Battle at the Beach Round One – Six Racers Double
Junior 3 #00-Cole Neibert tries to get around the #73 on the outside (Photo: Bruce C. Walls/Action Sports Photos)
Regional kart racers packed US-13 Kartway in Delmar, DE last Saturday (April 4, 2015) for the first round of the five race Maxxis Tires ‘Race at the Beach’ series. Competitors from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina and New York along with local racers came to claim their share of the purse.
According to Bryan Bradford, whose company Bryan Bradford Racing sponsored the race, “Turnout was good. It’s’ always good to see local racers come out to the first race of the year. It’s a big improvement over what we had in previous years. I just hope everyone who came out had a good time.”
High winds sustained at 20 mph with gusts topping 40 mph added to the day’s challenges. “The blowing dust out of the infield makes it real tough to see,” said Jason Higginbotham, of Midlothian, VA. According to local standout Alex White of Lewes, DE, “It’s not affecting me too much.”
The wind didn’t stop White from winning Animal Heavy and Pro Stock Clone nor did it stop five others from scoring double wins that day. White fought off Nick Helgason down to a door-to-door finish. “That was a good photo finish with Nick (Helgason),” White described. Zach Bullis, of Millsboro, DE completed the top three. In the Clone Class Bullis and Ryan Swartz were second and third.
Stony Creek, VA based Adam Beville, Mike Stratton, of Milford, Camden-Wyoming competitor Zach Fields, Lincoln, DE driver Brandon Kelly, Milford’s ‘Monster’ Mike Southard and Denton, MD driver Trent Reed took double checkers. Beville won and Clone Heavy and Animal Heavy Warm Up.
In Clone Heavy Beville fought off early challenges from Ryan Stwartz and Evan Dennis before opening an easy cruise to the checkered flag. “We hit that one pretty good,” Beville boasted adding, “We had enough to get away from them.”
In Animal Heavy Warm Up Beville, piloting a Higgys House of Power powered Charger Chassis, took advantage of an early race caution to capture a never surrendered lead. Helgason and Zach Bullis finished second and third. He earned $500 for his efforts. Helgason got $150 and Bullis bagged $150.
“We finally got the tires right on this one, we were a little off on the first one we won. This one turned out pretty good. There were a few errors at the end’ some people missed the corners a little bit and gave me some big opportunities. I got to give a big thanks to X-Factor Preps, Charger Racing Chassis, Higgy’s House of Power all their help, we couldn’t ask for more decent ride.”
Brett Savage blasted into Animal Super Heavy’s early led with Stratton’s Higgy’s House of Power powered Phantom Racing Chassis Triton closing fast. On their third trip around the ¼-mile dirt oval Stratton strolled by him showing the field home from there. “It was just my kart came in and his (#4-Brett Savage) went away,” Stratton explained. “That was a tough race, I’m getting old,” he laughed. Stratton earned $500 and in the battle for positions behind Stratton in the top three were Savage who won $150 and Jason Hastings who got $100 for his efforts. Savage and Nicholas trailed Stratton in PRO Animal Super Heavy.
From their poles Fields finished first in Junior 2 Heavy and PRO Junior 2. In Heavy he showed the field through a pair of lead slicing cautions. “The cautions didn’t bother me,” said the 12-year-old racer. “I knew my kart was fast.”
In Pro Junior 2 Fields #55 Kevin Colborn Racing Engines powered Phantom chassis was chased across the finish line by Spencer Warren and Brock Vincent for the top three.
Ten-year-old Kelly piloted his Dynamic Preps, L&L Geo Thermal Rick Auello sponsored Phantom Racing Chassis Icon kart into victory lane twice taking checkered flags in Junior 1 Heavy and PRO Junior 1. In Heavy second place finisher Cage Pritchett tried to close the gap between them, but Kelly owned a large lead at midpoint that he carried across the stripe. Colin James completed the top three.
“It was a little dusty out there,” Kelly noted adding, “I just had to stay smooth.”
It was more of the same in Phantom Racing Chassis sponsored PRO Junior 1with Pritchett finishing a distant second. Kelly collected $250 for the win, Pritchett pocketed $100 and Ryan McKinney earned $75 for rounding out the top three.
‘Monster’ Mike piloting a HP Speed Shop powered Phantom Icon, ruled Junior 1 Rookie and Junior 1 Trophy. By mid race in the Rookie Division Michael was well ahead of the competition.
