Route 66 Sprint Series Event Coverage
Rain Hampers Route 66 Season Opener at Mid-State Raceway
The Margay Racing Route 66 Sprint Series presented by Bridgestone, L T Manufacturing and Russell Karting Specialties kicked off the 2012 season at the newly configured Mid-State Raceway on April 28 and 29 with 204 entries. The event was sponsored by the Springfield, IL based B B Electric Company. Although a full practice day was held on Friday under dry conditions, rain persisted throughout the event on Saturday and Sunday causing most races to be contested with rain tires. Four drivers were able to capture two wins each over the weekend including Brandon Lemke in Komet Sportsman and Yamaha Sportsman I, Christian Ledesma in Yamaha Junior Lite and Heavy, Zach Busch in Sr. PRD TAG Controlled I and II and Colton Ramsey in TAG I and II Senior.
Competitors were eager to get some practice on the newly configured Mid-State Raceway. The Mid-State Kart Club recently completed a $50,000 track upgrade and reconfiguration project with 660 feet of new surface and new safety barriers. The new configuration produced lap times about .3 to .5 seconds slower than the old track as the new track is slightly longer now. Although with all of the rain that fell over the weekend, the new surface did not take too much rubber and it remains to be seen if lap times will be quicker at future events.
Mid-State Kart Club (MSKC) hosted a free cookout after the racing activities on Saturday where a special Route 66 Series decorated cake was served for desert. MSKC held a raffle for two Go-Pro cameras and $1000 cash. Tony Granata won the cash prize and Jim Rowe and Tate Steinmann were the lucky Go-Pro video camera winners. A special thank you goes out to all volunteer MSKC officers and members who worked at this event.
The first class racing on Sunday was Komet Senior Lite sponsored by Jet Karting. Brad Brittin grabbed the lead at the start followed closely by fast qualifier Kyle Gluth. Brittin and Gluth would swap the lead several times on a wet but quickly drying track. Brittin (Margay/Adkins) was able to hold off Gluth by .203 seconds at the finish with Michael Haggar finishing .6 seconds back in third.
Next up was the CKT Racing Engines Yamaha Rookie Lite class with 11 entries. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Sam Mayer lined up along side of Blake Bauman at the start. Grayson Shankleton quickly worked his way to the front as the rain was picking up again. Shankleton cruised to a 1.794 second win over Sam Mayer and set the fastest race lap at 40.291 on the wet surface.
The Franklin Motorsports TAG I Senior class staged next with pre-final winner Colton Ramsey pacing the field along side of fast qualifier Adam Crepin. Crepin grabbed the early lead only to be passed by Ramsey who gradually stretched out his lead. Nick Nile and Bryce Engelhart had a good battle going on for third place. Ramsey (Merlin/Comet) held on for a 1.433 second win over Crepin racing under wet conditions. Nicky DeFronzo rounded out the top five.
The Senior PRD TAG Controlled I class sponsored by PRD-USA/RLV also raced with this group and Zack Busch took command of the race at the start over Matthew Laukaitis. Busch(DR/PRD) pulled out to a five second win at the finish over Laukaitis, Darin Marcus and Justin Vancil.
The Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart I Championship class was up next paced by pre-final winner Talan Drake and Tyler Hatcher. Drake led the first four laps until a charging Mason Maine took command on the wet track. Maine held on for a .646 second win over Drake, Cameron Christ, Mason Santiago and Tate Steinmann. The Kid Kart drivers did an excellent job racing under wet conditions with rain tires as there were only a few minor spin-outs in their final.
The Triple E Sales Yamaha Sportsman I class was up next as the rain continued to fall. Pre-final winner Brandon Lemke and Brendan Trent paced the start of the 21 kart field. A couple of karts spun into turn two at the start but all were able to continue. Lemke (Merlin/Source) was able to pull out to a two second lead and then held off a charging Egan Shankleton by .387 seconds at the finish. Brendan Trent, Dillon Schwanbeck and Alec Evers rounded out the top five. Schankleton set the fastest race lap at 40.282 under wet conditions.
Next up was the Laukaitis Racing Yamaha Supercan Heavy class final. Pre-final winner Adam Crepin and Matthew Laukaitis paced the field at the start. Crepin and Laukaitis pulled out to a slight advantage as Chad Kruger was working his way up from the fifth starting position. Jimmy Clark, Darin Marcus and Kyle Gluth were all battling for third position along with Kruger. Crepin (Merlin/Laukaitis) pulled out to a 6.038 second win at the finish over Chad Kruger followed by Matthew Laukaitis, Gluth and Clark in the top five. Darin Marcus set fastest race lap at 38.853 in the wet conditions.
The Yamaha Junior Lite class sponsored by Comet Kart Sales was up next with 16 entries. The final was paced by pre-final winner Christian Ledesma and Jeremy Klein. Michael Geringer charged to the lead from his sixth starting position at the start followed by Klein and Elliot Finlayson. Gerringer, Klein, Finlayson , Kilian Keaveny and Ledesma battled in the front pack with Ledesma gradually working his way to the point. Robby McQuinn and Anthony Granata worked there way into the top five as Ledesma was closing in on Geringer for the lead. Ledesma (Arrow/Triple-E) pulled out to a 2.578 second win over Klein, Granata, Geringer and McQuinn at the finish on a slowly drying track.
