Route 66 Sprint Series Event Coverage
Route 66 Sprint Series Opens 2015 Season in Springfield
The 2015 season for the Route 66 Sprint Series opened up at the Mid-State Kart Club facility in Springfield, Illinois over the April 10–12 weekend. Perfect weather conditions greeted 274 total entries for two rounds of racing, the largest event ever at the Mid-State circuit with the celebration of the 15th year of the Route 66 program finally kicked off. Ten categories ranging from Kid Kart to Leopard Senior took part on the weekend, with all the competitors beginning their chase for their respective championship.
The largest category of the weekend was the RLV Yamaha 100 Senior class with Brandon Lemke sweeping both days. Making his Senior debut, Lemke set the fast lap in qualifying and went on to win the Prefinal and Final on Saturday, and again on Sunday. Three of the four races were wire-to-wire victories, with the Sunday Final the only time Lemke found himself not in first place for a few laps. Saturday’s Final was 3.5-second advantage after 20 laps ahead of a great fight for second that saw Killian Keaveny take the spot over Brooks Davis and Eric Bartsch, with Collin Griffin fifth. Keaveny was able to lead for the opening circuits in the main event on Sunday, before Lemke took over the position and went on to take the victory by five seconds. Davis won the battle for the runner-up spot ahead of Bartsch, Josh Fierke and Keaveny.
The KartLift Yamaha 100 Rookie division eclipsed the 20 driver mark as well, with Ben Chejfec and Aidan Hinds splitting the victories. Hinds began Saturday’s round as the top qualifier by two tenths, and went on to win the Prefinal by edging out Lucas Smalec at the line by 18 thousandths. The two were joined at the front in the Final by Ben Chejfec and Conner Churchill. The racing was close, with Hinds leading the first six laps until Smalec and Chejfec fought for the position. At the line, Chejfec was able to score the victory over Smalec. Churchill was third but penalized for contact, dropping him to seventh. That moved Hinds to third with Camrin Cass and Zach Collins completing the top-five. Keegan Bosch started out Sunday as the top driver in qualifying, nipping Smalec for the first lap by two thousandths. Hinds was able to prevail in the Prefinal with a last lap advancement to the front, scoring the race win. It was a three driver fight in the Final, with Nick Snell progressed forward and led the first 11 laps. Hinds took over and led the remaining laps for the victory. Snell was a close second, coming across the line just 52 thousandths back. Chejfec, Smalec, and Churchill completed the top-five.
Michael Paterno made his Woltjer Racing Engines Yamaha 100 Junior debut in Springfield, making it a memorable one with two wins on the weekend in the 20-driver field. Paterno qualified third to start the Saturday round of competition, lined up behind fellow Junior rookies Spike Kohlbecker and Stephen Dial as all three were within 27 thousandths of each other. Paterno led from lap three of the Prefinal to the checkered flag and showed the way in 19 of the 20 laps in the Final for the victory. Dillon Schwanbeck made a late-race run at Paterno, taking over the lead at the white flag. Paterno responded on the final circuit, beating Schwanbeck to the line. Kohlbecker finished a close third with Maks Kowalski and Dial all within a half-second of the leader. Sunday was very similar, with Paterno third after qualifying, this time behind Kowalski and Schwanbeck. Paterno made another last lap move for the Prefinal win, beating Schwanbeck by 59 thousandths, and then held him along with Dial off on the last circuit of the 20-lap Final for the victory. Kohlbecker and Kowalski completed the top-five.
All four of the Yamaha divisions at the series welcomed big fields, including the Switch Racing Engines Yamaha 100 Cadet just missing the 20-driver mark. Both days saw last year’s vice champion Sam Mayer score the main event victory. Mayer swept Saturday’s round of racing, leading wire-to-wire from qualifying through the Prefinal and Final. Taylor Maas was second, back by two seconds with Parker Abed in third. Kyle Thome won the battle for fourth with Brian Rettig in fifth. Kyle West ruined the perfect score for Mayer, coming away from Sunday qualifying with the fast time. Mayer was fourth in the order, but put himself at the point on the final lap of the Prefinal for the race win. The Final was a three driver fight with West and Tristan Farber both taking the lead from Mayer at one point during the 20-lap. Mayer would come away with the lead and score the victory, with West placing second. Abed pushed Farber back to fourth as Aidan Harrington ran fifth.
