EKN Trackside: 2018 WKA Manufacturers Cup Series – GoPro Motorplex Preview
Series resumes with second event of 2018
March Madness continues in the sport of karting as the WKA Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series resumes its 2018 season. Racers get back to chasing the championships this weekend for the first time since the 2017 WKA Daytona KartWeek event, heading to the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina. The weekend serves as host to Round Three and Four of the 2018 program, with a solid 130 pre-entries set to do battle in ‘Race City USA’.
The GoPro Motorplex is among the most popular and pristine facilities in North American karting. Completed at the end of 2012, the 7/10-mile circuit is a replica of Kartdromo Parma course in Italy. During its now sixth season, the GoPro Motorplex continues to be a destination for karters and is coming off a record-breaking event for their club race last weekend.
This weekend’s action can be heard all weekend long through the EKN Live page of the website. From the Cooper Tire Broadcast Center, listen in to Eric Brennan as he provides the play-by-play coverage at www.ekartingnews.com/live Daily reports and updates on the EKN Social Media network will fill up your timeline throughout the weekend.
The season began in Daytona with Brit Teddy Wilson and AJ Myers coming away with victories in the headline IAME Senior category. Neither are scheduled to be in Mooresville, thus handing over the top spot in the standings to Austin McCusker (Kosmic). The 2017 SCCA Runoffs Formula Continental champion was top-five both days in Daytona, including a runner-up on Day 1. McCusker is among those favored to battle for victory at GoPro, along with former series winner Brandon Jarsocrak (Kart Republic). The ‘Shillington Slingshot’ has the home track advantage, racing under the KartSport North America tent. Fellow Pennsylvania driver Jacob Donald (Kart Republic) will be alongside. Home track advantage is also in the hands of Ashley Rogero (FA Kart) and Blake Hunt (Fullerton), who both finished on the podium at last year’s GoPro event. Senior rookie Colin Neal (Kosmic) is looking for his first WKA podium in IAME Senior after sweeping the KA100 Senior debut.
The KA100 Senior category made its debut at the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series in Daytona. Colin Neal swept the event and comes into GoPro as the driver to beat. His top challenger will be another double duty driver in Blake Hunt (Fullerton). The home track advantage will be on the side of Hunt for the weekend, along with Emory Lyda (Merlin). Brad Brittin (Merlin) was among the quickest drivers all weekend in Daytona, and looks to add another podium finishes to his record and keep himself in the championship chase.
IAME Junior was among the most exciting classes in Daytona, and will be the most populated division of the weekend. It is a mix of veteran Junior drivers and former Cadet stars continuing their rookie season. International stars Sebastian Montoya and Zane Maloney stole the show in Daytona, with neither set to be in Mooresville. That hands the championship lead over to Caleb Bacon (Tony Kart), who will welcome everyone to his home track after placing top-five in Daytona. Top Kart drivers Kaden Wharff, Connor Ferris and Tyler Ferris were among the top contenders last year, but struggled in Daytona. Last year’s champion Pauly Massimino missed Daytona, and will make his WKA debut with KartSport North America aboard a Kart Republic chassis. Jeremy Fairbairn (Tony Kart) stood on the podium at the SKUSA SuperNationals, the only driver in the field to do so. The field also includes Junior rookies Luca Mars (Energy) and 2017 SKUSA SuperNats Mini winner Connor Zilisch (Tony Kart).
Many of the same contenders from Daytona will be in Mooresville for the Yamaha Junior division. Spike Kohlbecker came out as the point leader following his win on Day 2, however, the Margay driver is not scheduled to compete at the second event. 2017 series champion Tyler Ferris (Top Kart) takes over the top spot having two podium finishes in Daytona. Kaden Wharff (Top Kart) was the other winner during KartWeek, forecasted to be among the contenders all weekend. Donald Whorton II (FA Kart) was in or near the lead pack in December, and could be a contender for the podium at GoPro.
Mateo Rubio-Luengo (Benik) and Brent Crews (Nitro) each took a victory at Daytona in the Mini Swift category. Each are heading to GoPro in hopes of adding to their early win total for the 2018 season. Crews holds the advantage thus far, leading the championship standings. Jeremy Fletcher (Tony Kart) is on a roll as of late, winning at the SKUSA Winter Series and the SKUSA WinterNationals. Annie Rhule (Energy) and Thomas Schrage (PCR) won at GoPro a year ago, putting them among the favorites for this weekend. Frankie Iadevaia stood on the podium twice last year as well, making him a threat along with the other Nitro Kart drivers racing at the brand’s home track. The Kart Republic Cadet version is making its WKA debut with GoPro drivers Sam Corry and Alfonso Lombardo.
The start to the 2018 season has been solid for Micro Swift driver Ben Maier. After sweeping the Daytona KartWeek victories, Maier has added three wins in six starts over the winter months at the SKUSA Winter Series and WinterNationals. Maier (Nitro Kart) now heads to GoPro attempting to extend his championship lead. Mooresville residents Adam Brickley (Nitro Kart) and Danny Dyszelski (Energy) are the top challenger thus far into the championship chase along with Cameron Myers (Margay) and Hoyt Mohr (Benik).
The numbers have reduced from Daytona to GoPro for the Yamaha Sportsman division, dropping down from 23 in December to just four scheduled to start this weekend. The race between the four should be solid with last year race winner Thomas Schrage (PCR) fighting it out with Danny Dyszelski (Energy), Miles Murray (Nitro Kart) and Paige Crawford (Benik).
Making a return to the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series for the 2018 season is the Kid Kart division. A total of 12 drivers are scheduled to be part of the first weekend for the category back as a championship division in the series, and thus racing in the first two rounds of the 2018 program.
Added to the weekend is a Briggs 206 Cadet local option class. A number of the Cadet level drivers in the IAME and Yamaha classes are doing double duty, some even triple with Danny Dyszelski competing in all three divisions. Ben Maier and Sebastian Ng lead a number of Nitro Kart competitors. Sam Corry (Tony Kart), Hunter Yeany (Tony Kart) and James Overbeck (Nitro Kart) finished on the podium at the Karting Challenge event last weekend.