Atkinson, Ellis, Stroik score hat trick
CONCORD, N.C. – Approximately 430 entrants filled the paddock at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this past weekend for the World Karting Association Road Race Grand Nationals, round four of the 2012 Vega / TS Racing Road Racing Series driven by Mazda.
The solid turnout saw the upper paddock nearly full with team haulers and motor homes, a sight that hasn’t been seen at the last several WKA nationals at the historic Lexington, Ohio, venue.
A special moment occurred prior to Saturday’s racing when Michael Davis Sr., a past road racer along with his late son, Michael Jr., was inducted into the WKA Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport as a racer, crew member and now as WKA’s insurance agent of record. WKA’s Van Gilder and Lance Fry, a competitor of Michael Jr.’s and longtime close friend of the Davis family, presented Michael with the Hall of Fame award in an emotional presentation.
Racers enjoyed beautiful weather for Friday practice and day one of racing. Temperatures reached the high 80s with sunny skies and a light breeze. Mother Nature made her presence known Sunday when rain moved into central Ohio and caused several delays throughout the morning and afternoon. Officials shortened the races and were able to get five of the six race groups in before a heavy thunderstorm hit just before the start of the day’s final event, which unfortunately canceled it.
On the track West Seneca, N.Y., racer Adam Myers wheeled his laydown and sprint-enduro CKI chassis to four wins to become the top winner of the weekend. Myers swept the pair of WKA Sprint finals and 100cc Pipe laydown mains.
Courtney Atkinson, Brian Ellis and Mike Stroik each scored three Grand National triumphs. Atkinson won both Yamaha Spotsman Sprint events and added a laydown-enduro victory with her win in Yamaha Sportsman Lite.
Ellis won the two largest divisions of the weekend, Yamaha Medium and Yamaha Heavy, and bested Atkinson in Sunday’s Yamaha Sportsman Medium to win his third race and deny Atkinson of her fourth.
Stroik wheeled his TS PT4 chassis to the win in Animal Sprint 335 and Animal Sprint 360 in close races each day. He also captured the Animal Limited Modified 360 win Sunday afternoon.
Scott Grenier, Chris Kuley, Lance Lane, Kelly Lawrence and J.C. Sanders each won a pair of Grand National Eagles.
Here’s a rundown of the 12 race groups.
Saturday Group 1
LAD Specialties racer Scott Grenier kept the momentum going from his multi-national-win Grattan Nationals weekend when he opened the Grand Nationals with the score in 100cc Controlled. Grenier bested fellow Midwest racers Craig Keller and Michael Tracy for the win. Ron Taylor and Martin Powers were fourth and fifth.
John Larue and Michael McCombs waged a fierce battle for the victory in Yamaha Sportsman Heavy. The pair made contact down the stretch that resulted in Larue capturing the win over McCombs and some words exchanged in the scale line and post-race tech area. Bryan Norman made the long trek from Oklahoma and took third. Anthony Gillum was fourth and Ben Morris fifth.
Woodbridge Kart Club regular J.C. Sanders won Jr Enduro Lite over Joshua Krause and Lucas Maurer. Sanders dominated the race and won by a large margin over Krause.
Saturday Group 2
Sixteen starters made it one of the best WKA Sprint fields in recent memory. While 15 racers gave it a shot, no one was close to defending WKA Sprint national champion Adam Myers, who won by a convincing 37-second margin over Charlie Tustison.
While Myers was easily in control out front, the race for second was a dandy among Tustison, Jeff Langford and Rodney Smith. Tustison made late-race passes on both Langford and Smith to take the runner-up spot. Smith spun on the final lap while racing hard for the positions, relegating him to a disappointing eighth-place result after running inside the top five for most of the affair.
Langford ended up third, Jay Chapman fourth and Ted Carbonaro rounded out the top five.
Aaron Telitz smoked the eight-kart Stock Leopard Sprint Final 1 field. Telitz raced to a 33-second triumph over Sean Sholtis. Don Nelson was third, Bob Cole fourth and Streeter Super Stands-sponsored Jeff Wesell fifth.
Courtney Atkinson won her first race of the weekend in this one. Atkinson raced to the Hesier Trailer Leasing Yamaha Sportsman Sprint Final 1 win by nearly a full minute margin over Brandon Taylor’s Coyote. Michael Holman was third, Andy Leighninger fourth and Pat Blake fifth.
The closest races on the track were Animal Limited Mod 385 and Jr Sprint Lite. Dennis Smith captured the Limited Mod win by only 0.218 seconds over Charles Wilbur. Jerry Cole was third.
Virginia’s Eli Brown raced to the Jr Sprint Lite victory by a 1.9-second margin over Zack Clark. Michael Ryan Arnold was third.
North Carolina’s Chris Kuley dominated the Animal Jr Sprint Lite race and won by a hefty margin over defending class national champion Brent Hadden. Will Delaney was third.
