Multi winners highlight WKA Manufacturer's Cup banquet Loniewski And Harraka earn Triple Crowns By Bruce C. Walls CONCORD, NC-Racers in the WKA George Kugler Manufacturer's Cup Series were recognized for their efforts in the 2000 season...
Multi winners highlight WKA Manufacturer's Cup banquet Loniewski And Harraka earn Triple Crowns
By Bruce C. Walls
CONCORD, NC-Racers in the WKA George Kugler Manufacturer's Cup Series were recognized for their efforts in the 2000 season during an awards dinner Friday March 9th at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Club in Concord, NC. Two racers received Triple Crown trophies, three double national champions were crowned and nine single champions were awarded.
Tony Loniewski, of Michigan City, IN earned four national championships topping Formula Yamaha Junior, Horstman Manufacturing HPV Junior, US Motor Power US820 Junior and Ed Kesse Enterprises Yamaha Junior Can. "I just kept trying and never gave up," credited the 16-year-old Triple Crown winner who will be attending the Skip Barber Driving School for three days as part of his winnings.
"I want to thank John Dice for building my Yamaha Can motors, Woltjer Racing Engines for my Formula Yamaha and HPV classes and Ed Kesse for building my US820 motors and I also want to thank Jim Moore and Lonici Reynold," said the 16-year-old Triple Crown Champion who recalled the Grand Nationals as his most memorable race of the season. "My teammate Chris Larson and I finished first and second at the Grand Nationals which made it a good race for us."
Loniewski and his family were recognized as the Karting Family of the Year for the Manufacturer's Cup Series.
Loniewski was poised to take a fifth title, but Palm Harbor, FL based Woltjer Racing Engines powered Haase kart pilot Christopher Larson nipped him at the finish at South Bend, IN to capture Coello Racing Yamaha Junior Super Can's national championship. "It came down to the last lap at Indiana between me and Tony Loniewski," Larson described. "It took patience, timing and trusting yourself to win this championship. I want to thank my Dad, Jimmy and Pat Moore, Simpson Race Products and Haase North America for all their support last year." Fair Lawn, NJ pilot Paulie Harraka captured a pair of National Championships in the Manufacturer's Cup Series and when added to his two National Championships in the WKA/ Bandit Racing Chassis Speedway Pavement Series made him a Triple Crown winner. In the Manufacturer's Cup Series the 11-year-old Invader Kart pilot earned titles in Grand Products/Bridgestone Cadet Junior Sportsman and Custom Trophy US820 Junior Sportsman.
"I want to thank Kevin Nelson for our US820 motors and Ed Irving for building our Comer engines," Harraka credited. Harraka, who received the Future Star Award, said that his most memorable US820 Junior Sportsman race was at the season opener at Jacksonville. "I got by Shawn Olson on the outside of the last lap just in time to win," said the Team Simpson Racing sponsored National Champion who added that his new Simpson Vudo helmet feels great and is making him faster.
Fullerton Karts factory pilot Jason Fredricks of Middletown, NY ruled the points chases in RLV Tuned Exhaust Products Yamaha Senior Sportsman Lite and Pi Research Yamaha Senior Sportsman Heavy. "It took a lot of practice and hard work to win two championships," Fredricks said. "We had a lot of help and I want to thank Tom Johnson and his family, Carl Woltjer Racing Engines for our motors, My-Chron and Oakland Valley Raceway Park."
Reflecting on his past season Fredricks recalled the Winter Nationals at Lowe's Motor Speedway as his most memorable race of the past season. "I won all of my classes at Charlotte last year and we had a really good weekend there."
Brian Jacobsen, of Lombard, IL, bagged a pair of National Championships.
The Profile Racing Engines powered BRM kart pilot earned titles in 100cc/Piston Port and SSC/CRG HPV Senior Lite. "It took a lot of dedication, a good kart, good engine builder and a lot of track time," credited the My-Chron/Horstman Manufacturing sponsored double National Champion.
Looking back on his 2000 season the Target Distributing/Razor Image sponsored Jacobsen said that the Grand Nationals race is the one he'll remember most. "There was a lot of really good competition at Dousman all the top drivers were there and the 100cc/Piston Port race was a real nail biter on the last lap."
Morgantown, IN based Ryan Hamilton ruled the points chases in Lonici Rental Group HPV Junior Sportsman and Wireless Radio Rental Yamaha Junior Sportsman. "It took a lot of work and a lot of support from my parents and grandparents," said Hamilton who was also voted Most Improve Junior Driver. According to the Adkins Racing Engines powered Invader kart pilot winning the Grand Nationals at was the highlight of his season.
Birel USA Karts factory driver Ward Imrie earned the MRP/Speed School 125 Shifter National Championship. "I want to thank my sponsors Birel USA and Enzo Chiovitti, TM Racing and Bell Helmets," said the Winnipeg, Ont. Canada based champion.
Fellow Canadian Michael Romeo, of Niagara Falls handled Haase North America Yamaha Heavy's National Points Championship. According to the Team Profile powered Mike Wilson Kart pilot winning the national points championship took, "A lot of dedication, preparation and coming to the track with a strong team atmosphere, strong engines and a good handling kart."
The points battle between Romeo and Indiana based Michael Lee had to be settled at the final race in South Bend, IN which made that race Romeo's most memorable. "We were quick at South Bend. Michael Lee and I battled a good part of the race, but I had the championship in mind and laid low and finished second. If it had been earlier in the season I would have risked going for the win, but I laid back and won the championship," Romeo described.
Woltjer powered Haase kart pilot Craig Baltzer claimed MCP Brake Systems Yamaha Lite's National Championship. "It was a team effort and team dedication to put everything together to win, plus we had a good kart and good motors," credited the Bettendorf, IA based Jimmy Moore Racing/SoCal Decal Works/RLV Tuned Exhaust sponsored champion who was also named Most Improved Senior Driver.
Reflecting on the past season Baltzer said he'd remember the Winter Nationals at Lowe's Motor Speedway most of all. "Charlotte was my second senior race. I got the pole and had a bad start and fell back to seventh and then ended up winning against that much competition," recalled the Bell Helmets/Native Eyewear sponsored champion.
Consistency is what Grafton, WI based Kevin Nelson credited for earning him East Lansing Kart Track Spec 100 Can's national points championship. "I want to thank my sponsors Aim Sports, Kart Ltd.com and Horstman."
Looking back at the past season Nelson, who also received the George Kugler Sportsmanship Award, said that the season opener at Jacksonville, FL would be his most memorable race. "The last lap at Jacksonville was a good race. I drafted from third to first to win that one," he recalled.
Fellow Wisconsin racer Nicholas Wagner won Bridgestone/Grand Products Spec 100 Open's national points championship.
Michigan based Nicholas Bussell bagged SSC/CRG Formula Yamaha's national points championship and Indiana pilot Lance Hancock captured US Motor Power US820 Senior's national points title. James Perkins, of Ohio, took HPV Senior Heavy's national points title.
Special awards were also presented during the banquet. Eleven wins earned Invader Karts the Red, White and Blue Trophy for the chassis manufacturer with the most wins and Carl Woltjer was named Mechanic and Colin Braun's team was voted Best Appearing Kart/Team.
Half of the 2001 WKA/George Kugler Manufacturer's Cup Series season presented by Bridgestone is already in the book. Two races remain, 'Summer Nationals' which will be hosted by South Bend Raceway Park in South Bend, IN July 6-8 and Grand Nationals scheduled for August 17-19 at Badger Kart Track in Dousman, WI.