Team News: Mike Manning Karting Scores Top Two Positions at ProKart Challenge Buttonwillow Event
February 1-2, 2013, Team Mike Manning Karting made their official 2013 season debut at the opening round of SKUSA Pro Kart Challenge California, held at ButtonwillowRacewayPark. Team MMK had a stacked line-up of six drivers in the TAG Masters division, as well as three drivers participating in the TAG Senior category. MMK started the year off on a positive note by taking home the top two spots on the podium in the TAG Masters division. SKUSA champion and 2-time SuperNationals winner Billy Cleavelin scored the win in the TAG Masters class, with teammate Kevin Manning finishing close behind in the 2nd place position.
Race day came off to a great start early when Cleavelin was the pole-sitter in TAG Masters, putting 2-tenths of a second of the 2nd position. Cleavelin also stole the win in Heat 1, with Manning stealing the win in Heat 2. This set the tone for a very exciting main event as our team was unsure of who would come out on top between our teammates.
After an intense 20-lap battle, MMK drivers Cleavelin and Manning set clear of the rest of the field and successfully came across the finish line in 1st and 2nd. Cleavelin set fast time of the race on lap 12, with a 50.035 lap time. Other MMK drivers who participated in the class were Tom Gerstner of New York, Steve Brackett, Will Jadiker, and Jim Elia. Jadiker finished in the top 10 with an impressive 6th place, Brackett in a progressive 12th place out of 17 total karts, and Gerstner and Elia did not finish the race.
In the TAG Sr. division, we were ready to give the field a good run for their money with New York driver and WKA multi-champion Mike Giessen, but unfortunately Giessen was unable to compete after a rib injury in the warm-up session.
“It was one of the hardest decisions of my racing career deciding to sit out the races after a great warm-up session posting fifth fastest with a leaking tire. The engine was fantastic and the chassis was finally to my liking, but we were unfortunately never able to show our strength. I now want nothing more but to get redemption at my next race on the west coast at the SKUSA Pro Tour event in Tucson,” stated Giessen.
Other drivers who participated in the TAG Sr. division were Jordan Robertson and Grayson Browne. Robertson came across the finish line in the 19th position, out of 31 karts, which was a positive outcome as it was his first time ever competing in a ProKart event,and at this level of competition. Browne unfortunately did not finish the race.
“The 2013 opening round of ProKart Challenge at Buttonwillow was very competitive. The win by Billy Cleavelin in TAG Masters paved the way for a solid weekend. It was tough losing Giessen on Saturday after a 5th fastest effort in the warm-up. Get well soon Mike. Congratulations to everyone on Team MMK for their effort and teamwork. Round 2 at Willow Springs is the next stop. We had a team test day this week that went extremely well, and we are very excited with our chances at the next event. I would also like to give a big thanks to Jerry Henderson, Kurt Christensen, and Justin Sofio for the great job they did as mechanics for our team at Buttonwillow,” stated team owner Mike Manning after the big event.
About Mike Manning Karting- MMK is located in Rosamond, California at the gates of the famous Willow Springs International Raceway. MMK has been in business since 1980, winning races across the nation for over 30 years. MMK is a distributor of the CRG chassis, and specializes in building all current TAG engines. We pride ourselves on our arrive and drive program that has won numerous races for an array of talented drivers, most recently being Formula 3 driver Michael Lewis, 2012 Pacific F2000 Champion Bobby Kelley, and NASCAR Nationwide driver, Australian Scott Saunders. Please follow Team MMK on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mikemanningkarting) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/teamMMK) for live race updates and info, or e-mail us at email@example.com if interested in joining our goal-achieving team.