Thomas Caris won the DKC CIK Sprint 1 local option.
Saturday Group 3
Many of the fastest laydown-enduros in the country hit the track in Saturday’s third group, which featured B Stock, Formula 125, Formula 100 Final 1 and 100cc Yamaha Medium.
Kelly Lawrence is proving tough to beat in his 125cc-powered laydown and he raced to a pair of Grand National wins Saturday at Mid-Ohio. Lawrence’s first triumph came in Formula 125 over Sleeper Racing Team driver Michael Lattos.
Lawrence and Lattos lapped the Mid-Ohio course at fast times in the 1:34-second range and were clearly the fastest two Formula 125s in attendance. Scott Davis was third, Chuck Heinrich fourth and Derek Cuthbertson fifth.
Milo Schoonover won Formula 100 Final 1 by a half-second over Todd Hayden. Schoonover and Hayden’s 100cc enduros were only a couple seconds a lap off the top Formula 125 times. Ohio’s Pierre Huang was third, Cliff Brannon fourth and Michael Fischer fifth in the seven-kart field.
Brian Ellis scored the win in the largest class of the weekend, 100cc Yamaha Medium, which started an impressive 22 karts. Ellis won by a comfortable margin over Oklahoma’s Ryan Hatcher. Wayne Rumsey was third.
Lance Yunck and his dad, Kerry, made the trip to central Ohio all the way from their Sebring, Fla., home. Yunck came home fourth in the Yamaha Medium main. Michael McLaughlin rounded out the top five. Adam Myers was sixth, Adam Trumbley seventh, Dar Lorang eighth, Carl Lankenau ninth and James Rupert 10th.
Saturday Group 4
Over 30 karts took the green flag in the shifter and spec TaG group, which hit the track as Saturday’s fourth contest.
Sixteen started CIK 125 Shifter Final 1, which saw Michigan’s Graham Wilcock race to the Grand National triumph. Wilcock fast laps in the 1:32-bracket put him a good distance in front of runner-up Lance Lane. John Stoutemyer was third, Noah Stark fourth and Andrew Schmitt fifth.
John Pickens bested John Sullivan in WKA 125 Shifter Final 1. Pickens finished just 0.683 seconds ahead of Sullivan for the score. Philip Davis was third, Bryan Blair fourth and Bryan Kupper fifth in the 12-kart field.
WKA Trustee Don Guilbeault won Spec 125 TaG Final 1 over his fellow New Englander Keith Buffo. Aaron Snyder dropped out 24 minutes into the 30-minute affair and was credited with third. Adrian Dale was fourth and Michael Hines fifth.
Saturday Race 5
The opening laps of the 100cc Controlled Spec 1 race saw Randy Fulks a few seconds back of early leaders Scott Grenier and Scott Clark. Fulks, however, came on strong as the race progressed and ended up winning by a cool 15-second gap over Grattan winer Grenier. Veteran Jim Fry ran third as he continues to work through was he says will be his final season of full-time karting competition. Rick Fulks was fourth and Patricia Hechler fifth. Clark ran into problems about 12 laps into the race and retired early.
Courtney Atkinson picked up her second win of the day, this time winning behind the wheel of her Emmick enduro in Yamaha Sportsman Lite. Atkinson paced the field by 13 seconds over Yamaha Medium victor Brian Ellis. Lance Yunck was third, Zackary Krause fourth and Jeramie Weeden fifth.
Adam Myers matched Atkinson’s Saturday success with his second win of the day. Myers raced his Buck Keen-powered CKI to the win in 100cc Pipe Heavy. Anthony Gillum was second, Bruce Peck third, Roger Hatcher fourth and Arthur McKenny fifth.
Saturday Race 6
A trio of Aarons finished first through third in DRT Racing TaG Final 1. Aaron Telitz made a rare WKA Road Racing appearance and scored the win by a mere 0.188-second advantage over Aaron Jones. Defending TaG and WKA Triple Crown champion Aaron Snyder was third, Keith Buffo fourth and George Argiris fifth.
New Englander Adam Trumbley triumphed in a solid eight-kart Yamaha Sprint Lite race. Michael Hines was second, about 15 seconds back of Trumbley. Ohio’s Jeff Langford was third, Maryland’s John Jezierski took fourth and Michigan’s Al Gierz fifth.
Wisconin’s Mike Stroik won his first race of the weekend in Animal Sprint 335. Stroik bested fellow Badger State racer Ryan Vehring for the triumph. Jon Evans was third, Steven Kilsdonk fourth and Larry Palmer fifth.
