The Route 66 Sprint Series presented by MG Tires and Franklin Motorsports contested the third event of the 2019 calendar over the July 12-14 weekend.
Rounds Five and Six – presented by Dog Guard: Out of Sight Fencing – were held at the CTECH Manufacturing Motorplex inside the historic Road America facility in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Perfect weather conditions greeted the competitors and teams for the midway point of the championship chase, with a number of drivers adding to their win totals in 2019 and others grabbing that first victory.
Josh Hotz extended his win streak to three in the 33-driver Bromberek Racing KA100 Senior division thanks to a double win weekend in Elkhart Lake. Hotz scored the main event victory each day, however, neither were a sweep of the round. Hotz began Round Five in the third spot after qualifying as Stephen Dial grabbed his first pole position on the year, edging out Alexander Kardashian by 23 thousandths of a second. Kardashian jumped out to the lead to begin the Prefinal until Hotz took over on lap four. The Round Four victor went on to win the race. Hotz was then hounded by Kardashian in the Final, losing the lead for a lap near the halfway point until Hotz secured the position. From there, Hotz pulled out to a two-second advantage for the victory. Michael Geringer returned to the seat for his first start of 2019, advancing to the runner-up spot ahead of Kardashian. Tristan Farber posted fast lap of the race to fourth with Ben Hewitt a close fifth.
Kardashian opened up Sunday’s action with fast lap in qualifying as Hotz was second. They ran 1-2 in the Prefinal, with Hotz moving up to the top spot. Kardashian was shuffled back to fifth at the start of the Final, while Matthew Northrop took over as the top challenger against Hotz. They exchanged the lead a few times in the opening laps until Hotz secured the spot. He would lead the last 13 laps of the race for his third straight victory. Geringer charged late with fast laps of the race, placing runner-up once again. Kardashian pushed Northrop back to fourth in the closing circuits with Farber completing the top-five.
The BBS Technologies KA100 Junior class added a fifth different winner on the year with Bryce Mersberger sweeping the action in Round Five. Mersberger cleared the 17-driver field in qualifying by over a tenth of a second. Point leader Lucas Smalec and Round Three victor Nicholas Terlecki challenged for the win in the Prefinal as Mersberger secured the win with a last lap move. Zach Collins became the top challenger for Mersberger in the Final, taking the lead but for only one lap. Mersberger led 15 of the 16 laps, including the last, to claim his first victory of 2019. Collins finished a close second with Smalec in third. Adam Maxwell was fourth with Dru Lyda posting fast lap of the race toward his fifth place result.
Collins opened up Round Six action with fast lap in qualifying ahead of Mersberger and Terlecki. Collins and Mersberger swapped the lead a number of times in the first half of the Prefinal until Terlecki took control, going on to the win. Mersberger challenged Terlecki throughout the Final until Terlecki secured the top position on lap 11, leading the remainder of the race for his second victory of the season. Mersberger settled for second for a third podium finish on the year. Collins won the battle for third over Smalec and Round Four winner Joshua Carlson.
The IAME X30 victories were swept on the weekend. Brandon Lemke extended his win streak in the Merlin Nation X30 Senior class, sweeping the entire weekend. Lemke drove to an 11-second advantage in the main event on Saturday over Kyle Thome and Dylan Gerding. The gap grew to 22 seconds on Sunday with Gerding up to second and Hunter Peri in third. Nathan Nicholson grabbed both victories in the Woltjer Racing Engines X30 Junior class. Round Two winner Adam Maxwell set the pace early in both days, posting fast time in qualifying and winning the Prefinal. Maxwell retired early in the Final on Saturday, allowing Nicholson to run unchallenged to the victory. Nicholson jumped to the lead in Sunday’s main event and held off Maxwell for the full 16 laps for his third win of the season.
Joshua Carlson was able to add two more victories to his win total in the Mills Pallet Inc. Yamaha Junior division. Carlson swept the action in Round Five over Charlie Mohr. Sunday for Round Six saw Carlson set fast time in qualifying with Mohr winning the Prefinal. The two battled back and forth in the main event, with Carlson grabbing the checkered flag for his third victory of the season.
Two drivers stood out in the Allison Racing Engines Mini Swift category for Round Five. Two-time winner Cameron Brinkman set fast time in qualifying and was beat out for the Prefinal win by Round Three victor Ava Dobson. Brinkman led the first 14 laps of the Final until Dobson worked past. She held on to score her second victory of the season, beating Brinkman by a tenth of a second at the line. Austin Jurs completed the podium with Dane Sensel in fourth.
Brinkman set the pace on Sunday for Round Six, posting the fast lap in qualifying and driving away to the win in the Prefinal. Brinkman retired after two laps, allowing for a group of drivers to battle for the victory. Jurs took the point right away, and led to the white flag. Sensel was able to put himself in second and complete a last lap move to grab the top spot, earning his first victory of the season. Jurs settled for second, his fourth straight podium finish, with Dobson in third.
The One Powersports Micro Swift class was a battle throughout the weekend. Aryton Grim set a blistering lap in qualifying to clear the 13-driver field by over half a second. Ava Hanssen attacked right away in the Prefinal, scoring the win over Grim with Austin Olds in third. Grim had an issue after the halfway point of the main event, and retired. That left Hanssen fighting with Olds for the victory. Leading the final eight laps, Olds was able to capture his first victory of the season. Hanssen and Indy Ragan completed the podium with Levi Copass fourth and Riley Andrusis in fifth.
Hanssen was able to set the pace on Sunday, posting fast time in qualifying and leading the majority of the Prefinal for the win. Copass and Grim battled with Hanssen and were there again in the Final. Hanssen led the first nine laps before Copass took control. Levi led the final six laps, pulling out to a 1.2-second advantage for the third victory of the season, winning one round at all three tracks in 2019. Ragan jumped up to finish second ahead of Grim with Dane Van Dyck and Caleb Tarter completing the top-five.
The Route 66 Sprint Series will host Rounds Seven and Eight of the 2019 calendar on August 16-18 as the program heads to the Concept Haulers Motor Speedway in Norway, Illinois.