CONCORD, NC - With 10 different chassis scoring wins in the 18 races for the season opener for the Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series during Daytona KartWeek at Daytona International Speedway, that pretty much signified many different faces on the top shelf of the podium for the Margay Sprint Championships at the World Center of Racing.
Aside from the stout sweeping performance of Corey Towles in the LO206 Senior category, no other driver found themselves with the #1 below their feet when it came time to crown the weekend winners.
For the second straight season, a strong turnout of LO206 Senior drivers began the opening ceremonies for the 4 Cycle Sprint portion of Daytona Kartweek, with Towles, the national runnerup in the LO206 Senior Class on the RLV Tuned Exhaust Products Gold Cup Series, beginning the 2017 season with a vengeance, taking down the field in the first 20 lap final of the week. With an all star lineup of 4 cycle drivers, all sporting the new CIK Bodyworks on hand, Towles turned back the field, with Gold Cup and Road Race veteran Zach Linsell coming home second on Day 1, followed by Hunter Fox, Jeremy Warren, and Eric Fagan.
Rounding out the top ten were Mike Greiner, Patrick O’Neal, Zack Skolnick, Dustin Demattia, and Robby Mott. Day 2 found a little more pressure on Towles, to no avail though, as Demattia chased the 2 time winner across the stripe, followed by Linsell, Greiner, and Fox, with Jordan Bernloeher, O’Neal, Jason Lavere, Drew Lansing, and Ryan Rogers making up the top 10. For his efforts, Towles, piloting a Comet Eagle Chassis, was also the weekends overall champion, sponsored this year by Trinity Karting Group, one of the new sponsors on the series this year.
Next to take the track was the Allison Racing Engines Yamaha Sportsman class, with William Robusto striking first on Day 1, flying the Comp Kart colors enroute to the win over Mateo Rubio-Luengo. Making up the top 5 were Anderson Leonard, Garrett Adams, and Brent Crews, with Sam Hinds, Nikita Johnson, Annie Rhule, Nick Snell, and Logan Adams making up the top 10. Day 2 found the Adams brothers improving from their 4th and 10th place finishes, by making it a 1, 2 knockout for the win. Snell also improved on Day 2, taking third, with Robusto and Leonard rounding out the top 5. Rounding out the top 10 were Luengo, Aiden Baker Crouse, Hinds, Thomas Schrage, and Crews. Adams consistency on his FA Chassis also netted him the Trinity Karting Group overall weekend title.
Parity continued in the Comet Racing Engines Yamaha Junior class where Colin Neal became the first Tony Kart driver to park in the winners circle, topping Tyler Ferris, Emory Lyda, Elliott Budzinski, and Arie Venberg. The top ten were made up of Finnegan Bayliff, Jack Dorsey, Gavin Bayliff, Madison Campeau, and Matthew Mockabee. Budzinski maintained his top 5 consistency on Day 2, climbing the ladder up to the top spot, also on a Tony Kart, topping Spike Kohlbecker, Ferris, Finnegan Bayliff, and Lyda. Top ten were Day 1 winner Neal, followed by James Lynch, Mockabee, Campeau, and Venberg. Budzinski’s pair of top fives also netted him the Trinity Karting Groups Overall weekend title
Senior time on the track on the 2 Cycle side began with the FranklinKart.com Yamaha Senior class where Minnesota hotshoe Alexander Kardashian gave Top Kart their first win of the week, as he fended off 2 time 2016 Champion Braden Eves, with Jake Venberg, Chris Slinden, and Marina Walters rounding out the top 5. Making up the top 10 were Carter Pease, Josh Fierke, Kindra Hurlburt, and Emily Hurlburt. After struggling mightily on Day 1, former champion Dakota Pesek displayed his champions colors, taking the Day 2 win on his Top Kart, with Eves, Kardashian, Fierke, and Venberg rounding out the top 5. Top 10 were made up of Slinden, Pease, Derek Hughes, Walters, and Emily Hurlburt. For his 2 day effort, Kardashian claimed the Trinity Karting Group Overall weekend title.
An added element to Daytona KartWeek, and the combined Mfg Cup/Winter Cup season opener was the appearance of the OTK Kart USA ROK Shifter class. Long time a favorite for 2 cycle fans over the years in Mfg Cup racing history, the return of the Shifter class with their traditional standing starts brought the crowd to the frontstretch fence both days. Taking the win on Day 1 was longtime WKA regular Jonathan Kotyk on his Top Kart, with Vincenzo Sarracino, Rory Van der steur, John Perry Hilton V, and Andres Ceballos making up the top 5. Day 2 found Sarracino edging up one spot in the order on his Tony Kart chassis, while Ryan Lewis rebounded from a last place finish on Day 1 to claim runnerup honors, followed by Michael Stevens, Kotyk, and Ceballos. Sarracino’s consistency netted him the Trinity Karting Group Overall weekend title.
