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Rock Island Grand Prix - Sunday

9/7/2009

The 15th annual Rock Island Grand Prix completed a picture perfect weekend Sunday on the streets of the Quad City ‘District’. Weather was never a factor in this year’s edition as bright sunny skies shined down on the 6/10-mile street course with fans lining the course all day for the 14 race groups. The headline King of the Streets was won by pole sitter Jordan Musser in a fast-paced 30 lap event. First ever female Rock Island GP winner Michele Bumgarner repeated her TaG Senior win while All-Time win leader Gary Lawson score four provisional wins having two taken away in the tech barn.

King of the Streets
Twenty drivers filled the grid for the headline King of the Streets field to begin the 30-lap feature event. Pole sitter Jordan Musser (Intrepid) was able to grab the holeshot at the drop of the green and put some quick laps on his cold MG Tires. Behind him, a gaggle of karts filled in behind as they battled for the second spot. The first casualty of the lead group came on lap four when racing contact between Nick Lucido (CRG) and Kyle Wiegand (Top Kart) sent Lucido into the barriers, ending his race. Musser continued to stretch out his lead lap after lap while Matt Zeis and Derek Crockett battled for second aboard their Wildkarts. Chris Jennings (Birel) joined the fray and worked his way up to second on the ninth lap. The next time around, both Zeis and Crockett went back by. All the fighting allowed former King of the Streets winner Kyle Wiegand to jump in as well. First working by Jennings, Wiegand climbed up to second by the halfway mark. From there, the top-five settled in to the end with Musser showing the way to the checkered flag for his first King of the Streets victory. Wiegand crossed second, Zeis third, Jennings fourth, and Crockett fifth. Veteran AJ Noud (GP) was in the mix for the top-five but fatigue set in, not having been in a kart of over a year, and settled into sixth with Jason Lee (Top Kart), Scott Barnes (Birel), Colton Aldridge (CRG) and Mike McDonough (GP) rounding out the top-10.


Jordon Musser led all 30 laps toward his first ever King of the Streets victory
(Photo: Joe Brittin - Go Racing Magazine)

Animal Heavy
An unusual walk away in the Animal Heavy division as Gary Lawson (Arrow) won his sixth straight in the class for win number 15 at the Rock Island event. From the LeMans style start, Lawson continued to stretch out his lead to nearly four seconds after leading all 12 laps. Taylor Moore (Margay) ran alone in second with Travis DeVriendt (Coyote) was able to slide by Steven Kilsdonk (Bandit) on the final lap for third with Connor Lund (Coyote) rounding out the top-five.

TaG Masters
A clean but unorganized start for the Masters group as John Dixon (Birel) and Scott Hamble (Margay) showing the way. The two ran nose to tail to break away from the field. Dixon’s engine was not sounding at full speed a few times by the line as Hamble was able to get some space between them. Hamble’s biggest challenge was the lap traffic, including one instance he went three wide with two lappers, able to get by cleanly. Dixon closed the gap with the help of the lap traffic but was unable to make a move. Hamble took the win by three-tenths over Dixon. Brian McHattie (Kosmic) ran alone in third with Dean Leifheit (Haase) in fourth. A great battle for fifth ended in the second half of the race with Douglas O’Horo (Top Kart) coming out as the driver holding the spot till the end. A red flag falling on the final circuit for a wreck in turn five involving Al Cram (Margay) brought the race to a halt. All drivers were able to walk away however.

2-Cycle Super Sportsman Heavy
Lawson went two for two, provisionally, as he led all 12 laps of the Super Sportsman Heavy division. A great battle for second ended with Michael Dittmer (Margay) over Tony Neilson (Margay) and Tim Goettsch (Margay) who came up from 12th position. Kyle Erdmann (Margay) was in the fight as well but was shuffled back in final lap to seventh, allowing Brett Johnson (Margay) to complete the top-five. Lawson had the win until in the tech barn when his exhaust was found not to specs, handing the win to Dittmer, who in turn earned his fourth straight victory in the class.


