Paddock Insider: 2014 RoboPong 200

Big fields for 200-lap endurance race and Yamaha support events

EKN’s Paddock Insider is a new Trackside coverage addition, bringing you notes, updates and breaking news as it happens. The article will be a timeline of events as they happen during the 2014 RoboPong 200. The information will not be seen anywhere else, including interviews and photos. Please feel free to comment and discuss our coverage and today’s action in the EKN Global Members Discussion area below:

RoboPong 200

Lap 189: Spindle breaks on right front for Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA 1 – Simpson/Newey leading
Lap 185: The lead for Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA 1 is over one lap, Simpson/Newey in second
Lap 176: Top Kart USA 1 blows out a front hub bearing, makes it back to pit and out on track in P10
Lap 172: Franklin Motorsports/Mark Coats Racing loses nose from contact, replaces in pit stop remains second
Lap 170: Lead for Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA 1 is 18 seconds
Lap 160: All teams made pitstop – Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA 1 leading by 11 seconds – only 2 teams on lead lap
Lap 143: out with engine issue while running P4
Lap 127: HAAS into pit with flat left front tire, in and out, back to P13
Lap 125: Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA 1 leading by 23-seconds, 6 teams on lead lap

Lap 113: All teams pitted, Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA 1 leading by 21 seconds, 8 teams on lead lap
Lap 89: Top Kart USA Juniors break hub bolt, in and out quick as well back to P17
Lap 85: 10 teams on the lead pack, Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA 1 leading by 14-seconds
Lap 79: Lemke/Verhagen pit with flat right front tire – in and out quickly
Lap 73: Free Spirit Racing throws chain while running in the top-10
Lap 65: Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA 1 out to four second advantage

Lap 58: All teams making one stop, Franklin Motorsports/Mark Coats Racing holding lead
Lap 28: Sage Karam stalled on track but reached pit out and was able to get refired, came from 33rd to 12th
Lap 25: Franklin Motorsports/Mark Coats Racing leading with Kyle Kalish at the wheel
Lap 20: Polesitter KartSport North America/AMR back to P15
Lap 17: Hinchcliffe up to P20 after starting last for qualifying underweight
Lap 9: Top Kart USA 2 with Conor Daly into the pits
Lap 1: #KeepFightingAyrton and ProKart Indoors wreck in Turn 2


KartSport North America/AMR puts Arrow on Front Row for RoboPong 200
No major surprises in qualifying, as the sun began its decent toward the horizon between 4pm and 6pm. The qualifying sessions began with new Top Kart USA driver Jason Welage scoring the pole position in the Yamaha Cadet division. Yamaha Senior was local driver Sam Cate, while defending Junior champion Braden Eves secured the top spot in that category. The RoboPong pole position went down to the wire. Not many of the last 10 drivers in the final group were picking up the speed like they showed in practice, until the final lap when Eric Jones clocked in the fast lap overall in his KartSport North America/AMR Arrow. Switching over from the X30 to the Parilla Leopard due to weight issues, the move paid off as the veteran driver will start tomorrow’s 200-lap endurance race from the pole position. His teammate from last year Derek Dignan is ready to battle for the win this year, after they finished runner-up last year to IndyCar’s Josef Newgarden and Mark Dismore Jr. – who qualified fourth overall.

Final Practice
Following the Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am event, the final practice session took place with the RoboPong and Yamaha competitors getting one more session in before qualifying.

The RoboPong group was led by two Junior drivers, with the Brandon Lemke/Neil Verhagen Merlin posted a 1:06.112-lap to secure the fast time. Both Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA entries (Andrew/Robby Bujdoso and Ryan Norberg/Sasha Brun-Wibaux) had the second and fourth best times. The two Top Kart USA entries, piloted by Bill McLaughlin Jr./Jay Howard/Conor Daly, were in the top-10. The Leopard powered kart was third overall while the X30 was 10th. Defending champions (Josef Newgarden/Mark Dismore Jr.) capped off the fast five. The Free Spirit Racing entry of Jacob Knueven and Andrew Weiner had to switch from an ART chassis to an older Arrow after discovering a crack in the frame this morning after the first session. Their back-up was good for eighth in the final practice.

The Yamaha Cadet group was the next to go on the with Makala Mark (Top Kart) posted the fast time of 1;15.907 to lead the session over the 42 other drivers. The top three were within a tenth, including Sam Paley (Techno) and Alex Bertagnoli (Merlin). Sam Cate (Tony Kart) was a full half a second quicker than anyone in the final Yamaha Senior practice, posting a 1:12.229 lap time. Zach Holden (Top Kart) led the Yamaha Junior field with a 1:10.843-lap.

