eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month: June 2016 – Dakota Pesek
Top Kart USA driver sweeps Shawano for USPKS and Route 66 Sprint Series
Dakota Pesek won both finals at the Route 66 Sprint Series and doubled up at the USPKS event - both in Shawano (Photo: EKN)
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
There is probably no other class in the country that is as competitive as Yamaha Senior. No matter the track, no matter the series, no matter the event, it is always a chess match throughout the day in the category. Each driver trying to size up the others in preparation for a last lap move to secure the top spot and reach the checkered flag first. No one did it better in June then Top Kart USA driver Dakota Pesek as he swept two weekends in Shawano, Wisconsin.
The first weekend at the US AIR Motorsports Raceway facility was the second event for the Route 66 Sprint Series. The Yamaha Senior division is among the largest each weekend, featuring 26 during the June 10-12 event. Pesek nearly pulled off the weekend sweep, earning both victories. His Top Kart USA teammate Alexander Kardashian was the only driver to beat him on the weekend, securing fast time in Saturday qualifying. Pesek responded by winning the Prefinal and edged out Adam Crepin by 98 thousandths of a second in the Final. Sunday was a perfect day, sweeping the action that was capped off by his fourth straight main event victory. Pesek leads the championship handily over Crepin and Killian Keaveny heading to the next series event, scheduled for July 29-31 at the Michiana Raceway Park in North Liberty, Indiana.
The United States Pro Kart Series traveled to Shawano the following weekend for its second event of 2016. While the field was just 14 drivers, any one of them had the ability to come away with a victory. Pesek found himself out of the top position in qualifying and the first heat race, starting fourth and retaining the position through the seven laps. The Ohio native drove his way to the front in Heat #2, earning the pole position for the main event. Pesek secured the lead late in the race after Zach Holden and Brandon Lemke each took a turn. On the final circuit, the lead group bunched up at turn four – down the hill from the paddock. This gave Pesek enough room to cruise to his second victory of the year.
Sunday was very similar as Pesek found himself down in eighth after the qualifying session, working his way up to third in the opening heat and duplicated that in the second heat race. That placed him P3 on the main event grid and right into the lead group. Once again, Dakota secured the lead position late in the race until getting shuffled back with three laps remaining. Lemke held the lead as they took the white flag, with Pesek back into second. The Merlin driver drove the defensive line down the back straight and Pesek went to the outside – like a dirt car hanging on the cushion and made it stick to exit right alongside Lemke. Pesek held the preferred line into the next corner, with Kardashian following through. His teammate challenged in the final corners, with Pesek able to hold him back to reach the checkered flag first. The win gave him the overall win on the weekend, cashing in on $1,000, the championship lead in the USPKS program and four wins in two weekends.
Pesek added another victory this past weekend, making it four of six in United States Pro Kart Series competition, winning the Sunday Final in another dramatic finish and securing the $1,000 payday for the most overall points on the weekend. More is on the horizon as Dakota readies to clinch his first USPKS championship after finishing third in 2014 and vice-champion in 2015.
June 2016 EKN Driver of the Month – Dakota Pesek
Born: Dayton, Ohio
Hometown: Centerville, Ohio
Marital Status: Single
Height/Weight: 6′ 2”
Education: High School and in college
Occupation: independent contractor
Chassis: Top Kart
Engine/Engine Builder: Yamaha / Woltjer Racing Engines
Sponsors: Top Kart USA, Grand Products, Woltjer Racing Engines, L&T Racing Clutches
Series You Compete In: United States Pro Kart Series, Route 66 Sprint Series, WKA Manufacturers Cup Series
Years Karting: 16
How did you get started in karting? When I was 5 years old my dad got me a kid kart and I started racing at OVKA in Camden, Ohio.
What has been the high point in your racing career? This year could defiantly a high point as I am leading the championship in 2 of 3 series.
What are your goals in racing? My goals in racing is to have sponsorship to be able to race any open wheel race car.
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? My driving style is smooth, smart, patient
Funniest moment at the race track? When me, Christian Pahud and Chad Finley rolled some tires into a colt at Shawano, Wisconsin
Favorite Track: US Air Motorsports Raceway – Shawano, Wisconsin / G&J Kartway – Camden, Ohio / Concept Haulers Motor Speedway – Norway, Illinois
Favorite form of professional motorsports: Formula one
Favorite karting driver: Dave Sera
Favorite professional driver: Lewis Hamilton
Favorite website: eKartingNews.com
Favorite movie: Tommy Boy
Favorite actor/actresss: Paul Walker
Favorite music/group: Florida Georgia Line
Favorite vacation/activity spot: Siesta Key, Florida
Favorite food: Mac and cheese
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? I play basketball, study, and workout
What are your goals outside of karting? Own my own construction company
What type of street car do you drive? Mazda 3 2.3l
What type of street car would you like to drive? Toyota Supra
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Chomping gum loudly
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? Go to different tracks every year
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? Being able to spend time with friends and also really good racing to watch and be in.
June 2016 Driver of the Month – Honorable Mention:
– Alex Bertagnoli: United States Pro Kart Series – 2 Wins (IAME Junior)
– Scott Clark: WKA National Road Racing Series Summit Point – 3 Wins
– Elliot Cox: Route 66 Sprint Series / USPKS – 5 Wins (IAME Rookie, Yamaha Rookie)
– Nicky Hays: California ProKart Challenge – X30 Senior winner (youngest in series history)
– Jacob Heavlow: WKA Gold Cup – 5 Wins
– Josh Hotz: Route 66 Sprint Series – 2 Wins (IAME Senior)
– David Kalb Jr.: WKA Gold Cup – 4 Wins
– Matthew Northrop: Route 66 Sprint Series / USPKS – 3 Wins (Yamaha Junior)
– Colin Queen: Texas ProKart Challenge – Mini Swift Event Sweep
– Ron White: California ProKart Challenge – S1 winner