Gary Lawson added to his record win total with two Animal wins on Sunday
(Photo: Joe Brittin - Go Racing Magazine)

North American Street Championships - S1
Scoring his sixth North American Street Championships victory, Kyle Wiegand (Top Kart) started from the pole position and went on to lead all 20 laps of the main event. Nick Johnson (Intrepid) started outside row one and kept it close in the early stages until Wiegand was able to stretch out to a 4.496-second margin. The fight for third was between Wildkart teammates as Scott Barnes from Bermuda was able to edge out Derek Crockett for the third spot with Cole Mathewson (GP) beating Alex Conlin (Birel) for fifth.

TaG Senior
After multiple false starts, the race finally got underway with the field getting throught the opening corners with now issues. As they came around to cross the stripe for the first time, Masters driver Larry Fraser (GP) held the lead from the third starting spot as he pushed the front row of Caleb Loniewski (Kosmic) and Kyle Erdmann (Margay) behind him. Lap four however defending race winner Michele Bumgarner (Margay) climbed her way to the point with some quick early laps. She held the lead until lap 11 when a lap kart slowed her in the back section of the track, allowing both Loniewski and Erdmann by. Putting her head down, Bumgarner blasted off the fast laps of the race to close back in on the front two. With two laps to go, Bumgarner was able to slide by Erdmann in the first corner and then set up Loniewski in the second turn to reassume the lead. Bumgarner held on for the final two laps to score an emotional victory and defend her title. Loniewski ended up second with Erdmann third. Fraser ran just a few ticks back in forth with Nevin Nelson (Energy) winning the battle for fifth over Josh Lane (Energy) and Mark Bumgarner (Margay).


Kyle Wiegand took home the S1 victory after running second in King of the Streets
(Photo: Joe Brittin - Go Racing Magazine)

Tom Argy Junior Sportsman
Like his tuner/driver coach Gary Lawson, Sam Beasley (Arrow) put in a dominant performance in the Tom Argy Junior Sportsman division as he led all 12 laps to a whopping 16-second victory while setting a new lap record with a 37.089. Shawn Sharkey (Merlin), making his first ever street race start, ran alone in second. The fight on the track was for third as Dustin Blomme (Margay) and Douglas Stearly went head to head until the final stages of the race when a charging Drake Ostrom (Margay) joined the mix. Ostrom was able to get by Blomme and Stearly on the final lap to secure the position.

2-Cycle Pipe Heavy
Tim Goettsch (Margay) earned his third victory in the 2-Cycle Pipe Heavy class to bring his Rock Island total to five. Starting from the outside pole position, Goettsch got the jump on pole sitter Kyle Erdmann (Margay) and led all 12-laps for the win. Erdmann ran alone in second while Michael Dittmer (Margay) challenged early but fell off at the end to settle for third. Brandon Cather (Margay) moved up the order to fourth with Dean Leifeit (Haase) taking fifth until being removed from the results after technical inspection, handing Garrett Bouchard (Margay) the spot.

125cc Masters
The shifter kart racing at the Rock Island is among the best in the country and the Masters shifter division was among the best. The race began with a six kart lead pack, led by outside pole Chris Shultz (GP). John Dixon (Birel) was the first casualty on lap three after contact in turn three ended his race. Jason Lee was on a charge, moving up to P1 on lap five. Lee looked to put some distance on the rest of the challengers in the two laps he led until his engine began to seize, making a few more laps before retiring on lap nine. This put Kurt Mathewson (CRG) to the point with Shultz and Lance Lane in his own built kart putting on the pressure. Lane looked to be the top contender after he got by Shultz and began pressuring Mathewson. The outlook of the race changed on lap 14 when Lane made contact with the inside barrier of final corner, sending him into a spin and out of the race. From there, Mathewson cruised to his first Rock victory with pole sitter Phillip Gordan and a charging Chris Enderlein (Birel) both getting by Shultz and Kevin Broderick (CRG) completing the top-five.


