Wheatley Wins 4 at AKRA/CES Mid-Ohio
Steven Wheatley won four finals, two each Saturday and Sunday June 18-19 during round three of the American Kart Racing Association’s National Road Racing Series presented by Vega Tires and the Dart Kart Club. The event, raced at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course drew a record 596 entries for a Road Racing series’ in the 2016 season. One hundred and forty-two practiced that Friday and 452 raced that Saturday and Sunday. That record entry count included and eclipsed this year’s Daytona Kart Week’s entry numbers.
Opened in 1962 near Lexington, Ohio, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has fiercely challenged many of the world’s top drivers and riders for more than four decades. The track commonly referred to, as ‘The Most Competitive in the U.S.’ has also been home to the Mid-Ohio School since 1993. Racing there are NASCAR Nationwide Series, AMA Pro Road Racing, American Le Mans, Indy Car Lights, Indy Car Series, CART, Rolex Sports Car Series and Trans Am Series.
Karting Road Racers compete in multi-class timed racing on the 2.400-mile, eight turn asphalt road course from staggered group starts. “It was a safe, fun and relaxed,” described AKRA Vice-President and Road Racing Director Van Gilder. “Competition was heated throughout the fields, especially in the 50-plus entry Shifter class, which had it’s own race group. We want to extend a big thanks to the Dart Kart Club, Gene Davis, Carol, Jerry Cole, Sue, Andy, Howard, Chuck, Colleen, Tom, Becky, and the Mid-Ohio track workers and Dave and Deanne from CES for all their efforts in making this event run safe and smooth. I also want to thank each and every person who attended this great AKRA Karting event.”
Wheatley started his four-race streak in Saturday’s second final. With a very talented Animal 350 Final 1 field behind him Weatley steadily built a full lap lead over second place Bryce Reall. Regan Vehring was third followed in the top five by Seth Johnson and Scott Evans. Reall’s father Jack was 14th across the stripe. Whealey completed his sweep of the Animal 350 Sprint classes with a win Sunday In Animal Sprint Final 2 where Recall closed the gap down to just 2.455 seconds.
Later that Saturday Wheatley scored his second win in the fifth race’s Animal Sprint Heavy 370 class where he was just 5.831 seconds ahead of Vehring at the stripe. Bryce Reall was 19.276 seconds behind for a third place finish followed in the top five by Mitchell, Staats and Evans.
Sunday Whealey topped a field of 10 Animal Sprint 350 Final 2 racers and was fastest of a dozen in Animal Sprint 370. Jack Reall trailed him both times. In Animal Sprint 350 Final 2 Recall closed the gap down to just 2.455 seconds. Vehring crossed 3.889 seconds later for third followed by Evans who was a full lap down from the leaders. Further back, and more than a lap down Seth Johnson capped the top five.
In Animal Sprint 370 Final 2, Jack Reall was 13.455 seconds behind Whealey. Vehring, Johnson and Staats took third, fourth and fifth.
Triple winner Mark Nagy earned his wins on Saturday and Sunday starting with the weekend’s largest field; 125 Shifter Final 1. Fifty-three shifter karts entered Saturday’s race from a rolling start. According to AKRA President/CEO Bill McCutcheon, “They were three and four wide at the start. There was a little rubbing, and bumping at the beginning, what we call controlled aggression.”
Sunday’s 125 Shifter Final 2 race saw thirty-six entries.
With Nagy leading, the field spread out behind him into battles for positions. In the front pack Joe Barth, Alex Conlin, Scott Barns and Rusty Ferguson fought over the top five positions. Finishing in that order Barth was closest to Nagy trailing 10.917 seconds later. Conlin was 16.816 seconds late followed by Barnes who took the checkers 17.190 seconds off the pace. Ferguson followed in fifth trailing 23.948 seconds later than Nagy.