RoboPong 200 Entry List

No. Team Chassis Engine Driver One Driver Two Driver Three Driver Four
0.8 Jacket iKart Leopard Jason Ewers Jimmy Laser Alex Angel
01 Lemke/Verhagen Merlin Leopard Brandon Lemke Neil Verhagen
1 FA Kart Leopard Josef Newgarden Mark Dismore
2 iKart Factory Racing iKart Leopard Sage Karam Mick Gabriel
4 Top Kart Leopard Tyler Meyers Austin Queen Eric Fagan
6 Adkins Tony Kart Leopard Darin Marcus Brandon Adkins
7 Mind Over Miles Arrow X30 Steve Knight Luke Durrett
8 CRG Midwest CRG Leopard Tommy Anderson Josh Hotz
11 PTSC Arrow X30 Jeremiah Stotler George Clark Quentin Vester
14 ProKart Indoors Arrow Leopard Steve Arens Jordan Bernloehr
16 Catron Racing Arrow Leopard Tyson Catron
20 Ed Capenter Racing FA Kart Leopard Ed Carpenter Nathan O'Rourke
21 Simpson Racing Top Kart Leopard Jimmy Simpson Brandon Newey
23 HAAS Arrow Leopard Billy Lewis Kyle Smith
28 Checkered Motorsports #2 PCR Leopard Ryan Norberg Sash Brun-Wibaux
30 Free Spirit Racing ART Leopard Jacob Knueven Andrew Wiener
34 KartSport North America/AMR Arrow Leopard Eric Jones Derek Dignan
41 Barnes Horton Racing Arrow Leopard Derrick Barnes Chandler Horton
47 Jennerjahn/Weida Arrow Leopard Adam Jennerjahn James Weida
51 Hansen Motor Racing Tony Kart Leopard Christian Hansen Tim Hollowell
56 Top Kart USA 1 Top Kart Leopard Bill McLaughlin Jr. Jay Howard Conor Daly
57 Top Kart USA 2 Top Kart X30 Bill McLaughlin Jr. Jay Howard Conor Daly
59 Koene USA Tony Kart X30 Elliot Finlayson Michael Gerringer
60 Davey Hamilton Racing Tony Kart Leopard Davey Hamilton Jr. Christian Brooks
63 R. Norris Racing Arrow Leopard Rex Norris III
69 2 Dudes Racing Tony Kart Leopard Billy Bockrath Hans Ada
72 Rising Star Racing Zanardi Leopard Spencer Pigot Neil Alberico
77 JD Byrider Tony Kart Motori Seven Colton Aldridge
80 Franklin Motorsports/Mark Coats Tony Kart Leopard Colton Ramsey Kyle Kalish
91 Stempfley Racing Tony Kart Leopard Chase Stempfley Dan Stempfley
97 ISMI iKart Leopard Marc Cosat Jason Cosat Ross Cosat CJ Litner
99 Homealone Racing Arrow Leopard Derich Cutshaw Callie Wolsiffer Nick Denny
109 AB Racing Kosmic Rotax Andy Dunne Brennan Harrington
172 Boos/Barros iKart Leopard Mark Boos Steven Barros
191 MoSport Tuning Arrow Leopard Henry Neal Cody Gardner
199 Race to a Top Kart Leopard Kevin Martz
231 ECR-2 Arrow X30 Steve Krock Ben Siegel Lee Bentham Ben Smith
279 Top Kart USA Juniors Top Kart X30 Zach Holden David Malukas
327 Checkered Motorsports/PCR USA PCR Leopard Andrew Bujdoso Robert Bujdoso
477 #KeepFightingAyrton/Kartwerks USA Praga Rotax Andy Schlosser
666 Exprit Kart China Exprit Kart Leopard Haopeng Zhang Xu Yan David Jeng
766 Capitol Strategies Racing Team Margay Rotax Max Russ Kemple Tim Strawkas Brad Brittin
927 The Silver Bullets Eagle X30 Scott Dixon James Hinchcliff

