|eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month: 2008-2009
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.
| Nick Neri - EKN Driver of the Month - December 2009|
Driver of the Month - December 2009 - Nick Neri
Completing the 2009 calendar for racing, thus starting the 2010 season, was the World Karting Association Daytona KartWeek. The past 12 months were certainly successful for Nick Neri, and his consistency at the front in the Junior categories have him on the radar for any event he attends. Helping to start of the new season, Neri went on to score two wins and four podiums in the full Junior categories at the 2010 WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series opener, earning him the honor of eKartingNews.com December Driver of the Month.
Neri’s weekend started out cold, along with the temperatures felt on the first day of racing at the Margay Sprint Championships. First in the Komet Piston Port Jr. Heavy category, Neri came into the event as the defending class champion however, only managed to sit eighth after qualifying. Working up to third in the Prefinal with the fast lap of the race, Neri would lose spots at the start of the Final due to unavoidable contact. Charging forward, Neri came up just one-tenth short of the victory after 14 laps.
Caught out in the first of three sessions in the Yamaha Jr. Lite qualifying, Neri held the provisional pole until the final group hit the track, dropping him to fifth in the order. Contact however at the start of the Prefinal sent Neri and others into the bails in turn three, dropping him to the tail of the field where he eventually finished 18th. In the Final, Neri was into the top-10 the first time by the stripe. Moving forward, he was up to fourth at the checkered flag for a solid save in the start of the championship chase.
Day two of racing went well for Neri as he swept the day’s action. The day began by scoring the pole position in both Komet Piston Port Jr. Lite and Yamaha Jr. Heavy. Neri then went unchallenged for flag-to-flag victories in Prefinal and Final in KPP Jr. Lite. In the Yamaha category, Neri duplicated the same feat as he lead all the laps of the Prefinal and Final for the victory, making it look easy in both performances.
| Tom Dyer - EKN Driver of the Month - November 2009|
(Photo: Sean Buur - On Track Promotions)
Driver of the Month - November 2009 - Tom Dyer
The ‘crown jewel’ for North American karting has grown to become the SKUSA SuperNationals. When you win at the SuperNats, you’ve accomplished something. Not many can say they have won multiple times at the yearly event held in Las Vegas - this year held at the Rio Hotel and Casino, however, Tom Dyer can add that to his growing resume. The NorCal driver put in a solid performance over the four day-event to secure his second S3 title in three years, also earning him the title of the EKN Driver of the Month for November 2009.
The veteran entered the 13th running of the SKUSA SuperNationals as one of the favorites in the competitive S3 category. Some of the top shifter pilots contested the event and starting with the first official session, Dyer led them all as he scored the pole position.
Beginning the heat races with a flag-to-flag win in his opening heat race, Dyer would be challenged in the second round. Sitting third, Dyer performed an amazing double pass on Grand-Am driver Memo Gidley and former PKC champion Jason Toft to go on to take the win. The third heat, Dyer was challenged once again, this time however getting beat to the line as he settled for the second position.
Getting a clean launch from the pole position for the 40-car main event, Dyer held the lead through the often treacherous first turn hairpin. With the top few drivers running nose-to-tail, Dyer and Gidley swapped the lead on back-to-back laps. Entertaining the fans on hand, Dyer and Gidley continued their dice for the win lap after lap. Following contact between Gidley and Kyle Wiegand, Dyer was able to break away from the battle for second to extend his lead to roughly three-seconds. Unchallenged, the Aluminos driver took the checkered flag for his second career SuperNationals win.
Dyer’s accomplishments in karting and racing in general are no surprise as the second-generation racer has tons of natural talent. Beginning with a successful beginning in karting, Dyer moved to car - both open-wheel and stock cars where he has also earned more accomplishments. When not looking to progress his own driving career, Dyer works as the lead driver coach for Team Aluminos. Dyer’s expertise has been a solid addition to the Northern California operation, helping drivers reach their own personal goals whether it’s becoming just a better driver or earn more victories.
| Brett Farmer - EKN Driver of the Month - October 2009|
(Photo: B. Farmer)
Driver of the Month - October 2009 - Brett Farmer
There is no better way to end a season then a four-win weekend, taking home four WKA Grand Nationals Eagles in the process of scoring four class championships. At the Bully Clutches Gold Cup Series finale at the BeaveRun Motorsports Complex, Michigan’s Brett Farmer ended the year in style at the GT Machine Grand Nationals. Farmer scored multiple victories at all four of the Gold Cup Series events in 2009 - three at Lowe’s, four at G&J and New Castle. For his performance at BeaveRun, Farmer has been selected as the October Driver of the Month.
