Crouse and Kalb ‘KO’ Competition at WKA Gold Cup Kart City Performance Nationals
Two drivers earn nine wins in Kershaw, South Carolina
The June event for the RLV Tuned Exhaust Products Gold Cup Series may just be round 2 of 4 for the series, but for Aiden Baker Crouse and David Kalb Jr., this past weekends edition of the Kart City Performance Nationals at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina appeared more of a knockout punch in a battle of the best 4 Cycle heavyweights in the country, as the 2 drivers combined for 9 wins over the weekend.
Success for both drivers began Friday afternoon in the Sportsman and Junior Pro Gas Shootout races. With $200 on the line for 1st place, courtesy of Brad’s Heating and Cooling, the 10-lap sprint race became a ton more interesting for drivers and fans. Crouse drew first blood on Friday, taking the 10 lap Sportsman Pro Gas Shootout over Riley Kelley and Cale Hall, thus claiming the $200 top prize. Kelley earned $100 for second with Hall netting $50 for third, while the entire top five, which consisted of Andrew Willis and Macon Moore, all received trophies for their efforts. For Crouse, it would be the 1st of 6 wins over the weekend, bringing his 2015 win total to 10 wins in 2 weekends!
The Junior Pro Gas Shootout turned into a great battle with Kalb fending off the constant efforts of Cody Hall for the $200 victory, thus setting the tone for what would be a tough weekend for Kalb’s competition. Hall claimed $100 for second, with Matthew Tortorell earning a solid 3rd, along with a $50 payday, a nice job considering the struggles he endured with handling issues during practice. The balance of the top 5 were Joshua Stark and Hunter Fox.
21 karts lined up for the Senior Pro Gas Money race, rounding out the Friday on track activities. And for the second race in a row, Zach Linsell found himself not only taking the Money Race win, but again fending off the efforts of yet another Heavlow, this time Jimmy Heavlow. With younger brother Jake, the runnerup in Jacksonville, enjoying a graduation trip in the Dominican Republic, older brother Jimmy took behind the wheel, and thus made the battle a good one between the two northeast stalwarts. Linsells win netted just under $400 for the victory, with his win streak bringing back memories of the dominance of Gary Lawson in the Friday Night Shootout. Following the top 2 were Mike Greiner, Corey Towles, and Sean Meier.
As the series prepares for the Michigan Kart Supply Nationals July 3-5 at G and J Kartway in Camden, Ohio, Brad Farmer of Brad’s Heating and Cooling announced they will continue the Shootout Purses on Friday Night, with the Sportsman and Junior drivers again vying for $200 to win.
Following the Friday Night Awards Presentation, in which the 2014 Champions were honored, it was time to hit the track for Day #1 of the Kart City Performance Nationals.
The Tyler Sandmeyer LO206 Kid Kart Class was the first to hit the track Saturday with young Florida/Georgia product Owen Lloyd claiming his first career national event win. Lloyds win was not easy, as he had to fend off the efforts of defending series champion Jax Walker, as well as Brently Miller, the driver who swept both national races in Jacksonville. Bryce Sanders, making his first appearance of the year was 4th, with Caleb Gafrarar rounding out the top 5.
For Crouse, success began on Saturday in the Razor Chassis Sportsman Pro Gas Lite class. Saturdays main resembled that of the Friday night shootout with Riley Kelley again coming home second. Tanner Carter squeezed in for third, with Cale Hall and Macon Moore completing the top 5. Crouse was the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time Award Winner.
With second not being enough in Fridays Senior Pro Gas Money Race, Jimmy Heavlow roared back to take round 1 of the Coyote Motorsports sponsored Senior Pro Gas class, besting a talent laden field. Corey Towles chased Heavlow to the stripe with Mike Greiner again coming home in third, followed by Zach Linsell and Skyler Locklear, returning to the series after a brief absence.
Fighting flu like symptoms on a 90 degree South Carolina day, David Kalb Jr dug deep, shaking off the efforts of his illness, to lay claim to the Van K Wheels Junior Pro Gas Lite Class win, the second win in what would be a 3 win weekend. Chasing Kalb to the stripe were Matthew Miller, Cody Hall, Jimmy Cole Jackson, and Nash Dyun.
After taking 1 of 2 main events in Florida in March, Jim Lipari roared back to sweep both days of Animal Medium competition at Kershaw, topping Paul Headley and Cayla Chapman both days. Like Kalb, Chapman was suffering from high fever all weekend long.
After challenges at Jacksonville prevented a Top 3 finish, Riley Kelley, fresh off a second place run Friday in the Sportsman Pro Gas Shootout, bettered his position by 1 spot Saturday in the Miller Welders Sportsman LO206 Class, winning a great battle with Cale Hall and Tanner Carter to take the win for his first career Gold Cup National event win. Following the top 3 Saturday were Mark Steube and Elijah Skaggs.
In the Thor Oil Junior LO206 Class Saturday, Cody Hall carried his Jax momentum to Kershaw, claiming his second straight national event win, besting Hunter Fox, Jimmy Cole Jackson, Matthew Miller, and Jason Alder.
