By Bruce C. Walls -Special to Motorsport.com CAMDEN, OH - Frank Kelleher, Ashley Morrissey, Travis Firing, Casey Roderick and Ryan Cassity have something in common. Each earned double wins during the WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series "Summer...
By Bruce C. Walls -Special to Motorsport.com
CAMDEN, OH - Frank Kelleher, Ashley Morrissey, Travis Firing, Casey Roderick and Ryan Cassity have something in common. Each earned double wins during the WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series "Summer Nationals" raced at historic G&J Kartway August 10-12. The MCP Brake Systems sponsored event hosted by the Ohio Valley Karting Association drew 353 entrees to the Camden, OH track.
Kelleher claimed feature victories in Strawser Racing/Circleville Raceway Park Briggs Amateur Medium and Custom Trophy Briggs Amateur Heavy along with scoring both heat wins. Saturday the Scranton, PA based Garland Racing Engines powered Coyote kart pilot beat pole winner Michelle Pennink to Amateur Medium's finish line by just .617 seconds. Pennink earned the pole position with a 34.620 seconds lap, rocketed into the early lead and built on it until the final laps when Kelleher's machine reeled her in and got by her for the win.
"I just got hooked up with Garland Racing recently. Eric Garland got it dialed in and his motor was excellent ,they're the best in the country," said Kelleher. "She (Pennink) is my main competition, she loves beating me and I like to beat her. I want to thank my family, Berry Green, Wayne and all the people at Coyote Products and the DeSabia family for all their help."
Ashley Larson, Jason Zobkiw and Cody Courtney claimed the remaining top five of 25 positions.
A 34.980 seconds lap put Larson on Sunday's Briggs Amateur Heavy's pole, but the win would go to Kelleher again who built a narrow .431 seconds finish line advantage over Zobkiw who was later penalized four positions. Larson quickly took control over the 25-racer field and led them around twice before surrendering the front to Kelleher who owned it from there
"I just knew I had to get past her (Larson) because she was strong, but the Garland motor gave me what I needed in the straight to get by her. I came up here on my own and that puts a lot of pressure on you, but nothing worth it is easy."
Larson was third across the finish line, but Zobkiw's penalty put her in second. Trailing Larson in the official top five were Pennink, Rick Yanetta and Kevin Steinke.
Ashley Morrissey notched her second Bandit Racing Chassis Briggs Junior Lite national win in perfect style and backed it up with another perfect performance in McDonald Motorsports Briggs Restricted Junior. The 15-year-old Cuba, WI based Turner Racing Engines powered Coyote kart pilot posted the pole time with a 33.619 seconds trip and then led the 27-racer field flag-to-flag ending with a .288-seconds advantage over defending national champion Tommy Van Cleef.
"I knew the 28 kart (VanCleef) was behind me, but the kart ran good and the motor was good," said Morrissey. "I want to thank Morrissey Trucking and Morrissey Printing, White Ledge Racing and the rest of my family for all of their support."
A.J. Lane finished third and Ocean Pines, MD based Trente Robertson followed in fourth and Belair, MD based Chris Braun capped the top five of 27. Sunday she showed 28 Briggs Restricted Junior Racers across the finish line for her second win of the weekend.
Morrissey earned the pole with a 34.500 seconds lap, won the heat race over Van Cleef then beat him by 3.032 seconds in the feature. "The motor was awesome, just like yesterday and the kart handled good. I thought it would get too tight at the end, but it didn't," Morrissey said after her second win.
Trailing Van Cleef in the top five this time were Eric Winkle, Robertson and Jeff Huber. White Hall, PA based Coyote Factory pilot Travis Firing topped Saturday's CMS Body Works Briggs Controlled Medium and Sunday's Pennink Arrimore Briggs Controlled Heavy. Fellow Coyote factory pilot Jon Baker bagged Controlled Medium's pole position with a 33.356 seconds trip, From third Firing rocketed into the early lead and as a steady drizzle began collecting on the track's surface he built a huge 6.687 seconds lead over Scott Rettich at the end.
"I love racing in the rain," said Firing, who tightened his grip on the national point chase. "The Coyote kart was unbelievable and Johnny Bartlett's motor was awesome. I want to thank Checkered Flag Fuels, Coyote Products, Performance Unlimited North, Dunlop Tires, Horstman Manufacturing, Douglas Wheel, RLV, King Dragon Racewear and Weso Body Shop for all their support."
Completing the five-racer field were Baker, Rowan Pennink and Ronnie Cunagin.
