EKN Trackside: 2019 United States Pro Kart Series – Hoosier Grand Prix Sunday Report
Seven IAME titles decided following championship Sunday at New Castle Motorsports Park
The United States Pro Kart Series presented by MG Tires wrote the final chapter on its 2019 season with Championship Sunday contested at the New Castle Motorsports Park. The Hoosier Grand Prix wrapped up in New Castle, Indiana, with the sixth and final round of the season deciding the seven IAME championships. After an intense Round Five on Saturday, things settled down a little more Sunday around the 1-mile course that welcomed picture perfect weather once again.
There was not a single championship decided heading into Championship Sunday, with one or more drivers depending on the category still in the hunt. Things looked to be in hand for Brandon Jarsocrak (MDR / Tony Kart) grabbing his third title, going into the final round with a 148-point lead over Zach Hollingshead (OGP / Tony Kart). For the other 30-drivers, it was about victory. Brandon Lemke (Franklin / Merlin) arrived late on Saturday and ran into trouble in Prefinal but came out of the Final as one of the quickest, moving up to 12th from the tail. Lemke started out the final round with fast time in qualifying, edging out Jarsocrak and Jace Denmark-Gessel (RPM / Tony Kart). It was JDG who shined in the Prefinal, driving away to a two-second advantage with Hollingshead moving ahead of Jarsocrak, gaining a few points. After Hollingshead jumped out to the lead at the start of the Final, Lemke returned to the point by lap four. From there, he led the remainder of the race for his first victory of the season. It came down to a photo finish as JDG made a late charge, coming up just 23 thousandths short at the line. Alex Bertagnoli (KSNA / Kart Republic) drove to third, dropping Hollingshead to fourth with Travis Wiley (RPM / Tony Kart) in fifth. Jarsocrak was in the battle all race, and was sixth coming to the white flag when his chain broke. The DNF put him 25th, and where Hollingshead finished, the gap was 17 points in Jarsocrak’s favor for his third straight title. Jarsocrak took the free IAME engine, thus handing Hollingshead the IAME International Final ticket to LeMans, France and Winner’s Circle program to Jake Venberg (Franklin / Kosmic) who finished the standings in third.
Missing out on the victory on Saturday, Garrett Adams (Comet / FA Kart) was determined to run for the top step of the podium on Sunday. Adams set fast time in qualifying and edged out Matthew Mockabee (Comet / Kart Republic) for the Prefinal win. Adams was able to break away with Stephen Dial (Milrock / Kosmic) as the rest fought for third. Adams led the first 15 laps with Dial never leaving his bumper. On the final circuit, Dial waited for the final run to the checkered, pulling off the slingshot move to edge out Adams for the victory by three hundredths of a second. Championship leader Blake Hunt (KSNA / Tony Kart) came into the day with a solid lead, and came from 13th on the grid to win the battle for third, ahead of TJ Koyen (Innovative / Exprit) and Josh Hotz (Franklin / Merlin). Six straight podiums, including two wins helped to give Hunt his first USPKS championship, ahead of Hotz by 173 points. Mockabee finished the standing in third.
The pinnacle of the drama on the day took place in the opening class in the order, with X30 Junior. John Burke (Supertune / Tony Kart) had a 94 point lead going into the day. He missed out on the 10 points in qualifying as Kyffin Simpson (SCR / Tony Kart) stole that with fast time, edging out Brent Crews (KSNA / FA Kart) by one thousandths of a second. The Prefinal was cut short by two laps after a wild wreck involving Jace Park (SCR / Tony Kart). Park was leading the lap prior to the red flag, and thus was moved to the tail of the order, giving Burke the win ahead of Simpson and Crews. The trio were fighting in the early stages of the Final, when on lap eight contact was made between Simpson and Burke. The two were locked together on the exit of turn two, and were finally able to break free. Crews escaped with the lead, and drove away to his first victory of the season. Connor Zilisch (LAK / Tony Kart) was second ahead of Bryson Morris (Comet / Kosmic), Nicholas Terlecki (Franklin / Merlin) and Paul Bocuse (SCR / Tony Kart). Burke put the hammer down after dropping to 24th. With fast laps of the race, Burke put in a valiant effort to regain as many spots as possible. At the checkered flag, Burke finished 13th, coming two spots short of where he needed to retain the title. Crews secured the championship by eight points ahead of Burke. Crews will make the trip to LeMans for the IAME International Final, with Burke grabbing the Winner’s Circle program for 2020. Simpson came out third in the standings after placing 17th.