Yamaha Senior Entry List

No. Driver Chassis
0.1 Jon Laski Trackmagic
0.3 Michael Perugini DR Kart
1 Camden Speth FA Kart
4 Michael Goodyear FA Kart
7 Brad Brittin Margay
8 Brandon Jarsocrak Haase
10 Gunnar Coble Birel
11 Michael Busse Arrow
17 Tony Spalding Haase
19 Kyle Kalish Merlin
23 Mick Gabriel iKart
24 Trenton Bryant Tony Kart
26 Dominic Lancia Tony Kart
32 Mike Sargent Top Kart
41 Tim Hollowell PCR
43 Jon Giddens Tony Kart
44 Kody Evans Merlin
45 Patrick Olsen Top Kart
46 Joey Eppink Tony Kart
55 Andrew Burton Arrow
56 Trevor DeLong DeLong-1
57 Johnny O'Keefe Tony Kart
67 Justin Penix FA Kart
71 Derek Hughes Arrow
79 Dakota Pesek Top Kart
88 Sam Cate Tony Kart
241 Braden Eves Tony Kart

Yamaha Junior Entry List

No. Driver Chassis
0 Savannah Fitzgerald Tony Kart
0.1 Brandon Lemke Merlin
0.7 Giovanni Bromante Top Kart
2 Zach Holden Top Kart
4 Alex Bertagnoli Merlin
6 Simon Sikes FA Kart
8 Garrett Moran Tony Kart
9 Tony Petersen CRG
12 Ryan Weyer Merlin
14 Dylan Tavella Tony Kart
15 Sheldon Mills Top Kart
17 Ben Varner Birel
20 John Paul Southern Jr. PCR
23 Michael Cruz FA Kart
24 Brant Carter Birel
25 Nathan Burk Top Kart
27 Leonardo Stoia Techno
40 Jack Miller Tony Kart
52 Jackson Lee
77 Johnny Smith Arrow
79 David Malukas Top Kart
88 Emerson Reed Top Kart
99 Marina Walters Arrow
241 Braden Eves Tony Kart

Yamaha Cadet Entry List

No. Driver Chassis
0.1 Thomas Schrage Tony Kart
0.2 Tate Steinman
0.3 Robert Noaker III Praga
0.5 Cameron Christ Birel
0.7 Giovanni Bromante Top Kart
0.9 Aidan Hinds Birel
1 Gage Rodgers
2 Maks Kowalski RK
4 Alex Bertagnoli Merlin
5 Jason Welage Top Kart
7 Brennan Hanville Merlin
8 Riley Erickson Birel
9 Zack Pretorius CRG
10 Madison Campeau Praga
11 Chester Brimer
12 Jack Herider
14 Dylan Tavella Tony Kart
17 Nick Snell Top Kart
18 Talan Drake Top Kart
20 John Paul Southern Jr. PCR
22 Sam Mayer Merlin
23 Ian Hornish PCR
26 Makala Marks Top Kart
27 Logan Adams Arrow
33 Ethan Skiles PCR
45 Maxine Cosat Birel
48 Owen Mahle Top Kart
56 Nathan Nicholson Birel
58 Ryan Detlor Praga
71 Sam Hinds Birel
74 Aidan Harrington Merlin
76 James Lynch Haase
77 Lewis Marshall
81 Chandlar Moran
85 Jack Dorsey Top Kart
91 Elliott Budzinski Praga
92 Alex Verhagen FA Kart
118 Caleb Bacon FA Kart
141 Kaden Wharff Top Kart
171 Kyle Ford Arrow
199 Conner Churchill Tony Kart
262 Sam Paley Techno
888 Luca Mars Praga


Josef Newgarden, Mark Dismore, Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe discussing setup during Friday practice

Josef Newgarden, Mark Dismore, Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe discussing setup during Friday practice

Big Fields
The 2014 edition of the RoboPong 200 is welcoming solid numbers across the board. Over 40 teams have entered the 200-lap endurance race, with nearly 40 Sportsman drivers. Both the Junior and Senior categories are over the 20-entry mark, giving this the feel of a major karting event. While the RoboPong field is not at it’s largest, the total has remained over the 40 mark since reaching its peak back in 2007 and 2008.

Who’s Fast?
Today doesn’t matter who is fast. Friday was a time to make adjustments, begin forming a strategy, test out fuel runs, and begin the early prepping for Sunday’s main events. Drivers in the RoboPong event were running in the 1:06-lap time range, knowing that drivers will get faster as the day heads toward qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Both the TaG Yamaha divisions are making adjustments, as many of the racers have been competing in the United States Pro Kart Series, not racing on the mandated Bridgestone YLC tire that is utilized for the weekend. For the professional drivers, its a time to adjust getting behind the wheel of a kart, with some that have been out for about a year or event more time.

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