WKA: Southern Pitt Raceway race report
By Bruce C. Walls - Special to Motorsport.com GREENVILLE, NC- For Rohn Moon the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series ended like it began with the Jacksonville, FL based racer bagging a trio of wins at the Precision Cams 'Fall Nationals' ...
By Bruce C. Walls - Special to Motorsport.com
GREENVILLE, NC- For Rohn Moon the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series ended like it began with the Jacksonville, FL based racer bagging a trio of wins at the Precision Cams 'Fall Nationals' raced at Southern Pitt Raceway in Greenville, NC September 7-9. Moon managed to score at least three wins at every national this season and at the Summer Nationals held at Low Country Kartway in Aynor, SC the Shadow kart pilot posted a record five wins at a single national.
Moon was among 645 competitors who entered the Dirt Series finale at the four-year-old facility built by Danny Stancill and his family. According to Stancill his brother Chris's desire to have a track closer to home led to the creation of their 3/10-mile track. "We get about 90 racers on Saturday nights between March and October," said Stancill. "We have 86 covered pits with electric and compressed air along a fully paved 1/4-mile pit road," he added.
Moon, who earned an impressive six national dirt titles this season, scored his first victory in that Saturday's eighth race Bandit Racing Chassis Briggs Medium. A 17.162 seconds lap put Chris Williamson on the pole. Moon struggled in qualifying and started eighth. Williamson took the early lead, but next time around Archdale, NC competitor Wayne Poole was in command of the 30-racer field and on lap three Justin Moorefield shot by Poole as Moon worked his way to second.
Moorefield had opened a several kart advantage over Poole when Moon passed him for second. Moon reeled Moorefield in three laps later. In the final laps Dahlonega, GA based Southern Express Karting Shadow Kart pilot Bradley Gerrells grabbed second, but he was .282 seconds behind Moon at the stripe.
"We had to win this race to win the whole deal," Moon said. "We qualified bad, but the Shadow Kart was great in the feature. I am just amazed, God gave us his blessing this whole year."
Poole posted a third place finish and was followed in the top five by Scott Bazer and Moorefiled.
Moon's next mission was Sunday's third race, Prototype Engine Sales 4-Cycle Modified. David Halk handled the pole position with a 16.472 seconds trip. This time Moon qualified fourth. Halk hustled into the initial lead over the 12-racer field while Moon worked his way to second. Just after the mid race signal was shown Moon made his move for the front. Halk hung on to second and trailed Moon at the finish by .769 seconds.
"I was struggling with the carb, got it fixed and it was flying after that," Moon explained. "Roy Whaley worked hard on the motor for this race and it might have been better than he said it would be."
Gerrells grabbed third, Tony Gaylord followed in fourth and Bryan Bradford capped the top five.
Moon wouldn't see victory again until the event's final feature Dixie Karting/Southern Karting Briggs Super Stock. This time Moon turned the pole lap at 17.296 seconds rocketed off from the start and was never seriously challenged on his way to beating David Collins, Jr. to the finish by .633 seconds.
Brett Miller made third, Chris Cochran finished fourth and Avis Electric backed King Williams, VA based Stephanie Pitts posted fifth out of 17.
Kyle Nicholas, of Naples, FL, did it all in both Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 classes. Saturday he clocked Williams Motorsports Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Lite's pole time with a 17.627 seconds lap, took the early lead and then, after leading the 30-racer field through the race's only caution restart, briefly surrendered the front to Josh Hammond before taking the checkered flag .919 seconds ahead of Daniel Hemric.
"I knew what I had to do, this was the title clincher," said the 12-year-old national champion. "I had some help from the people drafting behind me and Rohn Moon helped with the setup and his motor was awesome just like always."
Todd Goble took third, Chris Sturkie finished fourth and Hunter Peacock capped the top five.
Sunday's ARC Racing Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Heavy was a nail biter. Nicholas earned that pole with an 18.315 seconds lap and blasted into the early lead with Hammond close behind as they pulled the battle for the front from a falling field. Hammond kept the pressure on Nicholas and grabbed the lead with five laps to go. Nicholas recaptured it with three to go, but Hammond got it back in time to take the white flag. On the final lap they exited turn four side-by-side with Nicholas getting a .108 seconds edge over Hammond at the stripe.
"It was wild, I don't believe I pulled it off from the outside," Nicholas beamed. "The kart was a little loose from the get go, but the motor was yet another good motor from Rohn Moon."
Finishing third through fifth out of 27 were Ben Stancill, Daniel Hemric and Brad Hancock.
