By Bruce C. Walls - Motorsport.com HICKORY, NC-Two WKA/Bandit Racing Chassis national drivers were crowned double national champions in that series and each had national championships in other series' making them Triple Crown winners....
By Bruce C. Walls - Motorsport.com
HICKORY, NC-Two WKA/Bandit Racing Chassis national drivers were crowned double national champions in that series and each had national championships in other series' making them Triple Crown winners. Robinson Speed Shop Team driver Chris Gabehart earned national titles in G-Man Kart Works/Super Seat Briggs Limited Medium and O.S.I. Briggs Lite. Added to his championship in the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series made the Louisville, KY native a Triple Crown winner.
"It takes team work above all else to win national championships," Gabehart explained. "It's not just me, it's the whole family especially my dad and grandpa who traveled over 10,000 miles this year to make all of these races and a lot of support from Shadow Karts and Robinson Speed Shop."
Reflecting on his past season Gabehart recalled the Stock Lite race at Chapel Hill Raceway in Humphrey, NY. "I had to borrow a kart from Jimmy Rivers for Stock Lite at New York. I qualified fifth and had to chase down the race leader Kevin Smith and I passed him with two laps left."
Advanced Racing Engines powered Twister Kart pilot Paulie Harraka claimed two Pavement national championships plus two road course championships in the WKA/George Kugler Manufacturer's Cup Series making him at, 10-years-old, the youngest Triple Crown winner in WKA history. In the Pavement Series Harraka earned national championships in Prowler Karts Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Heavy and Rage Motorsports Briggs Junior Sportsman Champ. Harraka was also presented with the Holley Performance Products Future Star Award.
"I'll always remember my champ kart win at Chapel Hill Raceway in Humphrey, NY, it was my first oval win and I dominated that racer wire-to-wire," Harraka recalled.
Three other Pavement drivers earned double national championships. Schu-Powered Titan kart pilot Matt Adams, of North Wilksboro, SC, took titles in Horstman Mfg. 4-Cycle Modified and Security Systems Controls Briggs Controlled Heavy. "Holding on at the end of each race. It was more intense this season and more competitive than previous years," Adams explained adding, "Good equipment and good sponsors helps too."
Adams was also presented with the George Kugler Sportsmanship award by WKA President Randy Kugler. Columbia, SC competitor Nicholas Hutchins clinched both Junior champ kart titles; Beam Distr./United Expressline Briggs Junior Champ Lite and D&G Custom Briggs Junior Champ. According to the Schu-Powered Tital kart pilot it takes, "drive, devotion, determination and great parents," to win a pair of national championships. Reflecting on his past season Hutchins said that in Lite he'll always remember t the Chapel Hill national. "I got into three wrecks in Lite at New York and had to fix the kart and still won." In Heavy he said that the Palmetto national was his most memorable. "We were running good at Palmetto and the 15-minute time ran out just as I had taken the lead, so that worked out good for us."
Furman Myers, of West Columbia, SC, was another double champ kart champion. Myers earned championships in Seigler Motorsports Star Champ and Titan Karts by MRC Briggs Senior Champ. "Dedication and focus," are what Myers said it takes to win two national championships. Looking back on last year Myers said that in Star Champ he remembered the national race at Palmetto. "In Star Champ the track got oily at Palmetto and the other racers were breathing down my neck and it was one of the toughest races I've ever been in and in Senior Champ there I pasted Louis Timmerman on the last lap. The kart was tight and he (Timmerman) caught up to me and passed me in the front straight and I got him back in time for the win." Southberry ,CT competitor Michael Davie, Jr. was crowned Southwestern Cable Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 champion. The 11-year-old Schu-Powered Titan kart pilot credited, "lots of confidence, desire, dedication and team work."
"I got my first national pole and win at Palmetto," Davis recalled. Ultramax Racing Chassis Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Lite's title was taken by 13-year-old Marshfield, NC competitor Clint Mills. "It took a lot of hard work, the right tires and the right motor," Mills said. "I want to thank Shadow karts for a great kart and Johnny Bartlett for great motors," he added.
Former Triple Crown winner Danny Efland, of Irmo, SC clinched RLV Tuned Exhaust Products Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Heavy's championship. "It was a lot of hard work and a lot of help from my sponsors that got me here," Efland credited. "I want to thank my mom and dad for all they've done and Michael Schumacher for all the help he gave us last year."
Veteran kart racer John 'John Boy' Lucas earned American Power Sports Briggs Senior's National Points Championship. "It feels great getting my first national championship," Lucas beamed. "I want to thank my wife Christy and sons Chase and Colt," added the Haulin Buggy powered Laser AV-2 kart pilot.
Nashville, TN racer Michael Driskel topped MCP Brake Systems Briggs Restricted Junior's national points chase. "It took a bunch of hard work, the right equipment and a lot of help and support from my dad," credited the Heath Speed Shop powered Phantom Nemesis kart pilot.
Jason 'The People's Champion' Petty was crowned CKI Briggs Medium National Champion. "It took intensity, integrity, and intelligence to win this championship," said the Creedmore, NC based Tod Miller Racing Engines powered Phantom Nemesis kart pilot.
Reflecting on his past season Petty recalled the Grand Nationals at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I think the Grand Nationals was the best race last year. Everybody was there and I out ran them all," said the Wynns sponsored champion.
Nokesville, VA racer Roger Austin captured twister Karts Briggs Heavy's championship. "I'll always remember the New York National. It was my first national win and I beat Kevin Smith and Dan Snyder," boasted the Tod Miller Racing Engines powered Phantom kart pilot.
"Hard work, dedication and a supporting mom," are what 13-year-old Augusta, GA racer Chris Waters credited for earning him Airbag Service Briggs Junior's national championship. "I got my first national win at Palmetto and that's what started it," he added.
Wayne Tilley, of Durham, NC, topped Custom Trophy Briggs Super Heavy's points chase. "It took a lot of hard work, a great effort by my crew and great engines from Baines Graphics to win this championship," Tilley credited. Looking back over his past season Tilley said, "The Grand Nationals were best. I beat Dan Sox there on the last lap."
Holland, NY racer Robert Baker captured Love Concrete & Masonry Briggs Controlled Medium's championship. "The Grand Nationals were the best race this year," Baker described, "Me and Ross Furr were battling for the championship and who ever beat the other won this championship."
"I want to thank Legend karts and Robinson Speed Shop," Baker credited adding "It took a lot of long hours of hard work to get this championship, but it was worth it."
Jimmy Rivers, Jr., of Evan, GA, grabbed Smith Engines/Bostick Pro Karting Tecumseh Stock's championship. "It took a lot of support, hard work and luck," credited the JRPW powered Shadow kart pilot.
Special awards were also presented. Wayne Baker was voted Most Improved Senior Driver and Michael Edwards was named Most Improved Junior Driver. The Love family was named Karing Family of the Year. Ronnie Robinson was voted Mechanic of the year and Jimmy Rivers Performance was named Best Appearing Team.
The WKA/Bandit Racing Chassis Speedway Pavement Series kicks off their 2001 season March 16-18 at Palmetto Super Trak in Elgin, SC with Winter Nationals. Spring Nationals will be hosted by Orange County Raceway in Rougemont, NC April 27-29 and this year's Grand Nationals will be hosted by Chapel Hill Raceway in Humphrey, NY June 22-24. Summer Nationals are scheduled for July 27-29 at a location that will be announced later and Fall Nationals will be raced October 12-14 at Wilson's Motorsports Track in Wetumpka, AL.