EKN Trackside: 2015 United States Pro Kart Series – GoPro Motorplex Sunday Report

Jarsocrak triumphs in Leopard with Pesek winning Yamaha, Lemke and Bromante give Merlin sweep in Junior categories

Brandon Jarsocrak came from 10th at one point to score the victory in Leopard Pro (Photo: EKN)

USPKS logoThe final day of competition for the opening round of the 2015 United States Pro Kart Series went into the books on Sunday, as the nearly 187 entries took to the GoPro Motorplex facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. The wet haze continued over the area, with the track drying toward the end of qualifying as the final few sessions were on slick MG Tires. The rest of the day saw the clouds slowly disappear, with sun shining on the track for the final few main events on the day. The Leopard Pro was a wild 20 laps, with Brandon Jarsocrak earning his first victory in the category, earning $2,500 on the weekend with his Yamaha Pro combined effort. Dakota Pesek triumphed in Yamaha Pro on the day, with Merlin drivers Gio Bromante and Brandon Lemke giving the brand a clean sweep on the weekend.

Franklin Motorsports Leopard Pro

The Leopard Pro division was split into two groups once again. This time, with the conditions drying, the first were on rain tires, while the second had most of the drivers scramble for dry MG Tires for their five minute attempt. At the end, it was new Top Kart driver Dustin Stross at the top of the time sheet. His 52.419-lap was best by just one hundredth over new Checkered Motorsports driver Phillippe Denes (PCR). Derek Dignan (FA Kart) was third with Saturday winner Jacob Donald (Arrow) and Ryan Norberg (PCR) completing the fast five.

Donald proved to be the quick driver in Heat #1, scoring the win. By lap five, Donald was into the top spot, holding off Stross after the eight lap event. Brandon Jarsocrak (Tony Kart) came from sixth to third, with Andrew Bujdoso (PCR) up from 11th to fourth until a penalty for contact with Dignan moving him back to sixth. That promoted Denes to fourth with Gresham Wagner (Praga) fifth.

The second heat race was a fierce battle but it was Jarsocrak and Donald showing once again they were the drivers to beat. They moved up to the top two positions, with Jarsocrak earning the win. Donald was under attack, losing positions to Bujdoso and Norberg on the final lap. California driver Andrick Zeen (Praga) came from 10th to fifth.

Leopard Pro Sunday Final start #EKNatUSPKS #GoPro #IAMEUSA

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It was a wild 20 laps for the Leopard Pro division as Jarsocrak emerged as the victor, earning his first series victory in the category. Early on, the driver to beat was Norberg with the Senior rookie out front with a comfortable lead. He was run down by Donald, who took over the point at lap 14. Norberg was able to close in on the KartSport North America driver with four laps remaining, and the two began jostling for the lead. Coming to the white flag, the two made contact at turn 13, sending Bujdoso wide and allowing Jarsocrak to close in and move into second. At turn four, ‘Money’ took over the lead from Donald. With the final few corners, Jarsocrak held on to score his first ever victory in the category, with Donald second – a flip of the results from Saturday. Zeen was able to move into third ahead of Bujdoso as well for his best result at USPKS. Myers fought back to fifth ahead of Stross. Justin Neu (Praga) ran seventh with Calvin Ming (Praga), Elliot Finlayson (Tony Kart) and Michael Geringer (Tony Kart) into the top-10.

Comet Kart Sales Yamaha Pro

Dakota Pesek scored the victory in Yamaha Pro (Photo: EKN)

Dakota Pesek scored the victory in Yamaha Pro (Photo: EKN)

The top of the order in Yamaha Pro shook up in the qualifying session for Sunday, with Dakota Pesek (Top Kart) setting the fast time. A race winner in 2014, the Top Kart pilot posted a 1:02.613 lap to earn the pole position for the heat races. Saturday top qualifier Nick Landi (FA Kart) was second with Tony Jump (Arrow) in third. Trevor DeLong (DeLong Kart) and Saturday winner Brandon Jarsocrak (Haase) completed the fast five.