North Carolina’s Joey Kuley raced a Kart City Performance-powered Bandit to the victory in Animal Sprint 385. Kuley, a former WKA Gold Cup regular who has found a love for the Road Racing Series, won by a close 0.231-second margin over Scott Evans. Regan Vehring was only a kart-length back of the top two in third. Bud Varner was fourth and Jake Bustos fifth.
Brendan Lemke won the DKC Open Sprint 1 local option and Kellie Mann scored the DKC Vintage Euro 1 local option win over Ryan Berkey and Donald Axe.
Saturday Race 7
Kelly Lawrence found victory for the second time Saturday in the day’s final group. Lawrence drove to a convincing 42-second win over Mark Kupper in Unlimited Final 1. David Reid was third and only a few seconds back of Kupper. Scott Loewenstine took fourth and Ron Brinker fifth in the strong 16-kart field.
Lance Lane wasn’t able to score the win in CIK Shifter but came back strong in the day’s last race to win the ultra-competitive Stock Honda 1 go. Lane, a veteran Illinois racer, bested David Harding and Philip Davis in a close race. Both Harding and Davis crossed the stripe less than a half-second back of the winner. John Sullivan was fourth and Carson Miller came up from his Texas home and finished fifth. Seventeen shifters started the weekend’s opening Stock Honda main.
Andy Kiker, a former WKA and Yamaha Sprint racer, continues as one of the top Super Kart competitors in the country and won the DKC 250 Twin 1 main by a 6.8-second gap over Scott Fiesler. Michael Soh was third, Jerry Echols fourth and Roy Efstratiu fifth. The Dart Kart Club continues to get good numbers in its 250 Twin class; 11 started the Saturday main.
Sunday Race 1
After Saturday winner Aaron Telitz wasn’t able to get off the starting grid, the door was left open for a new winner in Sunday’s Stock Leopard Final 2. Sean Sholtis took advantage and raced to a dominating 27-second win over Wisconsin’s Jeff Wesell. Don Nelson was third, Jeff Troup fourth and Hal Brown fifth.
Another terrific 16-kart field took the green in WKA Sprint Final 2, but similar to Saturday’s affair, no one had anything for New York’s Adam Myers.
Myers raced his Buck Keen-prepared Comer P51-powered CKI sprint-enduro to a convincing 13.8-second win over Jay Chapman, who was wheeled a kart powered by the Comer P50. Massachusetts’ Jim Sorrentino had his best run of the season thus far with a third-place result. A pair of Yamaha-powered sprinters came home fourth and fifth in Massachusetts’ Michael Hines and Virginia’s Brandon Taylor.
Adam Trumbley, Charlie Tustison, Jeff Langford, Ted Carbonaro and Rodney Smith finished sixth through 10th.
Courtney Atkinson passed over half the WKA Sprint field on her way to the Heiser Trailer Leasing Yamaha Sportsman Sprint Final 2 triumph. Atkinson was way out in front of runner-up Michael Holman, who continues to improve in his rookie season as a senior competitor. Three Ohio drivers finished third through fifth in Andy Leighninger, Pat Blake and Jeff Leighninger.
Mike Stroik’s second win of the weekend came in Animal Limited Modified 360. Stroik dominated the race in a 23-second win over Ohio’s Bryce Reall. Dennis Smith was third and Charles Wilbur fourth.
After finished second to Eli Brown in Saturday’s Jr Sprint Lite main, West Virginia’s Zack Clark put an exclamation point on the weekend with a big 15-second victory over Brown in Sunday’s Team Finork Racing Jr Sprint Heavy weekend capper. Kentucky’s Michael Ryan Arnold was third.
North Carolina’s Chris Kuley made it a sweep of the Animal Jr Sprint divisions at Mid-Ohio. Kuley raced to a 4-second victory over defending national champion Brent Hadden in the Animal Jr Sprint Heavy contest. Alabama’s Will Delaney was third.
Sunday Race 2
Todd Hayden won by an 11-second margin over Don Chrzan in Formula 100 Final 2. Hayden quick time of the race was a 1:38.299 – about a half second better than Chrzan’s best lap. Pierre Huang was third, Mike Roncke fourth and Brent Brannon fifth.
Another 22 karts started Sunday’s Yamaha enduro division – 100cc Yamaha Heavy. The stout fields had competitors and fans speaking highly of the terrific turnout for the traditional laydown divisions. What’s more impressive is that the Yamaha pipe divisions, easily the largest classes at Mid-Ohio, were axed from the Road Racing Series a few years ago but were brought back in 2011 and are now seeing outstanding entry counts.
Brian Ellis again was the class of the field and swept the Yamaha enduro weekend with a nine-second win over Ryan Hatcher in 100cc Yamaha Heavy. Yamaha Sportsman Heavy winner John Larue was third, Michael McLaughlin fourth and Wayne Rumsey fifth.
Sixth through 10th read Dar Lorang, Don Harrod, Kevin Thompson, Fabio Caraleen and Carl Lankenau.