Kurt Mathewson earned his first ever Rock victory in the 125cc Masters division
(Photo: Joe Brittin - Go Racing Magazine)

2-Cycle Super Sportsman Medium
Gary Lawson (Arrow) earned what was considered to be his second 2-Cycle win of the day in the Super Sportsman Medium event. Starting from the pole, Lawson was untouchable as he stretched out to a 5.319-second victory. The fight for second was a great one with four drivers involved. At the line, Tim Goettsch (Margay) got the spot over Tony Neilson (Margay), Kyle Erdmann (Margay), and Brandon Cather (Margay). At the tech barn however, Lawson had his win taken away, giving Goettsch his first win in the category.

TaG Junior
The TaG Junior group made its debut at the Rock with a great 12-lap event. Austin Self (Birel) got the jump over pole sitter Sam Beasley until the Arrow driver regain the top spot just a few laps into the race. Drake Ostrom was the first casualty of the race as he made contact with the turn one barriers. Beasley had Self and Sharkey on his tail for most of the race and possible the pressure got to him as he went just a little to wide in turn five to make contact with the barriers to end his race. Self inherited the lead with Sharkey on his tail. The two ran nose to tail with Sharkey not able to make a move as Self earned the inaugural win for the class. Jackson Mears (Birel) was third with Gregory Gerst (CRG) and Christian Schureman (GP) rounding out the top-five.

Animal Medium
Pole sitter Gary Lawson (Arrow) was finally challenge for the first time in his fourth class of the day as Taylor Moore (Arrow) put the pressure on in the Rumble at the Rock Animal Medium feature. With the help of some lap traffic, Moore overtook the lead on lap six. The next time by, however, Lawson reassumed the point. Moore stayed on his bumper until lap nine when his right rear tire snapped off the axle hub and ended his day. This allowed Lawson a clear shot to the checkered flag, his second on the day and 16th total at the event. Travis DeVriendt (Coyote) and defending race winner Steven Kilsdonk (Coyote) were in a tight battle for third until the two went into the last turn barriers hard, both able to walk away but ending their run at the podium. With them and Moore out, that put Connor Lund (Coyote) into the second spot with Bart Johnson (Coyote), Ken Williams (Coyote) and Matt Pewe (Margay) completing the top-five.


Caleb Loniewski earned the first ever IAME Leopard victory in Rock Island GP history
(Photo: Joe Brittin - Go Racing Magazine)

IAME Leopard
A major wreck in the opening corner of the IAME Leopard feature saw pole sitter Tony Neilson (Margay) pushed into the outside barrier, creating a road block for many as they went through the opening corner and collecting seven others. This put Colton Aldridge (Arrow), Caleb Loniewski (Kosmic) and Mark Bumgarner (Margay). Alex Nowysz joined the mix as well making it a four kart lead pack. The four ran very patient in line until lap twelve when Aldridge and Loniewski swapped the lead. Loniewski came out with the lead and held on for the remaining eight laps to score the victory in the class first running at the Rock. Aldridge Bumgarner and Nowysz crossed the line behind with Nick Aue (Monza) finishing fifth.

Rotax Senior/Masters
The Rotax only division made its return to the Rock Island for the first time since 2002 when King of the Streets winner Jordon Musser claimed the Rock trophy. This year, it was former TaG Masters winner John Dixon (Birel) who took the overall win along with the Rotax Masters win by leading all 20 laps. Canadian Justin de Sa (GP) ran to the Rotax Senior win as he ran all race second overall. The fight on track was for third overall between Ian Henderson (Arrow) and David Win in the American made Emmick chassis. The two went back and forth until Gwin was shuffled back, going a lap down on lap 15. Henderson ended up third overall, second in Senior with Fred Fawcett (GP) edging second place Masters driver James Slade (GP) for the fourth overall. Paul Hohlbein (Emmick) completed the Masters podium in third.

Despite the uncertainty of the 2009 event, the Rock Island Grand Prix went off without a hitch. The numerous volunteers that put the event on and support it continued their support to make the event happen. For those that attended, it was another great event that will go down as a memorable one while others may try to forget the difficulties on-track with the great times they had in the district. For complete coverage of the event, visit the Official Event Page.

Article Credit: ekartingnews.com
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