Route 66 Sprint Series Event Coverage
Lemke, Jens and Varco Double at CHMS Route 66 Series
The Margay/Bridgestone Route 66 Sprint Series presented by L&T Manufacturing and Russell Karting Specialties made a return visit to Concept Haulers Motor Speedway (CHMS) to hold round four on July 28th and 29th in Norway, Illinois. The event was sponsored by Merlin Racing Karts which captured seven wins. 232 entries competed over the weekend including the Komet Throwdown special event. The hot Midwest weather subsided a little this weekend with temperatures only reaching into the upper 80s.
Three drivers were able to capture double class wins over the weekend with Joey Varco winning both Kid Kart Championship classes, Brandon Lemke taking wins in Komet Sportsman and Yamaha Sportsman 2, and Joel Jens winning Yamaha Junior Lite and Komet Junior. Jens also won the non-point Komet Throwdown event held under the lights on Saturday evening.
The new trackside motorhome spots were sold out with 14 new electrical sites being added along the west side of the track. A big thank you goes out to CHMS owner Les Finke and his crew for hosting the event along with the free cookout held on Saturday after the racing. CHMS also provided eagle trophies for class winners and gold cup trophies for 2nd through 5th place in each class.
The first class racing on Saturday was Komet Senior sponsored by Jet Karting. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Darin Marcus paced the start along side of Mark Vielgut. Vielgut took the lead at the start followed by Kyle Gluth and Marcus. Marcus gradually worked his way to the front of the field. On the final lap, Vielgut made contact with Marcus to take the win. However he was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct giving the win to Marcus (Merlin). Christian Besasie, Kyle Gluth, Colton Ramsey and Nick Stagl rounded out the top five. Gluth set quick time of the race at 48.231.
The Yamaha Junior Lite class sponsored by Comet Kart Sales was up next with 21 entries. The final was paced by pre-final winner Joel Jens and fast qualifier Christian Ledesma. Jens grabbed the lead into turn one with Ledesma glued to his bumper. The next pack of Michael Geringer, Anthony Granata, Elliot Finlayson, Jeremy Klein and Sam Cate were battling for third. Ledesma stayed right on Jens tail the entire race, but Jens (Tony Kart) was able to hold off Ledesma by .185 seconds to take the win. Geringer, Granata and Klein rounded out the top five about five seconds back. Ledesma set quick time of the race at 49.004.
Next up was the Laukaitis Racing Yamaha Supercan Heavy class final with 16 entries. Pre-final winner Jimmy Clark and Matthew Laukaitis paced the field at the start. A pileup in turn two at the start took out the karts of Kyle Prokup, Adam Crepin, Collin Griffin and Grant Branscum. Clark and Laukaitis pulled away to battle for the win while swapping the lead several times. After banging wheels side-by-side on the final lap, Laukaitis (Margay) held on for the win over Clark. Justin Vancil, Matthew Roberts and Mike Prokup rounded out the top five. Clark set the fastest race lap at 50.342.
The Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart I Championship class was racing next. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Joey Varco paced the start along side of Jena Rentmeister. Varco led for several laps until Rentmeister moved to the lead. Varco reclaimed the lead and the win after Rentmeister lost a chain. Sinead Lynch, Mason Santiago, Easton Bogart and Jena Rentmeister rounded out the top five.
A new event was announced at the driver’s meeting where the TAG I Senior class was chosen to compete in the Mad Dog Dash for cash sponsored by CRG Mid-West. The top four qualifiers in TAG competed in a four lap dash for a $100 cash prize and event winner’s T-shirt. Cal Stewart captured the dash after using an inverted start. This event will be held at the remaining Route 66 Series races for different classes.
The Franklin Motorsports TAG I Senior class staged next with pre-final winner Troy Hottmann and Colton Ramsey pacing the start. Ramsey moved to the point on lap one with Cal Stewart and Hottmann close behind. Hottmann (Merlin) eventually worked his way to the lead and held off Ramsey for the win by .28 seconds. Zach Hawley, Adam Crepin and Cal Stewart rounded out the top five. Crepin set fast time of the race at 46.191 seconds.