Pesek was able to turn the pole position into a win during the first heat. Early on, Landi gave him pressure until he dropped back on lap three. That provided Mike McAndrews (BirelART) the opportunity to advance into the second spot, after working his way from seventh. The top two pulled away, with Pesek holding a 2.5-second advantage. The fight was for third, with Jake McWhirter (Tony Kart) coming from last into the top-five thanks to a shake-up in the opening corner. Veteran racer Chuck Tate (Parolin) was able to get around him on the final circuit, stealing the third spot while Tony Jump (Arrow) bounced from the first lap incident to finish fifth ahead of Landi and Jarsocrak.

The second heat began with another skirmish, this time at turn three with a lot of the field involved, with all but one able to continue on. Pesek was out front with Jump into second, with a fight brewing for third. Jump however dropped after contact with Joey Eppink (Tony Kart), and fell to the tail of the field, moving the fight for third now for second, including Landi and Tate. They would all fall victim to defending champion Jarsocrak, who charged his way through the group to take over the second position. His times were not close to what Pesek was running, but enough to get away from the field for them to finish 1-2. Tate won the battle for third, with McAndrews up to fourth and Kevin Nelson (Tony Kart) fifth.

Yamaha Pro Sunday Final start #EKNatUSPKS #GoPro #IAMEUSA

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It was unsure just who would emerge from the 20-lap main event as the winner in Yamaha Pro. The top-10 was evenly matched, with Pesek able to put himself out front of the hungry race pack with Saturday winner Jarsocrak. McWhirter was with them until McAndrews and Nelson teamed up to close in on the trio. Eventually, it was just four with McWhirter falling off the lead group. McAndrews and Nelson worked together to work past Jarsocrak and then closed in on Pesek. On lap 19, the two drafted past Pesek at turn four. Instead of keeping with team work, Nelson tried for the lead at turn one beginning the final lap. That opened up the door for Pesek to come back and take the lead at turn four. From there, he was able to keep the lead in the final corners, scoring the victory. McAndrews ended up second with Nelson third. Jarsocrak was fourth with McWhirter back in fifth.

GT7 Motorsports Leopard Junior

Brandon Lemke held off David Malukas for the Leopard Junior victory (Photo: EKN)

Brandon Lemke held off David Malukas for the Leopard Junior victory (Photo: EKN)

The qualifying session for the Leopard Junior was a jostle for fast time. A number of drivers took the spot provisionally, until the final circuit Saturday winner Brandon Lemke (Merlin) posted a 50.779-second lap. Canadian Roman DeAngelis (Tony Kart) moved up late as well to second, with David Malukas (Top Kart) third. Junior rookie Gio Bromante (Merlin) was fourth with USPKS newcomer Michael d’Orlando (Tony Kart) fifth.

The opening heat race win went to Lemke with a last lap pass. Malukas took the lead from the third spot on the grid, with Lemke pushing them out front. Lemke stayed close and struck on the final lap, moving inside at turn four to take over the lead. The Merlin driver held on to the checkered flag, with Malukas in the second spot. Bromante and Lance Fenderson (Tony Kart) escaped the gaggle of karts fighting for fifth, which went to Zach Holden (Top Kart) – who started 11th.

Another exciting finish for the end of heat two resulted in some adjustment in the final order. After some hard fighting for position at the front, Lemke escaped with the lead by the halfway point with Gangi, Malukas, and Roman right there. Gangi took over the top spot on lap seven, pushing Lemke back to fourth. On the final lap, Malukas slipped past at turn eight, with Gangi fighting back at turn nine. The two made contact and Gangi had the lead and crossed the line first, with Lemke up to second. Gangi was penalized for the contact, moving him behind Malukas to give Lemke the win. DeAngelis was fourth with Holden fifth.

Leopard Junior Sunday Final start #EKNatUSPKS #GoPro #IAMEUSA

Posted by eKartingNews.com on Sunday, April 26, 2015

A number of drivers were involved in a turn one wreck after the green flag waved to begin the 16-lap. The front runners escaped, with Malukas out to a solid lead with Lemke chasing. At the halfway point, the gap was just under a one second, with Lemke closing in by about one tenth of a second. Lemke closed up by lap 12, and was able to challenge Malukas briefly, before losing the spot a few corners later. Lemke held off until the final lap, striking at turn four. Lemke ran a defensive line until the final corner, and the two went to the checkered flag side by side. At the line, it was Lemke by 25 thousandths of a second for his third victory of the weekend. Fenderson won the battle for third over Holden with DeAngelis in fifth.

