Race Report: 2014 World Karting Association Daytona KartWeek

Myers, Vigano, and Stross score big wins in Man. Cup - Fulks earns 50th on big track

The annual World Karting Association Daytona KartWeek event was another success. Karters from all across the country traveled to Daytona International Speedway between the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays to take part in three distinct karting events to begin the 2015 racing season. KartWeek has been a part of karting history in the United States dating back to 1974 on the high banks of the DIS facility for the Road Racing community. The Dirt oval portion and Manufacturers Cup Series were added years later, and the December event has become a destination for many racers.

Day #1 of racing provided perfect weather, with bright sunshine and blue skies. Wet weather was a factor all day for Day #2, with a wet track for warm-up for the Man. Cup. The track was dry by the Prefinals, but moisture returned for the Kid Kart Prefinal and the Komet Sportsman/Comer Rookie Prefinal, but drivers were back on Bridgestone slicks for the next class. The new format and weather saw many of the drivers saving their second set of tires for the Finals.

Honda Performance Development WKA Stock Moto
Making his first start in a shifterkart, Kyle Kalish (Merlin) opened up the event as the top qualifier. Shifterkarts are making their return to the Manufacturers Cup side of WKA for the first time since 2008, this time utilizing the Stock Moto configuration and welcoming seven drivers. Kalish posted a 40.529-lap at the end of the seven-minute session. Florida driver AJ Myers (PCR) was second with Checkered Motorsports teammate Andrew Bujdoso (PCR) third. Blake Deister (Top Kart), another first time shifterkart starter, was fourth with Jonathan Kotyk (Tony Kart) in fifth.

AJ Myers became the inaugural Stock Moto race winner (Photo: Florida Karting Photos)

AJ Myers became the inaugural Stock Moto race winner (Photo: Florida Karting Photos)

Myers grabbed the holeshot and led the entire 11 laps of the opening heat race. Kalish fell back to third with Kotyk able to climb up to second early on. Kalish put the pressure on Kotyk for the second spot, but was unable to hold on with Bujdoso placing fourth and Darin Marcus (Merlin) up to fifth. Kalish stalled at the start of the second heat, with the field shuffling around him. Myers took the holeshot and the win, pulling away to a 1.6-second advantage. Kotyk drove to second with Bujdoso in third. Contact between Marcus and Deister put them on the sideline on lap three.

Earning the pole position from the two heat race wins, Myers went wire-to-wire for the 15-lap Prefinal. Kotyk and Top Kart factory driver Matteo Vigano gave chase as Bujdoso fell back to fifth behind Kalish. The 20-lap final would be all Myers, becoming the first Stock Moto feature winner by a 1.3-second advantage. Bujdoso got a great jump at the start, and was on the bumper of Myers but fell back as the race wore on. Vigano ran third early on until Kotyk and Kalish pushed him back to fifth on lap six. The two continued to reel in Bujdoso, but their fight for the third position toward the end gave the PCR driver a clean run to the second spot. Kotyk eventually worked past Kalish for the position, holding on to the checkered flag.

Comet Kart Sales Yamaha Sportsman
A monster lap in qualifying landed Pauly Massimino on the pole position in the 23-driver Yamaha Sportsman timed session. A 46.021-second lap was two tenths quicker than that of Maks Kowalski and Gage Rodgers. Samuel Paley and Jamie Williams completed the fast five. From the pole position, Massimino pulled away to the win in both heat races. The first was a win by nearly four seconds in 11 laps, while the second was just over three. Kowalski and Rodgers held their ground in the first heat, with Tyler Gonzalez advancing up to fourth over Williams in Heat #1. In Heat #2, Gonzalez charged even further, ending up second ahead of Rodgers and Williams. Tyler Ferris slipped to fifth as Kowalski dropped to sixth.

Starting outside the front row, Rodgers was able to run away with the 15-lap Prefinal race. Massimino started on the pole position, but settled for the second spot with Williams winning the third spot over a charging Jason Welage, who started 10th. Madison Campeau moved from sixth to fifth with Gonzalez and Kowalski falling outside the top-five. Massimino fought back in the 20-lap Final, taking over the lead when the green flag waved. He along with Rodgers and Welage broke away from the field, with Welage moving up to the lead by lap six. Rodgers moved back to the point after the halfway point and was able to hold off a Welage at the line for the victory. Massimino ran to third with Sam Paley up to fourth and Campeau holding on to fifth.

