Quinlan nets four more; Jens, Beasley triple at MRP Man Cup
05.03.2011 – Two-cycle sprint racers from all over the U.S. traveled to northern Indiana this past weekend for the MKP Nationals at Michiana Raceway Park, the pivotal third round of the George Kugler / Bridgestone Manufacturer's Cup Series driven by Mazda. But when the checkered flag waved on the 20th and final main event early Sunday evening, it was a young Canadian standing above the other 200-plus racers as the top victor at the popular 11-turn MRP circuit.
Maidstone, Ontario's Grant Quinlan wheeled his No. 28 MRP Birel chassis to four of the five Jr Sportsman final wins, equaling his four-win effort at the Margay Sprint Championships season opener at Daytona, and officially recording his 10th Man Cup victory of the 2011 season.
Quinlan started things off Saturday with his fourth win of the season in Cadet Sportsman, holding off a hard-charging Emerson Reed on his way to the triumph in the RLV Tuned Exhaust Products-sponsored Final 1. Chicago's David Malukas notched his best run of the weekend with a third-place result. Zach Holden and Kyle Tilley rounded out the top five.
The 12-year-old Canadian swapped the lead with Tilley a few times on the last lap in Comet Kart Sales Yamaha Sportsman Heavy before pulling ahead and crossing the stripe 0.184 seconds ahead of the Arrow driver. The runner-up finish marked the best of the weekend for Tilley, who was racing in his home state but couldn't match the success of his two wins at Carolina Motorsports Park in March. Reed was a solid third, Ryan Raffa fourth and Allison fifth.
Sunday saw Quinlan sweep the day in the Cadet and Yamaha Sportsman categories. A mid-race accident in Grand Products / Top Kart Cadet Final 2, including Malukas, Reed and Zane Smith eliminated all three racers from contention, giving Quinlan, who was working hard to fend off Reed's challenges, a comfortable advantage over Raffa. Quinlan cruised to his third triumph of the weekend from there, while Raffa notched another strong second-place run on his No. 15 Top Kart.
Holden was third, William Wolfrom came on strong to finish fourth and Collin Campbell earned his only top five of the weekend with a fifth-place run.
Kartlift Yamaha Sportsman Lite was Reed's best chance at a victory on the weekend. The Ohio Merlin driver challenged Quinlan throughout the final lap, looking high several times while Quinlan protected the bottom groove. Reed's challenges to the outside ended up costing him as Raffa used the top-two drivers' battles to catch them and make an inside pass on Reed in The Bowl, where Reed was attempting to set up a slingshot move on Quinlan.
Raffa pulled alongside Grant on the final straightaway, but didn't have enough to make the pass. Quinlan's fourth win of the weekend came over Raffa, Reed, Z. Smith and Tilley in a top five that arguably featured each of the top-five Jr Sportsman racers on the Man Cup tour thus far in 2011.
While Quinlan continues to win in the Cadet and Yamaha Sportsman categories, he's yet to win Adkins Speed Center Komet Sportsman. After Tilley's win at Daytona, Raffa came on strong to net a big win at Kershaw, his first in Manufacturer's Cup competition.
The Pennsylvania racer proved his Kershaw win was no fluke, taking the lead late in the MRP 14-lapper and holding off Z. Smith to earn his second win in a row and take control of the Komet Sportsman point standings. Quinlan ended up third, ensuring he didn't finish outside the top three all weekend, while Reed and Tristan Van Wieringen rounded out the top five.
While Quinlan and Raffa continued to make headlines in the Jr Sportsman divisions, Joel Jens was clearly the top racer in Komet and Yamaha Jr.
Similar to Raffa, Jens drove to his first Man Cup victory at Kershaw after several years of trying. The Wisconsin racer, who recently moved to a Tony Kart chassis and seemed to hit his stride in the weekend's last Jr final at Kershaw, had no troubles finding the top step of the podium at MRP, winning three of the four classes he entered to become the top junior racer of the weekend.
Jens won both Yamaha Jr finals, claiming Kartsport North America Yamaha Jr Lite over Austin Osborne and the weekend's last race, MRP / Birel Yamaha Jr Heavy, over Jacob Donald. Sunday also saw Jens wheel his No. 35 Tony Kart to victory over Logan Bearden in Beasley Motorsports / Arrow Karts Komet Jr Lite.