Farmer kicked off his Grand Nationals weekend by sweeping the Briggs Lite division. Scoring the pole position by over six tenths to his nearest rival, Farmer went on to win the heat race by nearly seven seconds. In the feature, Farmer continued on a torrid pace to win by over seven seconds in the feature for win number one. The big win came in the popular Briggs Medium division against 21 drivers. Farmer took the pole once again before clinch the win in the eight lap heat race. After losing the jump at the drop of the green, Farmer showed he had the speed, taking the lead after the first two circuits for the duration of the feature. Farmer would then go on to score the victories in the Briggs Super Stock Medium and Briggs Super Stock Heavy.
Farmer’s four Gold Cup championships from ’09 will join the four he previously earned from 2008 to 2004, ranging from Briggs Medium to Briggs Junior 2 Lite. At Farmer’s home track, Ravenna Motor Park just outside the Grand Rapids metro area, he took home the Animal 370 title - the most popular club class.
The 18-year old is finishing up his final year at Grandville High School but is yet undecided about his future. One thing on the docket will be competing in the Gold Cup Series next season in the Briggs Lite, Medium, and Heavy along with continuing his club racing at Ravenna.
| Michele Bumgarner - EKN Driver of the Month - September 2009|
Driver of the Month - September 2009 - Michele Bumgarner
Females in the motorsports world are certainly on the rise in both the United States and across the world. In karting, Kathy Hartman and Faye ‘Ladybug’ Pierson paved the way for more recent drivers like Juliana Chiovitti and IndyCar’s Danica Patrick. With females working up the racing ranks, karting is certainly the place where many begin, just as their male counter-parts do. This past decade has seen an influx of female karters across the country and around the world. Those just getting into the sport may have a new female karting hero to look up to as our eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month for September - Michele Bumgarner - is making her name known across the United States.
Bumgarner calls the Philippines home however holds dual citizenship, moving to the United States in 2007. Since then she has been looking to make the climb up the motorsports ladder while competing with Margay Racing karting team when her schedule allows her. The 2008 performance she put in at the Rock Island Grand Prix - becoming the first female winner at the world famous karting street race - earned her a spot in the event’s Top-15 performances at the number three spot.
Her journey to defending her Rock Island victory this past Labor Day weekend began with a target on her back as the driver to beat. A sixth in qualifying was not what was expected by her or the Margay Racing team. Going the extra mile, she and her crew worked diligently to find the perfect race setup the next morning. When the green flag waved, Bumgarner knew what she had to do. By lap four, she had climbed her way to the point with some quick early laps.
She held the lead until lap 11 when a lap kart slowed her progress in the back section of the track, allowing 2008 TaG SuperPro runner-up Caleb Loniewski and ’08 TaG Senior runner-up Kyle Erdmann to get by. Putting her head down, Bumgarner blasted off the fast laps of the race to close back in on the front two. With two laps remaining, Bumgarner was able to slide by Erdmann in the first corner and then set up Loniewski in the second turn to retake the lead. She would go on to hold the lead for the final lap to score the victory and defend her title.
The 20-year old has karting experience across Asia along with Europe. In 2008, Bumgarner contested a partial schedule in the Star Mazda Championship series and has tested many other formula cars in Asia and the United States. The now Indianapolis, IN resident currently sits third in the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series TaG point standings and is still seeking her first victory in her first full year.
| Ryan Phillips - EKN Driver of the Month - August 2009|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Driver of the Month - August 2009 - Ryan Phillips
There are not too many drivers that can make the adjustment well from one power plant to another; however, the karting community is seeing that more and more between the WKA Gold Cup and Manufacturer’s Cup Series. The newest driver to score wins in both programs this season is Ryan Phillips. The driver for the American-made Bandit chassis - which only made its Man. Cup debut in 2007 - is battling for championship in both programs and helped put himself near the top of the chase with victories at both rounds in August.
