The opening day of racing completed at the annual World Karting Association Daytona KartWeek by Cometic Gasket at the Daytona International Speedway. The George Kugler/Bridgestone Manufacturer’s Cup Series held their first wheel-to-wheel action for the 2010 season on the temporary circuit inside the famed facility. Day one of the Margay Sprint Championships saw three drivers score two wins each. TJ Koyen, Sage Karam, and Austin Osborne stood on top of the podium twice following the action on the day.
Yamaha SuperCan Lite
The first group to hit the track was the Yamaha SuperCan Lite division as they ran their qualifying session. With the temperature of the track still cold, the drivers hit their fast laps near the end of the session. The provisional pole was a revolving position with a number of drivers holding the spot briefly. In the end, it was Tony Jump (Margay) that ended up on top with a 44.787 lap time. Derek Hughes (Arrow) was second in the order with TJ Koyen (Merlin), defending class champion Ryan Stewart (Birel) and Sean Donnelly (Merlin) completing the fast five. Stewart however continues to have bad luck at the scale barn as his time was removed for being underweight, moving Ryan Phillips (Bandit) - a two-time winner in ’09 - to the fifth spot.
A clean start for Jump as he was able to break away from the field with the lead as Hughes, Koyen and Phillips battled for second. Jump had about a three kart lead until lap three when it looked as if he had an issue. Phillips was able to slide by for the lead with Koyen and Hughes also moving through. On lap five, Jump’s left rear tire broke off, sending him spinning around and out of the race. Phillips led the remaining eight laps for the win with Koyen and Hughes in line behind. Mark Dismore Jr. (Arrow) posted the fast laps of the race to finish fourth with former winner Corey Reeves (Arrow) completing the top-five. Coming from the tail of the field, Stewart worked himself up to the sixth position.
The SuperCan division continues to offer great racing and the first main event of the day was no different. Phillips was able to get a great jump on the field and establish a solid lead. Once out front, a group of seven was bunched up behind Hughes and Phillips lead was roughly three-seconds. When Stewart got alongside Hughes for second, the two made contact with neither giving up and the result was Hughes getting bounced in the grass, losing a number of spots. As the race continued on, the battle was for second with Koyen working himself back into the position where he started the race from. Once there, he laid down the fast laps of the race and cut into Phillips lead. With two laps to go, Koyen was on Phillips bumper for the first time. Sizing him up, Koyen made his move on the last lap into turn three. Phillips dropped a wheel on the exit and that was all Koyen needed to earn the checkered flag. Senior rookie Shinya Michimi (Merlin) advanced up to third ahead of Stewart for an impressive debut. Jump certainly showed he had a package to challenge for the win as he overcame the DNF in the Prefinal to score an impressive final podium position over Colton Ramsey (Merlin) and Dismore Jr. Reeves was eighth with Hughes ending in ninth while Donnelly rounded out the top-10.
With a number of top drivers from last year’s class moving up to the Junior ranks, this left an opportunity for new names to step up in the Sportsman divisions. Emerson Reed (Merlin) - who finished 15th in the point standings in ’09 - was one of those to put his name in the hat for the 2010 season as he scored the top spot in Cadet Sportsman qualifying. His lap time of 46.221 was better by 0.004-seconds over Austin Osborne (Birel). Ashley Rogero (Tony Kart), Tyler Moneypenny (Arrow) and Gresham Wagner (Birel) rounding out the fast-five. Making there way into the show through the LCQ were Philip Varner (Tony Kart), Levi Centeno (Birel), Olli Pekka Kinos (Birel), Brendan Cullura (Birel) and Juan David Buitrago (CRG) as six others went home for the day.
From the pole position, Reed was able to fend off Rogero and Osborne for the win in the 8-lap Prefinal. Reed took the checkered flag by just 0.083-seconds over Rogero as she had pressure on her rear bumper from Osborne. Moneypenny ran alone in fourth with Californian Zane Smith (Top Kart) winning the battle for fifth over Garrett Madison (Birel).
