PHOTOS BY KRAPP AND NCRM. Mouse over images to read captions!
CONCORD, N.C. – National champions and special award recipients from the World Karting Association’s VEGA / TS Racing National Road Racing Series were recognized Saturday evening, April 5 at Carolina Motorsports Park’s Palmetto Club in Kershaw, S.C., in conjunction with the Johnny Jacumin Memorial, round two of the 2014 WKA Road Racing circuit.
In all, 25 drivers were recognized as 2013 WKA national champions, while Competition Karting Inc. received its eighth consecutive Road Racing Series Manufacturer championship as the top chassis winner. Five drivers received special “Perfect Attendance” awards for attending all seven WKA Road Racing nationals in 2013.
Every national champion in attendance left the Palmetto Club with a wealth of award packages from WKA and series title sponsor TS Racing of Bushnell, Florida. TS Racing delivered a huge shipment of VEGA tires for the occasion, and champions were awarded either a full set of VEGA tires, a gift certificate to TS Racing or a combination of both tires and a gift card. Much appreciation goes out to the fine folks at TS Racing for their continued support of WKA and the National Road Racing Series.
CKI WINS ANOTHER MANUFACTURER CHAMPIONSHIP
Competition Karting Inc. had a big night at the awards ceremony as the Welcome, N.C.-based kart shop and chassis manufacturer was recognized for their eighth consecutive Road Racing Manufacturer championship.
John and Wendy Klutz of CKI accepted the award, and one of the company’s biggest dilemmas is where to fit eight of the massive Manufacturer championship trophies WKA awards each year.
CKI’s eighth consecutive championship matches the North Carolina manufacturer with Spencerport, N.Y.-based Coyote Motorsports, which won the WKA Gold Cup Series’ Manufacturer championship eight straight years from 1997 to 2004, meaning CKI will be gunning for a new record nine straight championships in 2014.
Klutz took time to thank the drivers and teams that help make CKI’s championships possible. He also noted that CKI is celebrating its 55th year in operation and the company will be holding a special Customer Appreciation day at its shop Saturday, Sept. 20.
Dozens of different chassis makes won races on the Road Racing circuit in 2013. CKI’s 60 wins led MGM, Margay, DR Kart and Coyote in the final standings.
FIVE ROAD RACERS RECOGNIZED FOR PERFECT ATTENDANCE
In years past numerous enduro-style racers and teams from around the country would travel to every WKA National Road Race in a given year.
Times have changed and today more and more racers “pick and choose” which events they’ll race during a season. Many racers will still hit four, five and even six of the seven national events, while some may just run Daytona or perhaps the Midwest nationals at Mid-Ohio and Grattan or maybe just the Grand National event, which rotates each year between Mid-Ohio and VIRginia International Raceway.
In 2013 five racers attended all seven Road Racing nationals and they received recognition for the time, money and travel at the year-end awards ceremony.
Ohio’s Mallory Davis, Texas’ Carson Miller, New York’s Adam Myers and Massachusetts’ From Mazzucotelli and Donald Santini all hit the seven WKA nationals in 2013 and the drivers* were recognized of this with a special award trophy at the ceremony.
*A mistake was made and Adam Myers was left off the award list at the ceremony; however, the multi-time national champion Myers did compete in all seven nationals in 2013. An award for Myers is in production and will be sent to his New York home. The oversight came because Myers raced in many different classes in 2013, and while he did not run one specific class at every national race, Adam and his parents were in attendance at every WKA Road Racing national!
CLARK, COUPAL, DUGUAY & SOMERS WIN 2-CYCLE SPRINT TITLES
Four drivers earned national championships in the traditional 2-cycle sprint-enduro classes in 2013.
Florida’s Jimmy Duguay and New York’s JT Coupal were recognized as double national champions in these categories.
Duguay won two titles for the second consecutive year, and for the second straight year he did it in the Yamaha Sprint category. Duguay won Yamaha Sprint Lite and Yamaha Sprint Heavy to bring his national championship total to four.
Coupal captured his first national championships in the 2-cycle Junior Sprint classes. The western New York-based racer wheeled his Elite chassis to race wins and a pair of titles in Junior Sprint Lite and Junior Sprint Heavy, which are powered by the Yamaha KT100 with three-hole RLV exhaust can. Coupal won the both titles over Alex Frazer of Michigan.
West Virginia’s Zack Clark led all drivers in the Road Racing Series with three national championships on the year. Clark won one of those titles in the Yamaha Sportsman Sprint class. The father-son duo of Jeff and Andy Leighninger, of Ohio, finished second and third to Clark.
Read about Clark’s two other titles in the “laydown-enduro” section of this story.