The Senior PRD TAG Controlled I class sponsored by PRD-USA/RLV also raced with the TAG group. Brian Jacobsen and Matthew Laukaitis were battling for the lead until Laukaitis lost his pipe. Jacobson (Corsa) took the win by 9.24 seconds over Justin Vancil with Laukaitis and Jim Snyder rounding out the top four.
The Triple E Sales Yamaha Sportsman I class was up next with a large field of 21 entries paced by pre-final winner Brandon Lemke and Thayne Chapin. Lemke took the lead into turn one followed by Dillon Schwanbeck. Schwanbeck moved to the lead on lap two followed by Zach Holden and Lemke. The front trio pulled away from the next group of David Malukas, Chapin, Stephen Dial and Tommy Burke. Schwanbeck (Tony Kart) was able to hold off Holden by just .108 seconds for the win with Lemke, Malukas and Chapin rounding out the top five.
Next up was the CKT Racing Engines Yamaha Rookie Lite class with 10 entries. Pre-final winner and fast qualifier Sam Mayer lined up alongside of Grayson Shankleton at the start. Mayer took the lead into turn one followed by Max Kaeser and Blake Bauman. Shankleton worked his way to the lead near the end of the race and he and Mayer swapped positions several time before Mayer (Merlin) took the win by .25 seconds over Shankleton at the finish. Max Kaeser, Blake Bauman and James Lynch rounded out the top five.
The 4th annual Kartsport Motorsports Komet Throwdown was held after the Route 66 Series finals were completed with a unique format. After a 30 minute practice sessions, a 10 minute open qualifying session was held where the entrants were not allowed to leave the hot grid after contesting their fastest timed laps. Joel Jens captured the $100 pole award along with a set of Bridgestone tires from Margay Racing. Next, a five lap dash for cash was held for the top five qualifiers where Kyle Kalish won $200 and a set of Bridgestone tires from Grand Products. The 25 lap final which was held under the lights was paced by Joel Jens and Kyle Kalish. Jens and Kalish were able to work together and pull away from the rest of the field and battle for the win on the final lap. Although Kalish led for most of the race, Jens (Tony Kart) was able to make a pass on the final lap in turn eight and capture the $1000 cash prize along with a $500 Komet Bucks certificate and the unique sword trophy. Kalish received $500 for the runner up position along with a $250 Komet Bucks certificate. Darin Marcus, Patrick Olson and Cale Wyse also received cash and Komet Bucks certificates for their top five finishes. A special thank you goes out to Haddock Limited, Merlin Karts and Franklin Motorsports for their additional support of this event.
At the Sunday driver’s meeting, a set of Bridgestone YLC tires was given away to Garrett Johnston in a drawing sponsored by Margay/Bridgestone. After one round of practice, nine classes of racing took place with 8-lap pre-finals and 14-lap finals.
The first final racing on Sunday was the Adkins Speed Center Yamaha Supercan Lite class with 16 entries. Pre-final winner and fast qualifier Jimmy Clark and Collin Griffin paced the start. Griffin took the lead on lap one and was pursued closely by Clark and Matthew Laukaitis. Brad Brittin and Adam Crepin were locked in their own battle for fourth place while Josh Hotz, Christian Besasie, Justin Vancil and Mike Prokup were battling in the next pack. Clark (CRG) was able to make a pass on Griffin on the final lap and claim the win over Griffin and Laukaitis. Adam Crepin and Brad Brittin rounded out the top five. Griffin set the fastest race lap at 49.345.
The Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart II Championship class was racing next paced by fast qualifier and pre-final winner Joey Varco. Varco gradually pulled away to a 6.133 second win over Mason Santiago who edged Jena Rentmeister for second place. Sinead Lynch and Jack Lynch rounded out the top five.
