CONCORD, NC - The finale for Year #2 of the WKA Winter Cup Series ended under brilliant sunshine, blue skies, and 95+ degree temperatures at the immaculate Ocala Gran Prix in Ocala, Florida. With titles in all classes hanging in the balance, it was time to get up on the wheel one more time. And that's exactly what many did, including Logan Adams, Corey Towles, Mateo, Rubio-Luengo, and Brandon Jarsocrak, sweeping their respective classes.
From holiday weather in Daytona for round 1, to Daytona 500 time in Jacksonville for stop #2, to what appeared to be the beginning of the Florida summer season at Ocala, the competition remained keen throughout the 3-race program.
Keeping pace with his championship performance from Gold Cup to Winter Cup, Corey Towles began the weekend off, topping Hunter Fox and James Vanderzee in the CIK LO206 Senior competition both days. Towles, also the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time winner each day, bested Fox, Vanderzee, Jorge Ruiz, and Ryan Rogers on Day 1, with Fox and Vanderzee switching places on day 2, followed again by Ruiz and Rogers. For his efforts, Towles was also crowned the 2017 Champion in the class, as Fox, Vanderzee, Rogers, and Ruiz completed the balance of the top 5 in the championship standings.
The battle for the top spot in the Allison Racing Engines Yamaha Sportsman Class was as close as it gets, with brothers Logan and Garrett Adams ending their season in a virtual deadlock in the championship standings, the tiebreaker coming in the form of national wins, with Logans sweep of the weekend enough to get past his brother in one of the best battles of the season. Taking the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time Award on the first day, Logan topped Sam Hinds, Garrett Adams, William Robusto, and Mateo Rubio-Luengo on Day 1, with Garrett charging up behind his brother for 2nd on Day 2, followed by Luengo, Fast Time winner Robusto, and Hinds. Following the Adams tandem in the final national championship standings were Robusto, Hinds, and Luengo.
The Comet Racing Engines Yamaha Junior class found 2 different winners over the weekend, the first being eventual class champion Jack Dorsey, as he edged Bryce Aron, Matthew Mockabee, and Blake Korth on Day 1. Day 2 found Mockabee not only taking the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time Award, but also heading to his first career national WKA win, edging Dorsey, Aron, and Korth. Dorsey claimed the title for the season over Aron, Mockabee, Elliott Budzinski, and Korth.
One of the tightest battles coming into the finale was in the CRPRACING.com Mini Swift class with Mateo Rubio-Luengo joining the ranks of the sweep club, pulling out the broom both days for the top honors. Splitting the Comet Kart Sales Fast time honors with Christian Miles, Luengo was able to get around Miles on Day 1 for the win, with Miles holding on for second, followed by Sam Corry, Sofia D'Arrigo, and Sebastian NG. Day 2 found NG making a great run in the event, finishing on the heels of Luengo, with Corry, Miles, and Ben Maier rounding out the top 5. By virtue of his consistency both days, Miles was able to distance the gap between himself and challenger Caleb Gafrarar, who finished 6th and 7th both days, taking the title in the class. Gafrarar, Luengo, Corry and Maier were the final 5 in the championship standings.
The IAME USA East Pro Swift Sportsman class was also loaded for bear on the final weekend of racing, with Jeremy Fletcher and Brent Crews taking down the top honors both days. Looking to gain some valuable points, and possibly get to the championship podium twice in the Winter Cup Series, Logan Adams took the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time Awards both days. However, Adams would finish on the heels of both Fletcher and Crews each day, with Anderson Leonard, Garrett Adams, and Sam Hinds the top 5 on Day 1, with William Robusto, Lucas Rodriguez, and Nikita Johnson following Crews and Adams on Day 2. While not having the weekend he wanted, Ashton Chilton had plenty of success in the series first 2 races at Daytona and Jax, assuring a championship for the young driver. While Chilton mustered up a 7th and 9th over the weekend, the damage was done at the top, with Chilton the champ over Lucas Rodriguez, Brent Crews, Logan Adams, and Jeremy Fletcher.
Much like Chilton, Pauly Massimino enjoyed a healthy lead in the Woltjer Racing Engines Pro IAME Junior class coming into Ocala, which eventually would be needed, as Massimino was involved in contact with another kart on Saturday, thus finishing dead last on the field. Massimino rebounded for a 7th place run on Sunday, good enough for a strong result in the final standings as the champion. In the meantime, Zachary Hollingshead and Dylan Gennaro were the class of the field up front both days. Interestingly enough, both took the Comet Kart Sales Fast Time Awards, but would finish second to the other each day.
Hollingshead took Day #1 over Gennaro, with Caleb Bacon, Jade Hubert, and Isabella Robusto making up the top 5. Day 2 found Gennaro finding his way to victory lane, with Hollingshead on his heals, followed by Hubert, Gunnar Bischoff, and Caleb Bacon. In addition to Massimino, it was a tough weekend for the top 3 in the final standings, as both championship runner-up Kaden Wharff and Gray Leadbetter had rough outings, finishing outside the top 10 both days. But strong overall season efforts placed them in the top 3 behind Massimino, with Isabella Robusto and Bischoff rounding out the top 5 in the final standings.
The final title to be decided came in the form of the KartSport North America Pro IAME Senior class, where Brandon Jarsocrak was the fourth and final driver to sweep weekend action, topping Abby McLaughlin both days. With the sweep, Jarsocrak also took the title over McLaughlin, with Ryan Raffa, Jonathan Yobaggy, and AJ Myers rounding out the top 5 in the championship standings.
All champions, in addition to their awards, also received a free set of Bridgestone Tires, as well as free entry into one of the remaining 2017 Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series events, the next being May 19-21 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, Pennsylvania.
While the top 3, as well as overall weekend winners and champions were honored, the final award to be bestowed was the trip to the X30 Nationals later this year in Lemans, France. Drivers eligible were competitors in the Pro IAME Junior and Senior ranks who participated in all 3 events in the Winter Cup season, with Junior driver Gunnar Bischoff being selected as the recipient by virtue of the drawing held at the end of the weekend.
Special thanks to Eric Jones and IAME for his very special presentation and hard work for this opportunity to be presented.
Congrats to Gunnar Bischoff and all the 2017 WKA
Winter Cup Series Champions:
CIK LO206 Senior: Corey Towles
Allison Racing Engines Yamaha Sportsman: Logan Adams
Comet Racing Engines Yamaha Junior: Jack Dorsey
CRPRACING.com Mini Swift: Christian Miles
IAME USA East Pro Swift Sportsman: Ashton Chilton
Woltjer Racing Engines Pro IAME Junior: Pauly Massimino
KartSport North America Pro IAME Senior: Brandon Jarsocrak
WKA would also like to thank all the sponsors, competitors, families, tracks, and so many others for a wonderful second season.