Derek Somers, another West Virginian, captured the competitive WKA Sprint national championship aboard his Elite chassis. Somers bested multi-time WKA Sprint champion Adam Myers by just over 100 points for the top laurel.
The WKA Sprint title marked Somers’ first championship in the senior ranks. Adam Trumbley, Ted Carbonaro and Eric Stockford finished third through fifth in the final points.
BUFFO, MILLER, ROUGEOU & TROUP CLAIM TAG, SHIFTER CHAMPIONSHIPS
Another four drivers earned national championships in the Road Racing’s CIK classes, comprising CIK Shifter, WKA Shifter (no 2013 champion), Stock Leopard, Stock Honda 1 and 2, TaG and TaG Heavy.
Veteran racer Keith Buffo claimed his first national championships in TaG and TaG Heavy. The Massachusetts racer, who has run the Road Racing Series regularly for a number of years, won the TaG championship over former WKA Triple Crown champion Aaron Snyder and TaG Heavy over Adrian Dale.
Buffo earned a couple sets of VEGA tires, WKA Eagles and other contingencies for his pair of championships.
Dallas, Texas’ Carson Miller raced his DR Kart to championships in the ultra-competitive Stock Honda classes last year. Miller, who with his father, Rob, flew to all the WKA Road Racing nationals in 2013, claimed two national wins on the season, both coming in the Sunday Stock Honda 2 class.
Miller opened the Stock Honda 2 season winning at Daytona and closed it with a win over a competitive field at West Virginia’s Summit Point Motorsports Park.
In Stock Honda 1, Miller fought to consistent top-three finishes all year, but was shut out of victory lane. Second-place runs at Daytona, Roebling Road, and Kershaw, along with third-place results at Grattan and Mid-Ohio were good enough to net Miller the Stock Honda 1 title by 77 markers over Byron Rothenhoefer.
Louisiana driver Steven Rougeou continued his tour on the Road Racing circuit and ended the year with another CIK 125 Shifter national championship. After missing Daytona, Rougeou wheeled his Birel to three wins on the year, including a weekend sweep at Kershaw round three, and the championship over Donald Santini.
Rougeou also competed in the growingly popular Stock Honda divisions for most of the year and finished fourth in Stock Honda 2 points.
Longtime Woodbridge Kart Club and WKA national competitor Jeff Troup won a popular national championship in the Stock Leopard category. In addition to racing at WKC club events, Troup attended every WKA race except Roebling Road round two. Troup’s time and travels were awarded with a WKA national championship over Streeter Super Stands racer and defending Stock Leopard champ Jeff Wesell.
NINE RACERS WIN LAYDOWN-ENDURO CLASS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Road racers from across the eastern half of the country won championships in the traditional laydown-enduro Road Racing divisions in 2013.
Five of those racers accomplished a pair of national championships.
Michigan’s Mike Tracy made all but two nationals in 2013 and walked away with titles in 100cc Controlled and Formula 100. Tracy closed the season with a four-win weekend at Summit Point in September.
Ohio’s Mallory Davis swept the 100cc Pipe Medium and Heavy divisions in 2013. Davis, daughter to Road Racing Competition Director Gene Davis, scored an impressive nine wins on the season between the two classes. Mass.’s Fran Mazzucotelli finished second to Davis in 100cc Pipe Medium.
Connecticut veteran Dan Stowell swept the 100cc Yamaha laydown divisions. Stowell made six of the seven nationals in 2013 and had good speed throughout the season, despite being shut out of victory lane. Lance Yunck and Adam Trumbley were second and third to Stowell in the Yamaha Medium category.
Tennessee’s Kelly Lawrence capitalized on a fine 2013 season with championships in Formula 125 and Unlimited, the fastest class in karting. Lawrence raced his 125cc laydown to four wins in F-125, including a sweep of the last four races and wins over competitive fields at Grattan and Mid-Ohio. Mazzucotelli finished second to Lawrence in the final Formula 125 standings.
Lawrence won five times in Unlimited throughout the course of the year, and won the championship by a wide margin over Brian Wilhelm.
The Clark family swept the Yamaha Sportsman classes. Zack Clark won Yamaha Sportsman Lite and Medium while his dad, Scott Clark, triumphed in the Yamaha Sportsman Heavy division.
In all, Zack won titles in three divisions – Yamaha Sportsman Sprint and the two laydown classes. Scott, a former multi-time national champion in the WKA Sprint divisions, earned his first title in a laydown class.
The Clark family personifies what karting is all about. With a terrific amount of success in Road Racing, Zack is trying his hand at sprint racing, as well. With the backing of CKI and John Klutz, the Clarks ran most of the Gold Cup Series last year and continue to do so in 2014.