Woltjer Racing Engines Yamaha Junior

Gio Bromante earned his first Junior victory at the USPKS program in Yamaha (Photo: EKN)

Gio Bromante earned his first Junior victory at the USPKS program in Yamaha (Photo: EKN)

The same players were in the hunt for the pole position for Yamaha Junior. Saturday top qualifier David Malukas (Top Kart) was able to hold off Saturday winner Brandon Lemke (Merlin) for the top spot, edging him out by 58 thousandths of a second with a 1:00.882-lap. Top Kart USA drivers Zach Holden and John Paul Southern were third and fourth, while Savannah Fitzgerald (Tony Kart) had her best qualifying effort thus far in fifth.

Malukas and Lemke were able to get away early in the opening heat race, setting up for what we thought was a duel for the win. As they fought late in the race, Lance Fenderson (Tony Kart) – who started 11th and Holden closed in. The final lap was a four driver battle for the win, with Fenderson working around Lemke at turn eight, holding on for the win. Holden followed him through to take second, with Malukas pushing Lemke back to fourth. Gio Bromante (Merlin) won the battle for fifth.

The second heat came down to the wire again. It was a five driver breakaway, with Southern able to get away with the lead as the white flag waved. Malukas went on the attack at turn four, taking the lead back. Southern fought back as they exited turn eight, and the two went criss-cross. Heading to the final corner, Malukas climbed the rear bumper of Southern, and the two went off course. This allowed Fenderson to slip past for the win, as Lemke and Holden crossed behind. Maks Kowalski (Merlin) and Emory Lyda (Merlin) moved up into the top-five.

Yamaha Junior Sunday Final start #EKNatUSPKS #GoPro #IAMEUSA

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It was another fight to the end in the main event, with three drivers out front this time as Bromante joined Lemke and Malukas out front. It was five in the lead group early until the trio broke away. They went back and forth for the lead with Malukas holding the top spot entering the final lap. The Top Kart driver ran a defensive line into the tight turn eight hairpin, and Lemke tried the cross over move but the two made contact. That allowed Bromante to slip through for the lead and the victory, his first as a Junior at the USPKS program. Lemke came on to finish second with Malukas third. Fenderson won the battle for fourth over Southern and Kowalski.

Orlando Kart Center Mini Rok Cadet

Nicholas d'Orlando doubled up in Mini Rok Cadet with a dramatic finish on Sunday (Photo: EKN)

Nicholas d’Orlando doubled up in Mini Rok Cadet with a dramatic finish on Sunday (Photo: EKN)

Riding off his win in the Yamaha Cadet category on Saturday, Franklin Motorsports’ Sam Mayer picked up the pace in the Mini Rok division, landing the fast time in qualifying. His Merlin was the only kart below the 1:03 mark, eclipsing the field by over a half second. Lachlan DeFrancesco (Benik) was second with Robert Noaker III (Merlin) third. Jeremy Fairbairn (Benik) and Ugo Ugochukwu (Tony Kart) made up the fast five. Saturday’s winner Nicholas d’Orlando (Tony Kart) was seventh in the order, just behind Jason Welage (Top Kart).

Mayer went on to lead all eight laps of the opening heat race, winning by over three seconds. DeFrancesco was pushed wide on the first circuit in turn four, and was unable to continue. That gave Fairbairn the path to take the second spot. Welage won the fight for third over Noaker, d’Orlando and Ugochukwu.

The opening lap was a wild one in turn seven, as the leaders went off and collected nearly all of the field. Everyone continued on but it was Ugo with the lead. He held a solid advantage until a trio of drivers worked together to close in. They were led by Welage, with d’Orlando and Noaker right there. Nothing changed until the final lap, when Welage took advantage of Ugo’s blocking line into turn eight. The cross-over move worked, and Welage took the lead. At the final corner, Ugo returned fire, and got to the inside. The drag race to the line was Ugo’s, with d’Orlando and Noaker following him through to push back Welage. Mayer recovered from the opening lap mishap, and finished fifth.

