Fourteen Entries Set New Bar for Kartwerks at USPKS Opener
Another Win for Luca Mars in Yamaha Rookie
The Kartwerks crew rolled in to Mooresville, NC for the opening round of the 2014 United States Pro Kart Series at GoPro Motorplex with twelve Praga entries in tow, a new high mark for the second year team at a National event.
The effort was further bolstered by an association with Praga North America and Kart Star Motorsports who brought Emily Hurlbert (Leopard Junior), Kindra Hurlbert (Leopard Pro) and Michael Geringer (Leopard Pro) bringing the total Praga count to fifteen karts on the weekend! The combined effort put Praga karts in seven of eight classes as well.
Luca Mars continued his torrid pace on the heels of his double win performance the previous week at the WKA Manufacturers Cup event. Saturday featured many close runs as Luca just missed the top step in each of the Qualifying and Race sessions by .076, .635, .086 & .112 seconds respectively – or less than 1 second total – over the four sessions! Sunday was a different story though as both Luca and the team pulled out all the stops starting with a Pole run nearly a half second clear of the field followed up by wins in each of the Heat races. The feature was another dogfight with Tyler Maxson however as the two young racers continued their two week long battle. The duo exchanged leads a dozen times throughout the race but it was a textbook perfect last lap, last turn pass that put Luca across the line in first!
Ryan Detlor also had a great run in Rookie, improving vastly over the course of the weekend resulting in outside Pole on Sunday and two fourth place finishes.
Kartwerks had four racers in the Yamaha Cadet class – Madison Campeau, Griffin Kunz, Elliott Budzinski & Robert Noaker while both Noaker and Kunz pulled double duty in the Mini-Rok Cadet class! Campeau’s weekend started off well after running in the top five in Friday Happy Hour. Qualifying brought complications each day and Campeau had to start near the tail in most races and work forward. Madison ended up twelfth on Saturday and tenth on Sunday earning the Hard Charger award!
Griffin had similar results but on opposite days as a fifth place qualifying effort on Saturday didn’t net the desired results in the Heats and he too earned the Hard Charger award with a solid run from the back to finish ninth. In Griffin’s debut in Mini-Rok he picked up solid eleventh and twelfth place runs.
For Robert the weekend involved being in the wrong place at the wrong time on a few occasions which had him coming from behind the eight ball more than once. He once again seemed to excel in the fastest class putting his Mini-Rok package in the eighth position in qualifying Saturday and racing to an eighth place finish on Sunday!
Elliott saved the best for last qualifying seventh on Sunday and then running solidly in the Top Ten throughout each Heat Race as well as the Final earning finishes of eighth, ninth and ninth. Elliott’s brother Joe (Yamaha Junior) looked to be falling the same path after finishing twelfth on Saturday but then overcoming an opening lap melee to drive from the tail of the field to well inside the top ten before having an issue in the closing laps and falling back to another twelfth place finish.
Kartwerks was very excited to welcome veteran kart racer Chuck Tate to the fold, debuting his new Praga Dragon in the Yamaha Pro class. Tate showed the chops that we expected as he quickly adapted to the new chassis showing improved pace throughout the weekend culminating with a pair of top five runs in Sunday’s Heat races setting him up for a shot at the Podium before a mechanical DNF sidelined him half way through the Final. We are looking forward to our continued efforts with Chuck as he tackles the local series at GoPro Motorplex for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Michael Burton and Roman Tretiak competed in the Leopard Pro class for the opening round. For Tretiak it was his first time to race with Leopard power instead of Rotax and he made the transition nicely finishing 24th of thirty-eight kart on Saturday before mechanical woes ended his day Sunday before the green flag fell. Burton had two solid runs finishing 25th and 23rd as he made the transition from running the USPKS Masters class in 2013 to the Pro class for this season.
Dan Schlosser (Kartwerks USA): “We are ecstatic to see this kind of interest in the USPKS event from our racers and anticipate the numbers will continue to grow as the racing moves closer to our customer base. The Series has gone above and beyond the expectations of our racers, particularly in regard to the number of laps run for the money, and word is spreading quickly.” Continuing, “In terms of our on track performance this weekend of course Luca’s third National win in the last ten days is a highlight but nearly every driver had time at the front of the pack in their respective classes so now it’s time to start working on consistency and repeatability.”
Kartwerks will next be attending the local racing season opener featuring a double race weekend at Pitt Race Karting on April 26-27. For more information about Kartwerks, our travelling programs, the Praga line of karts and Instructional opportunities please visit www.kartwerksusa.com.