The Cadet Sportsman final came down to the final corner of the final lap to kick off their season in wild fashion. Reed looked as if he had the race covered when he established a sizable lead early on. Behind him, Osborne held the second spot until a charging Smith caught up. The two were able to cut into Reed’s lead lap by lap. With two laps to go, Smith moved into the second spot and began reeling in Reed. Leading into the final corner, Smith dived to the inside of Reed, bringing Osborne with him. As they exited the corner, Osborne got a great run and was inside Smith as they drag-raced to the checkered flag. At the line, Osborne edged out Smith for the victory by just 0.076-seconds. After leading 13 of 14 laps, Reed had to settle for third with Wagner coming up from tenth to fourth and Moneypenny completing the podium. A good run for Canadian Grant Quinlan (Birel), as he finished sixth after starting ninth in his Manufacturer’s Cup debut. Rogero ended up seventh in front of Madison, Ryan Raffa (Top Kart) and Leonardo Stoia (PCR).
The TaG group was split into three groups for their qualifying session. In the opening group, Jacob Sekey (Arrow) was fastest with a 41.671. The second group included IndyCar’s Dan Wheldon and NASCAR’s AJ Allmendinger. Wheldon (Arrow) was fifth after his group was complete while ‘Dinger’ (Margay) was only 14th as Sekey’s time held strong. Returning Triple Crown driver Mike Giessen (Haase) was the only challenger in the third and final group of the TaG qualifying as he came within a tenth of Sekey’s lap to put him second in the order. Arrow driver Kenneth Hildebrand from Estonia was third with Matthew Powers of California in fourth as Senior rookie Jacob Duvall (Arrow) completed the fast-five. NASCAR’s Jamie McMurray (CRG) ended up seventh behind Masters champion John Dixon (Birel). Billy Lewis (Arrow), Mark Vielgut (Haase) and Wheldon ended up eight, ninth and tenth. Allmendinger’s time was only 28th best and would put him third in the LCQ race with AMA legend Scott Russell, who was 31st overall.
The LCQ was surprisingly calm six-lap event as Allmendinger got to the front quickly and held on to take the win. Kim Carapellatti (Margay) was second with Sean Meier (Kosmic), Jordan Johnson (Birel) and Christopher Grektorp (Gillard) making it into the show. Some notables not making it in were Scott Russell (7th), John Crow (9th), Hunter Short (10th), and Keith Spicer (12th).
The TaG field got through the opening corners clean with not much contact. Giessen was quick on the trigger and grabbed the lead from Sekey as they completed the first lap. After the shuffling, Wheldon was on a charge from tenth as he was into the fifth spot quickly until a spin put him toward the back. Up front, Giessen paced the field as Sekey ran close behind until he would make the move on lap five for the lead. From there, Giessen held back in second as Sekey took the win. Hildebrand recorded the fast lap, running alone in third. Powers was fourth with Dixon completing the top-five. A couple of good drives were put in from drivers starting outside the top-10. Victor Pedrosa, now on an Arrow, came up from 15th to eighth behind Lewis and McMurray. Senior rookie Robert Bujdoso (PCR) went from 21st to 11th while Allmendinger advanced from the LCQ to end up 15th. Duvall however went backwards and ended up 12th after starting fifth.
Unlike the Prefinal, the TaG group decided to lay everything on the line in the Final. A lot of contact collected a number of drivers from mid-pack and beyond, including Wheldon, Bujdoso, and others. A few corners later, McMurray was pushed off the track as he would lose a number of spots. Out front, Giessen grabbed the lead from Sekey and set the early pace. The two were able to break away from Powers as he began what would be a race-long fight for third ahead of Hildebrand. On lap six, Giessen went wide on the exit of turn nine, leading onto the main straight. This allowed Sekey the inside lane and took over the point. Sekey then laid down the fast laps of the race to pull out a sizable lead over Giessen. Leading the remaining laps, Sekey took an impressive victory by 1.510-seconds ahead of Giessen. Powers held onto third in front of Hildebrand with Lewis able to earn the final podium position. Dixon held off a number of challenges from McMurray to end up sixth. Pedrosa was static in eighth with Tommy Andersen (Merlin) and Michael Politis (EKS) rounding out the top-10.