Baker also earned Controlled Heavy's pole position with a 33.640 seconds lap and Firing started next to him. Firing blasted into the early lead and was never seriously challenged on his way to beating Baker to the finish by 1.551 seconds. "That was unbelievable," Firing beamed after crossing the scales. "Everything came together on this one. I just want to thank my sponsors again for all they've done for me."
Baker was disqualified at tech, which moved third place finisher Rettich into second, and following him in the official top five of eight were Matt Jester, Pennink, and Ronnie Cunagin.
Roderick ruled both Junior Sportsman classes. Saturday the 9-year-old racer topped SSC/CRG Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Lite's 21-racer field. He set the pole with a 36.976 seconds lap and captured the feature's checkered flag .265 seconds ahead of Brian Blum. Roderick grabbed the early lead followed by outside pole sitter Brad Bischoff who won the heat race earlier. Bischoff got a run on Roderick in the back straight and briefly took charge of the field. Roderick recaptured the lead in the sweeper and then had Matthew Travis and Blum blast by him for the top two positions. From third Roderick battled his way back to the front in time to take the white flag and hold off Blum's last lap challenges for the win. Blum crossed the finish line just .144 seconds behind Roderick.
"My kart came in at the end," explained the Florenceville, GA based winner. "Robinson Speed Shop gave us a good motor and our kart handled good. I want to thank Evan Keresi's dad (Greg) for all of his help this weekend and I also want to thank my mom and dad."
Bagging the top five positions behind Blum were Travis, Sean Molaison and Connor Cotaling.
Sunday Roderick did it all in Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Lite. A 36.97 seconds lap earned him the pole from where he captured both the heat and feature wins. In the feature Roderick grabbed the early lead from outside pole winner Cotaling who captured the lead in time to take the mid-race signal. Roderick trailed Cotaling until the final lap. With the checkered flag just a few short turns away Roderick roared past Cotaling in time to take the win by .144 seconds.
"I just got a run on turn four and got under him," said Roderick. "The kart ran good and the motor was very strong especially in the straight-aways."
Taking the remaining top five positions were Scott Kleman, Tim Delss and Jim Lipari.
Decatur, IL based Coyote kart factory pilot Ryan Cassity claimed two wins starting with RLV Tuned Exhaust Products Briggs Lite where he beat Evan McManus to the finish by 3.595 seconds. Stevensville, MD racer Todd Weislander earned the pole with a 33.439 seconds effort and hustled into the early lead over Cassity who was gaining ground with every lap. As the final laps approached Cassity closed in on Weislander and worked his way into the lead and led the 17-racer field home from there.
"I didn't know what the kart would do. We really rolled the dice figuring the set up on this offset kart," Cassity explained. "Weislander was fast I had to reel him in as the kart got tighter," added the G-Man Kart Works/Flat Out-Group, Turner Racing Engines Douglas Wheel, Lube Tech sponsored winner.
Taking the remaining top five positions were Scott Kleman, Tim Delss and Jim Lipari.
Sunday's King Automotive Briggs Medium was almost a repeat. Cassity clocked the pole time with a 33.901 seconds trip and grabbed the early lead over outside pole winner Clayton Marvel. From there Cassity shook off early challenges from Weislander and Firing and then build a comfortable 2.403 seconds lead over Weislander at the end.
"It feels great being able to win two nationals this weekend," Cassity said. "This win locked the championship for me so now I won't have much to worry about at the Grand Nationals," he added with thanks to L&T Clutches for their support. Firing finished third and was trailed by Lapari and Marvel.
Garland Racing Engines Briggs Heavy was still under protest at press time. Wall, NJ racer Jace Reynolds was first under the checkered flag followed by Daniel Koeher who was just .228 seconds behind Reynolds' Rat Powered Coyote kart at the end. "I just stayed consistent. We all had equal horsepower," said Reynolds. "It was good team work and the kart was excellent and the motor had exceptional horsepower."
Koehler's kart was disqualified during technical inspection which unofficially moves pole sitter Marvel to second followed by Steven Taylor in third, Joe Bodenschatrz in fourth and Rowan Pennink to fifth out of 21.
Coyote factory driver Steven Axtell dominated Coyote Products Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Lite's 24-racer field. Justin Bonsignore turned the pole lap with a 35-076 seconds time and Axtell started next to him. When the green flag waved Axtell jumped into the early lead and continued pulling from the field behind him. When it was over Axtell owned a 4.214 seconds advantage over Justin Larson who battled his way from fourth to finish second.
"The kart was pretty good and the motor by Robinson Speed Shop was strong especially down the straight-aways," said the 11-year-old Glen Burnie, MD based winner. "I'd like to thank Coyote, Craze Motorsports, Jerry's Siding and Roofing and my family Pop, and mom and dad."