Sunday Nagy did not weigh in125 Shifter Final 2 race after being on the track 17:04.881 minutes for eight laps. Daniel Barth bested the field with Barnes, Cody Elliot and Conlin trailing nose-to-tail fractions of a second behind him followed by Eric Chappell who crossed 5.966 seconds late.
In addition to his 125 Shifter win Nagy won each day’s last final Stock Honda. Barnes was behind him across the stripe both times. Saturday Barnes was followed by David Gemignani, Jenner Grillo and Jason North. Sunday it was Grillo, Dan Chak and Brad Berelsman.
Sean O’Sea, one of the event’s two double winners, opened each day’s feature racing with a Controlled win over John Richie. In Saturdays Controlled Final 1 Richie was one lap down when O’Sea crossed the stripe. Further back John Larue, Patricia Hechler and Sean’s brother Ed were the top five.
When O’Sea took Animal Sprint 350 Final 2’s checkered, Richie was down a lap again. This time Todd Hayden was third; Timothy Koen fourth followed John Larue.
Veteran karting Road Racer Greg Wright grabbed both Vintage Piston Port USA Finals one and two. Trialing him in the first top five Saturday were Joel Walworth, Rick Chapman, Dave Dickel and Todd Giles. Sunday Chapman, Gilles, Mark Delia and Walworth filled the top five.
Another karting veteran, Brian Wilhelm did the same in Formula 125. Saturday he fought off late race challenges from Jeremy Baldi who was just 0.245 seconds behind Wilhelm. Greg Spettle and Allen Hollinger made up the rest of the field. Wilhelm ran away with Formula 125 Final 2 finishing a full lap ahead of Hollinger. Spettle finished third again this time with Baldi in tow.
Mallory D’ Augustine dominated Dalton Skilton in both Classic Enduro Finals where Skilton was down a lap each time. Bill Wilkie took third in both Finals.
Single race winners included Scott Grenier who grabbed Yamahi Pipe Final 1. Nick Cole crossed second followed in the top five by Adam Trumbley, Nick’s brother Eric finished fourth and Rex Pierce put the cap on the top five.
Saturday’s second race also saw James Sorrentino show a field of 18 Piston Port Sprint racers across the stripe towing Ted Carbonaro along 1.359 seconds behind. Michael Holman took third 6.057 seconds late followed in fourth and fifth by Kevin Olds and Otto Vollmerhaj.
Glen Critchett topped TaG Masters Sprint Final 1’s 15-racer field with Jim Snyder arms reach behind him by 0.056 seconds. Further back George Argiris, Robert Wimmer and Jeff Salak made up the top five. Argiris avenged himself Sunday taking the top spot in another close contest with Frank Gargano following 0.163 seconds behind. Robert Wimmer took third, Salak was fourth and Joe Cassidy capped the top five.
Jack Reall ruled Saturday’s Open Sprint Final 1. Travis Sabataka finished a distant second. Robert Murray trailed in third followed in the top five by Christopher Agena and Troy Helmsoth. Regan Vehring ruled final 2. This time Seth Johnson was second by 0.140 seconds, Jack Reall ran third, Murray finished fourth followed by Sabatka in fifth.
Glen Critchett owned a 0.056 seconds edge over Jim Snyder at TaG Masters Sprint Final 1’s checkers. George Argiris grabbed third with Robert Wimmer and Jeff Salak following in fourth and fifth. Argiris finished first in Final 2 closely followed by Frank Gargano who reached the stripe 0.163 seconds late. Wimmer was third, Salak fourth and Cassidy fifth.
Rodney Evans ruled TaG Senior Heavy Sprint Final 1. Adrian Dale crossed 0.372 seconds behind Evans. Sunday Dale dominated TaG Sprint Senior Heavy Sprint Final 2
James Sorrentino showed 13 Piston Port Sprint Final 1 racers across the stripe. Ted Carbonaro crossed 1.359 seconds behind him and was followed in the top five by Michael Holman, Kevin Olds and Otto Vollmerhau. Sunday Holman owned a 12.882 seconds finish line advantage over Sorrentlino. Carbonaro, Al Gierz and Olds crossed third, fourth and fifth.
