CONCORD, N.C. – The World Karting Association Mazda / Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series renewed its 2012 season this past weekend with the CRG America Nationals at Pittsburgh Int’l Race Complex, the popular western Pennsylvania venue formerly known as BeaveRun.
A terrific turnout of 547 entries filled the PIRC pit area for the third round of the WKA’s 2-cycle national tour; ironically enough, last year’s fourth round of the Man Cup at Pittsburgh in August featured the exact same entry count.
Spring, Texas’ Mason Chelootz was the big winner on the weekend, netting an astounding four feature wins, including a sweep of the TaG and Komet senior mains.
Chelootz dominated three of the four finals he won. The closest margin of victory in the four races came in Chelootz’s last win of the weekend, TaG Final 2, which saw the Top Kart pilot cross the finish stripe a little over a half-second in front of Chris Wehrheim. The Texan’s other three scores were by over 2.4 seconds.
Although Chelootz was the only racer to accomplish the feat, three drivers had a shot at triple- or quadruple-win weekends entering Sunday’s final day of competition.
Florida’s Ashley Rogero and Ohio’s Leonardo Stoia each won a pair of main events Saturday and were working to do the same Sunday. Rogero and Stoia both ran into some hard luck in their Sunday classes and were halted at two wins apiece on the weekend.
Illinois’ Kyle Kalish, who was shut out of victory lane on Saturday, redeemed himself on Sunday with a sweep of the day’s junior divisions to equal Rogero’s Saturday afternoon accomplishment.
Indiana’s Zach Holden joined Stoia as a double winner in the Sportsman ranks. Holden scored the Yamaha Sportsman 1 win on Saturday in a race with Stoia that ended in a near dead heat and backed it up Sunday with a last-lap pass on David Malukas in Yamaha Sportsman 2. Holden’s Pittsburgh wins marked his fourth and fifth Man Cup triumphs of the season in what’s been a terrific year to date for the Comet Kart Sales-backed racer.
Connecticut’s Alex Verhagen continued his hot streak in WKA competition with another weekend sweep of the Yamaha Rookie Sportsman divisions. After a disappointing outing at the Daytona season opener, Verhagen has now won four races in a row in Yamaha Rookie with weekend sweeps at Kershaw and Pittsbugh.
Scott Ferris joined the TaG Masters division for the first time in the Man Cup and promptly wheeled his Top Kart to a sweep of the class. In a couple of exciting races, Ferris bested Bobby Cummings in Saturday’s Final 1 and fended off late-race challenges from Brian McHattie in Final 2.
The weekend’s only single-class winners were Chris Wehrheim in Parilla Leopard, Brandon Adkins in Yamaha Supercan Lite and Patrick Olsen in Yamaha Supercan Heavy.
Here’s a rundown of each of the 20 classes to take the green flag for round three of the Man Cup at Pittsburgh.
New Jersey Sprint Series Yamaha Rookie Sportsman Final 1
Alex Verhagen fought off all challengers in Saturday’s weekend-opening Yamaha Rookie division. Verhargen raced his Haase to the Streeter Super Stands Pole Award, prefinal win and final triumph by a tight 0.036-second margin over Top Kart racer Tyler Ferris. Samuel Paley was third, Kyra Frederick fourth and Jason Welage fifth.
The Rookie class boasted 24 entrants on the weekend in another strong showing for the second-year Manufacturers Cup division.
Mike Doty Racing Yamaha Rookie Sportsman Final 2
Alex Verhagen completed his weekend dominance of the Rookie division with his fourth Man Cup score of the year in Rookie Sportsman Final 2. Verhagen held a hungry Jason Welage at bay throughout the 13-lapper. In fact, Welage had the lead for several laps before Verhagen made an inside pass in turn one to retake the top spot. He was never seriously challenged down the stretch, although Welage was only a few kart-lengths back throughout right until the checkers waved.
Max Kaeser completed a good weekend to take third. Samuel Paley was fourth and Tyler Ferris netted his second top-five of the weekend with a fifth-place run.
Welage won the prefinal and Verhagen won the Streeter Super Stands Pole Award with a quick lap of 1:05.374.
