Top Kart USA was excited to make good showings at both the first WKA Manufacturer’s Cup race of the season, as well as the first installment of the Florida Pro Kart Series. The 2015 equipment is out and the team’s drivers are ready to make moves during the upcoming season, starting out the gate of the new year with a bang. Over the weekend, Top Kart USA took home 6 wins and 17 podiums in both WKA and FPKS, exemplifying the consistence of performance everyone is used to seeing with this team and potentially foreshadowing one of their most successful seasons.
In Daytona at the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup, Top Kart USA’s tent was fully stacked with drivers from nine different classes. Rookies veterans alike took to the track with a fresh slate, ready to begin the 2015 season off on a high note. In Stock Moto, Matteo Vigano took home his first podium of the season in fifth place. Yamaha Sportsman also had a strong showing of the trademark blue and white karts, with four finishes in the top 11, including Jason Welage finishing runner-up. The Comer Rookie drivers, Owen Mahle and Riley Erickson, were so close, but continue to work on their speed, looking forward to Round 2 after finishing in P6 and P7, respectively.
Daytona proved to be a victory ground for Top Kart USA throughout the rest of the weekend with Pro X30 Senior driver, Matteo Vigano, taking home the first place trophy. In Yamaha Junior the team was so close to taking home a 1, 2, 3 victory; however drivers Zach Holden, David Malukas, and JP Southern Jr. would have to settle for second through fourth place finishes, and with Austin Shultz rounding out the team’s strong finish in P9.
Dakota Pesek left his teammates and his competitors behind, taking his 2015 chassis to the front of the pack of the Yamaha Senior Pipe class and keeping it there, taking home another first place victory. Chris Slinden, Nathan Burk, and Creighton Olcott gave the rest of the spectators a show, fending off other drivers and finishing in that order, in 4-6th positions. Slinden had an especially impressive weekend, acting as both driver and mechanic.
Yamaha Rookie’s Riley Erickson battled out his teammate Elliott Cox for a 5th place podium, Cox finishing 6th. Fellow teammate Owen Mahle kept it under the top 10 with a 9th place finish. Tag Sportsman saw both victory and defeat for the well-known Italian-designed chassis with Jason Welage finishing P4 after beating his way though his fellow competitors after starting in the back, and Connor Ferris receiving a DNF. Throughout the weekend, Welage was impressed by the new chassis, “As I am really understanding the Top Kart chassis and what makes it work, I am able to drive easier and faster. Even though I only still have a handful of races on it, I have consistently been on the podium and winning races since the end of last season when I won my first National event on Top Kart.” Yamaha Rookie added yet another podium to Top Kart’s weekend marks with Riley Erickson in 5th, with Elliott Cox just outside in 6th, and Owen Mahle keeping it together in P9.
Bill McLaughlin Jr., Top Kart USA owner, added, “With a great showing for Top Kart at the first WKA event we are happy with the wins and podiums that we received. Showing that our new products are really working, we will continue to develop and become faster throughout the 2015 season seeing many more victories to come throughout all classes.”
The weekend’s largest and arguably most impressive Top Kart field was in the Pro IAME Junior category and these young drivers surely did not disappoint. For being JP Southern’s first appearance in a Top Kart chassis, he put his foot down and never stopped, beginning as the fastest driver on the track, and continuing this trend throughout both Yamaha and TaG series, finishing 3rd in Saturday’s pro IAME Junior race, just behind tent-mates David Malukas and the ever-successful Zach Holden at the front. The first place driver added, “It was a tough race on Saturday for the Final event, but the Top Kart kept getting faster throughout the race and stayed consistent throughout the entire run. This allowed me to keep pace and take home the win.” Jack Miller and Abby McLaughlin finished within the top 10 in both 8th and 9th positions.
At the Palm Beach Kart Center for the Florida Pro Kart series, drivers continued to tackle the new racing year. Blake Deister, sales director for Top Kart USA, contributed, “We are excited to race at the Florida Pro Kart Series and as it showed there was some very though competition involved at the event from Tag Sportsman classes all the way through IAME Senior. With the intense focus on our core programs of the sportsman and junior divisions, we walked away with 3 Final event wins on the weekend and we are very happy with those results.”
In TaG Sportsman – Mini Rok, Jason Welage pulled out the bet finishes of the weekend for Top Kart, third on Saturday, and clutching the victory on Sunday. Luca Mars kept it in the top 10, finishing in 4th and then 8th. Brothers Will and Dino Lambros tried to keep it within the top ten, and managed to continuously finish within throughout the weekend. TaG Sportsman – Mini Swift brought team Top Kart USA further success and podiums with all three drivers collecting some kind of hardware to show for the weekend. Owen Mahle finished both 2nd and 5th, respectively, with Elliot Cox just behind Saturday in 3rd, but scaling ahead Sunday in 4th. Riley Erickson came just outside the podium Saturday, but found the speed he needed to gain time to finish in 2nd place Sunday.
IAME Junior brought out Zach Holden again, sealing a victory on Saturday; however after some shuffling Sunday he finished 3rd. JP Southern Jr continued to show his comfort with the Top Kart chassis finishing 3rd and 6th. David Malukas did not have the best luck on Saturday, finishing back in 6th; however not one to be left behind by his teammates, he battled his way to the lead after both he and Holden started in the back of the pack after previous qualifying complications and came out victorious on Sunday. Abby McLaughlin kept it within the latter end of the top 10, and Jack Miller received a DNF Saturday after a racing incident.
IAME Senior brought some international talent from the Top Kart world, with Matteo Vigano of Italy, Niklas Kry, racing from Germany, as well as Jesse Krill. Vigano would go to finish in 9th place Saturday, only to suffer from broken reeds, fighting in second place on Sunday to gain a DNF, and Krill couldn’t quite find the right speed, finishing outside the top 15 all weekend. Finishing just outside the top ten, Kry added, “Racing in the United States compared to Germany there is much more contact on the circuit throughout the race. With in Germany one touch the driver is typically black flagged and disqualified. Here is much different. It is a good practice for racing the European Championship events.”