Malukas, Lemke and Gish Double at Badger Route 66 Series
Top five in the Yamaha Sportsman Smackdown, (left to right) 5th - Brandon Lemke, 2nd -Dillon Schwanbeck,
1st - David Malukas, 3rd - Austin Schaff, 4th - Sam Mayer
The Russell Karting Specialties/L & T Manufacturing Route 66 Sprint Series presented by Bridgestone/Margay and Grand Products held round three on July 27-28 at the Briggs and StrattonRacewayPark near Dousman, WI. The event was sponsored by Merlin Racing Karts. 240 entries competed over the weekend on the historic track administered by the Badger Kart Club for over 53 years. Only three drivers were able capture double wins along with the famous Badger cheese cows. Badger Kart Club has a long time tradition of awarding Wisconsin cheddar cheese shaped like a cow to the top five in each class. David Malukas won the Yamaha Sportsman Smackdown special event along with the Yamaha Sporstman II class. Brandon Lemke won the Yamaha Sportsman I and Komet Sportsman II classes and Kasey Gish captured both Kid Kart class finals.
Although some rain showers hampered practice on Friday, the rest of the weekend was dry and cool with temperatures only reaching into the mid 60s each day. Unlike the previous two events this year, no races required rain tires. Badger Kart club has much experience at running big events at their track and when combined with experienced Route 66 Series staff, the event ran very smoothly. Badger Kart club also hosted a free cookout after the races on Saturday with bratwurst and fresh corn on the cob.
The first final racing on Saturday was the RLV Yamaha Senior Lite class with 17 entries. Pre-final winner and fast qualifier Collin Griffin paced the start alongside of Michael Prokup. Prokup and Griffin swapped the lead several times with Ben Hewitt and Brad Brittin following close behind. Hewitt was able to move to first at mid-race, however Griffin and Prokup worked their way back to the front and Griffin (Tony Kart) took the win by .18 seconds over Prokup. Hewitt, Brittin and Adam Crepin rounded out the top five.
The Triple E Sales Yamaha Sportsman I class gridded next with a large field of 25 entries. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Brandon Lemke took the lead at the start followed by Austin Schaff and Matthew Northrop. Dillon Schwanbeck and Sam Mayer worked their way up to Lemke about mid-race. Mayer was able to make a run for first, however Lemke (Merlin) held him off by .02 seconds for the win with Schwanbeck, Giovanni Bromante and Schaff rounding out the top five.
The Yamaha Junior Heavy class sponsored by Woltjer Racing Engines was up next with 17 entries. Pre-final winner Killian Keaveny paced the start alongside of Dillon Morley. A big pileup in turn four on the first lap knocked out Brant Carter and dropped Kenlen Morse to the back of the field. Keaveny took the lead from the start followed by Becker Reardon and Ryan Weyer. Reardon made a late charge for first but Keaveny (Top Kart) held on for the win by .32 seconds. Weyer held on to third and the karts of Brooks Davis, Kelen Morse and Jimmy Tapocik made a charge from deep in the field to finish in fourth through sixth place.
The Franklin Motorsports Leopard 125 I class staged next with pre-final winner Michael Geringer and fast qualifier Colton Ramsey pacing the start. Geringer and Ramsey, both driving Tony Karts had qualified at just .001 second apart. Several karts spun off the track into the turn three barrier bags on the first lap taking Jimmy Clark, Keenan Hertzner, Aaron Snyder and Bryce Engelhart out of the race. Geringer took the lead at the start followed by Anthony Granata, Ramsey and Adam Crepin. Geringer (Tony Kart) was able to stretch out his lead to two seconds at the finish and Ramsey moved by Granata to claim second. Granata, Crepin and Troy Hottman rounded out the top five.
The next class racing was the Jet Karting Yamaha Rookie I class with 14 entries. Pre-final winner and fast qualifier Mark Fineis paced the start alongside of Joshua Hansen. Fineis pulled out to the early lead followed by Hansen, James Lynch and Blake Bauman. Fineis pulled out to a two second lead, however Joshua Hansen (Merlin) was able to run him down by the end of the race and took the win by just .076 seconds. Lynch, Bauman and Aidan Harrington rounded out the top five in the 16 lap final.
