WKA: NAKC race report

CONCORD, NC-Lowe's Motor Speedway near Concord, NC was abuzz with a variety of kart racing action during the ninth Annual North American Karting Championships held November 1-3. From the always-exciting Briggs & Stratton 300, now in its tenth...

CONCORD, NC-Lowe's Motor Speedway near Concord, NC was abuzz with a variety of kart racing action during the ninth Annual North American Karting Championships held November 1-3. From the always-exciting Briggs & Stratton 300, now in its tenth year, to the new WKA/SCCA Constructor's Championship the event drew kart racers from 25-states and Canada to compete in a variety of karting forms for large purses, championship status and final national points in the WKA/Dunlop Tire National Road Racing Series which drew the largest entries-450.

For racers in the WKA/RLV Briggs & Stratton Pro Kart Tour the time had come to see if Kernersville, NC competitor Kerry Parnell could sweep the series and take home the largest karting purse ever offered. Parnell heightened the suspense with a 17.285-seconds pole winning lap and commanded most of the 300 laps raced. But in the end a loose fuel cap cost him the win, which went to his teammate and fellow CKI kart pilot Justin Hill of Concord, NC. Parnell made what he thought was his last pit stop with just 25-laps remaining, but he was forced to return to the pits to replace his gas cap which fell off on his way back to the competition.

"Winning this race means everything to me," said 19-year-old Hill. "We worked hard all year for this. The Laser AV-5 was awesome and Robin Bradshaw's motor was strong the whole time and got good fuel mileage."

Three separate events were held of the 7/10-mile, 15-turn asphalt sprint track; the final race of the season for competitors in the WKA/SCCA Pro Racing Constructor's Championship Series, the Briggs & Stratton Race of Champions Invitational and 3 Hours of Charlotte Presented by Briggs & Stratton.

Sunday's feature action on the sprint track began at 9:45am with the Race of Champions where senior class champions in the WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series were invited to compete in a 12-lap battle that was won by North Port, Fl based pole winner Tommy Van Cleef's Advanced Racing Engines powered Invader kart. Van Cleef cranked out a 48.805-seconds lap for the pole and then led the eight-racer field flawlessly before taking the checkered flag with a 6.487-seconds cushion over outside pole winning Dan Koehler.

"I got a good start and kept up the pace," described the 15-year-old champion of champions. "The Invader kart handled fine and my dad's motor ran good too."

After several years away from karting Nashville, TN based Jeff Jewell came from the rear of a 22-racer field to capture the 3 Hours of Charlotte win. Jewell qualified tenth, but had to pit before racer's got the green flag for a fouled spark plug. When he entered the battle pole winner and early race leader Jace Reynolds had already put a lap in the book. Three hours later Jewell worked his way past Reynolds and put him a lap down at the end.

"I didn't think we'd be able to win when I had to come back to the pits before the race," said Jewell who shared the victory with relief driver Gary Willis of Orlando, FL. "The Jaguar kart and BAMA motor both worked good and we had quick pit stops and that's what did it."

Racers in the WKA/SCCA Constructor's Championship Series capped their season with Finals that Sunday. Franklin, WI based Birel pilot Steve Welk and Bettendorf, Iowa based Craig Baltzer bested the ICA and ICC fields respectively for those championships giving each a shot at the Primus Racing Scholarship Shootout.

" I saw Adam's (Pecorari) tire go down and I got him in the hairpin," Welk described, "the Birel kart was perfect and Lynn Haddock's motor was awesome."

Also earning WKA/SCCA Constructor's Championship wins that weekend were nine-year-old Jordan Johnson of New Bedford, IL who's Woltjer Racing Engines powered Intense Karting kart capped the Cadet class, Lakewood, NY racer Sam Bocchino who topped ICC Senior and Dallas, NC competitor Evan Keresi who won the World Formula class.

Justice, IL based Randy Fulks earned four wins in the Dunlop Tire Road Racing Series and eight others posted double wins. Taking two trips to victory lane were Bret Spaude, Todd DeMarchis, Clark Gaynor, Andy Kiker, Scott Buerman, Mike Spear, Travis Miller and Ed Shampine

Dunlop Tire Road Racing Series competitors kick off their 2003 season December 27-30 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Racers start the 2003 season at Jacksonville, FL's 103rd Street Complex March 7-9. Next year's NAKC is scheduled for October 31-November 2, 2003.

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Series Kart
Drivers Jace Reynolds , Kerry Parnell , Justin Hill , Jeff Jewell , Steve Welk , Bret Spaude , Travis Miller