Patrick Boyd and Hunter Mallory captured RLV Tuned Exhaust Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Lite and Ultramax Racing Chassis Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Heavy's checkered flags. Raleigh, NC based Robinson Speed Shop powered Phantom kart pilot Cole Canady claimed Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Lite's pole with a 19.029 lap and national points leader Ricky Keisler shared front row with him. Canady came out into the early lead and then Jake 'the Snake' Crum captured it from him. Crum opened a big lead that was cut by the race's only caution restart. Crum led the restart and was working on extending the lead again when Boyd and Michael Taylor drafted by for the top two spots under the mid race signal.
Crum recaptured second and set his sites on Boyd who had reached the 33-racer field's tail. Boyd worked his way through traffic and held a slim .569 seconds advantage over Crum under the checkered flag.
"Lapped karts helped me a lot," admitted the 11-year-old Vanceboro, NC based Laser AV-2 pilot. "I want to thank Mr. Louis Dowell for cutting the tires and Michael Dowell of CKI we couldn't have done it without them and I want to thank Robin Bradshaw for the great motor. This is awesome winning my first national," he added.
Taylor took third, Mallory made fourth and Canady capped the top five of 33.
Mallory did it all in Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Heavy. The 11-year-old Leesburg, FL based Moon Powered Olimpic kart pilot earned the pole with a 19.645 seconds trip and went on to lead the 27-racer field flag-to-flag though a single caution restart.
"The Olimpic kart was awesome and the Moon Power motor was awesome. I was a little worried about the caution, but it worked out ok," Mallory said.
Bobby Anthony closed in on Mallory in the final laps, but trailed him by .113 seconds across the finish line. Steven Daniels was third across the stripe followed by Anthony Comparetto and Keisler for fourth and fifth.
A 16.825 seconds lap put Moon on Team Simpson Racing Briggs Controlled Medium's pole and Pitts turned the outside pole time. Moon rocketed into the early lead with Pitts glued to his tailpipe as they pulled away from the 22-racer field. While they were fighting for the front Gray, GA based Gene Nasworthy worked his was from sixth to third, then second and finally to the front which he held to the finish where he was .267 seconds ahead of Pitts for his first dirt national win.
"I just rode behind her (Pitts) and she cooled down to block me and I drove past her," explained the Moon Powered Shadow kart pilot. "The Shadow kart handled great thanks to all of Dan Sox's help before the race and the Moon Power motor was real fast and I want to thank all the people at Moon Power as well."
Chris Williamson crossed third, Missy Scruggs finished fourth and Salisbury, MD based Robinson Speed Shop Team Driver RJ Robinson completed the top five.
Williamson turned a 17.484 seconds lap for Sunday's Bordeaux Dyno Cams Briggs Controlled Heavy's pole and hustled into the early lead as Moon battled his way from third. By mid race Moon was in charge of the 19-racer field as Schu Powered Titan kart pilot Mark Hall fought his way from seventh to second. Hall quickly closed in on Moon and grabbed the lead in time to take the white flag and beat Moon to the finish by .186 seconds.
"It's great to run with Moon. I didn't know what to do on tires and Mike Schumacher helped us out there," credited the 15-year-old winner. "I want to thank my crew here today, Mike Schumacher, G-Man Kart Works, Titan Karts and SBR Graphics," he added.
Unadilla, GA base Dee Paschal reached third, Moorefield made fourth and Stevie Stephenson came in fifth.
Jesse Lefevers battled his way from a sixth place start to first under Saturday's Shadow Racing Chassis Briggs Junior's checkered flag. Lee Hutson turned the pole time at 16.979 seconds, led the 30-racer field around once and then the caution flag flew. Hutson led the restart and later surrendered it to Lefevers who beat Chris Howard to the finish by 2.600 seconds.
"The Phantom kart was perfect and I got to say a special thanks to Rohn Moon his motor was awesome it pulled the whole way," credited the 13-year-old Lenior, NC based M&M Embroidery and Graphics backed winning who added thanks to his parents for their support.
AJ Miller finished third, Delta, PA pilot Bradley Mattlin followed in fourth and Blake O'Neal rounded out the top five of 28.
LeFevers locked in E-Z Bore Briggs Restricted Junior's pole with a 17.906 seconds lap, but surrendered the early lead to Daniel Pierce after the race's only caution. Pierce showed the 28-racer field around several time and then turned it back over to Pierce again. Pierce held the lead under the mid-race signal and then Savannah, TN based Tyler racing engines powered Phantom kart pilot Jake Tyler took over and built a 1.131 seconds finish line advantage over Patrick Rineman.
"This is great, I got my first national win," said the 15-year-old racer. "The Phantom kart handled like a dream and the Tyler Racing Engine was awesome. I didn't think I'd get it, but patience paid off."