Phillips’ back to back weekend schedule at the New Castle Motorsports Park facility began with the WKA Bully Clutches Gold Cup program for the Coyote Motorsports Nationals on August 21-23. The event began with the Briggs Lite division where Phillips qualified third in the class. After running a solid third in the Prefinal, the feature began Phillips spinning around in the opening corner. Dropping Phillips to the back, he was up to sixth by the time they crossed the stripe for the first time. Putting his head down, Ryan was up to first by lap seven, stretching out to a near five-second margin of victory over championship leader Brett Farmer.
His second victory of the day came over another championship leader, this time Gary Lawson in the Briggs Heavy category. Phillips edged out Lawson in qualifying for the pole position but Lawson got the better end in the Prefinal. Lawson led the first lap of the feature and that would be it as Phillips assumed the point to lead the remaining nine laps for the 3.877-second victory. The two went head to head again later in the day in the World Formula Medium division. Lawson showed the way the first three laps before Farmer assumed the point, edging out for his third victory of the day by a scant 0.105-second. Phillips completed the remainder of the weekend with a seventh in the Briggs Medium category, which boasted 23 entries, and a third in the World Formula Heavy feature.
Heading into the program’s final race in October at the BeaveRun Motorsports Complex, Phillips sits second in four class standings (Briggs Lite, Briggs Heavy, World Formula Medium, World Formula Heavy).
The following weekend, Phillips traded in his Briggs engines for Yamahas to compete at the WKA Bridgestone Manufacturer’s Cup Series Show Hauler Truck Nationals. Day one would see Phillips look to defend his win from the previous round at Road America in the Yamaha SuperCan Heavy division. After placing fourth in qualifying, Phillips moved up to second in the Prefinal. A great race ensued for the Final and the win was decided in the final corners. Phillips exited the corner leading to the final straight in the third spot but was able to get a clean exited to sling shot bye the front two with a tire in the grass. Getting through the final corner, Phillips claimed the victory.
The following day in the Lite division, Phillips kick-started the day with the second fastest lap in the short qualifying session on a slick track. Engaged in a battle with the same players from the day before, Phillips was dropped to fourth in the final corner of the Prefinal. Back at it again in the Final, Phillips lost the lead group near the halfway mark but was able to draft back to the pack and win the battle for third at the line.
With one less race to his credit, Phillips sits fifth in both class standings heading into the series finale at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in November.
| Sam Beasley - EKN Driver of the Month - July 2009|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Driver of the Month - July 2009 - Sam Beasley
North American karting certainly has a number of young rising stars in its midst, we ironically continue to highlight some of the top Junior drivers in our Driver of the Month program. For a fifth straight month, our feature driver is under the age of 16, which poses a great outlook for the future of the sport and motorsports in general. Unlike our previous honorees, the July Driver of the Month - Sam Beasley is just getting started in the sport.
Into his fourth season in karting, Beasley is progressing up the Junior ranks at the ripe young age of 15. Working with mentor Gary Lawson, Beasley is gaining the knowledge to put himself at the front, which he did at back to back weekends for the WKA Bully Clutches Gold Cup and WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series in the first half of July.
Over the fourth of July weekend in Camden, Ohio at the Spallco RV Sales Nationals for the Gold Cup Series, Beasley took home two victories along with two pole positions at G&J Kartway. Beasley began the event with the pole in Briggs Jr. Lite. After running second in the Prefinal, he stormed back to earn a one-second victory in the feature. Beasley would again set the pace in the Briggs Jr. Heavy division however run second in the Prefinal and Final - which ran in wet conditions. Beasley’s second win of the weekend came in Sunday’s Briggs Jr. Medium class after a hard fought battle in both the Prefinal and Final, which resulted in Beasley stretching out to a two-second margin in the end.
