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Midwest ProKart Challenge Event Records Successful 2012 Season Opener
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 10:01
The 2012 season of the revamped Midwest ProKart Challenge got underway at the TNT Kartways in West Quincy, MO over the May 18-20 weekend. A double-round event at the historic 4/10-mile course began a new era for Superkarts! USA in the area, welcoming racers from a wide range of surrounding states contesting eight categories, half Stock Moto and half TaG divisions. The largest class of the weekend was TaG Senior, one that struggled to produce respectable numbers in the past, showing that the SKUSA format of TaG racing is favorable among the karting community. S5 Junior Stock Moto was the second largest, as the Midwest continues to produce the next rising stars in shifterkart racing.

The Kart Star Motorsports-sponsored TaG Senior category welcomed 10 competitors on the weekend, led throughout the event by Tommy Andersen. The Illinois driver swept the weekend in convincing fashion. Andersen opened up round one by setting fast time in qualifying (28.278 seconds) and then winning both heat races comfortably. Tommy went flag-to-flag in the main event to score the victory by over three-seconds ahead of Minnesota pilot Aaron Telitz and Wisconsin’s Dillon Kranz. Andersen went just a tick quicker in qualifying on Sunday (28.230) with the same result of P1. He would go on to lead all 12 laps of the heat races and the 20-lap feature for a clean sweep. Telitz matched his runner-up finish from the previous day, as Kaylee Granberg from Missouri won the battle for the final podium step.

The S5 Junior Stock Moto division, sponsored by JD Byrider Racing, was a near sweep on the weekend by Eric Nelson. The Minnesota driver swept the action on Saturday as he finished at the top of the results sheets each time on course. Nelson earned the pole position Saturday by a mere 18-thousandths of a second over Colin Willis. Nelson cruised to the heat one win, as Willis was unable to start the race. He scored the win in heat two in similar fashion, outrunning Jenna Grillo. At the start of the main event, Grillo got the jump on Nelson to relegate him back to second in the opening circuits. By lap three, Nelson had secured the top spot and began stretching out to a near six-second advantage when the checkered flag waved. Willis fought his way back to second, matching the pace of Nelson, while Grillo capped off the podium. Qualifying was close once again on Sunday with the same result of Nelson and Willis 1-2. Willis grabbed the holeshot to begin heat one, only to lose the lead after lap four and see Nelson score the win. Willis ended Nelson’s perfect score in heat two, jumping to the lead at the start and holding on to earn the moto win. The battle continued into the main event, with Nelson gaining the advantage as the race wore on, scoring the victory by 1.995 seconds. Tony Petersen rounded out the podium in third.

Shifterkart racing SKUSA-style is once again back in the Great Lakes region, thanks to the new Midwest ProKart Challenge. Drivers in S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, S4 Master Stock Moto and the local option Open Shifter class traveled to TNT Kartways for the weekend. Colton Aldridge and Nicholas Lougee battled hard both days in S2, and each earned a main event victory. Aldridge scored the win over Lougee on Saturday by just over two-seconds. Then he retired early while leading in the main event on Sunday, handing the victory to Lougee. Ron Petersen was perfect in the S4 category on the weekend, outrunning Kris Dickson. Mike Parker gained the victory both days in the Open class, challenged by Carlen Granberg.

TaG Master welcomed two high-profile drivers to the series, as John Dixon and Jim Russell Jr. split the victories on the weekend. Dixon, an accomplished Master driver over the past several seasons, swept day one of the action. After Dixon laid down the fast lap in qualifying, Russell gave Dixon a strong challenge through the heat races and the main event. When the checkered flag waved each time, Dixon crossed the line first. Russell finished second to Dixon in the main event, with Chris Koster in third. Looking for a weekend sweep, Dixon started off day two at the top through qualifying and heat one. Russell broke up the sweep in heat two as he scored the win – and continued to run at the front through the main event to earn the victory over Dixon. Koster completed the podium.

The Midwest region has produced some talented drivers through the TaG Junior and Cadet ranks. Nicholas Martin and Nicholas Nufer could be the next drivers to rise to the top. Martin won all the proceedings in the TaG Junior division, outrunning Tony Petersen both days. Nufer swept the weekend in TaG Cadet, as he bested Garret Daughters and Ryan Joehl on Saturday. Joehl and Daughters swapped positions on Sunday.

The series will next travel to the famous Road America facility to contest Round 3 and 4 on the newly named Blain’s Farm & Fleet Motorplex circuit on June 30-July 1 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The series finale weekend is then set for August 17-19 at the popular New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana. For more information on the Midwest ProKart Challenge, be sure to visit http://www.superkartsusa.com/regional/midwest-pkc.html