Pierce posted a third place finish followed by Joshua Nash and Matt Hawkins.
Dan Sox dominated Power Products/Super Seat Briggs Limited Heavy. The West Columbia, SC based Shadow Racing Chassis factory pilot posted the pole time with a 16.404 seconds lap and then led the 27-racer field wire-to-wire through a lap three caution before taking the checkered flag .254 second ahead of Ricky Bayley.
"It took a lot of hard work from a bunch of us. The Shadow kart handled great and the motor ran good and all-in-all I think we had the best combination," Sox credited. "I want to thank my new wife Tracy and David Laursa."
Down by just .378 seconds from Sox, David Collins, Jr. crossed third followed by Gaylord and Gerrells for the top five.
Phantom Racing Chassis Briggs Senior's checkered flag waved for Rock Hill, SC racer Stevie Stephenson which clinched the Shadow kart pilot the national points title. Stephenson earned the pole with a 17.465 seconds lap and led the 20-racer field flag-to-flag through a lap two-caution restart to the finish where he was .877 seconds ahead of Jim Ackerman.
"The Shadow kart handled great and the motor ran great, I couldn't have asked for anything better," Stephenson said. "I want to first of all thank my wife Barbara, Dan and Charlie Sox, Kermit Buller, Chester Hester, James Moore and most of all God for a safe race."
1997 national points champion Donnie Sellers, of Coolidge, GA ran third, Phillip Bell bagged fourth and Wallace Wood finished fifth.
Sox earned Robinson Speed Shop Briggs Super Heavy's pole, but when the checkered flag waved it was for Phantom Racing Chassis factory pilot Jimmy Griffin who battled his way from sixth to beat Sox to the finish by .135 seconds.
"I want to thank Dan Sox he drove me clean. The Phantom kart was real good, I couldn't have asked for better and the Tyler Racing Engines motor was awesome as did the Flow Tech carb," said Griffin, of China Grove, NC. "I want to thank the Lord for all of His blessings, my wife Rebecca and my dad to whom I want to say a special thanks and tell him I love him and I want to thank Bully Clutches, My Chron, Burris and WMS Products."
Justin Lindsey trailed Sox in third, Beef Performance powered Winston-Salem, NC competitor Greg James finished fourth and Alex Cline capped the top five of 26.
Wayne Poole won Trick/Olimpic Briggs Lite. Dee Paschal posted the pole time and led the first two laps and then Poole took charge of the 17-racer field with Pitts challenging him to the finish were he was .462 seconds ahead of her. Poole's win also earned him the national points title.
"It was the right package," Poole credited. "The kart ran great thanks to Tod Miller's setup and I also have to thank him for the motor. I also want to thank the Lord for his blessings this season and I want to thank my mom and dad for all of their support too."
Filling third through fifth were Brett Miller, Rodney Wood, Paschal and Chris Cochran.
Four Champ kart classes competed that weekend. Memphis, TN based Phantom kart pilot Shane James topped Noram Clutches Briggs Senior Champ's 30-racer field. Greg Jarrett earned the pole with an 18.425 seconds lap. Jarrett burst into the early lead as James battled his way from a six place starting position. An early race caution cost Jarrett the lead. When racing resumed Jarrett led another lap and then Larry Bryant III took over the lead with James close behind. James got the lead briefly after the half as he, Bryant and Lonnie Hall formed a tight front threesome. James recaptured the lead on the final lap and opened up a 1.458 seconds at the finish line over Jason Moates.
"That was a heck of an end. I was working with Greg James and got in the middle of it and came out for the win," said the Shane James Racing Engines powered winner. "It's been a long time since I've won one of these. The kart handled great and the horsepower was there which you need on these champ karts. I want to thank Harrill Wiggins, my pit crew Scotty and Phil and the Hall gang, we had a great crew this weekend."
Thomas Beavers took third, Shawn Parker posted a fourth place finish and Galan Thompson completed the top five.
Shawn Parker and Michael Rivers started on Seigler Motorsports Star Champ's front row. Parker grabbed the early lead and was fighting off Rivers when the race's only caution flag flew early in the race. Parker led the restart then surrendered command over the 23-racer field to Rivers as John Moates moved up to second. Several laps later Moates captured the lead from Rivers and went on to notch his first national win. In the final laps current national points leader Chuck Broadway took second and finished just .118 seconds behind Moates.
"My first national, I love it," Moates beamed after his win. "The Olimpic kart ran good and the Mike Moates Racing Engine was real fast. I want to first of all thank God for a safe race, Mark Mode of Trick/Olimpic karts, Lighting Light and Viper Clutches."
James, Rivers and Ray Lewis completed the top five.