A week later at Zoom Zoom Nationals on the Briggs and Stratton Motorplex inside the historic Road America facility in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Beasley added two more victories. The weekend began with a solid second place effort in HPV Jr. Heavy. That was followed the same day by a dominant performance in Yamaha Jr. Light where he swept the on-track action capped off by an eight-second triumph. The next day in the HPV Jr. Lite category, Beasley put in his second sweep with a near perfect performance, leading all but one lap in the racing action. Looking for his third win of the weekend, Beasley began the Yamaha Jr. Heavy class as the driver to beat after earning the pole position and walking away with the Prefinal win. The feature however began with a shake up in the order that resulted in some heavy contact, dropping Beasley to 15th and eventually out of the race on lap five.
| Taylor Miinch - EKN Driver of the Month - June 2009|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Driver of the Month - June 2009 - Taylor Miinch
Similar to last month’s EKN Driver of the Month recipient, this month’s honoree is another name that has been in the karting limelight for a number of year’s despite his young age. Honing his craft in the Cadet division, Taylor Miinch is into his fourth season nationally in the Junior ranks after moving up early. Consistently among the front runners year after year, Miinch’s performances in June could help him garner his first national title as it earned him the honor of the June Driver of the Month.
The opening weekend of the month of June saw the fifth round of the IKF Region 7 Championship Series take place at the CalSpeed Karting circuit in Fontana, California. Contesting the HPV 2 division, Miinch began the Saturday action scoring the outside pole. From there, he and the pole sitter went head to head in the Prefinal with Miinch prevailing while the two were joined by a number of others in the Feature. The race came down to the final lap and was able to sneak away to score the win. The next day, Miinch would have to fight strong again against a solid field but was able to break away in the end to score his second victory of the weekend. Miinch also added a two runner-up finishes in the Junior Super Sportsman category.
The final weekend of the month sent Miinch across the country to New Jersey for the second round of the Championship Karting International series at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Contesting the KF3 and IAME Junior divisions, Miinch was kept busy and fighting hard to run at the front.
Making the switch to the Vortex engine in KF3, Miinch’s pace was a bit quicker than what was previously seen. After a win and two second place runs in the heat races, Miinch started second for the Prefinal, where he would stay hooked to the bumper of the pole sitter. In the feature, the field was shuffled up with the pole sitter having mechanical issues in the opening lap. Miinch would find himself in second after the field sorted itself out. With two to go, Miinch made his move and was able to slide through for the lead for his first checkered flag of the event.
Miinch put his Top Kart on the pole in the IAME Junior and ended up second overall after the heat races. After mixing it up in the early stages of the Prefinal, Miinch was able to escape from the shuffling with the lead and put in solid laps to pull out to a two-second win. From the pole position, Miinch led all 14 laps of the main event to score his second victory of the weekend.
| Sage Karam - EKN Driver of the Month - May 2009|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Driver of the Month - May 2009 - Sage Karam
A driver that many have seen on the national scene for a number of years - despite the fact that he is only 14-years old - is champion Sage Karam. The Nazareth, Pennsylvania native is entering his 10th season in karting after getting his early start at the age of four in a kid kart. Karam has shined in recent years in the Cadet category across the country but it was his performance in South Bend last month that earned him the honor of EKN May Driver of the Month.
Karam began the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series MRP Speed School Nationals with a victory in the HPV Jr. Heavy division on Saturday. Running second in qualifying and the Prefinal, Karam put down some quick laps on his cold Bridgestone tires after grabbing a great start at the drop of the green to take his first WKA victory of the season by just under two seconds. Later in the day, Karam had worked himself from a 10th in the Yamaha Jr. Lite qualifying to battle within the top-five, eventually earning the fifth spot on the podium.
On Sunday, Karam continued to run up front in the HPV category, this time in the Lite category. A win in the Prefinal after starting second set up a flag to flag run in the feature for his second victory of the weekend. The best drive of the weekend however came in the Yamaha Jr. Heavy class where Karam had to come from the Last Chance Qualifier after his transponder did not record a lap in qualifying. After winning the LCQ, Karam started 30th in the 12-lap Prefinal. With smart and calculated moves, Karam advanced up to 14th. In the feature, Karam put 10 more karts behind him to earn his fourth podium of the weekend.
| Brett Felkins - EKN Driver of the Month - April 2009|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Driver of the Month - April 2009 - Brett Felkins
Many can remember back to when you were 15, on the verge of getting your driver’s license and be able to cruise the streets of your local town. The great thing about karting - aside from teaching you car control and other knowledgeable skills behind the wheel - it fills that need for speed. One driver who has transitioned to the world of karting quickly is the April Driver of the Month - Brett Felkins.
