CONCORD, N.C. – The World Karting Association Vega Tire / TS Racing Road Racing Series driven by Mazda renewed its 2012 season this past weekend at Carolina Motorsports Park, where the Johnny Jacumin Memorial took center stage at CMP’s 2.3-mile road course.
This year’s Johnny Jacumin Memorial marked the 13th year in a row WKA’s enduro-style national series ran a spring event at Kershaw. Just over 230 entries hit the track between Saturday and Sunday after a good turnout for Friday practice. While the overall entry count didn’t reach the target of 250 or higher, the turnout was the best it’s been at Kershaw since 2008.
Eight rounds of practice went off Friday before it rained Friday night. A wet track delayed the start of practice Saturday and forced race officials Brandon Taylor, Jerry Echols and Billy Shaw to cut enduro races to 35 minutes and sprint contests to 25. More wet weather threatened the Kershaw area throughout Saturday but held off until late in the day and, thankfully, after Road Racing and Manufacturers Cup races had been completed.
Sunday saw full-length events for all race groups. Events were complete by around 4 p.m., allowing road racers to load up and hit the highway with a few hours of daylight left for their treks home.
Courtney Atkinson was the weekend’s top winner for yet another time in her illustrious Road Racing career. The Wisconsin racer, who was honored as a 2011 Triple Crown champion at Saturday night’s Road Racing Awards Ceremony, captured an unprecedented six race victories. Atkinson won every class she entered and put herself in terrific position to notch another Triple Crown championship.
Aaron Snyder, who also was awarded at the weekend’s Awards Ceremony as a 2011 Triple Crown titlist, wheeled his Energy TaG kart to three race wins. Snyder was the only triple winner on the Road Racing side of the action.
Double national winners comprised Randy Fulks, Lance Yunck, Tiffany McCollum, Chris Kuley, J.C. Sanders, Kelly Lawrence, Zachary Linsell, Brian Morse and Adam Myers.
Here’s a rundown of the 13 class groups that went off Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday Race 1
The weekend’s first race saw shifter karts take over CMP’s 2.3-mile course. 2011 double national champ Steven Rougeou was the class of the field in CIK 125 Shifter 1. The Louisiana Birel racer dominated the 25-minute affair, racing out to a 48-second lead over Noah Stark before the checkers waved. Stark crossed the stripe about six seconds in front of Richard White. Don Santini was only a handful of kart-lengths back of White in fourth. Ohio’s Chad Donner rounded out the top five.
John Sullivan and Phillip Davis waged a spirited battle for the win in WKA 125 Shifter 1. The race saw Sullivan nip Davis by just 0.013 seconds. Bryan Blair was third and 2011 double national champion Stephen Flatt fourth after dropping out early in the event.
Only two karts started Spec 125 TaG 1. Aaron Snyder won by a healthy margin over Adrian Dale.
Saturday Race 2
Laydown enduros were on the card for Saturday’s second event. Eight racers started the Sleeper Racing Team 100cc Controlled Spec 1 main. Sean O’Shea led the opening laps on his blue Coyote until Randy Fulks wheeled his CKI past the Massachusetts veteran. Fulks pulled out to a 7.6-second win over O’Shea in the 35-minute race. O’Shea finished well ahead of Brandon Fry to take the runner-up spot. Scott Goodman was fourth and Jim Fry completed the top five.
Courtney Atkinson won her first race of the weekend in this group. Atkinson raced her Emmick enduro to a dominating win in Yamaha Sportsman Lite, finishing nearly 40 seconds ahead of Florida’s Lance Yunck. Ryley Howe took third as he continues his strong rookie season in the senior ranks. Series regular Fran Mazzucotelli was fourth and Joe Dempsey fifth.
Adam Myers scored the triumph in 100cc Pipe Heavy. Myers bested Arthur McKenny by a 20-second margin. William Anderson was third, Donald Axe fourth and Jim McMurray fifth.
Brian Morse won his first of two races. Morse captured the 100cc Controlled win over Don Chrzan and Michael Tracy.
Saturday Race 3
Home state racer Robert Garland earned a big victory in Hoosier Racing Tire Animal Sprint 385. Garland bested 10 other entrants in the race, the closest being Dennis Smith, who finished 5.5 seconds back of the winner. Bill Lewis was third, Steve Johnson fourth and James Finn fifth.
Zachary Linsell raced uncontested to his first win of the weekend. The Pennsylvania racer won the Hoosier Racing Tire Animal Sprint 335 affair over Vince Hargrove and Ben Thomason.
Courtney Atkinson won not one, but two races in the weekend’s third group. Atkinson ran dual transponders on her CKT sprint-enduro, a legal action by the WKA Tech Manual, and won AM Motorsports Yamaha Sprint Lite and Heiser Trailer Leasing Yamaha Sportsman Sprint Final 1.
The Wisconsin racer, who ran the Sportsman pipe and started 15 seconds after the Yamaha Sprint class, raced past John Jezierski and Jimmy Duguay to take the lead and the win in Yamaha Sprint Lite. Derek Somers and Michael Holman finished second and third in Yamaha Sportsman Sprint, each about 35 seconds back of Atkinson.
