CONCORD, NC - Following a most successful season, the curtain will be drawn this weekend on the Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series at Pittsburgh International Race Complex in the Top Kart USA Grand Nationals. And while many points leads could be deemed safe, Bonus Points always play a key factor, sometimes throwing a wrench into what appeared to be a title in hand for some competitors.
The tightest battle is in one of the newest classes to the Mfg Cup program. Unfortunately, the IAME Swift Cup is considered a Local Option Class for the 2015 season. But if all Local Option classes grew like this one in its maiden year, life would indeed be great. Local Option aside, competitors in this class are going for bragging rights in the inaugural year for this most popular class. At present, Jason Welage holds a slim 10 point advantage over Connor Ferris with Pauly Massimino just 20 points back in third. The top 5 consist of Tyler Ferris and Luca Mars with Owen Mahle, Eli Trull, Nick Snell, Kyle Thome, and Robert Noaker III still jockeying for positions in the top 10.
While the Zero Error Racing class has for the most part all year just had 3 entries, the on track competition between points leader Dakota Pesek and runnerup Derek Hughes, as well as third place points man Tony Peterson has been phenomenal. Pesek currently leads Hughes by 70 points. And it appears the title will come down to these 2 drivers, as Peterson had to unfortunately withdraw from the event.
Derek Dignan has things well in hand in the Hytorc of Texas Pro Leopard Senior class, sporting a comfortable 227 point margin over multi time winner Andrick Zeen. Olivia Horn, Austin Osborne, and Nick Landi currently reside in the top 5 in this class, with the weekends winner again receiving $1,000 to win, with second place getting $500 and the third place finisher receiving a set of Bridgestone Tires.
The CRP Racing Kid Kart Class has been full of great competition all season long. Currently Caleb Gafrarar leads Benjamin Maier by 80 tallies with Danny Dyszelski, Sofia D’Arrigo, and Adam Brickley in the top 5. Others that will be on hand for the weekends action include Sam Corry, Aubrey Adams, Austin Olds, Tristan Young, and Ava Dutton, all drivers in the top 10 in the series standings.
Donald Whorton II comes in to Pittsburgh holding a 75 point edge over Nick Snell in the New Jersey Sprint Series Yamaha Rookie class. Trailing those 2 drivers are Lucas Smalec, Owen Mahle, and Elliott Cox for the top 5, with Riley Erickson, Annie Rhule, Eli Trull, Lucas Rodriguez, and Connor Churchill the current top 10, all expected to be on hand.
While Jason Welage holds a slim lead in the IAME Swift Cup standings, he has a commanding edge over Pauly Massimino in the Comet Kart Sales Yamaha Sportsman class, by some 230 points. Gage Rodgers is currently within striking distance of Massimino in third, with Tyler Ferris and Madison Campeau making up the current top 5. Also signed up to do battle this weekend in this class are Robert Noaker III, Kaden Wharff, Thomas Schrage, Joshua Warren, and Emil Schulz as the top ten is expected to shuffle again.
Welage also leads the DRT Racing Pro TaG Sportsman class, currently holding a 95 point advantage over Luca Mars, with Massimino, Rodgers, and Connor Ferris the top five. Noaker, Campeau, Wharff, Schrage, Aiden Lindley and many more will not only fight for final position in the points, but the $500 payday that accompanies the winner this weekend, with second place getting $250, and the third place finisher receiving a set of Bridgestone Tires.
The remaining 3 classes have healthy leads as John Paul Southern Jr sports a 145 point edge over Brandon Lemke in the Woltjer Racing Engines Yamaha Junior class, with Zach Holden, Drew Lindley, and Geo Bromante making up the top five. Also expected to be on hand to better their position in the top 10 are Marina Walters, David Malukas, Austin Schulz, Sam Paley, and Brody Warren, as well as many others.
While Lemke trails in Yamaha Junior, he looks to cap off the KartSport North America Pro IAME Junior class this weekend. Lemke currently leads Zach Holden by 170 points, with Southern, Jack Miller, and Bromante rounding out the top five. Others expected on hand include Abby McLaughlin, Drew Lindley, Alex Bertagnoli, and many more. Winner in this class will receive $500 for the win with $250 going to second, and a set of Bridgestone Tires being presented to the third place finisher.
Finally in the Tillotson Pro X30 Senior class, Alexander Kardashian has a stranglehold on the field, sporting a 209 point edge over his closest competitor, that being Derek Dignan. Andrick Zeen, Olivia Horn, Sam Cate, and many more are expected to be on hand for this finale, which again will pay the winner $1,000, with $500 for second, and third receiving a set of Bridgestone Tires.
Activities for the Top Kart USA Grand Nationals get underway with a full day of practice Friday Aug 28, beginning at 9am. Action begins Saturday at 8am with 1 round of practice, followed by 3 sets of heat races, setting the field for Sundays Pre Finals and Finals which will begin at 8am with 1 round of practice.
On behalf of the World Karting Association, best of luck to all competitors in the Grand National this weekend, and thank you for supporting the Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series in 2015.