After spending most of his youth on two wheels, Felkins made the transition to karting through a family friend after a number of injuries during motocross kept Brett on the sidelines and his parents worried. In 2007, the Felkins visited the Leading Edge Motorsports shop in their hometown of Lodi, California and came out with a Trackmagic/HPV package. After spending the year learning the ins and outs of a kart, they moved on to the Intrepid chassis and began racing regional and national events.
During the 2008 season, Felkins mad quite an impression as he ran near the front consistently, scoring his first podium finish at the Seattle Grand Prix event and the another at the National Finals to sit tenth in the overall Junior Intercontinental A standings. Brett made a couple starts as a Senior driver at the end of the year, including the SKUSA SuperNationals XII in a field of 100 drivers where he finished second in the B-Main. Felkins earned his first Senior win in January 2009 at the opening round of the ProKart Challenge South, where he currently sits third in the standings.
| Kiel Spaulding - EKN Driver of the Month - March 2009|
(Photo: FX Racing USA)
Driver of the Month - Kiel Spaulding - March 2009
There is no better way to get yourself noticed in racing than by taking the checkered flag first. When you stand on top of the podium five times in back to back weekends, however, you are surely noticed by those around you. Kiel Spaulding did just that in March to earn the honor of eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month.
Spaulding began his successful two weekends at the IKF Region 7 Buttonwillow Raceway event with three wins along with a runner-up finish in the two-day event. Saturday’s HPV 2 race saw Spaulding pull out the four-second victory in the feature after winning the prefinal. The Jr. Super Sportsman win was not as easy as he found himself in a three-way battle for the win. When his two rivals made slight contact, Spaulding pounced at the opportunity to dive inside to streak down the straightway for the win. Sunday’s HPV 2 race was a near repeat of Saturday’s race as he went on to a five-second margin of victory.
The following weekend the Trackmagic driver traveled back to NorCal for the opening round of the ProKart Challenge North program at the Jim Russell International Karting Center at Infineon Raceway on March 14. Contending the TaG Junior and HPV 2 divisions, Spaulding would find himself earning two more checkered flags. Spaulding returned as the defending HPV 2 class champion and had a full field looking to ruin his title defense. After sitting second in qualifying, he would go on to win the opening heat and finish second in the final heat. The feature would see Spaulding fall back to third at the start, but he charged his way to the front to take the win by just 0.187 seconds. In TaG Junior, Spaulding took the top honors in qualifying with a second and first place finish in the heats. The feature however would be all Spaulding as he went on to lead all 20 laps for his second win of the day.
| Jacob Neal - EKN Driver of the Month - February 2009|
(Photo: Superkarts! USA)
Driver of the Month - Jacob Neal - February 2009
California was the birth place of karting back in the late 1950s and since has produced numerous legends and stars within the sport. Many have gone on to bigger and brighter things while others continue to show the way each weekend out on the kart track. The eKartingNews.com February Driver of the Month - Jacob Neal - is honing his skills to be successful no matter which direction his motorsports career will take him.
Neal scored two victories at the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South Willow Springs Raceway event back on February 28. Neal made it look easy in the S1 category, as he swept the day’s on-track sessions. With a full year in the ICC division now under his belt, Neal put his experience on display as he led all of the green flag laps in both heat races and the feature. In contrast to what happened at the CalSpeed round, where an injury put Neal on the sidelines for the S1 feature after he showed the way earlier in the day, this outing was picture-perfect.
