WKA: Kartfest 2001 report

By Bruce C. Walls HICKORY, NC - All of the latest in new karting equipment and accessories were on display for 7,000 enthusiasts who visited KartFest 2001 at Hickory, NC's Metro Trade Center January 26-28. "There's a real good crowd here...

By Bruce C. Walls

HICKORY, NC - All of the latest in new karting equipment and accessories were on display for 7,000 enthusiasts who visited KartFest 2001 at Hickory, NC's Metro Trade Center January 26-28. "There's a real good crowd here and we're getting a good response, everybody likes the new booth and this show looks good for the whole industry," said Phantom Racing Chassis factory driver and sales representative Jimmy Griffin, Jr. Phantom Racing Chassis booth was voted Best Multiple Booth and AMB Timing & Scoring was named the show's Best Single Booth. WKA booth judges had a difficult time choosing from many splendid offerings for Most Original Booth and were deadlocked between two and called it a tie between Ultramax Racing Chassis and Specter Racing Chassis.

Holley Performance Products introduced a new champ kart engine kit designed to give heavier drivers more torque. According to Holley Powersports Manager Jamie Butler, "David Oglesby and I have been going to WKA national events the past couple of years and we believe that Champ karts are the future of karting and felt the heavier drivers needed a motor with more torque that was race ready out of the box."

Their kit consists of a 10 horsepower Briggs & Stratton Intek engine as a base line to which they've added Holley performance parts. "Our goal is to have the engine at approximately 25-horsepower out of the box with 25-foot pounds of torque," Butler described.

A full report on the new Holley motor package can be found elsewhere in this publication.

Over at the Trick/Olimpic Karts booth Marc Mode was showing off their latest chassis design, the Formula. "The new kart has hymn joints on the front end to make caster/camber adjustments easier. It has an adjustable up and down rear axle, a Mini Light Brake System and a Lighting Light lay down seat," Mode described. He added that the Formula has ultra wheel and gear hubs and is painted with a powder coat.

Helping customers with Mode was Trick/Olimipic factory pilot Chris Howard who earned two WKA national dirt championships last season, three South Carolina and two North Carolina divisional championships. The 14 trophies he earned last year were on display at their booth.

Tod Miller Racing Engine's booth had big crowds both days. "It's going real good," Miller said between customers. "We've got a good crowd today and we've sold some stuff and met a lot of good people."

Ted Swiontek of TS Max Racecraft had a variety of new and used chassis on display. "We've had a lot of people looking at our chassis," said Swiontek. Ultramax Racing Chassis factory pilot and sales representative Brad Sellers said, "It's been a good show with great participation." Sellers added that they were showing their new Pro Force primer chassis that features a square-n-toe alignment system that has been totally revised.

"The new kart got the most wins at Daytona this year and the Holiday Classic at Phoenix and O'Riley's Tulsa Shoot Out this year," Sellers pointed out. Legendary drag racer Joe Mondello, of Paso Robles, CA, was there promoting the Mondello Technical School, especially his Briggs & Stratton Classes which begin with a engine building and dyno testing lesson this spring. Mondello also had a Box Stock Show Special a complete factory ready to run Briggs & Stratton Raptor III steel sleeved bore engine in a red plastic Briggs & Stratton Motorsports shipping box for $299.00.

Mondello began drag racing in the early 1960's, founded Mondello Performance in 1962 and began his technical school shortly thereafter. According to Mondello, who has over 40-years of engine building experience, "Most engine builders and home enthusiasts take a new engine out of the box, hone the cylinders, install new rings, some use a torque plate and some don't, and they wonder why the engines don't seal the rings and use a lot of oil."

His answer to that problem is cryogenics, freezing and heating of the block and components, high frequency stress relief shaking to internally stress relief and align all molecules and porosity's in the material. "A lot of engine builders and racers think cryo process and high frequency stress relief shaking is smoke and mirror black magic voodoo, but they should think again I've been using cryo for over 15-years and stress relief shaking for over 10-years on everything from chain saw and kart chains, transmissions, sprockets, gun barrels, cranks, valve springs, valves, heads, blocks, rods and even carbide cutter for porting heads and blocks and believe me this stuff works," Mondello pointed out.

One booth you couldn't miss was Tommy's Karts-n-Parts. Tommy Chumney hoisted a bright red Ultramax Centerforce kart on a pole that slowly rotated 12-feet over their booth, which could be seen from most places on the show floor.

"It's been a good show for us," Chumney reported, "it's probably as good, or better than any show I've ever had."

Shadow Racing Chassis showed off their new 2001 champ kart and their ZX-1 kart that features removable rear bearing shields, adjustable spindles and Shadow's brand of pedal grips.

"We had a real good show," said Charlie Sox. "We made a lot of contacts and we were real pleased about the whole show."

Jammed Clutches display had a huge Jammed Clutch model turning a Tomahawk clutch model designed for use with Tecumseh Star Champ motors. According to Jammed Clutches owner Dale Johnson, "The show went real well for us. We now offer tire cutting and we showed customers up dates to our existing line of clutches and told them about our engine building program. So it was a real good show for us, we saw a lot of people we haven't seen in a long while."

Johnson also pointed out that Jammed Clutches just moved into a new 18,000 square foot facility and they now have a web site up at www.jammerclutch.com where customers can order products online.

CMS Body Works had a number of items on display including their new Junior Oval Body Kit, their Senior Oval Body Kit, their Senior Road Course Body Kit and their new custom seats. CMS Body Works representative Dan Craze said, "It's been a good show for us, we've had a lot of people looking at our products and we're getting a good response from them."

Sam and Tommy Triplett of Bandit Racing Chassis said that they were busy both days and made a lot of good contacts. "It's been a real good show for us," Tommy Triplett said. On display at their booth was the new Boss 2K1 kart that features removable rear axle bearing shields, fully adjustable caster & camber, adjustable ackerman spindles, a Black Rhino steering Wheel and choice of Safrit or Lighting Light seats.

Various seminars were held throughout the weekend. Harrill Wiggins of Phantom Chassis held a chassis setup seminar. WKA officials Tony Barton and national dirt and pavement flagman Buddy Burkett present a flagging seminar for local track and divisional flagmen. WKA 4-Cycle Tech Advisor/Instructor Ralph Helms held a Technical Inspection seminar similar to the ones he holds at various locations around the country.

WKA/Bandit Racing Chassis Speedway Pavement champ kart driver Louis Timmerman, of Charlotte, NC summed it up, " It's a real neat show. It's interesting to see what's new for the 2001 season and there are a lot of really nice booths here this year."

Now that KartFest 2001 is history it's time to race.

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Series Kart
Drivers Tod Miller , Dale Johnson