Sept. 25, 2012 - Expectations were high for Zach Holden entering the 2012 World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup season, and the Greenfield, Ind., driver did not disappoint.
Holden closed the 2012 WKA season the same way he began it - atop the podium. The Arrow pilot won the Komet Sportsman main event this past weekend at New Castle Motorsports Park, the 1.0-mile circuit that's regarding as one of the best karting venues in the country and located only miles from Zach's home. The win was Holden's second in a row in Komet Sportsman and marked his eighth feature triumph of the national season.
While Holden's Komet win certainly was a high point of the weekend, the ultimate highlight came earlier Saturday, when he finished just 0.013 seconds - a mere inches - behind Neil Verhagen in the Yamaha Sportsman 1 main event. While Holden barely missed out on the feature win, the runner-up finish was good enough to garner the Arrow driver his first WKA national championship, a goal the Holden team had set before the first green flag waved back in December at Daytona.
Zach took some time to reflect on his terrific 2012 season after the weekend concluded at New Castle.
"We began the year with high hopes, knowing a lot of the top Sportsman drivers had moved up," the 12-year-old racer said. "After winning at Daytona we knew we had a good shot at a championship. We were actually hoping to get two or three championships, but we can't complain with one, especially looking at the competition in WKA. I want to thank everyone who helped out all season, especially my dad, my family, Comet Kart Sales, Kyle Ludwick and KartSport North America. Without everyone's help we would never have been able to do this."
Holden also spoke about the Man Cup weekend at his home track.
"I'm really happy to get a Man Cup win at my home track in front of my family and friends. We definitely wanted to win here. I thought I had Neil (Verhagen) at the line in the Yamaha race on Saturday, but he just barely got me. I would have loved to finish the championship season in that class with a win, but we had a good showing and Neil did a great job," Zach said.
In addition to Holden's national championship in the Yamaha Sportsman 1 division, he also finished second in Komet Sportsman, third in Yamaha Sportsman 2 and fourth in Cadet, unofficially.
Holden also scored a WKA divisional series championship with his title in Cadet 1 in the WKA Great Lakes Sprint Series, which features many of the same racers as the Man Cup. Holden did not finish outside the top three in each of the five Sportsman classes in Great Lakes, recording final points finishes of first in Cadet 1, second in Cadet 2 and Yamaha 2 and third in Yamaha 1 and Komet Sportsman.
Holden now has his sights set on the conclusion of the weekly KRA series at New Castle, which he'll run this weekend and next weekend (Sept. 30). Then he'll look forward to the big New Castle Robo-Pong 200 on Oct. 14, which is holding a $5,000-To-Win Yamaha Sportsman race that Holden will enter.
Zach Holden is a 12-year-old go-kart racer from Greenfield, Indiana. He's a budding young star in the Cadet, Komet and Yamaha Sportsman classes in the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series, his primary focus. He's also a regular in the Great Lakes Sprint Series and KRA Series at New Castle. Holden races Comet Racing Engines-powered Arrow chassis for his family-owned team.