Doing the double duty stint once again, Neal was right in the middle of the S3 battle, although it was no easy task with a number of championship contenders in attendance. Neal was second in Qualifying and with a great start, lead early on in the opening heat race but would end up second. Another great start put Neal at the point of the second heat race however settled for second behind Jimmy McNeil once again. Going three for three at the drop of the green, Neal grabbed the hole shot once again. This time however Neal would go on to lead flag-to-flag for his second victory of the weekend with McNeil settling for second.
| Paul Montopoli - EKN Driver of the Month - January 2009|
Driver of the Month - Paul Montopoli - January 2009
The great thing about the ‘Masters’ category for the aged veterans of the karting community, many are in the sport to cure the need for speed and the friendships they create from race to race. For many of them, they need to get through the weekend without any bodily damage so they can return to work Monday morning. There are many across the country that fit that profile and this month, we highlight one of them as our eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month - Paul Montopoli.
The first battle for the ‘seasoned’ drivers for the 2009 season took place at the Florida Winter Tour opening weekend at the Homestead Karting facility, January 9-11. The Rotax divisions were the first event of the double-header weekend with the Rotax Masters nearly 30 drivers taking part. At the front of the field, Montopoli found himself battling Mexican Rene Martinelli and professional driver Max Papis. Montopoli got the better of Papis in the Prefinal after qualifying third and with Papis falling off pace, Montopoli squared off against Martinelli. After multiple attempts to overtake the lead, Montopoli finally made it stick on lap 16 of the 20-lap feature and went on to earn his first major victory of his career.
The next day Montopoli followed it up with top honors in Qualifying along with the Prefinal win. On his way to a second victory in the feature with a four seconds advantage, a red flag bunched the filed back up. A terrible restart by Montopoli allowed three drivers to slide by however he would bounce back with strong determination. Working up to second, he hounded the former F1 driver Papis but was unable to get by and settled for second. The results capped off Montopoli’s best weekend in his short karting career.
| The Fry Racing family (Brandon, Lance, Jim) occupied the Formula 100 podium at the WKA Daytona KartWeek|
(Photo: WKA - Curt Davis)
Driver of the Month - Fry Racing - December 2008
Karting is truly one of the best family sports there is. Where else can you all travel together, compete against one-another, and enjoy the thrill of victory collectively? For most of the road racing community, the sport is just that. The Fry Racing family took it to the next level during two successful days at the recent World Karting Association Daytona KartWeek, earning them the unique distinction as our Drivers of the Month for December.
Racing at the opening round of the 2009 Dunlop Tire National Road Racing Series event at the Daytona International Speedway, the Fry Racing family made the annual journey south from their home base in Georgia with 11 family members in tow, followed by even more extended family friends, eventually arriving at their Daytona Beach condo rental for the event. Making the move from the Yamaha ranks to the Controlled classes just last year, the three Fry drivers (led by father Jim and his sons Brandon and Lance) were prepared to tackle the 3.56-mile course in three different laydown enduro races.
The opening event was the 100cc Controlled class where Jim battled for the win in a three-kart pack while Brandon and Lance sat back in fourth and fifth. A fuel supply issue cost Jim the win and allowed Brandon to pass his father as they reached the finish line for third. Lance also had mechanical issues and dropped to ninth in the order.
The second race of the day - Formula 100 - would see the Fry Racing squad shine. All three were in the lead group of roughly seven karts during in the early stages of the 45-minute contest. As the race progressed, their competition began to fall off the pace. The Frys were running 1-2-3 with the checkered flag in sight. Jim’s fuel issue struck again, allowing Lance to pull away from him during the final lap, also giving Brandon the chance to once again slingshot by for position, putting Jim third. Sure, it’s a family, but they’re still racers!
The all-Fry podium was the first time in recent history that a family held all the podium steps in the Dunlop Tire Road Racing Series. Later that night at the 2008 NRRS Banquet, the Fry Racing family was honored by WKA as the “Family of the Year” for their accomplishments and sportsmanship on and off the track.
