July 11, 2009

EKN Trackside: WKA Manufacturer’s Cup – Road America Saturday Report

Excerpt courtesy of:

Yamaha Sportsman Heavy
Joel Jens (Merlin) topped the 26-kart Yamaha Sportsman Heavy category, turning a 54.562 in qualifying to outrun Kyle Tilley (Margay) and Gresham Wagner (Birel) would the pole in the Prefinal. Garrett Johnston (Margay) would start fourth in the 10-lap sprint, posting the identical fast lap as Wagner, but losing the position based on his second quickest time. Garrett’s twin brother Jake Johnston (Margay) capped the fast five. A five-driver breakaway ensued at the start of the Prefinal, and the excitement would not end until the final corner when Garrett Johnston made a hard move down the inside of Jens to take the lead and the win after the drag race to the stripe. Jens held on for second, ahead of Tilley, Santino Ferrucci (Maranello) and Wagner.

Like many of the class finals, a three-driver battle would develop by the end of the main events and Yamaha Sportsman Heavy played right into this script. The fight came down to Tilley, Johnston and Wagner, all ready to scrap for the win on the final lap. Tilley wanted the win and was going to make it tough to get by, while Wagner understood the urgency of moving into second if he was to mount an attack. Wagner took a big look inside Johnston in the opening Esses but needed to wait until the final corner complex to make a realistic move. The Birel pilot was able to get inside Johnston, however, the second place man held strong on the outside line to keep the inside groove for the next turn. This allowed Tilley to emerge onto the frontshute unchallenged, taking the checkered first. Johnston edged Wagner for second, while Myers and Jarsocrak completed the top-five.

HPV Sportsman
Garrett Johnston (Margay) led the way in qualifying for the 24-kart HPV Sportsman class, just nipping James Bennett (Birel) for the Prefinal pole. Johnston posted a 53.021-second lap to Bennett’s 53.036, setting up what was expected to be an exciting race-long fight. Colin Warren (Birel) was third in the order, just ahead of Santino Ferrucci (Maranello) and Derek Sobel (Top Kart) in the fast five. In the Prefinal, Ferrucci worked his way to the front to secure the pole for the main event, winning by 0.162 seconds from Johnston and Bennett. Warren and Kalish capped the top-five.

The final would become a three-driver dice early on as Johnston showed the way from Tyler Goldberg (Merlin) and Ferrucci. The trio would fight to the end with Ferrucci eventually slipping past Goldberg for second, but he was not in position to challenge Johnston, who scored a 0.321-second triumph. In the aftermath, Goldberg would be docked three positions for cutting the track, dropping him to sixth. This would advance Jeff Myers Jr. (Birel) to third, who after gridding 11th, both started well and dodged some contact to find himself leading the second group of drivers. Aiden Landauer (Merlin) and Jake Johnston (Margay) followed Myers in this seven-kart group to complete the top-five.