Mini Rok Cadet Sunday Final start

Posted by eKartingNews.com on Sunday, April 26, 2015

The lead pack was four early with polesitter Mayer joined by Ugo, Welage and d’Orlando. Welage eventually took over the point but was again run down by the other three. More shuffling occured and contact in turn four involving Ugo and Mayer took them out of contention. That left d’Orlando at the point with Welage into second. They would get run down by another pack of drivers, including Reece Gold (Exprit). Gold got around Welage and put himself on the bumper of d’Orlando on lap 11. The following lap, the battle for the lead began with Noaker there as well. Gold took the lead for two laps, taking the white flag as the leader with d’Orlando right there. At turn eight, d’Orlando was able to slip past Gold for the lead, bringing others with him and hold the spot to the checkered flag for another victory on the weekend. DeFrancesco moved to second with Noaker third, Massimino fourth and Welage fifth as Gold dropped to sixth.

Switch Racing Engines Yamaha Cadet

Sam Mayer held off Jason Welage  for the Yamaha Cadet win (Photo: EKN)

Sam Mayer held off Jason Welage for the Yamaha Cadet win (Photo: EKN)

The pole position appeared to be in the hands of Saturday winner Sam Mayer (Merlin). The checkered flag waved to end the session, and Lachlan DeFrancesco (Benik) came across the line with a 1:03.464-lap time to edge out Mayer by over two tenths. Jason Welage (Top Kart) ended up third with Ryan Detlor (Praga) and Kyle Thome (Merlin) making up the fast five. After the scale line, Welage came in underweight, moving everyone up one position and putting him 24th on the grid for the heat races.

Mayer jumped out to the lead from the outside of row one, leading all eight laps of Heat #1. DeFrancesco dropped back into second, and was unable to match the 57-second lap pace by Mayer, falling back to 2.7 seconds. Pauly Massimino (Tony Kart) advanced from seventh to third. Welage came from the tail of the field to win the battle for fourth at the checkered flag, pushing Madison Campeau (Praga) to fifth.

Heat #2 was all Mayer, as he led all eight laps. The margin at the checkered flag was just five seconds, but could have been less had Welage started up front. Coming from the tail of the field once again, he drove from 24th to second with the fast laps of the race. Noaker was third with Thome and Aidan Harrington (Merlin).

Yamaha Cadet Sunday Final start #EKNatUSPKS #GoPro #IAMEUSA

Posted by eKartingNews.com on Sunday, April 26, 2015

The main event came down to a duel between Mayer and Welage. With his drive toward the front in both heat races, he started outside row one with Mayer at the inside position. They pulled out to a big lead early, and stayed together. Mayer led the majority of the race until Welage took over with three laps remaining. On the final lap, Mayer attacked at the final corner, sliding inside of Welage. Mayer completed the pass and secured the victory. Massimino won the battle for third over a large group of drivers, with Noaker fourth and Ian Hornish (PCR) fifth.

QPS Employment Group Yamaha Rookie

Owen Mahle reached the checkered flag first in Yamaha Rookie (Photo: EKN)

Owen Mahle reached the checkered flag first in Yamaha Rookie (Photo: EKN)

Round two in the Yamaha Rookie had a different finish to what happened on Saturday. Donald Whorton II (Tony Kart) qualified first, and went on to win the opening heat by just 91 thousandths over William Robusto (CompKart). The second heat saw Whorton spin, allowing Owen Mahle (Top Kart) to take the win. Whorton finished eight in the race, but started third in the main event as Robusto filled out the front row alongside Mahle. The 12-lap main event came down to just Mahle and Whorton. They ran nose to tail the entire time with Whorton trying to steal the lead on the final circuit. Side by side to the checkered flag, with Mahle scoring the victory. Aidan Hinds (Praga) finished third over Robusto with Camrin Cass (Merlin) in fifth.

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