NORTH LIBERTY, Ind. – The 2014 WKA Manufacturers Cup Grand Nationals went off this past weekend, June 27-29, at Michiana Raceway Park just outside of South Bend, Indiana. Sponsored by billet aluminum parts manufacturer Zero Error Racing and PCR chassis importer Checkered Motorsports, the Grand Nationals attracted over 200 entries to MRP for the third round of the 2014 WKA Mazda / Bridgestone Man Cup Series.
A host of drivers left South Bend with a pair of WKA Grand National Eagle trophies. In all, seven racers accomplished two feature wins on the weekend. Giovanni Bromante, Sam Mayer and John Paul Southern Jr. all raced to a pair of wins in the Sportsman ranks. Brandon Lemke and David Malukas both scored two wins in the Junior category. Scot Carapellatti swept TaG Masters and Dustin Stross continued his hot streak in the Man Cup, winning Parilla Senior 1 and TaG Senior 2.
Stross added to his 2014 winnings with his second straight IAME Cup championships and the $1,000 HYTORC of Texas bonus as the best overall finisher in Parilla Senior. Lemke swept Parilla Junior and earned the $500 Butler Built / Arai Helmet bonus as the IAME Cup Junior champion on the weekend. It was Lemke’s first IAME Cup championship of the year.
Nick Snell and Carson Mitchell split the Kid Kart main events. Luca Mars and Connor Ferris did the same in Yamaha Rookie. Alexander Kardashian and Tazio Torregiani each claimed Komet Junior triumphs, while Mark Boos, Andrew Bujdoso, Patrick Olsen and Austin McCusker all won once on the weekend.
Here’s a quick rundown of each of the 12 categories at the 2014 Man Cup Grand Nationals.
CRP Racing KID KART
A solid field of CRP Racing Kid Kart youngsters attended the Grand Nationals. In all, 11 racers made up the field after eight Kid Kart racers ran the class’s Man Cup debut at Kershaw in April.
Nick Snell and Carson Mitchell were the class of the field Saturday. Snell edged Carson for the win by just 0.066 seconds. The pair finished over 17 seconds ahead of third-plcae Caiden Mitchell. Elliot J. Cox was fourth and Sebastian Wheldon, son of the late Dan Wheldon, fifth.
Carson Mitchell avenged his Saturday defeat with a close win over Snell in Sunday’s Kid Kart main. Carson won by one second over Snell in this one with Cox third over 21 seconds back of the lead duo. Adam Brickley and Gabby Selden scored top-five finishes Sunday with fourth and fifth-place runs.
New Jersey Sprint Series / Comet Kart Sales
Praga racer Luca Mars dominated Saturday’s Rookie go with a 9.6-second win over Gunnar Bischoff. Connor Ferris came home third, Lucas Smalec fourth and Caleb Bacon fifth. The win marked Mars’ third in a row after he swept Kershaw.
But Ferris would put an end to Mars’ winning streak Sunday, scoring the Comet Kart Sales Yamaha Rookie main event win by a close 0.485-second margin over Mars. The pair finished over nine seconds ahead of Bacon in third, Bischoff fourth and Owen Mahle fifth.
Kartwerks / Praga Chassis / Grand Products
The “full-blown” Junior Sportsman ranks featured a trio of stars throughout the weekend. John Paul Southern Jr., Sam Mayer and Giovanni Bromante battled for Sportsman wins all weekend, and the three would not be challenged by anyone but themselves in the Grand Nationals’ six Sportsman main events.
In Cadet, Southern and Bromante split the finals. Southern wheeled his PCR to the Saturday Kartwerks / Praga-sponsored main. He finished just ahead of Bromante and Mayer for the victory. Jason Welage was fourth on his Tony Kart with Robert Noaker III rounding out the top five.
On Sunday Bromante avenged his Saturday defeat with a 0.052-second triumph over Southern in Grand Products Cadet Final 2. Mayer was just over a second back in third with Welage fourth and Madison Campeau fifth.
MRP / Birel / RacingRVs.com
The largest Sportsman fields of the weekend saw 14 starters in the pair of Yamaha Sportsman mains. Mayer wheeled his Franklin Motorsports Merlin to the win in Saturday’s MRP / Birel-sponsored main. Mayer crossed the stripe 0.462 seconds ahead of Southern with Bromante less than one second back in third. Welage was fourth and Aidan Harrington fifth.
Sunday saw Southern pick up the RacingRVs.com win over Bromante and Mayer. The trio crossed the stripe less than four-tenths of a second apart. Local runner Tommy Burke hung tough with the top three and finished fourth only 1.6 seconds back of Southern. Harrington rounded out the top five for the second straight day.
Seven racers entered Komet Sportsman and once again it was the Bromante, Mayer, Southern show. Saturday’s Komet Sportsman final saw Top Kart racer Bromante score the win by a half-second gap over Southern with Mayer right there in third. Burke finished fourth, but almost 10 seconds back of the winner. Maks Kowalski scored his only top-five result of the weekend in this one.
