar/CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) and also served as the Medical Director for USAC (United States Auto Club). For over a decade, Dr. Olvey has been co-director (alongside Emerson Fittipaldi) of the International Motorsports and Vehicular Injury Research Center (IMVIRC). He is a Founding Fellow of the FIA Institute for Motorsports Safety and former Chairman and Founding Member of the International Council of Motorsports Sciences (ICMS). He is an author of numerous medical publications.

Michael Zimicki, President, Sliderule Motorsport Inc., Bondville, Vt. -- INTEGRATED DRIVING
Zimicki has been providing the tools for success on and off the race track to young drivers for over 25 years. An accomplished racer in his own right, claiming 1981 Skip Barber Formula Ford championship honors and serving as both a lead instructor and head test driver at the Skip Barber Racing School for over a decade, Zimicki founded Sliderule Motorsport in 1991. Combining driver coaching, data analysis and engineering to maximize a driver's and team's success, his roster of proteges has included Graham Rahal, Danica Patrick, Jon Fogarty, Ryan Hunter-Reay and 2009 Cooper Tires Atlantic Series champion John Edwards.

"I am thrilled with our line up of speakers who will lend their expertise to our first symposium," said Rahal. "Our objective is to assist young drivers in their growth in racing to reach the levels they aspire. The education and expertise we will provide covers a broad range because racing is not just about driving the car. We are confident that the lessons we provide can be put to good effect."

The free symposium is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m.-noon, in Meeting Room S 330 E and F (third level), at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The PRI Trade Show age restriction of 18 years has been waived for The RRDC/FIA Young Drivers Symposium, and each participant will receive a PRI show credential. However, registration is required and space is limited. Participants are asked to register early at www.rrdc.org. Any questions may be directed to RRDC1@cox.net. All course material will be provided free of charge.

Two additional symposiums are planned: in April, in conjunction with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and in May, around the Indianapolis 500.

The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club now has more than 150 active members, including leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.

The RRDC also supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990.

Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only.

-credit: wka

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Series Kart
Drivers Mark Dismore , Helio Castroneves , Bobby Rahal , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Jon Fogarty , Ron Fellows , Graham Rahal , Chris Wehrheim , Townsend Bell , Kasey Kahne , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Emerson Fittipaldi , Skip Barber , Jeff Jewell , Kevin Nelson , John Dixon , Mark Vielgut , J.R. Hildebrand , John Edwards , Danica Patrick , Sage Karam , Trent Hindman , Nick Neri , Santino Ferrucci , Kyle Smith
Teams Williams , Team Penske