Maidstone, Ontario (August 1, 2012) - The 2012 season has seen Grant Quinlan mix a budding karting career with a second-year effort in U.S. Legends Car racing. And not even Quinlan himself could have predicted the season's first half results.
Midway through the season, with four World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup Series events and only a handful of Michigan Legends Cars races in the books, the 2011 WKA Triple Crown champion has more wins in U.S. Legends Cars than karts.
It's a statistic that even has the 13-year-old Maidstone, Ontario, racer pondering. But upon further thought, Quinlan admits the move from the 8- to 12-year-old WKA Jr Sportsman ranks to the 12- to 15-year-old Junior divisions - quite possibly the toughest classes in United States sprint karting - has been the most competitive racing he's ever been apart of.
"It's really tough out there," Quinlan said, speaking of the Yamaha and Komet Junior divisions in WKA Man Cup. "You just have to be more aggressive. Whether you're racing for first or 10th, every position is a hard battle. There are so many fast karts and drivers, and it's just so competitive."
Quinlan's had several good runs in 2012 Man Cup, beginning with fifth- and sixth-place finishes in 40-plus-kart main event fields at Daytona KartWeek in December. He posted his best finish of the karting season at Carolina Motorsports Park in March, a third-place effort in Yamaha Jr Lite.
Rounds three and four at Pittsburgh Int'l Race Complex and Indiana's Michiana Raceway Park included a couple of top-five runs, but no victories.
Quinlan admits the move to the Junior ranks has included a steeper learning curve than he anticipated, but remains confident in his abilities behind the wheel of his No. 28 MRP Birels.
"We've had some really good runs," Quinlan said. "But it seems like every time we have a good run, there is more bad luck in the next race.
"It starts with qualifying," he continued. "If you can't qualify in the top few positions, then in the prefinal and final you're just battling for any position you can get. The karts have been fast, just like last year, but the competition level is higher. I still think we can get a win before the season is over. My dad, Tim, Chris and Garry Lobaugh and everyone at MRP have worked so hard for us, and I really want to deliver them my first Junior final win."
Quinlan will have another shot at a coveted Junior final win this weekend when the series visits Norway, Illinois' Concept Haulers Motor Speedway for round five of the Man Cup national circuit.
While Grant hasn't won in 2012 Man Cup, he took advantage of the two-month break between the national karting series' rounds three and four to not only hone his skills behind the wheel of a Advanced Technologies Motorsports-prepared No. 28 U.S. Legends Car, but win a couple races in the process.
In just three Michigan Legends Cars series starts, Quinlan already has scored two feature wins. The victories came at Owosso and Flat Rock speedways, both in the Great Lakes State, and have come in feature events that combine all classes of U.S. Legends Car racing, including Young Lions, Semi-Pro, Pro and Masters.
"It's a totally different scene from the karting," Quinlan said, alluding to the Legends Car division. "I'm having a lot of fun. The biggest difference is probably the throttle-control and how important it is to not spin the tires. Doug Stevens and everyone involved have given me a great car. We're looking to do some more legends racing at Atlanta this summer."
Despite the up-and-down season, Quinlan is top-10 in three of the four Man Cup Junior division point standings. With two races left on the schedule, Quinlan is fifth in Komet Jr Lite, seventh in Yamaha Jr Lite and 10th in Yamaha Jr Heavy.
The remainder of the season will see Quinlan continue his bid for his first Junior feature win in WKA Man Cup while racing his U.S. Legends Car on off-weekends from karting.
Grant Quinlan is a 13-year-old national 2-cycle sprint kart and U.S. Legends Car racer from Maidstone, Ontario. Quinlan is a 2011 WKA Triple Crown champion and multi-time race winner on the Michigan Legends Car circuit. Quinlan races MRP Motorsport Birel karts and Advanced Technology Motorsports-prepared U.S. Legends Cars.
For more information on Grant Quinlan, visit QuinlanMotorsports.com.