Route 66 Sprint Series Event Coverage
Inaugural Visit to MRP for Route 66 Series Draws Big Numbers
The Margay/Bridgestone Route 66 Sprint Series presented by L&T Manufacturing and Russell Karting Specialties made there first visit to Michiana Raceway Park (MRP) near South bend, IN on June 23rd and 24th attracting 288 entries. The event was sponsored by Motorama Kart Parts. Also on the bill this weekend was the inaugural Bestway Drywall Yamaha Shootout which paid $1000 to win. The weather started out mild on the Friday practice day, however temperatures and humidity rose over the weekend but at least no rain was in the forecast.
Only two drivers were able to capture multiple class wins over the weekend with Talan Drake capturing the Kid Kart 1 and 2 Championship classes and David Malukas taking three wins in Yamaha Sportsman I, Yamaha Sportsman 2 and Komet Sportsman.
This was the first time that the Route 66 Series has held an event at MRP and a big turnout of 288 entries came to race, many competing for the first time at MRP. The 8 tenths mile MRP track is being managed this year by Jet Karting owner Andy Finke. Andy and his staff had the facility in top-notch condition for an upcoming run of big events at their facility. They had recently widened the front straightaway by about six feet. Several WKA Man-cup teams were competing this weekend as a warm up for the July Man-cup event scheduled at MRP.
The first final competing this weekend was the Laukaitis Racing Yamaha Supercan Heavy class with 24 entries. Pre-final winner and fast qualifier Gary Lawson paced the field at the start along side of Adam Crepin. Lawson grabbed the lead on lap one followed closely by Crepin, Jimmy Clark, Mike Prokup, Cody Robinson and Colton Ramsey in the lead pack. Lawson, Clark, Crepin and Robinson would eventually break away to battle for the win. Lawson (Arrow) pulled away to a .609 second win over Clark, Crepin, Robinson and Colton Ramsey at the finish. Jimmy Clark set the fastest race lap at 45.416.
The Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart I Championship class was up next. Pre-final winner and fast qualifier Mason Maine paced the field along side of Talan Drake. Maine led the front pack with Drake, Tate Steinmann, Andrew Castelucci and Donald Wharton close behind. Steinmann made a move to the front near the end of the race appearing to take the win over Maine and Drake. However post race inspections DQ’d both Steinmann and Maine giving the win to Talan Drake. Castelucci, Wharton, Tyler Hatcher and Jena Rentmeister rounded out the top five.
The Triple E Sales Yamaha Sportsman I class was up next with a large field of 25 entries paced by pre-final winner Stoia Leonardo and Brandon Lemke. Leonardo, Ian Nelson and Lemke battled up front for the lead as David Malukas was working his way toward the front from his 11th starting position. Malukas worked his way through the second pack of Grant Griesbach, Thayne Chapin, Brant Carter and Tommy Burke and ran down the lead pack next. Malukas and Lemke battled for the win with Malukas (Birel) prevailing by .284 seconds at the finish. Leonardo, Nelson and Burke rounded out the top five.
The Franklin Motorsports TAG I Senior class staged next with pre-final winner Colton Ramsey and Adam Crepin pacing the field of 24 karts. Ramsey grabbed the early lead followed by Crepin, Troy Hottmann and Michael Haggar. The next pack of Darin Marcus, Cal Stewart, Kyle Sneed and Matt Stagl were having there own battle. Ramsey (Merlin) was able to pull away from Crepin and then hold on for the win by .260 seconds at the finish. Hottman, Haggar and Stewart rounded out the top five with Crepin setting fast time of the race at 42.622 seconds. The Senior PRD TAG Controlled I class sponsored by PRD-USA/RLV also raced with this group and pre-final winner Matthew Laukaitis (Margay) pulled away to a 5.348 second win over Justin Vancil and Zack Busch.
