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Midwest PKC Finishes 2012 Season at New Castle Motorsports Park
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 11:20
The 2012 Midwest ProKart Challenge came to an end on the August 10-12 weekend at the New Castle Motorsports Park in central Indiana. The 1-mile course, owned and designed by former IndyCar driver Mark Dismore, played host to rounds five and six of the 2012 championship chase. The finale event welcomed a number of new competitors to the series, boasting strong battles in the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, S5 Junior Stock Moto, TaG Master and TaG Cadet divisions.

Local drivers dominated the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto qualifying session on Saturday with Tim Hollowell scoring the pole position with a 1:03.566 lap time, edging out Kyle Ludwick and Eric Batt. Hollowell drove to the win in both heat races, the first over Ludwick with Joe Ruch up into the third position. The second saw Batt move forward to finish second with Nick Lougee following through for third. Capping off the sweep for the day, Hollowell posted the fast laps of the main event en route to the victory, his first of the season. Ludwick fought back to finish second with Jimmy Simpson rounding out the podium for an all New Castle driver podium. The following day saw the same driver at the top of the time sheets as Hollowell was quickest in Sunday qualifying, posting a similar lap to Saturday’s fast time. Batt was second with Cole Mathewson third, all within a tenth of each other. Hollowell led the way in heat one until he lost his chain, ending his race early and handing the lead over to Batt who went on to win over Mathewson and Simpson. After an early challenge from Mathewson, Batt went on to score the win in heat two with Ludwick up to second and Simpson finishing third until he was removed in tech for failing inspection, moving Lougee to third. Batt secured the lead once the feature race began and led all 20 laps to score the victory. Ludwick ran a close second for a double runner-up weekend with Hollowell, posting the fast laps of the race, climbing back up to third after his heat one DNF.

Erik Nelson and Collin Willis split the feature wins in the JD Byrider Racing-sponsored S5 Junior Stock Moto. Willis topped the charts in Saturday’s qualifying session, edging out Nelson by just 97-thousandths of a second. Nelson struck back in the heat races to score the win in both, leading to his fifth straight feature win of the season. Willis finished seven seconds back with Max Nufer earning his first podium finish of the year, standing on the third step. Nelson continued to show the way on Sunday, qualifying on the pole position and winning both heat races once again. The feature appeared to be his again as well until lap 14 when a rear axle issue forced him to retire early, ending his streak at five feature wins. This handed the lead and the victory to Willis for his first of the year. Nufer finished second for his best result on the year with Kyle Kennedy rounding out the podium. Ron Petersen completed the season sweep in the S4 Master Stock Moto category, outrunning Kris Dickson in the final two rounds of the year.

Jim Russell Jr. put in a dominant performance on the weekend to sweep both rounds of action, securing the series championship in the process. Russell qualified on the pole position Saturday with a 1:06.540-second lap, out-pacing Indy racer John Dixon and Ohio’s Brian McHattie. He then drove to wins of five and eight seconds in the heat races, earning a 14-second margin of victory in the feature ahead of Dixon and McHattie. Russell stood on the pole on Sunday, this time with Oklahoma driver Anthony Honeywell in second and McHattie in third. From there, Russell led the entire way to the final checkered flag. Dixon ran second in both heat races but ran into trouble in the feature race, leaving Honeywell to place second. Aaron Telitz ran uncontested on Saturday in TaG Senior - sponsored by Kart Star Motorsports - but Sunday brought on local driver Mick Gabriel, out running Telitz in the feature race. Tony Petersen was the lone TaG Junior driver on the weekend, securing the championship crown for the 2012 season.

The TaG Cadet category welcomed six new drivers to the series, led by Leonardo Stoia. The Ohio driver won both feature races on the weekend, preparing for the SKUSA SuperNationals in November. New York driver Anthony Gangi Jr. - third place finisher at the SKUSA SuperNationals in 2011 - was the top qualifier on Saturday, edging out Stoia for the pole position. Gangi however spun at the opening corner of heat one, allowing Stoia to take the lead and go on to score the win over Jack Miller and Jamie Williams. The order remained the same in heat two with Stoia edging out Miller at the line for the win. Holding the top spot to the checkered flag, Stoia earned the feature win Saturday over a charging Gangi with Miller in third. Gangi however was penalized for avoidable contact, moving back one spot to third and giving Miller the second step of the podium. Gangi’s name was at the top of the order in Sunday’s qualifying session with Stoia and Williams just off his pace. Stoia and Gangi swapped for the lead early, but Gangi prevailed with the heat one win. The same happened in heat two, this time with Stoia much closer at the line but Gangi still earning the win. The two broke away in the 14-lap feature with Gangi leading all but the final lap as Stoia was able to slip around for the victory. Gangi settled for second with Williams placing third.

The Open Shifter category rounded out the categories contesting the Midwest ProKart Challenge finale weekend. Alex Conlin won the feature race on Saturday over former SKUSA Great Lakes series director Terry Riggins in second and Tony Maliito in third. Sunday brought in former national shifterkart star David Carmody, out-running Conlin for the victory with Riggins in third.

With the 2012 season completed, the series officials will calculate the final championship standings and have them ready for publication in the coming days on the Superkarts! USA regional page. Be sure to check out http://www.superkartsusa.com/regional/midwest-pkc.html for the notice and for updates regarding the 2013 series plans.