Defending national Tommy's Karts-n-Parts Briggs Junior Champ points champion Chris Howard, of Wilmington, NC, ended a heated 15-lap battle with Kameron Knight with a .409 seconds advantage. Andy Pugh posted the pole time with an 18.759 seconds lap and Knight clocked the outside front row lap time. Knight captured the early lead over Pugh as Howard worked his way from third to second. Howard took over in the final laps, and then Knight recaptured it. Howard got it back in time to take the white flag and held off Knight at the finish.
"That was a very exciting lap," said the Eddie Bryant powered Olimpic karts factory driver. " I want to thank Trick/Olimpic karts, Lonnie Hall, Pace America, Burris, Bully Clutches, Lighting Light and Jamie for his help in the pits."
Anthony Johnson was third across the stripe followed by Pugh and Lindsay Barton for the top five of 19.
A .842 seconds finish line advantage over Josh Hammond earned Madison, NC competitor Lucas Ransone Jammer Clutches Briggs Junior Sportsman Champ's win and national points championship. Crum claimed the pole with a 20.750 seconds lap and Ransone earned the outside front row starting position. Crum led the 24-racer field halfway around the track then surrendered the lead to Ransone who led from there.
"It was a combination of everything. The Laser AV-2 kart handled good and Eddie Bryant's motor was awesome," reported the 11-year-old winner. "I want to thank Andy Murry, my dad, Pop Pop and Eddie Bryant."
Ben Stancill, Trevor Bayne and Crum made up the remaining top five positions.
Three 2-cycle classes competed that weekend as well and after earning seven polls in American Power Sports Yamaha 2-cycle Brazil, IN racer Chuck Clark captured his first win. Clark clocked the pole lap at 16.443, but outside pole winner Billy Tapman was the nine-racer field's first leader. Clark captured the lead before the first lap was booked and showed them home from there taking the final flag with a comfortable 2.458 seconds advantage over James Kirby.
"Finally, after getting seven polls I finally won one," said Clark. "The Comet kart ran great and I want to thank Mark Dismore for that and I want to thank my dad for a good tire choice and Mark Harrison for an awesome motor."
Archdale, NC competitor Scott Bazen took third, Tapman followed in fourth and Christopher Meleason capped the top five.
Kirby trailed Lenior City, TN racer Barrett Terry across Bully Clutches Unlimited 2-Cycle's finish line by .124 seconds. Kirby set the pace with a 15.640 seconds qualifying lap and shared front row with Terry. Terry quickly captured the lead and held off Kirby's challenges to the end.
"I heard James (Kirby) back there. I just tried to stay in front and not make any mistakes," explained the Donnie Wheeler Racing Engines powered Bully kart pilot. "The kart worked great and Donnie Wheeler's motor worked great too."
Bazen ran third again and Michael Gordon and Chris Harrell followed in the top five of 11.
Kirby avenged himself in Sunday's Horstman Mfg. Stock 2-Cycle. A 16.320 seconds lap put Olin Baldwin on the pole which he shared with Kirby. Kirby blasted into the early lead and quickly built a comfortable advantage over Gordon who trailed by 1.320 seconds at the finish line.
"I want to thank my wife Angie and my kids for coming here and supporting me," said the Winchester, VA based winner. "The Buller kart handled perfect and I had a little trouble with the carb in the beginning, but Donnie Wheeler's motor was awesome and once the tires came in it was flying."
Clark, Tapman and Baldwin bagged the remaining top five of eight positions.
Dahlonega, GA driver Brad Gerrells dominated CKI Limited Lite's 14-racer field. Jamie Knopf turned in the fastest qualifying lap at 16.422 and Gerrells started next to him. Knopf shot out in to the early lead, but it was short lived as Gerrells Southern Express Karting powered Shadow Kart blasted by him. Knopf held a distant second finishing 2.569 seconds behind Gerrells.
"The Shadow kart was great and the Southern Express motor was super," said Gerrells. "I want to thank my wife Stacy who's a big part of my racing program and my new daughter Sierra. I also want to thank Dan and Charlie Sox for the Shadow kart."
Fellow Georgia race Neal Lewis finished third and was followed in the top five of 14 by Poole and Robinson.
Twister Karts/Davis Mfg. Briggs Heavy's final flag waved for pole winner Chris Douglas but Douglas was disqualified in tech, as were the third and fourth place finishers. The official winner is Justin Lindsey.
That wraps up the 2001 WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series season. Champions will be crowned at KartFest 2002, which will be held at the end of January in the Hickory, NC Metro Trade Center. The 2002 season begins December 27, 2001 at Daytona Municipal Stadium in Daytona, FL. Be apart of the action at Daytona Beach!