RLV Tuned Exhaust Products Cadet Sportsman Final 1
Leonardo Stoia kicked off the Jr Sportsman divisions at Pittsburgh with a close triumph over Zach Holden in the Cadet Sportsman weekend opener. The race was a preview of what was to come as Stoia and his No. 27 PCR dueled with Holden’s No. 2 Arrow in nearly every round of Sportsman competition throughout the event.
This one saw Stoia best Holden by a mere 0.018 seconds. The lead duo finished with about 10 kart-lengths between them and third-place David Malukas. Brendan Cullura was fourth and J.P. Southern Jr. fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Brandon Lemke, Michael D’Orlando, Michael Cruz, Braden Eves and Garrett Moran. Eves won the Pole Award with a lap of 1:04.241.
Grand Products / Top Kart Cadet Sportsman Final 2
When Zach Holden and Leonardo Stoia both retired from the Cadet Final 1 main event early, the door was wide open for a new winner.
David Malukas quickly put his No. 79 Birel out front and led Nick Luedeke until the red flag waved about halfway into the 13-lapper. When the race restarted, Malukas lost the lead for a short time before retaking it and fending off a hard-charging Theo Chick and Brandon Lemke to the finish to score his first-ever WKA Manufacturers Cup feature win after about three years of trying.
Chick and Lemke ran second and third, Michael D’Orlando fourth and Braden Eves fifth. Six through 10th were Simon Sikes, Johnny Smith, Adam Sturgill, Jared Cordova and Michael Cruz.
Luedeke won the Pole Award and backed it up with the prefinal win.
Adkins Speed Center Komet Sportsman
Leonardo Stoia led a pair of PCRs across the stripe in this 13-lap main. Stoia battled Braden Eves, Garrett Moran and Zach Holden throughout the race and ended up claiming his second win of the day over Eves. Moran and Holden took third and fourth. The margin between first and fourth was only 0.379 seconds. David Malukas led early but faded to a fifth-place result. Holden won the Pole Award by a mere 0.120 seconds over Malukas.
PCR Komet Jr Lite
After a disappointing run in Komet Jr Heavy on Saturday that saw him get disqualified, Kyle Kalish returned Sunday and left little doubt that he belonged with Ashley Rogero as one of the top-two junior competitors at Pitt Race.
Kalish wheeled his No. 19 Merlin to a convincing 2.6-second victory over defending Triple Crown champion Joel Jens. Gresham Wagner continued his strong weekend with a another third-place result aboard his MRP Birel. Ryan Raffa had his best outing since advancing to the junior divisions with a fourth-place finish. Garrett Johnston rounded out the top five.
Mike McAndrews, Jake Johnston, Brandon Jarsocrak, Clay Vaneerd and Austin McCusker finished in the latter half of the top 10. Kalish swept the class with the prefinal win and Streeter Pole Award.
Orlando Kart Center Komet Jr Heavy
Ashley Rogero continues to show she’s one of, if not the racer to beat in the ultra-competitive Man Cup junior classes. Rogero chauffeured her Tony Kart to an uncontested victory in Komet Jr Heavy for her first win of the weekend. Rogero pulled out to nearly a five-second lead over Kershaw double winner Brandon Jarsocrak. Gresham Wagner was third, Kyle Kirkwood fourth and Jake Johnston fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Joel Jens, Clay Vaneerd, Jared Thomas, Andrew Bujdoso and Skylar Robinson. Rogero won the Pole Award with a time of 58.047. Kyle Kalish bested Rogero in the heat race but ran into problems on the grid for the final and was relegated to the last starting position before being disqualified.
TSRacing.com Komet Heavy
Mason Chelootz made it look easy in the weekend’s first final, Komet Heavy. The Texas Top Kart racer won by the largest margin of victory of the weekend – a 6.9-second-advantage thrashing over Patrick Olsen (Birel) and Raquel Martinez (Top Kart). Jonathan Kotyk took fourth and Jacob Donald fifth in the short eight-kart field.
Chelootz swept the class; his Pole Award time was a fast 58.726 around the 0.8-mile 13-turn Pittsburgh course.
J3 Competition Komet Lite
Jonathan Kotyk made things a little more interesting in the Sunday version of Komet senior, Komet Lite. Kotyk wheeled his Tony Kart to the Streeter Pole Award and prefinal victory; however, when the green flag waved for the 13-lap main, Mason Chelootz wasted no time muscling his Top Kart to the top spot.