Aaron Snyder won his second race of the day in a close DRT Racing TaG Final 1 race with his father, Jim Snyder. A. Snyder bested Jim by a mere 0.052 seconds on his father’s birthday. Donald Nelson finished third.
Dick Charest won the Classic Vintage local option and Gary Baker was the winner of the Open Sprint 1 local option.
Saturday Race 4
Nine shifters started Stock Honda 1 and DRT Racing driver Tiffany McCollum had an easy time of it after Ryan Petty retired five minutes into the race. McCollum pulled her DR Kart out to a 9.7-second lead before the checkers waved. David Harding was second, Ross Kasner third, Phillip Davis fourth and John Sullivan fifth.
Tennessee’s Kelly Lawrence bested Wisconsin’s Michael Lattos in Unlimited Final 1. Lawrence set a fast time of 1:43.156 in his 125cc-powered enduro on his way to the triumph.
Saturday Race 5
Veteran enduro karter Tim Linthicum scored the win in Yamaha Sportsman Heavy. Linthicum took advantage of Richard Marz retiring from the event late in the race to overtake him and garner his first victory of the season. Linthicum finished well ahead of second-place Bob Anderson. Paul Smith was third, Ben Morris fourth and Marz was credited with fifth.
J.C. Sanders was the only entrant in Jr Enduro Lite. Sanders set a fast time of 2:11.739 around CMP’s road course to take the victory.
Saturday Race 6
Courtney Atkinson’s fourth win of the day came in a class she had never raced before this past weekend, WKA Sprint 1. Atkinson strapped a Komet K-71 on her sprint-enduro for the first time ever and proceeded to win by a comfortable 24-second margin over defending class national champion Adam Myers. New York’s Charlie Tustison made his return to the series and took third. Guy Brown was fourth.
Walter “Jeff” Troup won a tight Stock Leopard Final 1 race over Streeter Super Stands’ Jeff Wesell. Troup crossed the stripe just 0.423 seconds in front of Wesell for his first national win of the year. Don Nelson was third and Aamir Hyder fourth.
Austin Wohlford had the field covered in Animal Limited Modified 360. Wohlford won by nearly 15 seconds over defending class national champion Dennis Smith. Charles Wilbur was third and Dominic Greco fourth.
North Carolina’s Chris Kuley showed the way in Animal Jr Sprint Lite. Kuley won by a comfortable margin over Coyote pilot Will Delaney. Defending class champion Brent Hadden was third.
Joe Cuslidge won the Clone 385 local option over Steve Jeffers. It was good to see Jeffers back in action after his serious shoulder injury at last summer’s VIR national.
Robert Garland bested Larry Palmer by a mere 0.281-second gap in the LO206 385 local option.
Saturday Race 7
The day’s final race saw the laydown enduros back on the speedway, which saw a pair of “Lance’s” score feature victories.
Lance Fry was a late entrant in KALL Racing Formula 100 Final 1 and proceeded to race his CKI to victory in the six-kart affair. Fry won over Brian Morse, effectively denying Morse of his second win of the day. Defending class champion Don Chrzan was third, Paul Wyzga fourth and Bill Miller fifth.
Lance Yunck strapped a pipe on his Yamaha-powered enduro for one of the first times and drove to victory in Dart Kart Club 100cc Yamaha Medium. Yunck earned the victory by a 17.6-second margin over Ohio’s Mallory Davis. Don Harrod was third, Arthur McKenny fourth and Fran Mazzucotelli fifth.
Michael Lattos and Kelly Lawrence swapped positions in Formula 125 from their morning Unlimited finish. Lattos scored the victory in this one over Lawrence.
Scott Goodman was the only entrant in B Stock. Goodman made seven laps before retiring and earned the victory.
Sunday Race 1
Sunday’s opening event went off before the mandatory one-hour quiet time. Nine starters made up another strong 100cc Controlled Spec field, which saw Randy Fulks waste no time taking the lead from Sean O’Shea. Fulks pulled out to a big advantage over O’Shea and the rest of the field to capture his second win of the weekend and a sweep of the Controlled Spec classes.
O’Shea had a mirror full of Fry Racing laydowns throughout the 45-minute contest. While the Frys moved in on O’Shea’s blue Coyote several times, the Massachusetts racer was able to fend them off down the stretch to finish second for the second day in succession. Veteran Jim Fry, who’s in the midst of his 50th year of karting, bested both of his sons to take third. Lance Fry was fourth and Brandon Fry fifth.
Courtney Atkinson pulled out to a 21-second advantage over Ryley Howe to win Competition Karting Inc. Yamaha Sportsman Medium. The triumph marked Courtney’s fifth of the weekend. Howe was about eight seconds ahead of third-place finisher Lance Yunck. Fran Mazzucotelli was fourth and Paul Smith fifth.
