CONCORD, N.C. – WKA PR – Carl Barnes Photo – The 2014 Mazda / Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup Series will come to a close this weekend at New Castle Motorsports Park, where national championships will be decided for the Man Cup’s 12 points divisions at the McLaughlin Motorsports Nationals.
This weekend will mark the series’ second stop at New Castle in 2014. The Man Cup Series raced NCMP’s longest course – the Iron Man – in August and will return this weekend to run Course #19, a layout that short cuts the main straightaway and utilizes a chicane on the straightaway before heading back through the traditional NCMP National course.
Twelve national titles will be on the line and many drivers have a shot at their first national titles, while others are looking to repeat and some have a legitimate chance a multiple championships.
SPORTSMAN / KID KART
PCR racer John Paul Southern Jr. is in the market for three championships and a sweep of the full-blow Man Cup Sportsman divisions. Southern enters the McLaughlin Motorsports Nationals leading the standings in Kartwerks / Praga Chassis Cadet, MRP Birel / RacingRVs.com Yamaha and Komet Sportsman. Comfortable leads in each class’s standings could spell a triple championship season for the Ohio driver in the Man Cup Series.
Jason Welage and Sam Mayer are closest to Southern in Cadet and Yamaha. Welage enters the weekend second in Cadet while Mayer is third. The positions are swapped in Yamaha as Mayer has one win on the season and is second in the standings. Welage is third, ahead of Maks Kowalski and Giovanni Bromante.
One of the closest points battles to keep an eye on this weekend is Comet Kart Sales / New Jersey Sprint Series Yamaha Rookie Sportsman.
New Jersey’s Connor Ferris and Pennsylvania’s Luca Mars enter the weekend separated by only three points when the drop is calculated. Ferris opened the season in a big way with sweep of the Rookie finals at Daytona. Just when it looked like Ferris would dominate the season, Mars proceeded to win the next three Rookie main events (two at Kershaw and Saturday at MRP) before Ferris won again on Sunday at MRP.
The two racers split the Rookie mains at New Castle in August and now look to the season closer this weekend to settle the score and decide the championship. We’ll watch the Ferris / Mars battle throughout the weekend, and also see if any of the other Yamaha Rookie entrants can break through for their first win of the 2014 Man Cup season.
Two drivers have a shot to become the first-ever Manufacturers Cup CRP Racing Kid Kart national champion. Nick Snell and Elliot Cox are locked in a close points battle with Snell leading Cox by just 45 points with two finals left. Snell has three wins on the season – including two at New Castle in August – while Cox won both rounds at Carolina Motorsports Park in April. Sebastian Wheldon sits third, Benjamin Maier fourth and Jacob Putnam fifth.
The Woltjer Racing Engines Yamaha Junior class has a close point battle between 2013 WKA Triple Crown champion Brandon Lemke and Zach Holden. With the drop calculated Lemke enters the weekend only 11 points ahead of Holden.
If Holden wins both days, he should lock up the championship no matter what Lemke does. If Lemke finishes ahead of Holden on Saturday, assuming both finish in the top five, it’d be tough for Holden to overtake Lemke in the standings unless Lemke had a DNF Sunday. We’ll keep an eye on the battle throughout the weekend in New Castle.
Lemke has the TSRacing.com / Arai Helmet / Butler Built Parilla Junior championship wrapped up. The Wisconsin racer has earned a trip to France for the IAME Championships via his Man Cup Parilla Junior championship.
Komet Junior has been lightly attended in 2014 yet Tazio Torregiani and Alexander Kardashian enter the weekend close in the standings. Kardashian leads over Torregiani, however, if Tazio wins both days at New Castle he should overtake Kardashian and score the championship. Kardashian will need to keep the No. 07 Haase in his sights all weekend in order to secure his first WKA national championship.
Points are close in Franklinkart.com / HYTORC Parilla Senior. Florida’s Dustin Stross has the lead over Pennsylvania’s Mark Boos, but by only 67 markers. Boos will need to win at least once this weekend and hope Stross has some bad luck. That hasn’t been the case in 2014 for the Tony Kart pilot, however, as Stross has been nearly unstoppable in the Man Cup Series since Kershaw. Disregarding the Daytona opener, Stross has won four out of six times between Kershaw, MRP and New Castle.
Boos scored a big win on day one at Daytona and then finished second on day two. But since the Tony Kart racer – who began the season on a Top Kart – has struggled at times. He did pick up the win on Saturday at New Castle in August to keep him in the championship hunt with Stross.
Stross and Boos are separated by 70 points in Grand Products TaG Senior.
When the drop is calculated, Patrick Olsen leads Austin McCusker by just 15 points in Zero Error Racing Senior Piston Port. Both Olsen and McCusker have already won national championships and we’ll see who comes out on top after this weekend.
New York’s Scot Carapellatti has the TaG Masters championship locked up over his brother, Kim Carapellatti.
New Castle gates will be open Thursday for parking. Registration and pre-tech will be offered Thursday afternoon from 3 to 6pm. Friday will offer a full day of practice with national racing Saturday and Sunday.
Go to http://worldkarting.com/downloads/eb-2014/newcastle_mc_oct.pdf for the McLaughlin Motorsports Nationals entry blank, which includes the weekend schedule, directions, lodging and other important information.
PHOTO: Zach Holden ( No. 2) and Brandon Lemke are locked in a close battle for the Man Cup’s Yamaha Junior Championship (Carl Barnes Photo).