KPP Jr. Heavy
The newly named Komet Piston Port Jr. Heavy class was the first Junior category to hit the track on the day. After three groups, Kyle Smith (PCR) was able to steal the pole position in the third and final group from Sage Karam (Birel). Smith’s 43.265 lap time was just nine-thousandths quicker than Karam’s lap in the second group. Jake Cole (Merlin) was third with Shawn Sharkey (Merlin) and 2009 Triple Crown winner Sam Beasley (Arrow) rounding out the fast-five. Defending class champion Nick Neri (Tony Kart) was eighth in the final order after sitting on top of the provisional pole after the first session. With 38 entries, an LCQ race was needed to fill out the final five spots on the 30-kart field. Darren Brubaker (Birel) won the six-lap race with Ethan Low (Tony Kart), Ricky Bowers (Arrow), Chase Jones (Birel) and Ian Tilbor (Arrow) all moving on to the Prefinal and Final.
Karam was able to get the jump on Smith as he led the way to begin the eight-lap Prefinal. Smith challenged early however Karam was able to break away as Smith felt pressure from behind for his second spot. Beasley was on the charge and took over the second spot after Sharkey dropped a wheel and fell back to sixth. Karam however would hold on to take the win ahead of Beasley by 0.127-seconds. Neri advanced up to third with the fast lap of the race, putting Smith to fourth. Sharkey ended up fifth after working by Austin Self (Birel) for the position.
The feature race for the KPP Jr. Heavy group saw lots of contact through the opening corners. Beasley, Smith and Neri were involved, however, Smith was the only one who lost a number of positions. The incidents allowed Karam to establish a solid lead over the rest of the field with Sharkey, Jake Cole (Merlin), Neri, Self and Beasley making up the top-six. Neri was the driver on the charge, first getting by Cole and then Sharkey. Karam continued to look behind, making sure he had room behind him. Each lap, Neri would get closer and closer. The 14 laps would not be enough for Neri as Karam held on to take the victory by just over a tenth at the line. Sharkey held on to third with Beasley up to fourth and credit for the fast lap while Self completed the podium. Cole dropped to sixth as Jack Manley (Arrow) advanced from 17th to seventh over Nick Stroebe (Merlin), Corey Towles (Shockwave) and Junior rookie Joel Jens (Merlin). Towles however was penalized to the 14th spot for a driver infraction, moving Jens to ninth and Californian Raquel Martinez (Top Kart) into tenth.
Scoring his second Streeter Super Stands pole award of the day was Tony Jump (Margay) in the Yamaha Pipe division. The defending class champion posted a 43.680 lap time to take the pole position for the Prefinal. Randall Potter (Margay) was second in the order with Chuck Tate (Margay), Kevin Nelson (Margay) and Robbie Little (Merlin) completing the fast-five.
Jump showed the way in the Prefinal after being challenged early on. Jump posted the fast lap of the race on the penultimate lap en route to a 1.698-second win over Nelson. Potter held off Tate for third with Little holding off Alex Salsbury (Merlin) for the fifth position.
The feature looked like it would come down to a possible final corner pass with Jump and Nelson as the leaders of the pack. Nelson got the ‘jump’ on Jump to begin the 14-lap Final. The two out ran the rest of the field and were setting up for a thrilling finish until Jump’s engine broke the crank after getting the two to go signal. This allowed Nelson to cruise to the victory. Potter ended up second with Tate - who spun on the opening lap - advancing up to third with the fast lap credit. Earl Douthwright (Arrow) was fourth with Alex Salsbury (Merlin) rounding out the podium.
A number of drivers were close in lap times for the Komet Piston Port Sportsman division. Austin Osborne (Birel), Emerson Reed (Merlin) and Gresham Wagner (Birel) was the top three for the timed session with Osborne posting a 44.890 fast lap. Ashley Rogero (Tony Kart) was fourth with Ryan Raffa (Top Kart) in fifth, both just a few ticks off the top spots pace.
An unusual break away in the Sportsman program saw Osborne take the Prefinal win by over two-seconds in the eight-lap event. Running the fast laps of the race - 44.498 - helped his cause and had the rest of the field looking to improve for the final. Advancing from eighth, Brandon Jarsocrak (Haase) moved to the second spot as he worked by Rogero, Wagner, and Reed for the position.