While his son, Jamie, was in Fontana, Calif., preparing for another NASCAR Sprint Cup event, Jim McMurray was on the opposite coast and strapping into his laydown-enduro ready to challenge for a Dart Kart Club100cc Pipe Medium victory. McMurray not only challenged for the win, but he dominated the 45-minute race, finishing well ahead of Adam Myers and Mallory Davis, who both ran into problems in the event.
J.C. Sanders was the only entrant in Jr Enduro Heavy. Sanders completed the 45-minute race to take his second win in two days.
Sunday Race 2
DRT Racing driver Brian Fisher was a late entrant in CIK 125 Shifter 2 and waged a terrific battle with Saturday CIK Shifter winner Steven Rougeou. The pair raced hard throughout the 30-minute go before Fisher made a last-turn pass on Rougeou in lap traffic to score the victory. Noah Stark was third, Chad Donner fourth and Doug Dodge fifth.
Bryan Blair denied John Sullivan of a sweep of the WKA 125 Shifter divisions with his win in the Sunday version of the class. Blair crossed the checkers less than one second ahead of Sullivan for the score. Series regular Phillip Davis was third, Mike Wallace fourth and Bill Wallace fifth.
Spec 125 TaG 2 saw the same result as Saturday with Aaron Snyder finishing well ahead of Adrian Dale for his third victory of the weekend.
Sunday Race 3
Adam Myers won his second race of the weekend in this group with the WKA Sprint Final 2 victory over Charlie Tustison and Guy Brown. Myers set a fast lap of 1:53.732 on his way to the triumph.
Jeff Wesell battled hard with Don Nelson throughout the first half of the Stock Leopard Final 2 affair. Wesell ended up pulling away aboard his white No. 9 Merlin to take the national triumph by an 11-second gap over Nelson. Saturday winner Jeff Troup couldn’t find the same speed on Sunday and ended up over 21 seconds back of the winner in third.
Dennis Smith took advantage of Zachary Linsell dropping out of Animal Limited Modified 360 just past halfway to take his one and only win of the weekend. Smith was the only driver of five entrants still running at the finish. Linsell was credited with second, Charles Wilbur third, Dominic Greco fourth and Joe Kuley fifth.
Chris Kuley made it a clean sweep of the Animal Jr Sprint category with his Sunday win in Animal Jr Sprint Heavy. Kuley dominated the event and finished over a minute ahead of Brent Hadden and Will Delaney, who swapped positions from Saturday’s final running order.
Steve Jeffers won the Clone 360 local option. Joe Cuslidge won the Clone 410 local option and Larry Palmer was victorious over Robert Garland in the LO206 360 local option.
Sunday Race 4
Lance Yunck made it look easy in 100cc Yamaha Heavy for his second triumph at Kershaw. Yunck won by over a minute margin over Arthur McKenny, who crossed the stripe just ahead of William Anderson after a good battle for the runner-up position. Donald Axe was fourth and Adam Myers fifth in the eight-kart field.
Brian Morse claimed his second win of the weekend in Formula 100 Final 2. Morse took advantage of defending champion Don Chrzan retiring around the halfway mark to drive to a comfortable victory. Chrzan was credited with second, Michael Tracy third and Paul Wyzga fourth.
Sunday Race 5
Tiffany McCollum again proved she’s a force to be reckoned with in the Stock Honda ranks. McCollum won her second race of the weekend in Stock Honda 2 and completed the sweep of the division.
In one of the best races of the weekend, McCollum won after a lively battle with runner-up Ryan Petty, third-place David Harding and fourth-place Tyler Guilbeault. Only 0.278 seconds separated first through fourth in the outstanding race. John Sullivan was eight seconds back in fifth.
Kelly Lawrence scored his second win of the weekend by a cool 24-second gap in Unlimited Final 2 over Michael Lattos.
Sunday Race 6
Zachary Linsell was victorious for the second time of the weekend in the event’s final race. Linsell wheeled his MGM to the triumph in Southern Kart Club Animal Sprint 360 by 15 seconds over Dennis Smith. Vince Hargrove was third, Ben Thomason fourth and Bill Lewis fifth.
WKA Gold Cup Series regular Tyler Sandmeyer raced an MGM sprint-enduro for the first time ever at Kershaw and proceeded to win Animal Sprint 410. However, Sandmeyer did not made the minimum weight and handed the win to MGM owner Paul Rice. Saturday Animal Sprint 385 victor Robert Garland was second, Steve Johnson third, Harrison Walker fourth and Ben Morris fifth.
Don Nelson won TaG Final 2 over Emmitt Rodriguez. Nelson set a fast time of 1:57.538 on his way to the triumph.
Gary Baker won over William Evans in the Open Sprint 2 local option.
Much appreciation goes out to the fine officials, workers, volunteers and everyone who helped make the Johnny Jacumin Memorial and smooth and successful event.
Next up for the WKA National Road Racing Series is trip to Michigan for the Dart Kart Club-hosted May 18-20 Grattan Nationals at the popular Grattan Raceway. The event marks the first WKA national event at Grattan since 2006, and it’s primed to be a good one with the fine folks at the Dart Kart Club behind the helm.