After a very short off season, Top Kart USA was back in action for World Karting Associations (WKA) Daytona KartWeek. Taking place December 28 – 30th and on the grounds of the hallowed Daytona International Speedway and remaining true to form, Top Kart USA drivers had an impressive week across all classes, bringing home two race wins, twenty podium finishes and two pole positions.
“We wanted to start the season strong in Daytona,” said Blake Deister, co-owner of Top Kart USA. “Many drivers found themselves at the top of the time sheets from the start of the first practice, keeping constant speed while adjusting to changing track conditions. We had many drivers return to the Top Kart USA program for 2016. Kaden Wharff and Pauly Massimino made the switch to Top Kart USA, and both performed exceptionally well throughout the weekend. Our results speak volumes about how we have been developing the Top Kart product during the 2014 and 2015 racing seasons.”
In Mini Swift Novice, Benjamin Maier started the season with two top-10 finishes, placing ninth on Tuesday and tenth on Wednesday.
In the Pro IAME Junior class, Oliver Calvo started strong in Tuesday’s final, finishing third. Top Kart newcomer Pauly Massimino finished fourth on Tuesday, and finished second after starting on pole for Wednesday’s race. Emil Schulz also had a strong weekend, bringing home a ninth place finish on Tuesday and improving to seventh on Wednesday.
“Working with Top Kart has helped us advance our karting skills,” said Paul Massimino, Pauly’s dad. “This past weekend, we received excellent support and saw a lot of success. Being under the Top Kart tent provides a competitive and helpful team atmosphere. We consider all members of Top Kart to be part of our extended family, and we are happy to continue karting with them.”
In Pro IAME Senior, Jonathan Kotyk brought home a second place finish on Tuesday and an 11th place finish on Wednesday. Teammate Alexander Kardashian finished 11th on day one and improved to fourth for Wednesday’s final. Daniel Roeper finished 13th on Tuesday, but was sidelined for Wednesday’s race. Austin Schulz and Abby McLaughlin also provided several top-25 finishes for Top Kart USA.
In Pro Swift Sportsman, Top Kart USA drivers racked up many impressive finishes. Connor Ferris won the final on Tuesday and brought home a fifth place finish on Wednesday. Jason Welage scored second place finishes in both finals. Another Top Kart newcomer, Kaden Wharff, finished seventh on Tuesday and tenth on Wednesday. Teammates Jamie Newton, Riley Erickson, Brewer Davis and Madison Campeau added several top-20 and top-25 finishes to the team’s already impressive results.
In Yamaha Junior, each of Top Kart’s drivers scored one or more top-20 finishes. Marina Walters brought home two, finishing second on Tuesday and fifth on Wednesday. Tyler Ferris brought home third and seventh place finishes. Pauly Massimino finished fifth on Tuesday and sixth on Wednesday. Max Pichel finished sixth on Tuesday and 12th on Wednesday. Teammates Emil Schulz and Ty Canoles each scored a top-20 finish.
In Yamaha Senior, Dakota Pesek picked up the new season right where he left off last year, on the top step of the podium. He finished second on Wednesday. Alexander Kardashian finished fifth in race one and sixth in race two. Austin Schulz scored two ninth place finishes on the weekend. Derek Hughes was unable to finish Tuesday’s race but finished in a strong fifth place on Wednesday.
“The weekend didn’t start out the way we wanted to, with a rough qualifying session putting us mid-way through the field to start the first heat race,” Pesek said. “Hitting the setup spot on from there on out was the key to our success through the remainder of the event. We managed to gain a lot of spots back in the races, which gave us the chance to be up front in the final. From there, we successfully pulled off the win with a very tough and competitive race. It was a great amount of fun.”
In Yamaha Sportsman, Connor Ferris started from pole on Tuesday, finishing fourth. He ran sixth on Wednesday. Jason Welage finished third on Tuesday, improving to second on day two. Madison Campeau finished eighth in the first race, making the leap to fourth in the second. Kaden Wharff finished ninth on Tuesday and improved to third on Wednesday. Teammates Riley Erickson, Timothy Steele, Brewer Davis, Danny Dyszelski and Julian Mills were consistent all weekend, earning several top-20 and top-25 finishes for the team.
“The drivers that showed up to race in Daytona made for a very strong field,” said Bill McLaughlin Jr., co-owner of Top Kart USA. “The competition gave us a great reference point for our improvement in each class. Daytona is always a great place to visit, because everyone has an equal amount of track time and ability to hit the setup. We were able to see lots of blue chassis toward the front, which is exactly what we hoped for.”