CONCORD, NC - Round 2 of the Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series April 1-3 at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina had all the makings of what appeared to be the FIRST national event of the season. With a jammed packed pit area, competitors fended off wet track conditions early Friday and Saturday morning, the end result being some of the most competitive racing in the early part of the season, as the Praga North America Nationals scored a Home Run!! From photo finishes in the Yamaha Sportsman ranks between Robert Noaker III and Madison Campeau, to the comeback of JP Southern Jr, to the fantastic effort of Preveil Perkins in the Kid Kart Ranks, and the double win effort by Ryan Norberg, the weekends activities were deemed a huge success by all in attendance.
Starting things off Saturday in the Water for a Cause Kid Kart Class, Perkins and Tristan Young had an amazing race for the lead, through the bulk of the 16 lap main event. It came down to the final corner of the last lap when Young made a move on the outside, when contact between Young and Perkins eventually led to both drivers going off course. Young was able to rebound and claim the win, while Perkins, the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time Winner for the day, came across in 8th. Following Young across the stripe on Day 1 were Ayrton Grimm, James Newell, Hoyt Mohr, and Aubrey Adams.
Tucking Saturday behind him, Perkins went right back to work, this time spending the day holding off Indy Ragan, who was in Perkins tire tracks the entire event. Maintaining his focus and hitting his marks, Perkins prevailed on Day 2 to claim a popular win with Ragan coming home second, followed by Mohr, Grimm, and Karsyn Walters. For his efforts both days, Ayrton Grimm was the Checkered Motorsports overall weekend winner, tabulating the best point total.
As if the Kid Karts didn’t provide enough excitement, Day 1 for the Allison Racing Engines Yamaha Sportsman Class was a true battle amongst a half dozen competitors. Matching the finish of Kaden Wharff and Jason Welage in a recent WKA Winter Cup event, Robert Noaker III edged Madison Campeau by mere inches, after winning the drag race off the final turn, taking the win on Saturday. Following the duo were Kyle Thome, Tyler Maxson, and Isabella Robusto. Noaker was the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner on Saturday.
Not to be left out, Kaden Wharff rebounded on Sunday to take the Day 2 race, topping Thome, Caleb Bacon, Campeau, and Comet Kart Sales Fast Time Winner Zane Maloney. For his 2nd and 3rd place efforts, Thome was the Checkered Motorsports Overall weekend winner.
Large numbers also ensured quite a bit of parity over the weekend, as Ryan Norberg was the only repeat winner, taking the top honors in the KartSport North America Pro IAME Senior classe. Norberg topped Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner Jonathan Kotyk on Saturday, with Braden Eves, Jacob Donald, and Brandon Jarsocrak completing the top 5. On Sunday, Norberg stole the Comet Kart Sales pole award, thus keeping Brandon Lemke, Jarsocrak, Jacob Donald, and Kotyk in check, easily also winning the Checkered Motorsports overall weekend winner award, netting him $1,000 for his efforts.
Comeback was also a key word this past weekend as well. After a frightening crash in the SKUSA SuperNats last November left JP Southern Jr with 2 broken ankles, the 2015 WKA National Champion rehabilitated, revived, and returned to the top shelf of the podium Saturday, taking the Franklinkart.com Yamaha Junior Final. Southern bested Pauly Massimino, Lance Fenderson, Alex Bertagnoli, and Sam Mayer, while Tyler Ferris took the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time honors.
Day 2 saw Massimino lay claim to the win, topping Sam Mayer, Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner Emory Lyda, Colin Neal, and Tyler Ferris. Massimino’s efforts also earned him the Checkered Motorsports overall weekend winner status as well.
Zane Maloney had a good weekend in the IAME USA East Pro Swift Sportsman class, taking the Day 1 win over Kaden Wharff, Tyler Maxson, Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner Rylee Engel, and William Robusto. Maloney set out on the second day in good shape, taking the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time effort, but came up short in the final to eventual winner Devin Gomez, along with Kaden Wharff in second. Following the trio were Connor Ferris and Leland Honeyman. Despite missing the weekend sweep of the class, a 1st and a 3rd netted Maloney the weekends Checkered Motorsports top dog effort, as well as a check for $500. The Pro Swift Sportsman class also boasted 35 karts in the class, making for some impressive racing throughout the field all weekend long.
Sitting in the On Deck Circle behind the large contingent of Pro Swift Sportsman drivers was the CRPRacing.com Mini Swift Class, keeping the fans on the fence for sure. While local products to GoPro Motorplex, both Eli Trull and Caleb Gafrarar are well traveled nationally in their early careers, but had the drop on the competition this past weekend, with Trull, the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner, taking Saturdays final, followed by Sam Corry, Tyler Wettengel, Sebastian Ng, and Paige Crawford. On Sunday, Gafrarar rebounded from a tough Day 1 to claim the class win, with Crawford improving to second on the final day, followed by Trull, Wettengel, and Nicholas Terlecki.
Whether it be Winter Cup or Mfg Cup, the Woltjer Racing Engines Pro IAME Junior class has belonged to Lance Fenderson. That theme continued on Day 1, with Fenderson heading off Myles Rowe for the win, followed by Pauly Massimino, Michael Cruz, and Alex Bertagnoli. Fenderson also claimed the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time award on Saturday.
Day 2 found Ty Gibbs taking the win, following early problems for Fenderson, with Sam Mayer, Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner Massimino, Rowe, and Cruz completing the top 5. For his efforts on the weekend in the class, Massimino also claimed the Checkered Motorsports award as the top overall winner, also getting $500.
The Fullerton Karts USA Yamaha Senior class continued the theme of strong competition all weekend long, with Brandon Lemke claiming the Day 1 win over Nick Landi, as Braden Eves, Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner Jacob Donald, and Alexander Kardashian completed the top 5. On Sunday, Donald improved a few spots to take the win, with Landi, the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner coming home second, followed by Dakota Pesek, Chuck Tate, and Derek Hughes. Landi’s pair of runner-up spots also earned him the Checkered Motorsports overall weekend winner award.
In addition to the 8 national classes, the series also welcomed in the Local Option LO206 Senior class for the weekend, with Nick Tucker and Charlotte Lalonde claiming the wins. Tucker bested Lalonde, James Dunn, Robert Dupree, and James Rucker on Day 1, with Lalonde besting Tucker, Dunn, Dupree, and Rucker on the final day.
The long 4-day weekend was well worth the effort for all, as competitors were also treated to a Karting Family Appreciation Barbecue Friday following practice. Special Thanks to Chris Kardashian of AMK Race Products, Chuck Gafrarar of Chuck G Fabrication, Todd and Heather Trull from Water for a Cause, George and Jamie Sieracki with Franklin Motorsports, Eric Jones with KartSport North America, Keith Freber with Margay, Bill McLaughlin with Top Kart USA, Dan Dyszelski with Charlotte Mechanical, and Paul Massimino with Twin Transmission for their collective sponsorship and support of the barbecue, which was a huge hit for the competitors and their families.
The series takes another breather before heading to New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana for the third stop on the tour July 15-17.
On behalf of the World Karting Association, thanks so much to all the competitors, sponsors, and families for their support of the series second event.