CRP Racing Kid Karts
Tristan Young led the 16 drivers of the Kid Kart division qualifying session, posting a 56.232-second lap. Adam Brickley was second, with Caleb Gafrarar in third. Daniel Dyszelski IV was fourth with Sofia d’Arrigo capping off the fast five. Brickley drove to the win in both heat races, able to work past Young for the win in Heat #1. Gafrarar held on to third over Benjamin Maier and Dyszelski. Contact in Heat #2 between Young and Gafrarar gave Brickley plenty of space out front, winning by over six seconds. Brent Crews was second with Maier up to third. Dyszelski was fourth with d’Arrigo in fifth as Gafrarar drove back to sixth after falling to the tail of the field.

After taking morning warm-up in wet conditions, the moisture returned during the Kid Kart 10-lap Prefinal. It never effected Brickley, as he powered away to a 47-second victory. Many of the drivers spun off, or struggled on slick tires. Gafrarar was with Brickley, but hit a curb and spun his kart, knocking off the chain. That promoted Aubrey Adams to second, Crews to third, Indy Ragan the last driver on the lead lap in fourth and George Lunski in fifth. The 12-lap feature was all Brickley, leading each and every circuit and enjoying a six-second advantage at the checkered flag. Gafrarar was the quickest kart on the track, climbing from 10th to finish second. Crews drove to third with Adams back to fourth. Austin Olds completed the top-five.

FranklinKart.com Komet Sportsman / Grand Products Comer Rookie
Just three drivers made up the Komet Sportsman division, with Robert Noaker III leading throughout Day #1. Noaker qualified on pole with a 45.501-second lap, and won both heat races over Ryan Rackley and Spike Kohlbecker. Owen Mahle led the fiver drivers in Comer Rookie qualifying with a lap of 47.905. Nick Snell however won the opening battle, edging out Mahle for the win in Heat #1. It was a similar result in Heat #2, with Snell and Mahle placing 1-2 over Jacob Putman, Annie Rhule and Riley Erickson.

The Prefinal was under wet conditions as the track became wet during the Kid Kart race. Kohlbecker took advantage, going from third to first in the Komet Sportsman category. Rackley remained second with Noaker back to third. Putman won the Comer race, with Rhule coming up as well to finish second. Snell started on the pole position, but finished third ahead of Mahle and Erickson. Dry conditions for the Final saw the results revert back similar to that of Day #1. Noaker returned to the point to score the race win, edging out Rackley for the win with Kohlbecker in third. Snell drove to the win in Comer with Mahle placing second ahead of Putman. Erickson and Rhule completed the top-five.

Tillotson Pro IAME X30 Senior
The top five drivers in the X30 qualifying session were separated by less then a tenth of the second. Austin McCusker (Deadly) edged out the 17 drivers to secure the pole position with a 41.217-second lap. It was just five thousandths quicker than the lap of Jacob Duvall (DR Kart). Corey Towles was third with Nick Martin fourth in his Top Kart debut, with Brandon Jones (Arrow) making up the fast five.

Italian Matteo Vigano stole the win in IAME X30 (Photo: Florida Karting Photos)

Italian Matteo Vigano stole the win in IAME X30 (Photo: Florida Karting Photos)

McCusker drove away to the win in both heat races, making it a perfect start on Day #1. The win was 1.2 seconds in Heat #1, with Towles able to move past Duvall for second. Matteo Vigano – a Top Kart factory driver – advanced from sixth to fourth in his first race at Daytona, bringing Senior rookie Ryan Norberg (PCR) with him. Duvall kept it closer in Heat #2, placing behind McCusker by only six tenths after the 11-lap race. Towles was under pressure from Jones the entire time, holding on to the checkered flag with Vigano up to fifth.

Vigano stepped up the pace in the Prefinal to score the win. Starting fourth, he was into the lead by lap two, brining Dustin Stross (Tony Kart) with him after starting sixth. That dropped McCusker back to third and Duvall back to fourth with Towles falling down the order lap after lap. The fight for fifth came down to Jones – who started 10th – and Norberg. At the line, Jones secured the position.