Two drivers no stranger to national championships split the 100cc Controlled Spec classes. Illinois’ Randy Fulks and New York’s Adam Myers earned championships in the fast laydown Controlled Spec divisions.
Fulks, who owns more than 50 Daytona KartWeek wins in his stellar career, won Controlled Spec 1, the Saturday version of the class. Fulks won three times, including Daytona, on his way to the championship.
Myers raced his CKI chassis to a pair of wins in Controlled Spec 2 and the class’s national championship by a wide margin over Sean O’Shea.
Florida’s Scott Goodman claimed the B Stock championship. Goodman raced his dual-engine enduro in four nationals in 2013, which included a big win at the Daytona season opener, which were enough events to give him the minimum amount of races and the B Stock title.
EIGHT RACERS WIN 4-CYCLE SPRINT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Once again some of the most competitive racing in the Road Racing Series came in the Briggs Animal classes. The 4-cycle divisions continue to play host to a solid following of racers from up and down the east coast, and the 2013 season was highlighted at the Daytona Road Race Championships when 35 stock Animal racers hit the track in one group between Animal Sprint 360 and 410.
Pennsylvania’s Zachary Linsell raced his MGM chassis to four wins in Animal Sprint 335 on his way to the championship. Linsell, a former Gold Cup racer who now concentrates mostly on the Road Racing Series, added another championship to his growing total. He’s won several in the Briggs ranks over the last few years.
Animal Sprint 360 saw a newcomer claim the national championship. Maryland’s Sam Sheckells, a former motocross racer, moved to karts in 2013 and rode his MGM to one win and a host of top-three finishes to end the year in a tie with Jonathan Tedder for the title at 927 points apiece.
However, Sheckells earned the tie-breaker over Tedder; both drivers netted one win on the season (Tedder at Daytona and Sheckells at Grattan), but Sheckells had one second-place result (at Roebling Road) while Tedder’s next-best finish was a pair of thirds.
Sheckells second-place run at Roebling was the difference and he captured a WKA national title in one of the series’ most competitive classes in his rookie season. He also finished a not-too-distant second to Linsell in Animal Sprint 335.
While Tedder lost the tie-breaker to Sheckells in 360, the Maryland racer did win a couple of national championships. Tedder rode his Bandit chassis to three wins in the season’s last three races to win the Animal Sprint 385 title. Tedder, who builds his own powerplants, put together a fine season in 385, finishing second to veteran Kevin Colborn at Daytona and third at Kershaw before reeling off three consecutive wins at Mid-Ohio, VIR and Summit Point.
Tedder also won the championship in Animal Limited Modified 385. He won three times on the way to his second 2013 championship over Charles Wilbur and Dennis Smith
Tennessee’s Wilbur was able to capture the Animal Limited Modified 360 title for his first national championship. Wilbur won once – at Roebling Road – and netted three runner-up finishes in the class on his way to the championship.
South Carolina’s Rob Garland bested his father, Robert, for the Animal Sprint 410 title over Steve Jeffers. Garland won at Kershaw round three and got hot at the end of the year, winning over strong fields at VIR and Summit Point to close out his championship campaign.
North Carolina’s Chris Kuley raced his Bandit to another pair of Animal Junior Sprint titles. Kuley, the youngest of three racing Kuleys including his father, Joe, and brother, Joey, won both categories for the second consecutive year. In addition to Road Racing, the Kuley family continues to dabble in the Gold Cup Series. Chris ran the Junior Pro Gas Animal division at the 2014 Gold Cup opener at Jacksonville before racing the sprint-enduro again at Kershaw in April.
Paul Smith and Joe Cuslidge won Clone national championships in the class’s first year as national divisions on the Road Racing circuit. Smith won Clone 360 while Cuslidge won Clone 385. Both drivers were in attendance at the ceremony to accept their Eagles and other prizes for their Clone national championships.
The World Karting Association thanks and greatly appreciates the support from race teams and sponsors from around the country for working together to keep the National Road Racing Series vital and healthy.
Many thanks to series sponsors TS Racing, VEGA and Mazda; class sponsors KALL Racing, Hoosier Racing Tire, Streeter Super Stands, Dart Kart Club, MGM-Moon Power, Team Finork Racing, AM Motorsports, Competition Karting Inc., Heiser Trailer Leasing, The Agile Group, Inc., Sleeper Racing Team and Van-K Wheels; Daytona KartWeek Road Race Championships sponsors Tru-Stripe, Podium Racers of Indy, Rev-Clean, Phoenix Printing, Russell Builders & Contractors and the Texas Lone Star Grand Prix.