In Yamaha Jr Lite, Mike McAndrews earned his best run of the weekend with a third-place effort behind Jens and Osborne. Jeff Myers Jr. was fourth while Donald rounded out the top five.
Yamaha Jr Heavy saw Jens win his second in a row in the class over Donald by about 10 kart-lengths. Kyle Kalish was third in his top result, Alex Keyes fourth and Chase Jones netted his only top five of the MKP Nationals with a fifth-place run.
Jens opened Sunday with a 0.377-second triumph over Daytona winner Bearden in Komet Jr Lite. A pair of female drivers was third and fourth with Canadian Dominique Van Wieringen edging California's Raquel Martinez for the third spot. Both Van Wieringen and Martinez earned their best finishes at MRP in the class. New Jersey's Garrett Johnston was fifth.
The only junior final in which Jens did not win was the first of the weekend, SCS Racing Komet Jr Heavy. Wisconsin's James Bennett accomplished the clean sweep in the class, earning the Streeter Super Stands Pole Award before capturing the eight-lap prefinal and 14-lap final.
Bennett's win marked his second on the season in Manufacturer's Cup, and it came over a hard-charging Jens, who advanced to second in the main after qualifying 10th. G. Johnston wheeled his Top Kart to his best run of the season with a third-place result; Austin Self netted his only top five of the weekend in fourth while Gresham Wagner did the same with his fifth-place run.
Beasley Motorsports Arrow pilot Sam Beasley was once again the top senior winner with three victories coming in the pair of Komet senior classes and Woltjer Racing Engines Yamaha Supercan Lite.
The weekend's racing opened with a spirited battle between Beasley and Ryan Stewart in the Supercan Lite prefinal. Stewart prevailed after the pair swapped the lead on a few different occasions. Stewart led over half of the final before Beasley made the winning move with a few laps to go. Stewart stayed close, but couldn't mount a serious challenge down the stretch, leaving Beasley to win his first of the weekend. James Brock was third, Dakota Pesek fourth and Shinya Michimi fifth.
Beasley cruised to the win in TSRacing.com Komet Heavy. Mason Chelootz and Stewart waged a heated battle for third, which ended up in the pair coming together and Stewart flying into the barriers in the Monza corner (turn 11). Nick Stagl crossed the stripe second but was disqualified in post-race tech, handing Chelootz the runner-up position. Brock earned his second third-place finish of the day, while Brandon Adkins and Jonathan Kotyk completed the top five.
Beasley's only win on Sunday came in Spallco RV Sales & Rentals Komet Lite. Michimi qualified fastest and won the prefinal, but Beasley passed his fellow Ohio competitor early in the final and pulled away to an uncontested victory. Michimi held on for second; Stagl was third, Tony Jump fourth and Chelootz fifth.
Beasley's three wins marked the only final triumphs of the weekend for Arrow Karts, which came into the MKP Nationals leading the Manufacturers standings in Man Cup.
Stewart lost Supercan Lite to Beasley but returned Sunday to wheel his MKP Birel to his first win of the Man Cup season in Margay Racing Products Yamaha Supercan Heavy.
Stewart and Beasley started on the front row but Beasley went off the track on the exit to the first corner, sending him back to about the eighth position and providing some comfort for Stewart. Beasley worked his way back to the top five, but was then passed by Jump in the race's waning laps, relegating Sam to a sixth-place finish.
Out front, Stewart maintained about a half-second advantage over Adkins for the duration of the 14-lapper. Adkins ended up second with Patrick Olsen capturing his only top five of the weekend in third. Ostrom was fourth, ahead of Jump.
The four TaG divisions featured four different winners.
Robert Bujdoso wheeled his PCR to his third TaG win in a row Saturday in Franklinkart.com TaG 1. Bujdoso won comfortably over Beasley, Tommy Andersen, Triston Degrand and T.J. Koyen.
Mason Chelootz added to his 2011 Man Cup feature win list with a big win over fellow Top Kart driver Chris Wehrheim in Grand Products / Top Kart Parilla Leopard. Wehrheim won the prefinal, but had to watch Chelootz move past him in the early stages of the final and pull out to a big 3.2-second advantage over the Atlanta wheelman. Beasley was third; Cal Stewart ran a strong race to finish fourth; Andersen was in the top five again, this time fifth.