On the following day, the trio entered the 100cc Controlled Spec category to close out their 2008 Daytona KartWeek experience. Lance would again be the leader of the pack, crossing the line in second, although he was awarded the win after the unofficial victor was removed in the tech barn. Jim and Brandon did not fair so well, experiencing mechanical DNFs. In all, the event was a success for the Fry Racing family as they earned wins, trophies, and special honors, all while spending quality time with their family and racing friends.
| Brendan Phinny - EKN Driver of the Month - November 2008|
Driver of the Month - Brendan Phinny - November 2008
Though the headline SuperPro category and 100-kart field TaG division were the highly-anticipated races heading into the 12th annual Superkarts! USA SuperNationals. When everyone left Sunday evening however it was 14-year old Brendan Phinny who stole the show, winning in the competitive S3 category over the likes of McMurray, Gidley, Moulton, Beeny and others - earning him the November Driver of the Month credit.
The S3 feature was one of the best gearbox races that had ever been seen, beginning with veteran Bonnier Moulton and NASCAR’s Jamie McMurray on the front row. ‘Mini’ Phinny, as he is known, started the race sixth, despite having won the third heat race. The 30-lap battle however witnessed Phinny battle with upwards of six to eight drivers in the lead pack until just three were left - McMurray, top qualifier Mike Beeny, and Phinny. McMurray held the point until two laps to go, when the youngster slid by for the lead. Putting in two error-free laps, Phinny went unchallenged the remainder of the way to score the big win in his Senior debut. The victory also gave Phinny his second SuperNats win, after dominating the S5 category one year ago.
| Courtney Atkinson - EKN Driver of the Month - October 2008|
(Photo: WKA - Curt Davis)
Driver of the Month - Courtney Atkinson - October 2008
There have been a good number of successful female drivers making their way up the ranks in the World Karting Association in all forms of karting - sprint, oval and road racing. Courtney Atkinson has added her name to that list after an outstanding month of October where she would take home eight wins at two events on the Dunlop Tire Road Racing Series, leading her to earn four class championships for the 2008 season and the October Driver of the Month honor.
Atkinson began the month with round seven of the eight weekend program at the Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Georgia. There she would win four races, Junior Enduro Light, Junior Enduro Heavy, Junior Sprint Light and Junior Sprint Heavy, while taking the fast lap honors in each 30-minute race. A few weeks later at the season finale at the famed Road Atlanta facility in Braselton, Georgia, she would repeat the same feat with four additional wins to help her clinch the class championships in each of the divisions. With the four championships, Atkinson will become only the second female to be included in the prestigious WKA Triple Crown Club.
| Ouimet dominated the Senior division at the Rotax Max Challenge USA Grand Nationals|
(Photo: A. Ouimet)
Driver of the Month - Arie Ouimet - September 2008
A ‘true’ national championship is a tough honor to earn, however last month the Rotax Max Challenge USA Grand Nationals at the USA International Raceway in Shawano, Wisconsin saw one driver make it look like a Sunday drive. Arie Ouimet effortlessly cruised to the Senior Max crown and his performance earned him the September Driver of the Month credit.
The SSC East/CRG driver showed the way nearly all week. The first timed session of the event, Ouimet was sixth in non-qualifying practice after unofficially leading the way throughout the full day of practice. The next day in Qualifying, Ouimet posted the quickest lap of the session to put him on the pole position for the three qualifying heat races. It was green to checkered wins for Ouimet in each heat to secure the P1 spot for the prefinal, where he would again get away from the field to lead all 15 laps. Repeated again in the 19-lap final, Ouimet would take the victory by more then 10-seconds for the national championship. The win also earned him a spot on the Mazda America’s Team to compete at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals around the La Conca International Circuit in Muro Leccese, Italy.
| Stewart earned six pole awards and four feature wins at the Man. Cup finale|
(Photo: Go Racing Magazine)
Driver of the Month - Ryan Stewart - August 2008
Most would like to end their season on a high note, whether it is a victory, a pole position in Qualifying, or just that you made every lap in the final race. For Ryan Stewart, the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series season finale at the New Castle Motorsports Park on August 15-17 is wishing the year would go on after his stellar performance.
Running six classes on the weekend, three each day, he and his crew that included his father Chuck, members of his family, and MRP-Birel America’s Chris and Tim Lobaugh, had their work cut out for them. However on track Stewart made it look too easy. During Qualifying on the first race day went smooth as Stewart took in three pole positions and followed that with three Prefinal wins.
