Three Double At Gold Cup Opener & Pennink Makes History ROCKINGHAM, NC - Ryan Cassity, of Decatur, IL, began defending his Briggs Lite and Medium championships in the WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series with wins in each at the season opening...
Three Double At Gold Cup Opener & Pennink Makes History
ROCKINGHAM, NC - Ryan Cassity, of Decatur, IL, began defending his Briggs Lite and Medium championships in the WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series with wins in each at the season opening Tomar Winter Nationals where 430 racers came to Rockingham, NC's North Carolina Motor Speedway to battle it out at the Rock-possibly for the last time.
Cassity cranked out a 30.772 seconds lap on the 0.6-mile infield asphalt road course for the weekend's first pole in Renegade Racing Bodies Briggs Lite. Cassity swept the heat and feature races with Travis Firing following in the heat and Evan McManus trailing by 1.990 seconds when in counted.
"It feels good to get Coyote's first win of the season," Cassity said. "We struggled a lot yesterday and we were a second off. We ended up putting that kart away and getting another kart and that picked us up pretty close to where we needed to be. Walt Barnes helped us out with tires and put us where we needed to be. The kart handled great. We freed it up a little too much for the feature, it was definitely better in the heat race, but it turned out good and Turners' motor was awesome, they're always awesome."
Sunday Cassity turned in a repeat performance in Turner Racing Engines Briggs Medium where a 30.752 seconds lap put him on that pole. From there Cassity claimed the heat with a huge 2.942 seconds advantage over Anthony DeJesus followed by topping Firing by 2.341 seconds in the feature.
Rochester, NY racer Jason Zobkiw notched his first two national wins that weekend with a sweep of the Briggs Senior Sportsman classes. In Piedmont Kart Shop Briggs Senior Sportsman Medium he beat pole winner Brett Peters to the feature's stripe by 2.173 seconds. "Oh man I've been racing for 11- years and I've been doing these Gold Cup races for about six seasons now. I've finished second and every other position imaginable and finally with the help of Coyote Products and Turner Racing Engines and my father I finally got my first win," beamed the 21-year old first time winner. "The kart was perfect it tightened up a little towards the end, but it was a nice smooth ride for the first eight laps. I couldn't believe it. I looked back a couple of times to make sure nobody was there, it's just unbelievable."
Zobkiw spun Custom Trophy Briggs Senior Sportsman Heavy's fastest qualifying lap at 31.556 seconds and had Peters trailing him in the heat and feature by 1.877 and 0.226 seconds. "Man I was really quick for the pole," Zobkiw said after his second win. "The heat was alright, but Brett Peters had me in the feature he was on my bumper the whole way I knew he was there the whole way, but I held my line and drove smooth and came out on top. Yesterday was unbelievable and two in a row is just inconceivable. I never thought it would happen."
Glen Bernie, MD based Shadow Racing Chassis factory driver Steve Axtell made two trips to victory lane. The 13-year-old R&R Racing Technology powered pilot was fourth fastest qualifier in Briggs Junior Heavy from where he beat pole winner Brian Blum in the heat by 0.238 seconds. From the feature's outside pole Axtell rocketed into an early lead he extended to the end where he was 1.242 seconds ahead of Alex Ardoin.
"It was pretty hard the competition was tough. The motor was so powerful down the straightaway and strong through the turns that I got by him (Brian Blum)," said the 13-year-old double winner after his first victory. "The kart was handling pretty good. I want to thank ICI, Eastern Homes, Jerry's Siding and Roofing, R&R Racing and Huffy. I also want to thank Shadow Karts and my mom and dad and Pop especially."
Sunday Axtell tamed the new Baker Racing Engines Briggs Junior Animal class with perfection. He spun a 32.148 seconds pole-winning lap and went on to beat Zachary Linsell by 3.093 seconds in the heat and outside pole winner Eric Winkle by an even wider margin, 4.206 seconds, in the feature.
Michelle Pennink made history that weekend in a class her brother Rowan also made history in. The 20-year-old Huntingvalley, PA pilot took all Precision Industries Briggs Animal Medium offered earning her bragging rights to being the first female winner of an Animal class on the national level. Last year her brother, the reigning national champion, went into the history book as the first national Animal Medium champion.
Michelle blistered the track with a 30639 seconds top-qualifying lap and held off Chris Wramage by just 0.492 seconds at the stripe. "I was really surprised," she admitted. "I came here last night and my dad and my brother setup the kart yesterday so I just came here and it ran great."
By: Bruce C. Walls