Laying down another impressive run, Osborne scored his second victory of the day with a four-second stomping in the KPP Sportsman Final. Once the green flag waved, Osborne was untouchable as he led all 14-laps to the checkered flag. The great battle to watch was for second as four drivers swapped positions lap after lap. In the end, Wagner secured the second spot, Rogero crossed the line third with Zane Smith (Top Kart) and Jarsocrak filling out the podium steps. Reed was sixth in the final order with Kyle Tilley (Margay), Raffa, Mike McAndrews (Margay) and Anthony Granata (Birel) rounding out the top-10.
Yamaha Jr. Lite
Defending class champion Sam Beasley (Arrow) was able to steal the top spot in Yamaha Jr. Lite qualifying in the third and final session. Nick Neri (Tony Kart) had his lap time hold through the first two sessions until the Beasley was able to post a 43.713. Kyle Smith (PCR) was second in the order with Jacob Donald (Arrow) and Corey Towles (Shockwave) able to better Neri’s time as well to push him back to fifth in the final order. A field of 25 drivers battled for just five transfer spots to continue on. Jared Thomas took the win with Jonathan Kotyk and Cameron Meek completing 1-2-3 finish aboard Arrows. Junior rookie and Cadet champion Kyle Kalish (Merlin) battled into a fourth spot with another Junior rookie, Jake Johnston (Top Kart), sliding into the fifth spot in the final lap.
Lots of contact ensued during the eight-lap Prefinal for the Yamaha Jr. Lite class. Beasley led the field to the green flag with Smith on the outside. Contact in turn three however collected Smith, Neri and Kyle Crump (Margay) which sent them to the hay bales and to the tail of the field. Out front, Beasley led a group of four drivers, including Karam, Donald, and Dakota Pesek (Arrow) up from eighth. They would cross the line that way with no challenges from one another. Jake Cole (Merlin) benefitted from much of the contact that took place and advanced to fifth from the ninth starting spot.
The start to the Final saw a major pile up shuffle the field and eliminate Donald as he retired in the opening corning. Up front, Beasley was able to break away with Karam trailing as the rest of the field scattered behind. Beasley’s lead was cut into lap by lap as Karam looked solid. Once he caught Beasley, he quickly took over the point. From there, he went on to lead the remainder of the race to score his second victory of the day. Austin Self (Birel) earned his second podium of the day with a third place run. Neri started the final 18th and was into the top-10 by the first time by the stripe. At the checkered, Neri ended up fourth on Self’s bumper, certainly a solid result to battle in the championship. Completing the podium was Cole in the fifth spot. Garrett Johnston (Top Kart) finished sixth with Olivia Beam (Arrow), Smith, Kyle Kalish (Merlin) and Luca Forgeois rounding out the top-10.
Four-time defending class champion Jeff Jewell (Haase) continued to be the target of the Yamaha Masters category. Jewell has been a dominant force since the creation of the class and sustained his reign at the front. His 45.430 lap time was over a tenth quicker than veteran Kevin Nelson (Margay). John Ferris III (Margay), a new driver to the class just a few months ago, was third in the order with James Perkins (Margay) and Scot Carapellatti (Haase) rounding out the fast-five.
Jewell had a battle on his hands with Nelson putting the pressure on in the Prefinal. Jewell and Nelson were able to break away to begin the eight-lap sprint. Jewell led for most of the laps until Nelson was able to get around and win the drag race to the line for the win by two-thousandths of a second. Perkins was able to get by Ferris for third with Michael Burrell (Birel) moving up from eighth to fifth.
Despite heavy challenges, Jewell was able to score the victory to begin his title defense in 2010. Jewell got the jump on Nelson to begin the 14-lap event with Perkins able to get by for the second spot, making it a three kart lead pack. Jewell was able to put down some fast laps on cold tires to establish a solid lead while Perkins fought to hold back Nelson. Once by Perkins, Nelson began his charge toward the leader as he posted the fast laps of the race. Lap by lap, Nelson closed the gap until two to go when he dived inside Jewell for the lead at turn one. Coming out with the lead, Nelson tried to break away but Jewell planted himself right on his bumper. Receiving the white flag for the final lap, Jewell returned the favor in the same spot. The two came out side by side however Jewell came away with the spot. That was all he needed as he got to the line first by just over three-tenths. Perkins was alone in third as was Ferris in fourth. Andy Glover (Arrow) saved his best run for the Final as he outran a number of karts to end up on the podium in fifth.