Chelootz passed Kotyk on lap one and pulled out to a 2.4-second lead before the checkers waved. The win gave Chelootz his second triumph of the season in Komet Lite and fifth overall in the pair of senior Komet divisions.
Kotyk battled hard with Raquel Martinez for second and ended up making a last-lap pass on the Californian for the runner-up spot. Jacob Donald was fourth and Jarrett Duncovich rounded out the top five.
Grand Products / Top Kart Parilla Leopard
Chris Wehrheim captured his second Man Cup win of the 2012 season with a convincing drive to the victory in Saturday’s Leopard-only division. Wehrheim and his Top Kart started third and muscled the lead away from Kyle Smith a few laps into the race and never looked back.
Smith crossed the stripe 1.7 seconds back in the runner-up spot, about a half-second ahead of Mason Chelootz. The race marked the only main Chelootz lost all weekend. Robby Seward and Jacob Knueven completed the fast five.
Smith won the heat race and Wehrheim sat on the pole with a quick lap of 55.805.
Franklinkart.com TaG Final 1
Mason Chelootz’s second triumph of the weekend came in this one by a cool 2.7-second margin over PCR pilot and defending TaG national champion Robert Bujdoso. Chelootz’s Top Kart beat out a pair of PCRs in the 29-kart race as Kyle Smith finished third. Jonathan Kotyk had one of his best Man Cup weekends to date and one of the highlights was a fourth-place result in the weekend’s first TaG main. Jacob Donald continues to run strong in his rookie year in the senior divisions and claimed fifth.
Sixth through 10th read Robby Seward, Mark Boos, Chris Wehrheim, Tommy Andersen and Carter Fatuch. Chelootz won the Streeter Super Stands Pole Award and the eight-lap prefinal.
OTK Kart USA TaG Final 2
Mason Chelootz did it again in the TaG weekend capper. The end result was the closest margin of victory of the weekend for Chelootz; his Grand Product Top Kart teammate Chris Wehrheim led most of the first half of the race before Chelootz scooted by and raced to the win by 0.647 seconds.
Jonathan Kotyk continued his fine weekend with another podium, this time third place. Kyle Smith netted his third top five of the weekend in fourth; veteran Brandon Adkins rounded out the top five.
Sixth through 10th saw Jacob Knueven, Robert Bujdoso, Tommy Andersen, Trenton Walko and T.J. Koyen. Andersen won the Fast Time award and prefinal but ran into problems on the opening lap of the feature and had to settle for eighth.
DRT Racing TaG Masters Final 1
Scott Ferris turned 35 years old in late April and the former TaG regular wasted no time moving into the TaG Masters division. Ferris, always competitive in TaG racing against many drivers some 15 to 20 years to his junior, didn’t waste anytime putting his Top Kart in victory lane, either.
Ferris engaged in a fierce battle with Bobby Cummings and Brian McHattie in an entertaining race. McHattie led a good portion of the affair before Ferris moved to the inside and past the Exprit driver. Cummings did the same thing on the last lap, where contact was made that sent McHattie through the grass and to a third-place finish, behind Ferris and Cummings.
Steve Rumsey was fourth and Tim Hannen completed the top five in a competitive 19-kart field. McHattie won the Streeter Pole Award.
Margay Racing Products TaG Masters Final 2
Jeff Jewell found some speed on his Margay and won the Pole Award and prefinal in the Sunday version of TaG Masters. Jewell ran into problems on the opening lap of the final and lost valuable track position. His misfortune opened the door for Scott Ferris and Brian McHattie to race away from the field.
Ferris looked to have it in the bag until McHattie made a valiant charge and closed the gap to a kart-length with one lap to go. McHattie tried to make an inside move in turn two on the last lap but didn’t have enough, allowing Ferris some breathing room throughout the rest of the final lap and a sweep of the TaG Masters divisions.
Scot Carapellatti was third, Jewell made it back to fourth and Kim Carapellatti fifth.
Comet Kart Sales Yamaha Sportsman 1
The closest finish of the weekend saw Zach Holden (Arrow) and Leonardo Stoia (PCR) cross the finish stripe in a dead heat. Scoring showed Holden ahead by 0.005 seconds. The finish was reversed for a time before a protest and appeal were heard, ultimately giving the win back to Holden in a wild course of events.