Michael Geringer and Colton Ramsey split the victories in the Franklin Motorsports Leopard Senior category on the weekend. Geringer, the vice-champion in 2014, qualified second after missing Friday practice as Brandon Collins took the pole position by just 17 thousandths of a second. Geringer went on to win the Prefinal before a green-to-checkered victory in the 20-lap Final, establishing a two-second advantage. Kindra Hurlbert won the battle for second ahead of Collins with Austin Erikson fourth and Colton Ramsey fifth. Geringer then put on the mechanic gloves on Sunday to work with Anthony Granata, helping him to secure the pole position in qualifying. He along with Collins and Ramsey were within a tenth of each other. Ramsey got the jump on the other two, going on to lead all 12 laps of the Prefinal. Granata and Hurlbert joined Ramsey at the front in the Final, as the trio fought all 20 laps for the victory. With a last lap pass, Ramsey secured his first series victory, edging out Hurlbert and Granata. Collins and Armin Cavkusic completed the top-five.
The CKT Racing Engines Leopard Junior welcomed two new winners to the category as Emily Hurlbert and Alex Bertagnoli stood atop of the podium on the weekend. Bertagnoli made his Junior debut on the weekend, qualifying first and scoring his first race win in the Prefinal. Hurlbert kept it close throughout the day, and waited until the final lap of the main event to make her move. It paid off and she scored her first class victory. Bertagnoli settled for second, with Porter Weisensel, William Stone and Aaron Bromberek in the top-five. On Sunday, Bertagnoli picked up the pace as he completed a round sweep to record his first Junior victory. After qualifying first, he won the Prefinal by over two seconds, and then five seconds in the Final. Hurlbert ran second with the rest of the top-five the same order as Saturday.
The popular Hollywood Crane Service Kid Kart division was dominated on the weekend by Michigan driver Adam Brickley, who swept both rounds of racing. Jacob Ewing kept the pressure on throughout Saturday, with the Prefinal ending in a photo finish with the win going to Brickley. The two swapped the lead a number of times in the Final, until Brickley secured the spot and established a two-second gap by the checkered flag. Sofia d’Arrigo finished third with Indy Ragan fourth and Logan Julien fifth. Brickley qualified first again on Sunday and led wire-to-wire in the Prefinal. Ewing fought his way forward in the Final, challenging Brickley to the checkered flag. At the line, it was Brickley by just over one-tenth. d’Arrigo was third once again with Ragan and Julien matching their Saturday results as well.
The Express Karts & Parts Komet category welcomes drivers 13-years of age and older, and saw young Stephen Dial double up in the win column. Dial swept Saturday’s round of racing, earning the feature victory by over three seconds ahead of Ryan Weyer. Roman Padans was third with Michael Paterno fourth and Emanuel Richmond fifth. Weyer broke up the perfect score for Dial, earning fast time in qualifying. Dial came back to win the Prefinal and then wire-to-wire in the Final. Padans was second place, four seconds back with Weyer a close third. Delaney Keaveny placed fourth with Richmond once again in fifth.
Kyle Thome and Sam Mayer each won on the weekend in the Haddock LTD/Comet Kart Sales Komet Cadet class. Mayer set the pace early on Saturday, posting fast lap in qualifying and leading all 12 laps of the Prefinal. He continued to lead in the Final, until Thome ran him down and executed a last lap pass for the victory. Aidan Harrington was third, with James Lynch fourth and Tristan Farber fifth. On Sunday, Farber was able to edge out Mayer for the fast time in qualifying. From there, Mayer got the best of Farber in the Prefinal for the win, and then led 19 of 20 laps in the Final for the victory. Thome ran second with Lynch pushing Farber back to fourth with Parker Abed fifth, all within six tenths of each other at the finish line.
The Tony Kart Micro Rok category made its debut at the Route 66 Sprint Series, featuring drivers 7-10 years of age with Vortex Mini Rok engines. Aidan Hinds and Keegan Bosch dominated the weekend in the new division. Bosch was quickest in qualifying and won the Prefinal to begin Saturday. Hinds was right there, and was able to edge out Bosch for the first victory by 57 thousandths after a hard fought 18-lap battle. Conner Churchhill was third with Camrin Cass and Elliot Cox making up the top-five. Sunday was Bosch’s turn at the top of the podium. Hinds qualified first but Bosch score the Prefinal win. Bosch went green-to-checkered in the Final for his first class victory. Hinds was second with Cass in the third over Churchill and Cox.
The Route 66 Sprint Series would like to thank all the competitors and families who traveled to Springfield, along with all the series sponsors and supporters for the 2015. The second stop of the season is scheduled for June 12–14 at the challenging US Air Motorsports Raceway in Shawano, Wisconsin. Pre-registration for the event is now open.