Austin Hopper, Steve Brooks and Chris Rauguth rounded out the top five.
Bonsignore Kart Supply Briggs Junior Sportsman-2's checkered flag waved for Holtsville, NY based Advanced Racing Engines powered Coyote kart pilot Justin Bonsignore. Bonsignore turned a 35.322 seconds lap for the pole and shared front row with Axtell. Bonsignore hustled into the early lead with Axtell close behind. Bonsignore and Axtell took their battle for the front way ahead of a falling field. Bonsignore shook off Axtell and headed for home with Terry McDerrmott trailing by 1.465 seconds at the end.
"The Coyote kart was great. It came in about half way and was hooked up from there," said the 13-year-old winner. "I want to thank Andy VanCleef of Advanced Racing Engines for an awesome motor and I want to thank my sponsors Horstman Manufacturing, King Automotive, Burris and Douglas Wheels."
Axtell finished third and was followed in the top five of 20 by Larson and AJ Morgan who moved into fifth when Mitchell Wright was disqualified for being light at the scales.
Chris Braun bagged his first national win with perfection. The 14-year-old GT Machine powered Bandit Kart pilot posted Precision Industries Briggs Junior Heavy's pole with a 33.869 seconds run, won the heat and led the feature wire-to-wire. At the finish line he was 3.108 seconds ahead of Van Cleef.
"It feels really good getting my first national win. I really didn't think I'd win my first national by that much," admitted the Belair, MD based 14-year-old winner. "The Bandit kart ran really good and the GT Machine motor had torque and top end."
Robertson, Laura Smith and Robertson trailed in the top five of 21.
Naples, FL native Candice Jolly claimed Piedmont Kart Shop Briggs Limited Lite's feature win after a heated battle with Rowan Pennink. Pennink posted the pole time with a 31.332 trip. Jolly earned the outside pole position and when the green flag waved the battle began. Pennink took the early command over the seven-racer field with Jolly trailing a distant second. Jolly's Advanced Racing Engines powered Coyote kart closed in on Pennink in the final laps. Pennink tried to hold the lead but spun out and had to settle for sixth giving the win to Jolly who took the final flag with a 4.778 seconds cushion over Firing.
"The kart was loose at first and then it came in tight and he (Pennink) got loose and went out on the corner," described the Serious Raceware /G-Man Kart Works sponsored winner. "The motor ran great and I want to thank my dad, Cheeto Green, Coyote Products, and Billy Dickson.
Anthony Forristall, Scott Rettich and Michael Fox finished third, fourth and fifth.
Pennink posted a win in Sunday's Power Products/Super Seat Briggs Limited Heavy beating pole winner Joe Bodenschatz to the finish by 2.113 seconds for his second national win.
"The motor was perfect and I have Eric Garland to thank for that," Pennink said. "I want to thank my family for all of their support," added the Hunninton Vally, PA based pilot.
Behind Bodenschatz in the top five of six were Rettick, Dale Swartz and Firing.
Jack Kreiger set MCP Brake Systems Briggs Senior's pole time with a 35.213 seconds lap, but when the checkered flag waved it was for Crownsville, MD based Dave Ploor. Kreiger captured the early lead over the 12-racer field, but before the first lap was booked Ploor passed him in the carousel. Kreiger hounded Ploor lap after lap, but Ploor's SuperTech Racing Engines powered Coyote kart held on for a narrow .818 seconds winning margin.
"Kevin's (Colborn) motors make an average driver a winner," Ploor credited. "The Coyote kart ran good on this track which is very tight."
John Muscente was third across the finish line followed by Brent Mosing and Terry Bates for the top five.
Zachary Esders took everything Performance Racing Equipment had to offer. The Smith Brothers Racing powered Coyote kart pilot posted the pole time with a 35.479 seconds lap, won the heat race by 1.662 seconds over Jeffery Gecik. Then he took the feature with a slim .219 seconds advantage over Milford, DE based Grotto Pizza sponsored SuperTech powered Coyote kart pilot Matt Jester.
"When I seen rain coming down I didn't know if I could hold it. The Coyote kart handled real great and the SBR motor was incredible," credited the Elkart, IN based racer who added thanks to the Kulwicki family, Premiere Industries and most of all to his dad.
Filling the remaining top five positions were Jerry Vaughn, Jeffery Gecik and Darrell Duffy.
Only one more race remains on the 2001 WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series as we "Return to the Rock" for the GT Machine Grand Nationals, which will be raced November 22-24 at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, NC.