Alder rebounded on Sunday to finally lay claim to an event win at Kershaw. After scoring 4 national wins at Jacksonville, Alder struggled a good part of the weekend, but put it all together to claim Sundays win in the Junior LO206 Class. Alex Vrabel had a solid second place run, with Cody Hall, Jimmy Cole Jackson, and Talia Moffett completing the top 5.
Kershaw was somewhat like Old Home Week with the return of Skyler Locklear, Chris Wells, Jimmy Heavlow, Travis Manning, Ryan Bennett, AND Ben Wagenhals!! Jumping on to a Jim Lipari Coyote Chassis, Wagenhals returned to Gold Cup victory lane in fine fashion, taking the Briggs and Stratton Racing LO206 Heavy Final on Saturday. Austin Queen, the runnerup twice in Jacksonville, again stole the bridesmaid spot, with JT Swygert, Patrick O’Neal, and Matt Skaggs completing the top 5.
In a repeat performance of Sunday in Florida, Eric Fagan again took the Day 2 show, topping a great performance by Haley Kummer. Wagenhals came home third Sunday, with Swygert and Mike Greiner completing the top 5.
With time to rest between rounds, Crouse took back to the track to steal the Baker Racing Engines Sportsman Pro Gas Heavy main over Riley Kelley, Andrew Willis, Mark Steube, and Macon Moore. Crouse also was the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time Award winner.
The Power Plus Lubricants Animal Heavy Mix Class found a new winner in Kershaw. After Paul Headley swept the action in Florida, Joey Miller found his way to victory circle for his first win of the year. Headley, the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time Award winner, was second, followed by Tim Stiefel, Josh Stiefel, and Case Hall.
The final event on Saturday was one David Kalb was looking for, as he laid claim to his second straight win of the day, and third of the weekend, taking the Brad’s Heating and Cooling Junior Pro Gas Heavy Main. Joshua Stark, continuing to get stronger every time out, was second, followed by Matthew Miller, Hunter Johnson, and Cody Hall. Jason Alder was the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time Award winner.
As the series headed to another hot day on Sunday, new faces continued to find their way to victory lane as Bryce Sanders claimed his first career win in the Tyler Sandmeyer Kid Kart Class. And like Owen Lloyd on Saturday, Sanders had to hold off defending champ Jax Walker, as well as Brently Miller for the win. Sanders was the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time award winner for both Saturday and Sunday.
And as Sunday continued, so did Aiden Baker Crouse, sweeping the activities in the Razor Chassis Sportsman Pro Gas Lite class, edging out Riley Kelley, Tanner Carter, Cale Hall, and Andrew Willis. Crouse also swept the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time Awards in the class for the weekend.
The best race of the weekend, hands down, was the Coyote Motorsports Senior Pro Gas Lite main. Memories of Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison banging at Daytona paled in comparison to the side by side leaning, and sometimes equal banging, that Chris Wells and Jimmy Heavlow were performing, as the two drivers remained glued together around the course the entire final lap. As the pair exited the final turn, the pair remained side by side, with Wells gaining the inside advantage, forcing Heavlow slightly offline, and enough to score a huge victory in his comeback to the Gold Cup Series. The second the pair crossed the stripe, both drivers shook hands and high fived each other, recognizing an awesome driving performance by both. Sean Meier had the best seat in the house, watching the battle from his third finishing position, while Corey Towles and Skyler Locklear completed the top five. Towles was the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time winner.
Following a number of runs in the top 5 all weekend, Matthew Miller finally put it all together, taking the top honors in the Van K Wheels Junior Pro Gas Lite Main on Sunday, for his second win of the season, Miller, the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time winner, had won the Junior LO206 class at Jacksonville prior. Chasing Miller across the stripe were Alex Vrabel, Joshua Stark, Hunter Fox, and Hunter Johnson.
Crouse continued to spread the win wealth Sunday, taking the Miller Welders Sportsman LO206 class, topping Will Robusto, Cale Hall, Isabella Robusto, and Saturday winner Riley Kelley. Crouse was also the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time award winner.
Crouse completed the sweep of Sportsman Pro Gas competition, taking the Baker Racing Engines Heavy race on Sunday, beating out Riley Kelley, Mark Steube, and Andrew Willis. Crouse also collected another Mikim Motorsports Fast Time award for the day.
Enough was enough for Paul Headley in Sundays version of the Power Plus Lubricants Animal Heavy Mix Class. After 3 runnerup finishes for the weekend between Mix and Animal Medium, Headley broke out for his lone win of the weekend, topping Saturdays winner Joey Miller, with Dustin Demattia, Josh Steifel, and Tyler Smith completing the top 5. Smith was also the Mikim Motorsports Fast Time winner.
The final race of the weekend began in the same fashion the event began, with yet another new winner in victory lane in the form of Hunter Johnson, taking the Brad’s Heating and Cooling Junior Pro Gas Heavy Main. Johnson topped Mikim Motorsports Fast Time winner Matthew Miller, with Joshua Stark, Hunter Fox, and Matthew Tortorell completing the top 5.
With 2 of 4 national events in the books, the series now heads quickly to G & J Kartway in Camden, Ohio July 3-5 for the Michigan Kart Supply Nationals.