Yamaha Sportsman Heavy
Qualifying for the Yamaha Sportsman Heavy division came down to the final lap of the session as Brandon Jarsocrak (Haase) scored the Streeter Super Stands pole. Defending class champion Kyle Tilley (Margay) jumped over Gresham Wagner (Birel) - who held the provisional pole early on. Emerson Reed (Merlin) was fourth in the order with Ashley Rogero (Tony Kart) completing the fast-five. Just seven drivers took the green flag for the LCQ in the Yamaha Sportsman Heavy category. Levi Centeno (Birel) won the six-lap race with Joey Eppink (Tony Kart), Ian Nelson (Margay) and Brett Scroggin (Birel) crossing the line second through fourth. Jordan Brubaker (Birel) was able onto the fifth spot on the final lap for the last transfer position.
A great warm-up race for the Yamaha Sportsman Heavy class as four drivers ran nose to tail for much of the eight laps in the Prefinal. Wagner was able to work himself to the point and stay there until the checkered flag with Jarsocrak right on his bumper. Tilley dropped to third with Reed static in fourth. John Powers (Merlin) able to work by Rogero for fifth.
It was a six-kart battle for the win in the Final that ended in contact deciding the finishing order. Wagner, Jarsocrak, Tilley and Rogero were involved in the battle for the win with Tristan VanWieringen (KRT) and Mike McAndrews (Margay) joining the fight. The group swapped positions for most of the 14-lap event but the final lap decided the outcome. McAndrews got crossed up and went off in turn two hard, but was able to walk away. That resulted in the group scattering around him and when they came around to the checkered, Wagner had the point and took the victory. Defending champion Tilley was second with Rogero, Van Wieringen and Jarsocrak - who lead at the white flag - completing the podium. Grant Sandberg was sixth with Anthony Granata (Birel) in seventh. Powers fell back to eighth with Courtney Innis (Tony Kart) and Johnny Smith (Margay) crossing the line ninth and tenth.
In his second class on the day, TJ Koyen (Merlin) was the top driver in the Komet Piston Port Heavy qualifying session with a 43.296. Patrick Olsen (Birel), runner-up in the ’09 championship chase, was second in the timed run with the Birel’s of Bill McLaughlin, Ryan Stewart and Blake Deister rounding out the fast-five.
Continuing the fast pace, Koyen went on to lead all eight laps of the KPP Heavy Prefinal. The Wisconsin driver established a half-second advantage over Olsen - who recorded the fast lap. Corey Reeves (Arrow) recovered from a poor qualifying effort (ninth) to end up third. Stewart held his ground in fourth with McLaughlin falling back to fifth.
Putting a cap on the day was great finish to the racing for day one. Koyen was able to pace the field early on with Olsen falling in behind for second. No change for position took place until two to go when Olsen was able to pull the trigger inside of turn one. With a little bit of real estate, Olsen looked to have the race. After receiving the white flag, Koyen got a great run through turns one and two, closing in on Olsen to make a stellar move inside at turn three. Koyen exited the corner as the leader and while Olsen was on his bumper, he was not able to make a move. At the line, Koyen took his second victory by just 0.048-seconds. Reeves ran to third with Stewart and McLaughlin rounding out the podium.
With day one in the books, and no red flags all day, a gold star goes to the competitors and the WKA staff for getting 10 classes in before the sun went down. Though a few delays took place, the first day went off well with lots of great racing. Day two is forecasted to be better, both the racing and the temperature. Cold winds kept everyone bundled up however tomorrow should be warmer though some precipitation may occur. Continue to watch updates throughout the day in the Official Discussion Thread for both the Manufacturer’s Cup Series and the Road Racing Series. SpeedcastTV.com will be broadcasting live from the Dirt World Championships, beginning at 1pm.