Mayer earned his second win of the weekend in Sunday’s Komet Sportsman go. The Merlin pilot won by another close margin over Bromante with Southern in third. Spike Kohlbecker ran fourth with Burke fifth.
Woltjer Racing Engines / Zero Error Racing
Chicago’s David Malukas swept the Yamaha Junior category, marking his first wins of the Man Cup season in the division. Saturday’s Woltjer Racing Engines action saw Malukas win by a 0.273-second margin over his rival Brandon Lemke. Zach Holden was third, just a couple kart-lengths off of Lemke’s rear bumper. Jacob McWhirter finished fourth with Emerson Reed fifth in the 14-kart field.
On Sunday Malukas raced his Top Kart to a completion of the Yamaha Junior sweep in the Zero Error Racing-backed main event. Once again Lemke finished right on Malukas’ heels with a tight 0.192-second gap. Holden was third for the second day in a row. Reed finished fourth and Evan Fritts scored a solid fifth-place result.
One of the shortest fields of the weekend was Komet Junior with only four starters both days.
Alexander Kardashian and Tazio Torregiani would split the finals. Kardashian scored a 1.6-second win over Torregiani on Saturday. McWhirter and Adam Sturgill finished third and fourth.
Sunday saw Torregiani win by a close 0.241-second gap over Kardashian. McWhirter and Sturgill once again finished third and fourth.
Arai Helmet / Butler Built / TSRacing.com
After Malukas won the Parilla Junior IAME Cup at Kershaw in April, this time the class was the Brandon Lemke show with the Wisconsin racer picking up both Grand National wins and the $500 Arai Helmet / Butler Built bonus.
Saturday saw Lemke pull his Merlin out to a two-second gap before the checkers waved. Torregiani, who scored a Parilla Junior final win at Kershaw, was a solid second on his Haase. Birel racer Mike McAndrews crossed the stripe third but was disqualified in post-race tech for a faulty header. This gave third to Malukas with Kardashian fourth and Brendan Burcroff fifth.
Sunday’s action was similar to Saturday’s with 2013 WKA Triple Crown champion Lemke scoring the win by a 2.1-second advantage over Malukas. Holden was third on his Top Kart with Torregiani fourth and Kardashian rounding out the top five.
RLV Tuned Exhaust / Zero Error Racing
SENIOR PISTON PORT
Six drivers made the call in the Yamaha / Komet combined senior division. Saturday saw Man Cup veteran Patrick Olsen wheel his Top Kart to the win by a two-second gap over Derek Hughes. Brett Schneider was third, Olivia Horn fourth and Chase Jones fifth.
Haase pilot Austin McCusker dominated Sunday’s Senior Piston Port main. The New Yorker finished 3.3 seconds ahead of Olsen for the score. Jones was third, Schnieder fourth and Horn fifth.
Kartwerks / Praga / Grand Products
Only three racers entered TaG Senior. Mark Boos and Dustin Stross split the wins with Boos scoring on Saturday and Stross edging him out on Sunday. Cal Stewart ran third both days.
Margay / DRT Racing
Veteran Scot Carapellatti dominated the weekend in Masters, winning by impressive margins both days. Saturday’s TaG Masters main saw Carapellatti win by a four-second gap over David Galowina. Kim Carapellatti was third, Steve Schiewer fourth and Anthony Honeywell fifth.
Scot triumphed again on Sunday, this time by a 3.6-second gap over Schiewer. Kim Carapellatti was third and Galowina fourth.
HYTORC of Texas / Franklinkart.com
Andrew Bujdoso crossed the finish stripe first both days in Parilla Senior, however the PCR driver did not make it through post-race tech Saturday with a disqualification because of the air box.
Bujdoso’s misfortune gave the Saturday Parilla Senior win to Dustin Stross, and it ultimately allowed Stross to pocket the $1,000 HYTORC of Texas bonus for the second consecutive Man Cup outing.
Saturday’s rundown was Garrett Johnston second, Mick Gabriel third, Jake Johnston fourth and Daytona IAME Cup winner Mark Boos fifth.
Bujdoso returned Sunday to dominate the Franklinkart.com-sponsored Parilla Senior with a 2.2-second win over Jake Johnston. This time the PCR racer made it through tech with no problem to earn his first Man Cup win of the season. Stross took third to secure the HYTORC bonus and IAME Cup weekend championship. Gabriel and Boos rounded out the top five.
Next up for the Manufacturers Cup Series is the Top Kart USA Nationals at New Castle Motorsports Park. The August 8-10 event will utilize New Castle’s Iron Man Course for the first time ever for a Man Cup.
Pre-registration is open. Click here to download the Top Kart USA Nationals entry form.