Nick Luedeke raced to a third-place finish aboard his Kosmic. Daytona winner Jared Cordova was fourth and Neil Verhagen fifth. Sixth through 10th were Braden Eves, Garrett Moran, David Malukas, Kaleb Allison and Kaden Harter. Stoia bested 34 other entrants to win the Pole Award and prefinal.
MRP / Birel Yamaha Sportsman 2
Zach Holden completed the sweep of the Yamaha Sportsman mains with a last-lap pass on David Malukas for the Sunday score. Malukas, who won the Cadet feature earlier in the day, led much of the race before leaving the door open for Holden with only a handful of corners left.
Leonardo Stoia was third, Neil Verhagen notched his second top-five result of the weekend in fourth and J.P. Southern Jr. was fifth. Braden Eves, Garrett Moran, Thayne Chapin, Nick Luedeke and Brandon Lemke filled the top 10. Eves was the Streeter Pole Award and Stoia won the heat race.
Woltjer Racing Engines Yamaha Jr Lite
A close Yamaha Jr race saw the top-five finishers cross the checkers within a half-second of one another. The leader of the pack was Florida Tony Kart racer Ashley Rogero, who won her second race of the day after claiming Komet Jr Heavy earlier. Kyle Kalish was only 0.094 seconds back in second, Joel Jens third, Mike McAndrews fourth and Kyle Kirkwood fifth.
Gresham Wagner, Skylar Robinson, Jake Johnston, Matt Solarczyk and Austin Osborne ran sixth through 10th. The Yamaha Jr divisions were the largest fields of the weekend; 43 started the Yamaha Jr Lite final.
Grant Quinlan won the Pole Award and Kalish scored the prefinal win.
Verde Speed Resources Yamaha Jr Heavy
A couple of Kyles were the story in the last race of the weekend as Merlin racer Kyle Kalish and Walldinger Racing Arrow pilot Kyle Kirkwood raced away from the rest of the 42-kart field to settle this one among themselves.
Kalish led the entire race with Kirkwood hot on his heels. Fans waited for Kirkwood to make a move on the last lap, but it never happened and Kalish ran to the win without a serious challenge from the Florida racer.
Skylar Robinson had one of the fastest karts on the track and moved from sixth to finish third. Joel Jens was fourth and Grant Quinlan notched his only top-five result of the weekend in fifth. Mike McAndrews, Gresham Wagner, Brandon Jarsocrak, Matt Solarczyk and Sarah Carmon were sixth through 10th. Austin Osborne won the Streeter Pole Award.
Yamaha Supercan Lite
Supercan Lite was all Brandon Adkins. The Birel pilot swept the class by claiming the Pole Award, prefinal win and main event triumph by 2.1 seconds over Patrick Olsen. However, Olsen was disqualified in post-race tech, giving the runner-up spot to Weston Moon. Dakota Pesek was third, Cody Gardner fourth and Travis Reisig fifth. Twenty karts started the Saturday version of Supercan Lite, including a couple of American-made chassis in the form of Margays and a Coyote.
APPCO Yamaha Supercan Heavy
After Brandon Adkins won the Streeter Pole Award most onlookers figured the remainder of the Supercan Heavy show would belong to the Pennsylvania pilot. However, Tony Jump, who qualified second, wheeled his Margay past Adkins’ Birel to win the prefinal.
The final belonged to neither Jump nor Adkins, but a strong-running Patrick Olsen. Olsen raced his Birel to an early lead and pulled out to a convincing three-second lead over Jump before the checkers waved. Jump and Collin Griffin crossed the stripe second and third but both were bounced in post-race tech, giving the runner-up position to Mark Boos. James Brock was third, Dakota Pesek fourth and Travis Reisig fifth in the 21-kart field.
SPL Kid Karts
Three kid karters gained laps and valuable experience around the 0.8-mile Pittsburgh Wilson Circuit. Elizabeth Gray, Austin Kendig and Donald Whorton II made every round of the Kid Kart exhibitions throughout the weekend. All three drivers looked good on the track as they prepare to advance to the Yamaha Rookie Sportsman division in the coming years.
Next up for the WKA Manufacturers Cup is a July 6-8 date for the MKP Nationals at South Bend, Indiana’s Michiana Raceway Park.
Click here to view and print the MKP Nationals entry form.