Crews (KSNA / Kart Republic) added a second title to his season, coming out the champion in KA100 Junior. Crews extended his point lead after qualifying and the Prefinal, taking the top spot in both. The Final began with some wild activity, resulting in contact on the end of the opening lap. Among them was title contender Connor Zilisch (LAK / Tony Kart), who retired after he took the brunt of the heavy contact. Kyffin Simpson (SCR / Tony Kart) jumped out to the lead with Logan Adams (Comet / FA Kart) on his bumper. Simpson was able to establish a two-second lead over the 16 laps, scoring his first victory of the year. Adams settled for second with Crews winning the battle for third. Westin Workman (Timmy Tech / CompKart) and Chloe Chambers (MDR / Kosmic) completed the top-five. Crews secured the title by 165 points over Tyler Wettengel (KSNA / FA Kart) with Workman placing third as Zilisch dropped to fourth after the DNF.
Championship leader David Galownia (Timmy Tech / CompKart) did exactly what he needed to do on the day to secure the championship. Scott Roberts (SCR / Tony Kart) put in a valiant effort on the day, despite one mistake. Roberts set fast time in qualifying and was fighting with Galownia for the Prefinal win. Near the halfway point, Roberts came up short in attempting to pass Galownia back for the lead in turn three. On the exit, Roberts was turned the opposite direction. He continued on to finish 10th, as Galownia won the race. Both were among the six-driver lead pack in the Final, with Galownia at the point for much of the race. Kopp was the top challenger with Roberts advancing to be right there at the very end. Kopp led the field coming to the white flag with Roberts helping to push Galownia past for the lead going into turn one. In turn three, Roberts was able to pull off the move he failed at in the Prefinal to grab the lead. Roberts went on to score his second victory of the season. Darin Marcus (Franklin / Fullerton) slipped past Kopp in the final run to the checkered for second with Galownia fourth and Adam Pettit (SoloKart) in fifth. Galownia grabbed the title by 63 points over Roberts, earning the IAME International Final ticket to LeMans, with Kopp placing third and earning a the Winner’s Circle package.
The Mini Swift victory came down to a photo finish. Top qualifier Anderson Leonard (Supertune / Tony Kart) and championship leader Christian Miles (KSNA / Kart Republic) pulled away from the field early on. Defending champion Kai Sorensen (Supertune / Tony Kart) suffered a spin in the Prefinal, and charged his way from 13th on the grid to run down the top two. He and Leonard put some distance on Miles in the closing laps, but fought hard on the final circuit for the top spot. It was a three-wide photo finish with Miles getting a huge run to the inside of both. Sorensen was able to reach the line first by five thousandths ahead of Miles with Leonard in third. Cameron Weinberg (Nitro Kart) and Ben Maier (Nitro Kart) completed the top-five. Miles came away with a 178-point advantage in the championship chase, earning the IAME International Final ticket to France. Sorensen ended up second and the Winner’s Circle package for 2020, with Max Garcia (KSNA / Kart Republic) third.
The top two championship contenders in the Micro Swift class set the pace all day. Spencer Conrad (Nitro Kart) came out with the win in the Prefinal while Grim locked up on his bumper in the Final. The two ran nose-to-tail the entire time, making his move coming to the white flag lap. Grim held on to the checkered flag, edging out Conrad by five hundredths at the line for his third win on the season. Carson Weinberg (Nitro Kart) had fast lap of the race, driving to third with Jack Iliffe (Tony Kart) fourth and top qualifier Levi Copass (Benik) in fifth. Grim won the title by 124 points over Conrad with Weinberg in third.
The 2019 season for the United States Pro Kart Series has come to a close. All seven champions have been decided and the four tickets to the IAME International Final awarded. It was a record-breaking year in the seventh edition of the program, with a continued focus on creating a fun, exciting and competitive series going into 2020.