The first main event of the day, HPV Lite, put him up against the championship rival TJ Koyen. The driver who won the race, had the championship in hand. Stewart was able to get away in the 12-lap race and looked to have the race in hand until Koyen was able to cut into a one-second gap. Koyen made his move on lap 10 to lead Stewart to the white flag. With Stewart on his bumper, Koyen was able to keep him at bay as they headed to the final corner. As the two made the turn in, Stewart made an aggressive move for the win and the championship that resulted in hard contact, putting them both off and out of the race. That would be the only down side of the weekend as later in the day he would go on to his first win in Yamaha Heavy to take the provisional championship along with his second straight feature win in Yamaha Sr. Sportsman Lite.
The following morning seemed to repeat itself as Stewart would again find himself atop the time sheets in Sunday Qualifying. He continued on to win two of the three Prefinals, edged out in the Yamaha Sr. Sportsman Heavy class where he would eventually finish second in the main event. The first feature would see Stewart earn the checkered flags for second time on the year in HPV Heavy to claim the provisional championship and then later win the Yamaha Lite final to move up to second in the point standings.
To wrap up the event, Stewart earned six pole awards, five Prefinal victories, four Feature wins, and two championships. His victories also contributed Birel winning its first ever Manufacturer’s Championship Trophy in the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series.
| Scott Holmboe earned three Duffy's in one day for a total of four at the IKF RR Grand Nationals|
Driver of the Month - Scott Holmboe - July 2008
Some may say that earning multiple wins in road racing is not that difficult, but when you win in the toughest and largest classes at one event, that’s something not everyone can do. When traveling to the Pacific Northwest, Scott Holmboe is a familiar one at the front of the field. At the International Kart Federation Road Race Grand Nationals at Portland International Raceway in mid July, Holmboe lived up to that status to take home five wins in the four day event.
Following a long day of non-stop practice in three different karts, the racing began with the money classes at the end of the day. Holmboe competed in the Super Stock CR125 division and took the win to start his weekend off right, earning $250. Racing for the prestigious IKF Duffy began on day two with Holmboe coming up just short, about 12 inches, in the TaG Light class, to Phillip Arscott. However, he would outlast his competition in the Formula 125 class for his first Duffy of the event.
Day three was a busy day for Holmboe with three classes, two in his Rotax machine and one in his stock shifter. TaG Heavy was the largest class of the event with 17 entries, led by Holmboe who won in a photo finish over Arscott. Race two of the day put him out in another heated battle in the West Coast Super Stock CR125 class. At the line, Holmboe took his second Duffy of the day by just 0.070-seconds over Arscott again. Back in his Rotax for Rotax Senior, Holmboe was able to outlast Arscott for a third time and cruise to his fourth Duffy of the event.
| Jason Foley earned three WKA Eagles at the Man. Cup Grand National at Badger Raceway|
(Photo: Go Racing Magazine)
Driver of the Month - Jason Foley - June 2008
If you were walking around the paddock of a WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series event, you would notice the ‘usual suspects’ and veterans that run up front at each and every track on the circuit. One name or face you might not recognize is that of Jason Foley. When everyone began packing up following the Racersites.com Grand Nationals at Badger Raceway and the podium ceremonies presenting the WKA Eagles for each win were handed out, Foley needed some assistance. Three Eagles had his name etched on the name plate following his three-win performance on the weekend.
On day one, Foley swept all the track sessions for the Yamaha Heavy class, including a four-second win for his first Eagle of the weekend while finishing fifth in the competitive Yamaha Sr. Sportsman Lite division. Day two would be even sweeter. He repeated the same feat the Yamaha Lite category as its Saturday counterpart for Eagle number two. What was the highlight of the weekend was the final race of the event, Yamaha Sr. Sportsman Heavy.
The top two all day had been former Triple Crown winner Corey Reeves and multi-time champion Mark Dismore Jr. with Josh Call and Foley on their tail. The twenty lap final saw the quartet mix it up for 20-laps with Foley and Call getting the edge on the veterans in the final two laps. Foley would hold off Call for his third win of the weekend and without question his best weekend performance of his career on the kart track.