McCusker and Vigano were able to break away at the start of the 20-lap Final, as a fight for third formed early. Stross, Jones and Norberg fought for the position until Stross finally secured the spot, and began running down the top two. Catching them late in the race, Vigano saw Stross on his bumper and made his move on McCusker on lap 18. That dropped the Deadly Kart driver to third as Vigano took over the lead with Stross pressuring. The Top Kart driver held on to score the his first victory in the United States with Stross second and McCusker third. Norberg won the fight for fourth over Jones as Duvall ended up eighth behind Austin Osborne (Tony Kart) and Andrick Zeen (Praga).

Woltjer Racing Engines Yamaha Junior
It was a familiar site at the front of the Yamaha Junior field with David Malukas edging out his Top Kart USA teammate Zach Holden by just 62 thousandths for the pole position. Malukas put in his fast lap on the fifth circuit of the seven minute session, a 43.998. Brandon Lemke (Merlin) was third in the order, ahead of Junior rookie John Paul Southern Jr. (Top Kart) and Drew Lindley (FA Kart).

The top four pulled away in Heat #1, with Lemke able to best the three Top Kart drivers. By lap eight, Lemke found his way to the point and held on the remaining three circuits for the win. Holden was second with Malukas and Souther just behind as Lindley led the rest of the 10 drivers in fifth. Lemke did the same in Heat #2, scoring his second race win of the day as the rest of the top five was the same.

Starting on the pole position after two heat wins, Lemke was looking to retain the top spot as the exited the opening corner, only to find himself spinning around from contact. That dropped him back to ninth position as Malukas took over the lead. The Top Kart driver went wire-to-wire with Holden and Southern trailing. Lemke worked his way back to fourth with Lindley placing fifth. Officials however penalized Malukas seven spots for the contact with Lemke, giving Holden the win and dropping Malukas to P8 on the Final grid.

Holden led the opening laps of the 20-lap Final, with Southern and Lemke jumping in behind. Lemke worked his way into second and was leading by lap 10. Malukas was charging forward as well, working up to fourth by the halfway point. Lemke was able to lead the remaining 10 laps with Holden on his bumper the entire time, scoring the victory. Malukas worked past Southern for third in the late stages of the race, with David Kalb Jr. (FA Kart) earning the fifth spot.

Yamaha Senior Pipe
Eight drivers made up the Yamaha Senior Pipe category with Nick Landi (Tony Kart) scoring the pole position in qualifying. A 43.389-second lap was better by two tenths over Dakota Pesek (Top Kart). Derek Hughes was third with Christopher Slinden fourth and Jeff Jewell fifth. Pesek won the opening heat race, able to break away to a 1.3-second advantage over Landi. Hughes and Slinden followed with Nathan Burk up to fifth. Landi held on in the second heat race, edging out Pesek after 11 laps with the rest of the top-five finishing in the same order.

Landi and Pesek made up the front row for the Prefinal, and contact was made between the two in the opening corner. Pesek fell to third with Landi well back in the sixth position. Pesek eventually worked his way past Slinden and Hughes to retake the lead by lap six, going on to cross the line first. Burk placed fourth with Landi up to fifth at the checkered flag. Because of the contact in turn one, Pesek was penalized seven spots, handing the win and the Final pole position to Hughes. Pesek responded the only way he could, go from last to first. Starting eighth in the eight-kart field, Pesek was up to the second spot by the end of lap one. Taking over the lead from Hughes on lap three, Pesek led the remaining circuits of the 20-lap Final for the victory. Landi advanced up to the second spot, scoring the fast lap of the race. Hughes settled for second with Slinden fourth and Jewell fifth.

New Jersey Sprint Series Yamaha Rookie
Lucas Rodriguez led the Yamaha Rookie field in qualifying with a 47.218-second lap. It was seven tenths clear of anyone else, with Owen Mahle the lead challenger. Lucas Smalec, Max Opalski, and Donald Whorton II made up the fast five. Rodriguez kept the pace into Heat #1, driving away to a seven second win. Whorton worked up to second over Opalski with Smalec back to fourth and Mahle down to fifth. The field closed the gap in the second heat, with Rodriguez out front by only a half-second. Whorton led the charge and placed second once again, with Smalec, Mahle and Opalski trailing.

