NEECES, SC-Dirt racers got drenched again during the fifth and final round of the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series August 22-24 at Thunder Valley Motorplex in Neeses, SC during the Precision Cams Nationals. Only three of...
NEECES, SC-Dirt racers got drenched again during the fifth and final round of the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series August 22-24 at Thunder Valley Motorplex in Neeses, SC during the Precision Cams Nationals. Only three of Saturday's 13 classes got to qualify before a sprinkling rain turned into a heavy down pour lasting 45-minutes. Once it ended track officials quickly restored the track's surface to racing conditions. To insure the program was completed WKA officials choose starting positions by selecting the top 20 according to their current national rankings and the remaining 10 spots were selected by a draw.
Rain, the curse of the 2003-racing season, interrupted feature racing briefly, but persistence paid off and all Saturday features were raced. Although the National Weather Service called for a greater chance of rain Sunday's predicted rains never fell.
Three of 716-racers entered emerged as double winners. Lucas Ransone, of Madison, NC captured Saturday's EZ-Bore Briggs Junior Lite and Sunday's Tommy's Karts-n-Parts Briggs Junior Champ Brett Miller, of Greenville, SC, scored close wins in Power Products/Super Seat Briggs Limited Heavy and PEC/Jr's Trim Shop Briggs Medium while fellow double winner Dee Paschal spread his wins over the weekend. Paschal produced wins in Saturday's American Power Sports Yamaha 2-Cycle and Sunday's Dixie Karting/Southern Karting Briggs Super Stock from their poles.
Junior Lite point's leader Matt Hawkins was awarded the pole and led the 30- racers around once before Cory Roberts roared into the lead. Roberts held onto the front until lap five when the race's only caution flag flew. Roberts led the restart, but soon after surrendered the lead to Ransone's Eddie Mishue Racing Engines powered Panoz Pro kart. Ransone held the lead while Jordan Napier took second from Hawkins in time to trail Ransone across the stripe by just 0.098 seconds.
"I was just holding on, it was pretty tough," admitted Ransone, "He (Hawkins) was faster then me down the straightaway, but I was faster then him in the turns. The kart handled pretty good, it was good in the turns and it wasn't loose. I'd like to thank Andy Murray for the cut tires, my dad for paying for all of this and Mishue Motorsports for the awesome motors and Marc Mode for the chassis."
Sunday Ransone worked his way from a fourth place start to a first place Junior Champ finish where he was 0.592 seconds ahead of Brandon Bull. "It was tough," Ransone admitted after his second win. "He was a little bit loose and I was better than him. I just passed him and I won the championship so we're going to Hooters tonight. The kart was a little bit loose, but it was good and I want o thank Eddie Mishue for all the good motors. It feels pretty good getting the national championship. I'd like to thank Andy Murray for the cut tires, my dad, my mom, my Poppy, JL Furrow for helping me out and God for letting me win this and the WKA for putting on these races."
Miller's first win was one of Saturday night's highlights. He started 17th in Limited Heavy's 23-racer field. Lap after lap he threaded his way past several karts each time around on his way to the front. While Miller was making his way through the field with Mark Silvers secured to his tailpipe Tony Gaylord took the early lead, briefly surrendered it to Scooter Way and then recaptured it. In the final laps Miller and Silvers got by him for the top two positions where they finished with just 0.855 seconds separating them at the stripe.
"I'll tell your what, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for J. T. Stillwagon, he worked on the tires all day. Rain or shine he's got them right," credited the Greenville, SC based double winner who now boasts three straight Limited Heavy wins. "I just want to thank everybody that helped, my mom and dad and J. T. just everybody that helped in the pits. The Millennium chassis was great during the daytime when it was hot and when it rained we did a little tire adjustment and we figured it out."
Miller roared off of Medium's pole and led with Furrow fighting him for the front from start to finish where Miller lead by 0.526 seconds.
Paschal's number one ranking in Yamaha 2-Cycle earned him that pole. When the green flag waved for the 11-racer field Paschal powered his way into the early lead with rival Chris Seay, of Spartanburg, SC glued to his tailpipe. Seay shot by Paschal who fell to third. As Seay was building his lead through the field he collided with a lapped kart. With five laps to go Chris Lee was leading with Clark Simonton close behind. Then, according to Paschal, "I made a bad call on tires and all we could do was site there and ride in third and then the leaders got into their confrontation on the last lap and we did it." Simonton got back on track and followed a distant second by 6.254 seconds.
Paschal pumped out a 12.756 seconds Super Stock top-qualifying lap, lost the early going and then came back to capture the win. "We got shuffled back and then the tires come in and the kart came in and we were able to work our way back up," described the double winning Phantom kart pilot.
Champions in the WKA/Biggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series will be crowned during an awards dinner as part of KartFest 2004. But before that dirt racers will have a chance to race for cash and Daytona provisional positions during the North American Dirt Track Championships scheduled for October 24-26 at Margarettsville Speedway in Margarettesville, NC. For more information on the 'Road To Daytona' or to subscribe to WKA's Karting Scene magazine visit the WKA web site at www.worldkartingcom.
-by Bruce C. Wall, Guest Writer