At the Sunday morning driver’s meeting, a drawing was held for a set of Bridgestone YLC tires sponsored by Margay/Bridgestone which was won by Sam Mayer. After one round of practice, nine classes of racing took place, mostly under wet conditions. After the completion of the finals, a trophy presentation took place where special gold cup trophies were awarded to the top five in each class.
The first final racing on Sunday was the Adkins Speed Center Yamaha Supercan Lite class with 14 entries. The rain had subsided enough to start this final on slick tires. Pre-final winner Matthew Laukaitis and Mike Prokup paced the start. Collin Griffin quickly moved to the lead from his third place starting position. Griffin (Arrow/Adkins) gradually pulled out to a 4.754 second win over Jimmy Clark who moved past Mike Prokup late in the race. Darin Marcus and Kyle Prokup rounded out the top five. Jimmy Clark set fastest race lap at 32.794 in one of the few dry races of the weekend.
Next up was the Express Karts Parts Komet Sportsman class with a strong field of 12 entries. Pre-final winner Alec Evers and Dillon Schwanbeck paced the field at the start with Schwanbeck grabbing the early lead. Schwanbeck, Riley Yates and Brandon Lemeke battled for the lead as they pulled away from Evers and Egan Shankleton. Alex Bertagnoli moved into the top five by mid-race. Lemke (Merlin/Source) gradually worked his way to the point and held on for a .37 second win over Yates, Bertagnoli, Schwanbeck and Schankleton. Alex Bertagnoli set fastest race lap at 33.412 on a dry track.
The Ballistics Designs Komet Senior Heavy and the Streeter Super Stands Yamaha Supercan Masters classes gridded next for their finals in a combined class race. Austin Erickson and Michael Haggar battled up front for the lead in the Komet class while Dave Timmerman and Chad Kruger battled for the Masters class lead. Haggar (Margay/Adkins) pulled out to a 2.645 second win over Erickson and Andrea Crivello in the Komet class.
Kruger (Merlin/Comet) pulled away for the win in Yamaha Masters over Timmermann, Clair Ruenger and Bob Kaminski in a race that was cut short by a red flag.
After a brief delay for thunderstorms, the Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart II Championship class was up next racing under wet conditions. Pre-final winner Mason Maine and Tate Steinmann paced the field at the start. Maine, Steinmann and Talan Drake pulled away to battle for the lead under very wet conditions. About mid-race, Mason Maine went off the track and Talan Drake pulled away to a 17.8 second win over Steinmann with Cameron Christ, Tyler Hatcher and Joey Varco rounding out the top five.
The Yamaha Rookie Heavy class sponsored by Two Cycle Technology gridded next for their final led by pre-final winner Sam Mayer and Cohle Santiago. Blake Bauman grabbed the lead at the start followed by Mayer and Grayson Shankleton. Mayer (Merlin/Source) worked his way to the point and pulled out to a big 11.413 second win over Maks Kowalski, Schankleton, Zachary Della and Santiago rounding out the top five on a very wet track.
Next up was the TAG II Senior class sponsored by Kart Lift along with the Senior PRD TAG Controlled I class sponsored by PRD-USA/RLV. Pre-final winner Adam Crepin led the first few laps until Colton Ramsey drafted by for the lead. Ramsey (Merlin/Comet) was able to hold off Crepin by .482 seconds for the win followed by Nick Nile, Nicky DeFronzo and Michael Haggar.
In the PRD division it was Zack Busch dominating as he pulled away to a six second win over Darin Marcus, Justin Vancil and Aaron Snyder.
The next final of the weekend was for the Yamaha Junior Heavy class sponsored by Woltjer Racing Engines. Pre-final winner Robby McQuinn and Christian Ledesma paced the start of the 16 kart field as the rain continued to fall. Ledesma grabbed the lead on the first lap and was uncontested for the lead. Ledesma (Arrow/Triple-E) gradually pulled away from McQuinn by 1.965 seconds for the win followed by Jeremy Klein, Michael Geringer and Elliot Finlayson in the top five.
The last final of the weekend for the Switch Racing Engines Yamaha Sportsman II class was also contested under wet conditions. Pre-final winner Egan Shankleton and fast qualifier Ryan Weyer paced the 21 kart field at the start. The front trio of Shankleton, Weyer and Brant Carter pulled out from the rest of the field. Brandon Lemke and Brendan Trent worked their way toward the front as the rain fell harder. Shankleton held on for the win by .666 over Weyer with Carter, Lemke and Trent rounding out the top five.
Merlin chassis captured the most wins over the weekend with seven followed by Arrow (3), Margay (2), Kosmic (2) and DR(2). For the complete race results, visit www.mylaps.com.
The next round of the series will be held at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway in Norway, IL on May 19 and 20. Friday practice will be available. All entrants will have a chance to win a set of Bridgestone YLC tires in a drawing held at the Sunday morning driver’s meeting.