Next up was the Express Karts & Parts Komet Sportsman class with 15 entries. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Brandon Lemke paced the start along side of David Malukas. Malukas grabbed the lead on lap one followed by Lemke. Michael Paterno, Stephen Dial and Colton Peterson followed in the next pack. Alac Evers was able to work his way up to the second pack. Malukas and Lemke pulled away to a six second lead and Lemke (Merlin) was able to pass Malukas on the last lap for the win. Stephen Dial, Alex Bertagnoli and Alec Evers rounded out the top five.
Next up was the TAG II Senior class sponsored by Kart Lift paced by fast qualifier and pre-final winner Zach Hawley and Adam Crepin. Hawley grabbed the lead into turn one in a race that had many karts dropping out with mechanical problems. Colton Ramsey was out on lap one and Darin Marcus threw a chain on lap two. Other DNFs included Cal Stewart, Michael Haggar, Matt Stagl, Troy Hottmann and Nicky DeFronzo. Crepin began to reel in the leader but came up short to winner Zach Hawley (Merlin). Scott Kopp, Brad Winklemann and DeFronzo rounded out the top five. Hawley also set the fast race lap at 46.356.
The Yamaha Rookie Heavy class sponsored by Two Cycle Technology gridded next for their final paced by pre-final winner Grayson Shankleton and Sam Mayer. Shankleton took the lead into turn one followed by Mayer and Max Kaeser. A mid-race spin by Mayer took him out of the lead pack leaving Shankleton and Kaeser battling for the win. Kaeser (PCR) took the lead with four laps to go and held off Shankleton by .476 seconds for the win. Mayer, Maks Kowalski and James Lynch rounded out the top five.
The Komet Junior class, which was added as a local option class for this event gridded next along with the the Streeter Super Stands Yamaha Supercan Masters class. Fast qualifier and pre-final winner Joel Jens (Tony Kart) pulled away to a 7.45 second win over Killian Keaveny and Garret Johnston. The Streeter Super Stands Yamaha Supercan Masters classes gridded behind the Komet Junior group for their final. Pre-final winner Dave Timmerman and fast qualifier Clair Ruenger battled for the lead for most of the race with Timmerman (Merlin) taking the win over Ruenger and Steve Everitt.
Next up was the Switch Racing Engines Yamaha Sportsman II class. Pre-final winner and fast qualifier Brandon Lemke paced the start along side of David Malukas in the 19 kart field. Malukas dropped out on the second lap and the battle up front was between Austin Shaff, Lemke, Dillon Schwanbeck and Alex Bertagnoli. Schwanbeck fell out on lap 12 leaving Lemke, Shaff and Bertagnoli battling for the win. Lemke (Merlin) held off Shaff by .157 seconds for the win. Alex Bertagnoli, Tommy Burke and Zach Holden rounded out the top five a few seconds back.
The last final racing on Sunday was the Yamaha Junior Heavy class sponsored by Woltjer Racing Engines. Pre-final winner Christian Ledesma and fast qualifier Kenlen Morse paced the 19-kart field at the start. The front pack of Ledesma, Sam Cate, Garret Johnston, Kenlen Morse, Elliot Finlayson and Jake Johnston pulled away from the field. Robby McQuinn raced his way up into the front pack by mid-race. The front two of Ledesma and Cate pulled away from the field by two seconds and Ledesma held off Cate at the finish to take the apparent win. However a cracked exhaust can would hand the win to Sam Cate (Tony Kart) during post-race tech. Kenlen Morse, Jake Johnston, Robby McQuinn and Killian Keaveny filled out the top five. Cate also set the fastest race lap at 49.274.
Merlin chassis captured the most wins over the weekend with seven followed by Tony Kart (5), Margay (1), CRG (1), PCR (1) and Corsa (1). For the complete race results, visit www.mylaps.com.
The next round of the series will be held at Badger Raceway in Dousman, WI on August 18th and 19th. Pre-entries must be post marked by August 5. 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.