“It was fun, especially at the end. The kart felt good. It handled good the whole time and the HP Speed Shop motor was fast, really fast,” Southard said. “ I want to thank my dad for all of his help, HP Speed Shop, Dynamic Technologies, my uncle, Milford Skate Center, Mills Brothers Market, TJ’s Repair, JBM Petroleum, Southern Service and Com Cast Graphics.”
Logan Shockley and Clayton Peters rounded out the top three. In the Rookie Trophy they finished in reverse order with Peters in second, Shockley in third.
In a wild finish Reed capped PRO Junior 3 pocketing $250 for the win. Reed, piloting a Kevin Colborn Racing Engine powered Phantom Triton, was leading the race when just after the fourth lap caution waved. Reed surrendered the lead two laps later. A lead swapping battle to the finish ensued. As they headed for the checkered flag out of four they went three wide with Reed still holding a narrow lead as they came nose-to-tail across the stripe. Cole Neibert collected $100 for second and Garrett Himmighoefer got $75 for third.
“I was a little nervous when I lost the lead. That finish was crazy. I didn’t think I’d be able to pull it off, but I did. I got it on the last lap,” Reed described. “The kart felt good early on and then it got loose. Kevin’s (Colborn) motor was great it took me to the front. I want to thank Reed’s Auto Repair and Bay Beach Builders and Sullivan,” added the 14-year-old double winner.
Reed also ruled Junior 3 Heavy. This time Cody Oliver’s (Severn, MD) Tim Fishel Racing Engines powered Phantom kart followed in second with Jake Tucker crossing third.
Single winners included 21-year-old Taylor Pleasanton, of Hartley, DE, who beat the boys in Dynamic Prepnologies sponsored PRO Flat Head. Pleasanton had plenty of competition with North Carolina competitor Ty Bass glued to her tailpipe. Pleasanton’s Tod Miller Racing Engines powered Phantom Racing Chassis Triton kart showed the field through a pair of restarts that cut two comfortable leads she’d build.
“The cautions worried me a lot, but I needed them to rest” She admitted. “The kart was awesome. I couldn’t ask for better.”
Pleasanton pocketed $500 for the win, Bass Collected $150 for second and Mike Ellerbusch earned $100 for capping the top three.
Later that evening Pleasanton was poised to make a sweep of the Flathead classes but Underground Motorsports sponsored John Davis, of Milford, DE, and Ashley Hayes drafted by her forcing her into a third place finish. Simonson captured the Outlaw Class with Jordan Cropper and Clarence Edgens in second and third.
Matt Fitzgerald cruised under Senior Stock’s halfway signal with a comfortable lead. But behind him Denton, MD driver Chris Schultz was closing in. Schultz began pressuring Fitzgerald as they rounded turns 2-3. They traded a little paint that sent Fitzgerald spinning out in turn two. That brought out the caution flag.
When the green flag showed again Schultz’s Dirt Poor Racing sponsored machine shot into the lead with Fitzgerald behind him. Fitzgerald kept the pressure on Schultz down to a narrow finish. “I was holding on,” said Schultz who pilots a Tod Miller Racing Engines powered Phantom kart. “I didn’t have the fastest kart, but I made a move on the restart.”
Jeffery Allaband capped Senior Stock’s top three.
Before it was over a full field of PRO Animal racers lined up on the grid with $1,500 waiting for the winner at the finish line. Midlothian, VA racer Jason ‘Higgy’ Higginbohem earned the pole, Helgason started next to him on the outside. Higginbohem hustled into the early lead with Helgason so close behind him that he wheel hopped the leader 14-laps into it ripping off a section of his bodywork. Caution waved for the debris on the track.
Higgy led the restart with six-laps left. When racing resumed Higgy broke from the field for a little cushion he took to the stripe. “The kart was definitely sticking, it was sticking a little too good the way it took off and ran the first 10-laps, it got a little tight,” Higginbothem described. “Somebody hit me, but the caution probably helped me,” added the Higgy’s House of Power powered Phantom Racing Chassis Triton kart pilot.
Paybacks went back to fifth place which earned that driver $75. Helgason got $500 for finishing second and Makayla Johnson took home $250.
Round two is scheduled for Saturday May 2nd gates open a 7 am, first round practice starts at 9 am with qualifying and features to follow.