The Ballistic Designs Yamaha Masters class gridded next for their final with fast qualifier Chad Kruger and Brian Zirves pacing the start. Kruger pulled out to a two second lead and appeared to have the win in sight. However, with about five laps to go, Kruger’s engine began to lose power and Zirves moved to the lead. Zirves (DR Racing Kart) took the win by 2.3 seconds over Dave Timmerman with Kruger hanging on for third place.
Next up was the Schwanbeck Family Racing Komet Sportsman I class with 14 entries. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Sam Mayer paced the start alongside of David Malukas. Mayer grabbed the lead into turn one followed by Brandon Lemke and Malukas. After a few laps, Mayer was shuffled back to third with Lemke taking the lead followed by Malukas. Mayer moved by Malukas about mid-race and Lemke and Mayer pulled away from Malukas to battle for the win. On the final lap, Mayer (Merlin) dived under Lemke in turn one to take the lead and held on for the win by just .064 seconds. Malukas, Matthew Northrop and Giovanni Bromante rounded out the top five.
The last final racing on Saturday was the Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart I Championship class with a smaller field than usual due to the Kid Kart Nationals racing in Pevely this weekend. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Kasey Gish quickly pulled away from the field on his Margay kart to claim victory in the 10 lap final. Easton Bogard, Dylan Julien, Sinead Lynch and Zach Collins finished in the top five to claim eagle trophies and cheese cows.
Also competing this weekend was the inaugural Bestway Drywall Yamaha Sportsman Smackdown which paid out a $1500 purse with $500 to win. After a 10-minute qualifying session where drivers laid down their best lap, David Malukas and Sam Mayer paced the 16 kart field at the start of the 20 lap feature. Brandon Lemke moved to the point on lap one with a big nine-kart pack battling for the lead. Malukas, Lemke and Austin Schaff swapped the lead several times with Malukas getting shuffled back to fifth at one point during the race. Malukas was able to work his way back to second place by the final lap and passed Lemke for the win on the final straightaway bringing Dillon Schwanbeck, Austin Schaff and Sam Mayer with him and shuffling Lemke back to fifth at the finish. Malukas won a silver cup trophy along with the $500 first place check. The top five received cash prizes and special plaques. Malukas also won a set of Bridgestone tires for setting fast time in qualifying.
At the Sunday morning driver’s meeting, a set of Bridgestone YLC tires was given away to Dillon Schwanbeck in a drawing sponsored by Margay/Bridgestone. After one round of practice, eight classes of racing took place with 10 lap pre-finals and 16 lap finals.
The first final racing on Sunday was the Haddock Limited Komet class. The start was paced by fast qualifier and pre-final winner Christian Besasie along side of Brad Brittin. Brittin grabbed the lead into turn one however Besasie would move to the point on lap two. Besasie began to pull away from the field while Brittin, Ryan Weyer, Cole Petersen and Killian Keaveny were swapping positions in the top five. Besasie (Merlin) pulled away to a 7.9 second lead to take the win over Weyer, Brittin, Keavany and Brenden Trent after Petersen failed post-tech for a broken pipe.
Next up was the Express Karts & Parts Komet Sportsman II class with 14 entries. Brandon Lemke and Sam Mayer paced the start with Mayer taking the early lead. Lemke (Merlin) moved to the point about mid-race and was able to pull away from Mayer at the finish by 1.6 seconds to claim his second win of the weekend. Stephen Dial, Giovanni Bromante and Dillon Schwanbeck finished in the top five.
The Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart II Championship class was racing next paced by fast qualifier and pre-final winner Kasey Gish. Gish (Margay) pulled away to a big eight second win at the finish over Conner Churchill, Zach Collins, Dylan Julien, Sinead Lynch and Jack Lynch.