Next up was the CKT Racing Engines Yamaha Rookie Lite class with 11 entries. Fast Qualifier and pre-final winner Sam Mayer lined up alongside of Blake Bauman at the start and Bauman grabbed the lead followed by Mayer and Grayson Shankleton. Mayer (Merlin) drafted by Bauman on lap two and pulled away to a 2.485 second win over Shankleton with Aidan Harrington, Bauman and caden Paszkiewicz rounding out the top five.
The next class racing was Komet Senior sponsored by Jet Karting. Pre-final winner Christian Besasie and Kyle Gluth paced the field at the start. Fast qualifier Brad Brittin was starting at the tail of the field after breaking a chain in the pre-final. Gluth took the lead followed by Besasie and Jesse Wirtz. Besasie spun about mid-race and killed his engine. Gluth (Birel) held off Wirtz for the win by just .156 seconds with Brittin moving up to third followed by Michael Haggar and Sting ray Robb rounding out the top five.
The Yamaha Junior Lite class sponsored by Comet Kart Sales was up next with 25 entries. The final was paced by fast qualifier and pre-final winner Mike McAndrews along side of Kyle Kalish. Grant Quinlan worked his way to the front in a battle with Kalish, Garret Johnson and Elliot Finlayson. McAndrews, Kyle Tilley and Derek Dignan battled in the next pack. Finlayson dropped out with a broken chain about mid-race. Kalish (Merlin) pulled away to a 1.2 second win over Johnson, Quinlan and McAndrews however Johnson and Quinlan would bypass the scales bringing Tilley, Dignan and Becker Reardon into the top five. Kalish set quick time of the race at 44.409.
The Bestway Drywall Yamaha Shootout race was next with a unique format. After a 20 minute practice session for the 24 karts entered in the race, a 15 minute qualifying session was held where competitors laid down their best lap and a chance to win a set of Bridgestone YLC tires. Joel Jens won the pole award and paced the start of the 20 lap shootout along side of Collin Griffin. Griffin got the jump and took the lead into turn one and lead for the first five laps followed by the front pack of Garret Johnson, Jens, Jake Johnson, Cody Robinson and Jimmy Clark. Jens moved to the point next followed by Griffin, Johnson and Clark in a 4-kart break away. Clark worked his way toward the front with two laps to go but Jens (Tony Kart) held on for the win by .33 seconds over Jimmy Clark. Garret Johnson, Collin Griffin and Gary Lawson finished in the top five and took home cash prizes. Jens pocketed $1000 for the win. A drawing for an L & T clutch was held for those who finished out of the money which was won by Patrick Olsen. The top three also received unique glass trophies.
At the conclusion of the Saturday races, MRP provided a free pasta dinner for everyone in attendance. MRP also provided beautiful gold cup trophies and plaques which were awarded to 1st through 5th place in all classes.
At the Sunday driver’s meeting, a set of Bridgestone YLC tires was given away to Blake Bauman in a drawing sponsored by Margay/Bridgestone. After one round of practice, 10 classes of racing took place with 8-lap pre-finals and 12-lap finals.
The Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart II Championship class raced first on Sunday. Pre-final winner Talan Drake paced the field along side of Tate Steinmann. Steinmann took the early lead followed closely by Drake and Andrew Castelucci. Drake moved to the point on lap three bringing Castelucci with him. Drake held off Castelucci by just .304 seconds at the finish with Steinmann, Mason Santiago and Tyler Hatcher rounding out the top five.
The next final of the weekend was for the Adkins Speed Center Yamaha Supercan Lite class with 20 entries. The Yamaha Supercan Masters class also competed in this race starting at the back of the field. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Jimmy Clark paced the start along side of Collin Griffin. Clark took the lead into turn one with Cody Robinson moving into second place on lap one. Collin Griffin, Matthew Laukaitis, Nick Stagl and Adam Crepin followed closely in the front pack. The next pack of Jordan Laukaitis, Tim Brinkman, Tyler Brinkman and Brad Brittin were battling for seventh place. Clark (CRG) was able to break away to a 2.092 second win over Griffin, Robinson, Matthew Laukaitis and Adam Crepin in the top five positions. Clark set the fastest race lap at 44.825. The Streeter Super Stands Yamaha Supercan Masters class had a race long battle for the win between Dave Timmerman and Chad Kruger. Kruger (Merlin) was able to hold off Timmermann by .208 seconds for the win.