After a tough Saturday which featured disappointing eighth- and 10th-place results, Plymouth, Mass.'s Arie Ouimet dominated the Orlando Kart Center TaG 2 division. Ouimet timed second fastest to Miami, Fla., driver Jesus Rios, but when the green flag waved for the prefinal, the CRG racer quickly moved into the lead and did not relinquish the top spot for the remaineder of the day.
Earning CRG its first Man Cup win of the season, Ouimet won the final by a 1.7-second gap over Rios, who looked stout on his Birel on the way to second. Wehrheim had one of his best TaG runs of the season with a third-place effort. Michael Politis was able to garner a top five with a fourth-place result, while Kristina Vorndran drove her CRG to her best finish of the weekend in fifth.
Notables Beasley, Bujdoso and Chelootz all had problems in the opening laps of the TaG 2 final. Bujdoso was in the market for his fourth TaG win in a row, but was dropping through the top five when he and Beasley made contact in turn one, sending Bujdoso into the barriers and out of competition.
The very next corner saw Beasley and Chelootz come together. Both sailed off the track. Beasley's race was done while Chelootz returned to the racing surface and claimed the 16th position.
John Dixon gave Tony Kart its fourth win of the weekend with another dominating performance in Viking Karting Products TaG Masters. Dixon was handily over Chuck Tate and Brian McEvoy. Kim Carapellatti was fourth and Steve Rumsey fifth. Dixon is now two for three on the season in TaG Masters, and he became the only Indiana driver to win over the weekend at MRP.
Chad Kruger won the other Masters class. Kruger wheeled his Merlin to the victory in Saturday's Yamaha Masters affair, triumphing over Derek Hughes and Kershaw winner John Ferris III. Bobby Cummings and Greyson Eves were fourth and fifth. Kruger's win marked the only of the weekend for the Italian-made Merlin chassis.
Harry Coulton and David Ilavia were the top performers in the wild Yamaha Rookie Sportsman finals.
Both youngsters earned their second wins of the season on the weekend. Coulton led 13 of the 14 laps in Saturday's New Jersey Sprint Series Yamaha Rookie Final 1 before Ilavia made a last-lap pass on the Connecticut racer. Ilavia, who also won at Daytona, held on to capture the win. Coulton was second with Ben Varner third. Wisconsin's Connor Cass took fourth and Tyler Ferris fifth. The top-three finishers were on Birel mounts.
Coulton returned Sunday to claim his second win in four races in Mike Doty Racing Yamaha Rookie Final 2. Harry pulled out to a big lead before Tommy Burke was forced through the grass, cutting the track and pulling out about 15 kart-lengths ahead of Coulton.
Coulton ran Burke down, passed him with a couple laps to go before Burke passed him back on the last lap. Burke held on to cross the stripe first, but officials moved the youngster back to the second position because he was forced to cut the track.
Jack W. Miller netted his best finish of the weekend while racing in his home state; Miller came home third. Varner was fourth, making it four Birel chassis out front. Cass was fifth on his Merlin to claim his second top-five result of the MKP Nationals.
Unofficially, the MKP Nationals topped off at 538 entries, including eight Championship Racing Performance Kid Kart participants, which constituted 15 entries between Saturday and Sunday. Kid karters were Mark Fineis, Evann Milless, Camrin Cass, Carter Cass, Trey Miller, Jake Williams, Dylan Hill and Tyler Allison.
The weekend marked the third straight Manufacturer's Cup race the entry count was over 500.
Click here to view unofficial top-10 results from the weekend.
The entry blank for the CRG Nationals, round four of the Manufacturer's Cup Series July 8-10, is now available on WorldKarting.com. Click here to view it.
WKA sends out its sincere thanks to everyone involved for making the third round of the Man Cup Series a very successful event, including Garry Lobaugh and his hard-working MRP staff; Bill McLaughlin, Shannon Parks and everyone at Motorama Kart Parts, the race's sponsor; and all sponsors, racers and teams in attendance this past weekend at MRP.
WKA - WORLD KARTING ASSOCIATION