CONCORD, NC - For the better part of the season, Tanner Carter has been one of the most consistent competitors on the RLV Tuned Exhaust Products Gold Cup Series, posting several top 3 finishes in Sportsman competition. Those results for Carter have kept him in the hunt for a few of the class titles. As the Series made it’s way back to the historical Lamar County Speedway in Barnesville, Georgia, Carter decided it was time to climb the result ladder, thus netting 3 Eagles in the GT Machine Grand Nationals.
For Carter, success began on Saturday in the Razor Chassis Sportsman Pro Gas Lite main event. As competitors battled rainy, drizzly conditions all weekend long, Carter waged some of the best battles of the year with class points leader and multi time winner Aiden Baker Crouse. Facing the tightest track conditions of the year on the challenging Lamar County course, Carter edged out Crouse, the Mikim Motorsports top qualifier, for his first of 3 wins on the weekend, with Cale Hall, Landen Lewis, and Riley Kelley completing the top five.
Success continued for Carter in the Miller Welders Sportsman LO 206 Class. While chasing Crouse and Kelley in the standings, Carter turned the tables, securing win #2 for the day over Cale Hall, Mikim Motorsports Fast Timer Crouse, Max Porter, and Kelley.
Carter polished off the weekend with a sweep in the Razor Chassis Sportsman Pro Gas Lite class. After winning the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time award, Carter fended off Kelley, Hall, Crouse, and Lewis for the top honors.
While the weekend was challenging for all, it was most challenging for the Tyler Sandmeyer Kid Karts. With the current rule in place, disallowing Kid Karts in the Gold Cup Series to run in wet weather conditions, the efforts by WKA Officials to find the window of opportunity presented itself, allowing Day #1 of the title run to be decided on the track. As a result, defending series champion Jax Walker laid claim to the top spot on Saturday, edging out Owen Lloyd, his closest competitor in the standings, with just 30 points separating the 2 drivers in the overall standings coming into the event. Walker also laid claim to the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time award. Chasing the duo across the stripe were Blake Boon, Peyton Bridges, and Caleb Gafrarar.
Sean Meier also made the most of his weekend, scoring a victory Saturday in the Coyote Motorsports Senior Pro Gas Class. Entering the weekend, Meier sat just 15 points behind series leader Jacob Heavlow. With just a couple more shots at the title, Meier turned back some heavyweights, topping Zach Linsell, Mikim Motorsports Fast Timer Eric Fagan, Dustin Demattia, and Tyler Smith. Rounding out the top ten were Aren Smith, Matthew Lewis, Jacob Heavlow, Jason Zobkiw, and Patrick O’Neal.
Hunter Johnson also turned some heads over the weekend with very strong outings in the Junior competition. Johnson scored the first of his 2 wins over the weekend Saturday, taking the Van K Wheels Junior Pro Gas Lite main, turning back Jason Alder, the number 2 driver in points, with Mikim Motorsports Fast Time winner Cody Hall coming home in third, followed by Alex Vrabel and Joshua Stark. Completing the top ten were Matt Tortorell, series points leader Matthew Miller, Simon Sikes, Jimmy Cole Jackson, and Brian Van Cleve.
The weekend had its sad moments as well, as the checkered flag on the Animal Medium Class also signified the end of an era, with the discontinuation of the methanol class for 2016. That just inspired points leader Paul Headley to continue his mastery of the class, as Headley swept the weekends action. On Saturday, Jim Lipari, the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time winner, chased Headley to the line, while Stevie Roberts and Dalton Miller made up the top 3 on Day #2, with Headley taking the Mikim Motorsports Fast time award.
With a top 5 under his belt earlier, Mikim Motorsports Fast Time winner Cody Hall backed up his solid qualifying performance, garnering the Thor Oil Junior LO 206 class. Coming into the event in a virtual deadlock with Matthew Miller for the title, Hall made the first effort to break the tie. Miller was not far behind in second, with Jimmy Cole Jackson, Talia Moffet, and Jason Alder completing the top 5.
Floridian Tyler Smith made just his second visit into the Briggs and Stratton Racing LO 206 Class a memorable one, sweeping the weekends action against some of the best Senior drivers in the country. Smith backed up his Mikim Motorsports Fast Time run with a win on Day 1, topping Dustin Demattia, Joseph Skaggs, Brad Bacon, and Matthew Mayes. Smith roared right back to life on Day 2, leaving the competition in his wake, with Skaggs, Demattia, Austin Queen, and Bob Barthelemy making up the top 5. Completing the top ten were Brandon Murzynski, Carter Schlenke, Jason Zobkiw, Ben Wagenhals, and Matthew Mayes.
In the “You Can Only Keep Him Down But So Long” Category, Aiden Baker Crouse continued his winning ways, racking up an impressive total of national event wins this season, 3 of which happened at Barnesville. Crouse, the leader in the Baker Racing Engines Sportsman Pro Gas Animal Heavy class, secured the first win on the weekend Saturday, taking the Heavy class, after winning the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time award. Landen Lewis had a great showing on the weekend, taking yet another top 5 run in second, with Kelly Puckett, Mark Steube, and Riley Kelley completing the top 5. Crouse polished off the class on Sunday, topping Mikim Motorsports Fast Timer Tanner Carter, with Kelley, Macon Moore, and Puckett taking down the top five.
Crouse padded his points lead over Kelley in the Miller Welders Sportsman LO 206 class, securing his third win on the weekend, with Cale Hall, Max Porter, Elijah Skaggs, and Carter completing the top 5.