Next up was the Express Karts & Parts Komet Sportsman class with another strong field of 16 entries. Pre-final winner Riley Yates paced the field at the start. David Malukas and Brandon Lemke battled for the lead early in the race until Stoia Leonardo joined the front pack. Malukas (Birel) was able to hold off Leonardo at the finish by .271 seconds with Lemke, Jack Miller and Alex Bertagnoli rounding out the top five.
The next final racing on Sunday was the Yamaha Junior Heavy class sponsored by Woltjer Racing Engines. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Grant Quinlan paced the start along side of Garrett Johnson. The front pack of Quinlan, Garret Johnson, Jake Johnson and Christian Ledesma battled for the lead along with Michael Geringer and Anthony Granata next in line. Garret Johnson passed Quinlan near the end of the race to take the apparent win. However the top three, who are not series regulars, would bypass the scales handing the win to Christian Ledesma. Geringer, Granata, Derek Dignan and Kenlen Morse rounded out the top five. Quinlan set the fastest race lap at 44.981.
The Yamaha Rookie Heavy class sponsored by Two Cycle Technology gridded next for their final led by pre-final winner Maks Kowalski and Sam Mayer. Mayer led the first few laps until Grayson Shankleton took command. Shankleton (Kosmic) was able to pull out to .678 second win over Blake Bauman, Gage Rodgers, Mayer and Cohle Santiago.
Next up was the TAG II Senior class sponsored by Kart Lift with 18 entries. Pre-final winner Nicky DeFronzo and fast qualifier Will Owen paced the field at the start. DeFronzo took the lead into turn one and the pair of DeFronzo and Owen contested a hot battle for the lead. The next pack of Colton Ramsey, Adam Crepin, Cal Stewart, Troy Hottmann, Matt Stagl and Michael Haggar were battling for third place. DeFronzo (CRG) was able to hold off Owen by .219 seconds at the finish. Rounding out the top five about three seconds back were Hottmann, Crepin and Ramsey. Will Owen set the fast race lap at 42.678.
Next up was the Switch Racing Engines Yamaha Sportsman II class. Pre-final winner David Malukas and Tommy Burke paced the 22 kart field at the start. The front pack of Malukas, Brandon Lemke, Leonardo Stoia and Tommy Burke began to pull away from the field. Burke dropped out of the race on lap seven and Thayne Chapin caught up to the front pack of four karts. Ben Varner and Lemke caught back up to the front pack next. Austin Schaff and Brant Carter caught up to the front pack which had grown to seven karts. Towards the end of the race Malukas, Stoia and Chapin pulled away to race for the win. Malukas (Birel) held off Stoia by just .162 seconds to take his third win over the weekend. Chapin, Varner and Lemke rounded out the top five.
The last final of the weekend was for the Komet Jr. and Rotax Jr. classes which were non-point classes added by the promoter. Armin Cavkusic (Birel) cruised to the win in Rotax Jr. finishing 3.223 seconds ahead of Jack Weprin and Elliot Finlayson. Jake Johnson (Top Kart) took the Komet Jr. win over Grant Quinlan by .364 seconds with James Bennett, Derek Dignan and Daren Brubaker rounding out the top five.
Birel chassis captured the most wins over the weekend with five followed by Merlin (4), Arrow (2), CRG (2) and Margay, Kosmic, Tony Kart and Top Kart with one win each. For the complete race results, visit www.mylaps.com.
The next round of the series will be held at Concepts Haulers Motor Speedway in Norway, IL on July 28 and 29. 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.