Next up was one of the most exciting finals of the weekend, the Laukaitis Racing Yamaha Senior Heavy class with 18 entries. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Collin Griffin paced the start with Adam Crepin on the front row. Griffin led the first five laps until Crepin took over the lead with Ben Hewitt hanging close to the pair in third place. The trio of Crepin, Griffin and Hewitt stayed in that order until the final lap when Hewitt made a move to the outside around both Crepin and Griffin. They crossed the finish line three wide with Hewitt (Tony Kart) taking the win by just .022 seconds over Crepin and Griffin. A big pack was also battling for fourth place where Nick Stagl, Kyle Prokup, Mike Prokup, Jeremy Klein and Robby Mcquinn finished about six seconds back.
The Yamaha Junior Lite class sponsored by Comet Kart Sales was up next. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Kenlen Morse paced the start alongside of Becker Reardon. Reardon moved to the lead by turn three followed closely by Morse, Killian Keaveny and Emily Hurlbert. Reardon and Morse began to pull away from the rest of the field to battle for the win. Keaveny dropped out on lap ten leaving Hurlbert in a battle with Ryan Weyer and Dillon Morley for third place. Reardon (Birel) took the win over Morse by .6 seconds with Hulbert, Morley and Weyer finishing in the top five.
The next class racing was the Switch Racing Engines Yamaha Sportsman II class with 21 entries. Pre-final winner Brandon Lemke paced the field at the start. The front pack of Lemke, David Malukas, Austin Schaff, Dillon Schanbeck, Connor Cass and Sam Mayer were locked in a tight battle for the entire race. Lemke got shuffled to third near the end of the race with Schaff leading next and Mayer working his way up to fourth. Giovanni Bromante had joined the lead pack of seven karts now. Schaff and Lemke worked together and tried to pull away from the lead pack. On the final lap in turn 10, Lemke made a move to go inside of Schaff for the lead and ended up climbing a wheel and flipping his kart. Schaff and Schwanbeck also got caught in the accident bringing out the red flag. Malukas (Birel) raced back to the finish line to take the win over Luke Finies, Sam Mayer, Connor Cass and Giovanni Bromante in the top five. Lemke suffered a broken collar bone in the accident and Schwanbeck had a foot injury.
Next up was the Leopard 125 II class sponsored by Kart Lift paced by pre-final winner Colton Ramsey and fast qualifier Matt Stagl. Ramsey took the lead into turn one followed by Michael Geringer. Aaron Snyder made a diving move into turn five climbing Adam Crepin’s kart and hitting him in the back, knocking him out of the race. Ramesy, Geringer and Stagl were locked in a tight battle up front with Geringer briefly taking the lead on lap four. Ramsey (Tony Kart) took the lead back in a pass into turn three and held on for a .2 second win over Geringer with Stagl, Kindra Hulbert and Scott Kopp rounding out the top five at the finish. Hulbert set the fastest race lap at 36.830 in the final lap.
The last class racing on Sunday was the Yamaha Rookie II class sponsored by CKT Racing Engines with 14 entries. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Mark Fineis paced the start alongside of Carter Cass. Fineis took the lead into turn one followed by Emery Waldron. Fineis began to pull away from the next pack of Cass, Waldron, Andrew Castelucci, Aidan Harrington and Joshua Hansen. Cass would catch Fineis and take the lead for several laps, however Fineis (Birel) moved back to the point and took the win by just .057 seconds over Cass. Joshua Hansen, Aidan Harrington and Andrew Castelucci rounded out the top five about four seconds back.
Merlin chassis captured the most wins over the weekend with five followed by Birel (4) and Tony Kart (4), Margay (2) and Top Kart and DR with one win each.
The next round of the Route 66 Series will be held at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway (CHMS) in Norway, Illinois on August 24-25. The annual Komet Throwdown money race sponsored by DRT Racing will be held on Saturday after the regular series finals. $1500 in cash will be awarded along with a new set of Bridgestone YLC tires to the fast qualifier. Pre-entries must be post marked by August 5 to receive the pre-entry discount. Friday practice will be available at this event. All entrants will have a chance to win a set of Bridgestone YLC tires in a drawing held at the Sunday morning driver’s meeting. For more information about CHMS visit www.concepthaulersmotorspeedway.com. For more information about the Route 66 Sprint Series, visit www.Route66KartRacing.com.