Keeping people glued to the fence, the CRPRACING.com Mini Swift class took to the track next with Caleb Gafrarar turning back a stout field of competition, flying the Parolin Chassis colors, topping Mateo Rubio-Luengo, Calem Maloney, Alex Powell, and Christian Miles. Rounding out the top ten were Jakub Kolar, Frankie Iadevaia, Sam Corry, Ben Maier, and Christian Rutty. Following a top 5 and top 10 in the Yamaha Sportsman class, as well as a runnerup in Mini Swift on Day 1, Luengo finally got the monkey off his back, taking down the field on his Kosmic Chassis, topping Powell, Maloney, Maier, and Jorge Ortiz. Gafrarar rebounded from early race issues to race back to 6th, followed by Kolar, Elliott Cox, Prevail Perkins, and Sebastian NG. Luengo’s top 2 finishes also allowed him to claim the Trinity Karting Group Overall weekend title.
The remaining 3 classes for the week involved the Pro Classes, beginning with the IAME USA East Pro Swift Sportsman Class, where Ashton Chilton drew first blood, taking the win on his Tony Kart over Santiago Trisini, Aiden Baker Crouse, Lucas Rodriguez, and Nicholas Terlecki. Jamie Newton came home 6th, followed by Connor Zillisch, Nikita Johnson, William Robusto, and Elio Giovane. From 10th to first, Giovane made a huge statement on Day 2, putting his Benik chassis in victory lane, with Chilton, Leonard, Granger Perra, and Brent Crews making up the top 5. Trisini led the next 5, followed by Robusto, Zillisch, Johnson, and Rodriguez. By picking up the Trinity Racing Group Overall weekend title, Chilton not only received the award, but a $500 payday, with Trisini netting a check for $250, and Giovane getting a set of Bridgestone Tires.
Zane Maloney began his quest for the Woltjer Racing Engines Pro IAME Junior title on Day 1, taking the win on his FA Chassis, topping Dylan Tavella, Max Peichel, Oliver Calvo, and 2 time 2016 champion Pauly Massimino. Rounding out the top 10 were Tahlon Yockel, Luke Wallace, Kaden Wharff, Caleb Bacon, and Tyler Maxson. Probably the biggest comeback of the weekend was for Tyler Gonzalez. After a disastrous Day 1, Gonzalez roared through the field to claim the Day 2 win over Tavella, Massimino, Calvo, and Peichel, with Colin Gasparini, Maloney, Cody Krucker, Connor Ferris, and Gage Rodgers completing the top 10. With his pair of runnerup finishes, Tavella netted the Trinity Karting Group Overall weekend top honors, as well as a check for $500, with Day 1 winner Maloney getting a check for $250 and Massimino earning a set of Bridgestone Tires.
The finale for the week came in the form of the KartSport North America Pro IAME Senior class. With $1,000 on the line for the weekend, AJ Myers stormed to the Day 1 win on his TB Kart, besting Braden Eves, Austin Garrison, Brandon Jarsocrak, and Jonathan Kotyk, while Jacob Donald, Blake Hunt, Austin McCusker, Bradley Zillisch, and Mick Gabriel rounding out the top 10. Day 2 results found Jarsocrak improving from 4th to take the win for Praga, with Kotyk also improving up to second, followed by McCusker, Myers, and Donald for the top 5, while Alexander Kardashian cracked the top 10 on Day 2, followed by Eves, Zillisch, Hunt, and Gabriel. In the end, the $1,000 top prize went to Jarsocrak, with Myers claiming $500, while Kotyk earned a set of Bridgestone Tires.
In addition to the class and Overall Weekend Champions Sponsor, special thanks to Margay for the continued support of the Daytona Margay Sprint Championships. Also thanks to Comet Kart Sales, proud sponsor of the Fast Time Awards both days, to New Jersey Sprint Series for providing the new lineup of Champions Flags, and to Tillotson for providing Generators to one lucky winner each race, as well as Miller Welders, for providing a welder to one lucky recipient at the latest year end awards presentation.
With one of the more successful Daytona KartWeek events in the books, the focus now turns to the next Winter Cup event, taking place February 24-26 at 103rd Street Sports Complex in Jacksonville, Florida. Entry information will be available shortly.
With Daytona also serving as a Winter Cup event, all drivers are still eligible for the multitude of bonuses. With the exception of the ROK Shifter class, all 2017 Winter Cup Champions will receive a free entry to one of the remaining 2017 Mfg Cup events, as well as a set of Bridgestone Tires. The 2017 ROK Shifter Winter Cup Champion will receive tires, fuel, oil, and a free entry into the ROK Cup USA Nationals in September in Orlando, Florida.
Additionally, competitors in the Pro IAME Junior and Senior classes who compete in all 3 Winter Cup events, as well as all race and overall weekend winners, provided they also compete in all 3 events, will be eligible for a drawing, possibly earning a lucky driver a chance to attend the X30 International Finals in Lemans, France in October. So the more you participate, and the more times you win, the better the odds of heading to one of the most hallowed grounds in international motorsports history. Aside from travel, all other expenses will be taken care of for the winner.
For those strictly following the Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series, the next event will be May 19-21 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, Pennsylvania.
On behalf of the World Karting Association, our sincerest thanks to all for a most successful edition of Daytona KartWeek!