Robert Wimmer won Animal Sprint 400 Final 1. Cole Peschang, Camden Losch and Max Renner cruised under Animal Junior Sprint Final 1’s checkered flag in first, second and third.
Chris Frizza and Shawn Swizz topped the TaG Senior Sprint Finals one and two. Following Frizza in the first Final were Brandon Basela, Swizz and Dave Ahrens. Swizz scored the second Final with a 3.718 seconds lead over Frazza. Basela crossed third trailing the leader by 12.409 seconds. Further back one lap down Ahrens and Lucas Maurer finished fourth and fifth.
Brothers Jeff and Andy Leighinger split the Yamaha Sportsman Sprint Finals. Jeff ran away with the first Final taking the final flag with a 42.370 seconds lead over Max Pasteiner. John Retzlaff and Andy completed the top four. Sunday Andy finished 50.047 seconds ahead of his brother in a two-racer field.
Saturday’s Formula 100 Final 1 was a three-way brother’s battle with Joe Scvuzzo beating his brother Johnny to the stripe with a 21.841 seconds advantage and his other brother Steve who finished sixth. John Ritchie was third across the Final 1’s stripe followed in the top five by Tim Koen and Michigan Kart Supply backed Jerry Cole, of Eaton Rapids, MI. Cole led Sunday’s Final 2 wire-to-wire.
In one of the event’s closest finishes Glen Crichett topped Saturday’s TaG Masters Final 1 beating Jim Snyder to the stripe by a mire 0.056 seconds. George Argiris, who would win Sunday’s Final 2, was third across the finish line followed in the top five by Robert Wimmer and Jeff Salak. Final 2 also saw a down to the wire finish with Frank Gargano just 0.163 seconds behind Agriris. Wimmer was third again. Salak was fourth and Joe Cassidy crossed fifth out of 10 entries.
Anthony Stiffler was first across Yamaha Sprint Final 1’s stripe. Al Gierz crossed 2127 seconds later followed in the top five by Adam Trumbley, Troy Kamerling and Dennis Cole. In other Saturday race five competition Bryce Warke won Junior Sprint over Michael O’Dell who was down a lap when Warke crossed the stripe.
John Copeland won Vintage Unlimited Final 1 a lap ahead of second place Martin Powers. 1. Also a lap down was third place Todd Giles who was followed by fourth place finisher Colm O’Higgins.
Delaney Keavney was another race five winner that Saturday. Keavney led CIK Piston Port Sprint 1 racers under the checkered flag. Trailing him were Paul Behnke, Scott Gazzillo and Scott Stec, Jr.
Saturday’s Sixth race included Daggiin Cuthbertson winning Super Kart 250 Final 1. Crossing in the top five of 10 were veteran karter Andrew Kiker, Ian Algie, Derek Cuthbertson and Brad Jackson. Algie won Super Kart 250 Final 2 taking the checkered flag one lap ahead of Sidney Dannals. Jackson was third, Sandy Macnie followed in fourth and Chuck Hurdzan capped the top five.
Cuthbertson’s brother Kyle won Sunday’s Yamaha Sprint in Sunday’s sixth race. Kyle was 12.553 seconds ahead of Al Gierz who had Dennis Cole, Tory Kamereling and Tim McCarrick in tow in the top five.
The sixth race also had J. Michael Long leading half a dozen Unlimited Final 1 racers. Crossing 19.058 seconds behind Long was Roger Lockey. Behind Lockey in the top five were Ron Brinker, Gregg Stamm and William Schmidt. Lockey out ran Stamm and Brinker in Unlimited Final 2
Pat Blake produced Piston Port SSX Can Sprint Final 1’s win. Behind him across the stripe, down by a lap were Keith Losch and Steve McMillan
For their final race of the 2016 season AKRA Road Racers return to Michigan International Speedway September 24-24.