Rodriguez led the field in the opening laps of the 15-lap Prefinal, and went on to score the win. Whorton started second and kept the pressure on throughout the race, with Nick Snell up from sixth to trail in third. Elijah Skaggs finished fourth after starting eighth, with Smalec in fifth. Rodriguez continued to show the way in the Final, that was until Whorton took over the lead on lap 11. They continued to exchange position, allowing Snell and Mahle, who started 10th to make it a four driver fight. On lap 19, contact between Rodrigez and Mahle allowed Whorton to escape with the lead and the victory. Mahle finished on the sidelines while Rodriguez ended up fourth behind Snell and Smalec. Erickson completed the top-five.

KartSport North America Pro IAME Junior
Junior rookie John Paul Southern Jr. (Top Kart) opened up his 2015 season with one pole position on the weekend, landing the IAME Junior top spot by just 29 thousandths. His Top Kart teammates Zach Holden and David Malukas were just off the fast time of 41.373, set by Southern. Vincenzo Sarracino (Tony Kart) was fourth with Brandon Lemke (Merlin) fifth in the 18-kart field.

Malukas was able to get the better of the front drivers, inching away to the win in Heat #1. Lemke was on a charge, posting his fast lap with each circuit in the 11-lap race, driving up to second over Holden and Southern with Sarracino in fifth. It was a similar result with Malukas and Lemke going 1-2 in the second heat race. Sarracino this time was able to move up to third, with Holden dropping to fourth and Southern back fifth.

It was another bad start for Lemke at the start of the Prefinal, as he was shuffled back to 10th on the opening lap, allowing Malukas and Holden to run away out front. Malukas led until Holden took over the point on lap 13, going on to score the win. Lemke was the quickest driver on the course however, fighting his way back up to third with Southern dropping back to sixth behind Seve DePinto and Sarracino. Starting third, Lemke was into the lead on the opening lap of the 20-lap Final. Holden and Malukas slotted in behind. The Top Kart drivers teammed up to move past Lemke on lap eight. Lemke fought back for the second spot with Malukas, allowing Holden to gain some space out in the lead. From there, the Indiana driver pulled out to a 2.5-second advantage. Malukas won the fight for second with Southern coming up to third for a Top Kart 1-2-3 finish. Lemke ended up fourth with Sarracino in fifth.

Pro TaG Sportsman
Twenty-two drivers opened up the inaugural Pro TaG Sportsman division, with Connor Ferris becoming the first driver to win the pole position. Ferris posted a 44.903-second lap to edge out Tyler Gonzalez by just one hundredth of a second. Jamie Williams, Pauly Massimino and Jason Welage completed the fast five. Williams was the driver to beat in the opening heat race, as he and Gonzalez pushed past Ferris for the top two spots. Massimino was fourth with Samuel Paley in fifth. In Heat #2, Massimino powered his way to the front, and edged out Gonzalez for the win. Ferris was right there in third with Williams back in fourth and Paley fifth.

Gonzalez and Williams made up the front row for the 15-lap Prefinal, which saw Gonzalez score the win. Five drivers made up the lead pack with Massimino, Luca Mars and Connor Ferris joining the fight. Mars was up to third early with Massimino into second, finishing at the checkered flag behind Gonzalez. Williams ended up fourth with Ferris in fifth. Gonzalez continued to show the way in the 20-lap Final, as the top-five ran together again this time with Robert Noaker III and Jason Welage in the mix as Ferris and Williams fell down the order. Noaker, who started seventh, continued to move up the order and was second by lap 12. He challenge Gonzalez for the lead and on lap 18 secured a pass to take over the point. On the final lap, Gonzalez made a move at the far end of the course, taking back the lead and holding on to the checkered flag. Noaker settled for second with Mars third. Welage drove to fourth after starting 10th, with Massimino completing the top-five.

HYTORC of Texas Pro Leopard Senior – 18 entries
Texas driver Austin Osborne (Tony Kart) led the 18 drivers in qualifying for the Leopard Senior category. A 41.408-second lap was best, with John McCusker (Haase) only 78 thousandths off. AJ Myers (PCR) was third with Dustin Stross (Tony Kart) and Sam Cate (Tony Kart) making up the fast five.

Florida driver Dustin Stross charged his way forward to the IAME Parilla Leopard victory (Photo: Florida Karting Photos)

Florida driver Dustin Stross charged his way forward to the IAME Parilla Leopard victory (Photo: Florida Karting Photos)

Contact in the opening corners shuffled up the field, including Stross and Andrick Zeen (Praga). Out front, Osborne drove away to a six tenths win over Myers. McCusker was there in third with Mark Boos (Tony Kart) up to fourth and Olivia Horn (Tony Kart) into fifth. Osborne inched away in the second heat, winning by just over a second ahead of Myers. Zeen was on the charge, starting sixth and ending up third over Boos with McCusker back to fifth.

