Massimino, Holden, Snell, and Pesek Lead Wet Weather Charge at Go Pro Motorplex
Stop #2 for the WKA Bridgestone/Mazda Manufacturers Cup Series at Go Pro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina was not only greeted by Mother Nature at the beginning of the weekend. But the queen of the wet weather also showed competitors to the door Sunday evening, as heavy, torrential rain dominated the bulk of the weekend’s activities in the IAME USA Nationals.
Despite the weather challenges for the weekend, racers dug in deep, providing some awesome action for both Saturdays qualifying races, as well as Sundays Finals, at times leaving Go Pro Motorplex Track President Dan Kraus to wonder if he wanted to rename the track Go Pro WaterPlex for the day!!!
Headlining Victory Lane were 3 repeat winners from Daytona, as well as one 2- time weekend winner in Pauly Massimino. Zach Holden, Nick Snell, and Dakota Pesek returned to claim their 2nd consecutive wins in their respective classes.
For Holden, the victory was especially sweet, not just in the points category. But his victory in the KartSport North America Pro IAME Junior class was also worth a cool $500 for the weekend. Holden held of Daytona Yamaha Junior winner and the weekends Fast Time winner Brandon Lemke in claiming his second series win of the season. For his second place effort, Lemke pick up $250. Following the top 2 in the 21-kart field were Alex Bertagnoli, a recipient of a set of Bridgestone Tires, with Jack Miller and Samuel Paley finishing close behind.
Pesek made it 2 in a row in the Zero Error Racing Yamaha Senior Pipe class, this time fending off the efforts of Derek Hughes. Hughes is set to make it a tight battle after finishing 3rd at Daytona, making for a tight race points race heading to Dousman, Wisconsin in late May. Tony Peterson took 3rd while Daytona runnerup and Fast Time winner Nick Landi, along with Mike Gnad completed the top 5.
While Snell joins Holden and Pesek as repeat winners, his victory came in a different class over the weekend. While scoring the win at Daytona in the Grand Products Comer Rookie Sportsman Class, the young driver returned this past weekend to take the top honors in the New Jersey Sprint Series Yamaha Rookie Division. The win gives Snell a 1st and 2nd in the first 2 events of the season in this class, as he and Donald Whorton II, the Daytona winner, took runnerup honors. Following the duo across the stripe were Brent Crews, Owen Mahle, and Lucas Smalec.
Possibly one of the most anticipated, and clearly most enjoyable races of the weekend came in the CRP Racing Kid Kart Class, as 16 drivers tackled the 11 turn course with a vengeance, bringing people to the fence, and giving the series a great look into the future of the program. Much like the battle between Nick Snell and Donald Whorton II, Caleb Gafrarar and Adam Brickley have staked their claim as two of the heavy favorites for the national points title. After Brickley took the win over Gafrarar at Daytona, the battle lines were drawn at Go Pro in the wet weather with Gafrarar taking his first Mfg Cup national of the year with Brickley this time in the runnerup spot. Sam Corry chased the pair to the podium with Daniel Dyszelski IV and Sofia D’Arrigo completing the top 5. While this is the youngest, and least experienced class on the national level, every competitor in the Kid Kart ranks left parents, fans, as well as officials smiling from ear to ear with a top shelf performance the entire weekend.
Another bright spot on an otherwise gloomy weather weekend was the addition AND turnout of the IAME Swift Cup Class. Added as a Local Option Class for the balance of the year, 23 drivers charged out of the paddock all weekend long, giving fans a preview of yet another strong class for the balance of the season. Taking the inaugural win in the class was Pauly Massimino. A regular at Daytona in the Yamaha and Pro TaG Sportsman classes, Massimino laid claim to the win on Sunday, topping Ugo Ugochukwu, Connor Ferris, Dante Tekampe, and Robert Noaker III. As mentioned, the Swift Cup Class will continue on the 2015 schedule when the series heads to Briggs and Stratton Raceway Park in Dousman, Wisconsin May 29-31.
Ugochukwu would not be denied victory lane completely, as the Tony Kart racer roared back to take the $500 top prize in the DRT Racing Pro TaG Sportsman class. While not claiming a win over the weekend, Noaker III did the next best thing, taking yet another runnerup finish, backing up his second place effort from Daytona. The runnerup spot also gained Noaker $250. Jason Welage claimed third, along with a set of Bridgestone Tires, while Pauly Massimino and Daytona Yamaha Sportsman winner Gage Rogers completed the top 5.
The big guns in the senior category roared to life late in the day as Jacob Donald snared the $1,000 prize in the HYTORC of Texas Pro Leopard Senior Class. Derek Dignan rolled across second for a $500 payday, with Nick Landi scoring a set of Bridgestone Tires for his third place effort. Olivia Horn and Calvin Ming completed the top 5.
A strong field of 22 drivers paced the Woltjer Racing Engines Yamaha Junior field Sunday with Geo Bromante coming out on top for his first national win of the season. David Malukas improved 1 spot from his Daytona finish with a runnerup placing, with Daytona runnerup Zach Holden coming home 3rd. JP Southern Jr and Samuel Paley completed the top 5.
Bradley Zilisch joined Jacob Donald as $1,000 winners over the weekend, snaring the win in the Tillotson Pro X30 Senior class. Derek Dignan was second on Sunday, taking home a $500 payday, while Dustin Stross continued his strong performances in the class, backing up his second place Daytona run with a third in the second national of the season. As a result, Stross earned a set of Bridgestone Tires. Alexander Kardashian and Pete Maletto completed the top 5.
While the weekend found quite a few smiling faces, the biggest however, belonged to Pauly Massimino, the only repeat winner of the weekend. After making history with the IAME Swift Cup win, Massimino polished off his weekend by claiming top honors in the Comet Kart Sales Yamaha Sportsman class. After a third place finish in this class at Daytona, Massimino has emerged as one of the front-runners for the title. Another driver who appears destined to challenge for that title is Jason Welage. Sundays 2nd place run at Go Pro gives Welage a pair of runnerup finishes in the class, making the Battle at Badger a good one next month. Completing the top 5 were Robert Noaker III, Tyler Ferris, and Madison Campeau.
Despite the weather challenges all weekend long, series officials were pleased with the weekends efforts by all, and wishes to thank EVERYONE for an outstanding job of pulling together under adverse weather circumstances all weekend.
The next stop for the Bridgestone/Mazda Manufacturers Cup Series will be a return to Briggs and Stratton Raceway Park in Dousman, Wisconsin May 29-31 for the Spring Nationals. For more information on the weekends activities, click here.