The Power Plus Lubricants Animal Heavy Mix Class was also making their final appearance in Gold Cup competition for a while, as this will also be a class not returning in 2016. On Day 1, Joey Miller worked the field over for his lone win of the weekend, topping Paul Headley, Aren Smith, Case Hall, and Matthew Lewis. On Day 2, Headley joined the 3 win club for the weekend, taking down the class, with Lewis, Miller, Smith, and Hall completing the top 5.
Hunter Johnson ended the first days action with his second win of the weekend, this time in the Brad’s Heating and Cooling Junior Pro Gas Heavy main, taking the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time honor, as well as the win. Jimmy Cole Jackson had one of his best weekends of the season, claiming second, with Cody Hall, Alex Vrabel, and Matt Miller completing the top 5. Rounding out the top ten were Jason Alder, Joshua Stark, Brian Van Cleve, Simon Sikes, and Matthew Tortorell.
Sundays wet weather challenge for the Kid Karts continued. However, track drying efforts by the balance of the competitors finally afforded the Tyler Sandmeyer sponsored class the chance to decide the title on the track. When all was said and done, Peyton Bridges stood atop the podium for victory #1 on the weekend. Following Bridges were Brentley Miller, Caleb Gafrarar, Blake Boon, and Walker Porter, with Owen Lloyd, and Bryce Sanders rounding out the field. Points leader Jax Walker incurred mechanical issues early, and was relegated to watching from the infield.
Sean Meier enjoyed the sweep of the weekend in the Coyote Motorsports Senior Pro Gas class, topping Zach Linsell, Eric Fagan, Patrick O’Neal, and Dustin Demattia, with Matthew Lewis, Aren Smith, Tyler Smith, Dylan Zobkiw, and Jacob Connor completing the top ten.
In Sundays Van K Wheels Junior Pro Gas Lite main, Jason Alder continued his efforts to close the 40 point gap between himself and points leader Matt Miller. Alder claimed the win with Hunter Johnson coming home second. Jimmy Cole Jackson, Alex Vrabel, and Miller rounded out the top five, with Matt Tortorell, Joshua Stark, Cody Hall, Brian Van Cleve, and Talia Moffet making up the top 10.
The gap between Matt Miller and Cody Hall continued tight Sunday. After Hall tried to break the points tie Saturday with a win, Millers second place run, combined with a return to victory lane Sunday helped take the battle right down to the wire. Chasing Miller on Sunday was Jimmy Cole Jackson, Cody Hall, Jason Alder, and Talia Moffet.
Alex Vrabel was finally able to check in for a weekend win, taking the Brad’s Heating and Cooling Junior Pro Gas Heavy main Sunday afternoon. And for yet another time, Jimmy Cole Jackson, in the hunt for a win all weekend long, came home second. Completing the top five were Hunter Johnson, Simon Sikes, and Talia Moffett.
The persistent weekend drizzle also played havoc with the traditional Friday Evening Money races, forcing officials to move the show to Saturday afternoon. However, as always, drivers did not disappoint, as well as sponsors. With Brad’s Heating and Cooling already generously sponsoring the purses for both Sportsman and Junior Pro Gas Shootouts, Andy Jones added another $100 to each class, giving the winner a $300 payday for 10 laps of competition in both classes. Aiden Baker Crouse was the first in line to say Thank You, taking the Sportsman Shootout, topping Tanner Carter, Cale Hall, Landen Lewis, ad Riley Kelley.
In the Junior Pro Gas Shootout, Jason Alder claimed the $300 top prize, edging Matthew Miller, Cody Hall, Hunter Johnson, and Jimmy Cole Jackson.
2nd place in both races received $100 with third place getting $50, while the top five also received trophies.
And for the third time in 4 races this year, Zach Linsell claimed the top honors in the Senior Pro Gas Money Race. Linsell, winner of the event at Jacksonville, Florida, and Kershaw, South Carolina, bested Eric Fagan, Dustin Demattia, Sean Meier, and Dylan Zobkiw.
With a few WKA Divisionals left to wrap up, the final tally for points for all classes will be coming soon.
While the points are still left to be sorted out, a major battle for the Manufacturers Championship was indeed decided, with Bandit Racing Chassis returning to the top of the podium. Trailing Arrow Chassis by just 1 win coming into the weekend, Bandit roared to life for 5 wins on the weekend, giving them 26 for the season. Razor Chassis, another past recipient of the award, also had a strong finish, scoring 22 wins, with Arrow finishing up at 21. Congratulations to Tommy Triplett and the folks at Bandit for their success this year, as well as Razor and Arrow, for making this one of the tightest Chassis battles in recent history.
While the final event of the season ended with rain and drizzle, WKA would like to extend its sincerest thanks to Bob Barthelemy and the Georgia Sprint Kart Association for their wonderful hospitality and hard work. For the season, a great deal of thanks to the North Florida Kart Club, David Watkins and the staff at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina, and to Gary and Elaine Gregg and the staff at G and J Kartway in Camden, Ohio for making this a wonderful season for the Gold Cup Families.
Special thanks out to Art and Rod Verliengre from RLV Tuned Exhaust Products for the title sponsorship, Kyle Luttrell of Ionic Edge Chassis, Rob Smith of Kart City Performance, Jerry Cole of Michigan Kart Supply, and Dave and Sue Koehler of GT Machine for their event sponsorships, and to Brad Farmer of Brad’s Heating and Cooling for their sponsorship of the Shootout races.
Finally, thank you to all the competitors, their parents, grandparents, and all track staff for their tireless efforts in making the 2015 edition of the RLV Tuned Exhaust Products Gold Cup Series a great success.
For 2016, secured dates include:
April 15-17: 103rd Street Sports Complex, Jacksonville, Florida
June 24-26: Carolina Motorsports Park, Kershaw, South Carolina
Remaining dates in August and September will be finalized shortly. And the 2016 Class Structure will also be coming out very soon as well.