Sunday Race 3
Greg Stamm was the fastest Unlimited Final 2 kart on the track and raced to a strong 13-second victory over J Michael Long. Michael Lattos picked up another top-five result with his third-place run. Scott Hodges was fourth and Joey West fifth. Saturday Unlimited winner Kelly Lawrence retired from the race just past halfway and was credited with 10th in the 14-kart field.
Illinois’ Lance Lane made it a sweep of Stock Honda with another close victory over David Harding in the Sunday version of the class. Lane, who splits his time between select sprint and road racing events, crossed the stripe 0.635 seconds in front of Harding for his second win of the weekend. Ryan Petty was third, Ross Kasner fourth and Mark Nagy fifth in the 17-kart field.
Scott Fiesler won the DKC 250 Twin 2 feature by 12 seconds over early leader Johnny West. Fiesler followed West for the opening circuits before overtaking the veteran and pulling away. Michael Soh was third, Jerry Echols fourth and Doug Newhouse fifth. Saturday winner Andy Kiker did not start the main.
Sunday Race 4
After winning four Grand National Eagles at last year’s VIR event, Aaron Snyder ran into tough luck in Saturday’s TaG action but returned Sunday and was able to garner a feature win in TaG Final 2. Snyder had to work for it, however, as Aaron Jones challenged throughout the race but ended up falling back a little over three seconds before the checkers waved. Adrian Dale was third, George Argiris fourth and Keith Buffo fifth.
Mike Stroik scored the hat trick with his big win in Southern Kart Club Animal Sprint 360. The 20-minute affair proved to be one of the best races of the weekend among six drivers – Stroik, Jon Evans, Ryan Vehring, Regan Vehring, Steven Kilsdonk and Joey Kuley.
While all six battled for the win and all had a legitimate shot at it, Stroik proved too tough out front in his plain black No. 46 TS PT4. The Wisconsin racer crossed the stripe 0.097 seconds in front of Evans for the win. Ryan Vehring was about a half-second back in third, but did not weight, thus was disqualified. Ry. Vehring skipping the scales handed third to Kuley, fourth to Kilsdonk and fifth to Regan Vehring.
Steve Wheatley and Bud Varner waged a hotly contested battle for the Grand National Eagle in Animal Sprint 410. Wheatley pulled ahead of Varner before the checkers waved and was able to fend him off down the stretch for a 0.288-second triumph. Bruce Peck crossed the line third but was disqualified in post-race tech, handing the position to Steve Johnson. Ben Morris was fourth and Todd King fifth.
Indiana’s John Vanhimbergen took advantage of John Jezierski dropping out with a few laps remaining to win Yamaha Sprint Heavy. Jezierski was credited with second in the short two-kart field.
Brendan Lemkin won the DKC Open Sprint 2 local option. Andy Leighninger bested Jim Farr Jr. and Karen Farr in DKC Team. Rick Chapman was the winner over Ryan Berkey in DKC Vintage Euro 2.
Sunday Race 5
After another rain delay several group five teams loaded up and went home. But the shower was light and moved out of the Mansfield area quick enough that the track dried and the event was able to run, albeit under dark cloudy skies as another storm moved in.
Scott Grenier, Jim Fry, Patricia Hechler and Lance Fry were the only racers to make the call in 100cc Controlled Spec 2. Grenier scored the win over Jim Fry. Hechler was third and Lance Fry dropped out early and was credited with fourth.
Brian Ellis won a close Yamaha Sportsman Medium contest over Courtney Atkinson. Ellis’ win gave him three on the weekend and denied Atkinson of her fourth. Nick Hechler was third and Lance Yunck fourth.
Adam Myers was the only starter in 100cc Pipe Medium and scored the win. The victory was his fourth of the weekend to lead all drivers.
J.C. Sanders made it a clean sweep of the Jr Enduro divisions. Sanders won by a comfortable margin over Lucas Maurer.
Sunday Race 6
As soon as race five moved off the track the skies opened up and soaked the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. After several light showers dampened the track throughout the morning and afternoon, a major storm finally found the Lexington venue and put an end to the racing program, albeit with only one event remaining on the schedule.
Drivers in CIK 125 Shifter Final 2, WKA 125 Shifter Final 2 and Spec 125 TaG Final 2 will receive rain points toward the 2012 WKA national point standings.
Many thanks and much appreciation goes out to Gene Davis, Jerry Echols, Sue Echols, Chuck Bunnell and the rest of the fine Dart Kart Club staff for hosting another outstanding Mid-Ohio national event, one that came on the heels of the Grattan Nationals, which the DKC successfully promoted only about four weeks prior to the Grand Nationals.
Thanks to all the racers and teams that made the event a great turnout and step in the right direction for the WKA Vega / TS Racing Road Racing Series driven by Mazda.