Myers got the jump on Osborne from the outside of row one, taking over the lead and showing the way for the entire 15-lap Prefinal. Osborne slotted into second and finished 1.3 seconds behind. Boos ran third with McCusker fourth, until he lost power on lap 13. That promoted Zeen up to fourth and then into third around Boos. Stross, who started eighth, drove up to fifth, nearly taking away fourth from Boos.

Myers stretched out to a one-second advantage on the opening lap of the Final, with Zeen able to escape with the second spot ahead of Osborne and Stross. On lap two, Stross took over the third spot, as he and Zeen began to close back in on Myers. Lap by lap, the two reeled in the leader, and were there by lap 13. Zeen took over the lead with a turn one move, brining Stross with him. At the far end of the track on the same lap, Stross took over the lead from Zeen. The top-three ran that way to the checkered flag with Stross scoring the victory over Zeen and Myers. Osborne moved back to fourth with Cate finishing fifth ahead of Nick Landi (Tony Kart) and Boos.

Fulks, Freber and the rest of the gang (Photo: Bret Spaude)

Fulks, Freber and the rest of the gang (Photo: Bret Spaude)

Road Race Championships
The Road Racing program welcomed another large contingent of racers for two days of racing, including a full practice day on December 28. The weather was perfect on Day #1, but Day #2 was delayed with the wet weather in the area but all six race groups were able to complete their shortened races. Some of the highlights include ‘Mr. Daytona’ Randy Fulks picking up his 50th win at Daytona. Fulks won the B Stock category and 100cc Controlled Spec on Day #1, landing the Unlimited victory on Day #2 in his twin-engine lay-down kart. Margay Racing Karts owner Keith Freber made his annual trip to the driver’s seat of his laydown Margay kart, scoring three wins of his own (Yamaha Medium, Yamaha Heavy, Yamaha Sportsman Heavy).

The quickest lap of the weekend came from Bobby Butler, posting a 1:57.838-lap in his 250 Twin kart in the Group 5 race on Day #1. Fulks nearly eclipsed that mark on Day #2 in his Unlimited race, clocking in a 1:57.860-lap in his twin-engine laydown kart. Both karts reached speeds of nearly 150mph.

Three female drivers scored wins at the ‘World Center of Speed’ over the two days. Abigail Tobin (Animal Junior Sprint Heavy), Lindsay Read (100cc Pipe Medium/100cc Pipe Heavy/Stock Leopard Sprint 2), Amy Hollowell (Junior Sprint Lite/Junior Sprint Heavy). Read, making her first trip to Daytona, had her Stock Leopard win taken away for a very controversial flex length infraction.

Over the course of 13 race groups, a number of class victories were decided by photo finishes. Stock Honda 1 saw Tyler Guilbeault win by 0.066 seconds in front of Josh Lane as eight drivers finished within one second at the line. Stock Leopard Final 1 had 10 drivers finish within 1.5 seconds in a red-flag shortened event. Yamaha Sportsman Medium had four finish within 0.068-seconds with Matt Michel winning over Tim Linthicum, Keith Freber and Ryan Hatcher. Animal 385 Final 1 was Kevin Colborn by 0.075 seconds ahead of Ryan Vehring and Scott Evans with Colburn ahead of Evans by 0.006 seconds in Final 2. Colburn was on the other end of the finish in Animal 360 Final 1 as Zach Linsell won by 0.093 seconds. Animal Limited Modified Final 2 with Jonathon Tedder over Zach Linsell by 0.068 seconds. Animal Masters 410 Final 1 saw Rob Garland Sr. ahead of Bernard Lafrance by 0.097 seconds. Clone/LO206 385 Final 1 had DJ Hoelzle in front of Paul Rice by 0.055 seconds. Harry Gottsacher over Anthony Honeywell by 0.062 seconds in TaG Final 1.

Stock Moto during Day #1 racing (Photo: Lindsay Walkup-Fox)

Stock Moto during Day #1 racing (Photo: Lindsay Walkup-Fox)

For unofficial results, click on the PDFs below:



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