The Route 66 Sprint Series – presented by MG Tires, Franklin Motorsports, Louisiana Grills and Mills Pallet – completed the 2022 season with the final two rounds contest at the Karting Circuit Autobahn. The kart track located inside the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois hosted Rounds Seven and Eight over the September 2-4 weekend. Following a hot and sunny day of racing on Saturday, a cold front moved in and provide cooler temperatures, however, brought along moisture to make for a challenging final day of racing to decide this year’s champions.
The Woltjer Racing Engines KA100 Senior class continued its run as the largest category of the season, welcoming 29 drivers to Autobahn with a handful battling for victories and the championship. Adam Maxwell opened the weekend with his second pole position of the year, edging out the field in qualifying with a 51.736. Round Three winner Alexander Kardashian was only four thousandths off with three-time winner Brandon Lemke not far off in third. Lemke was able to put himself at the front in the Prefinal, bringing Austin Jurs with him to finish 1-2 ahead of Kardashian. After getting shuffled to third on the opening lap of the Final, Lemke led the remainder of the main event for his fourth victory of the season. Lemke crossed the line 1.9 seconds ahead of Jurs with Kardashian grabbing third in front of Nicholas Terlecki with Race Liberante in fifth.
Qualifying for the final round was under wet conditions for KA100 Senior as Liberante came away with fast lap in the session, three tenths quicker than Lemke and Maxwell. Competitors were on dry MG Tires for the Prefinal, which saw some rain sprinkles fall as the race went on. Liberante took advantage of the pole position, driving wire-to-wire to the win but was removed from the results for utilizing improper tires. This moved Kardashian up to the pole position for the Final with Maxwell and Lemke second and third. The 14-lap Final was a battle to the end. Maxwell led the opening four laps before Kardashian took a turn. Both were shuffled down the order by the halfway point with Jurs, Lemke and Terlecki charging forward. Jurs and Terlecki each led until the final circuit. In the end, Terlecki was able to make a last lap, last corner move to secure his second victory of the season. Lemke came across in second with Jurs in third. Jurs would lose one spot for a pushback bumper, moving Mick Gabriel – who had fast lap of the race – into third while Emerson Reed completed the top-five.
Lemke finished out the season with six podium results over the eight rounds to secure the series championship by 60 points over Jurs. Kardashian ended third in the title chase, just 16 points ahead of Terlecki while Bryce Mersberger rounded out the top-five for the championship standings.
A total of 15 drivers took part in the Advance Design KA100 Junior category on the weekend. One driver was unable to compete – championship contender Avan Hanssen. Suffering a broken leg the weekend prior to the Autobahn event, Hanssen acquired the service of Cameron Brinkman to compete as her substitute driver on the weekend. Brinkman would have to start at the tail of the field in both Prefinal events in order to earn points for Hanssen. Cash Perkins secured his first pole position in the category, laying down a 52.436 lap to clear the field by two-tenths of a second. Austin Olds, another championship contender, was second and took over in the Prefinal until Brinkman was able to knife his way forward and into the lead by lap six, going on to take the race win. Brinkman went wire-to-wire in the 14-lap Final to secure the first season victory for Hanssen. Olds drove to second, edging out Perkins, Henry Wheeler, and Lukas Klimek.
Wheeler was positioned at the front of the field for the Prefinal with Brinkman, who set fast lap in qualifying, was moved to the tail of the field per the sub-driver rule. Wheeler led the opening three laps until a battle for the top spot occurred. Olds would win the battle, holding off Klimek and Zirves all while Brinkman was able to get up into fourth thanks to the fighting up front. Brinkman was up to third on the opening lap with Olds and Klimek showing the way after the green flag. By lap three, Brinkman had finally reached the front of the field and from there, drove away to a 2.4-second victory to give Hanssen a second straight victory. Olds recorded his second straight runner-up result ahead of Klimek as Wheeler and Zirves completed the top-five.
With the two victories at Autobahn along with three other podium finishes, Hanssen secured the KA100 Junior class championship by 55 points over Olds, who had four total podium results in 2022. Wheeler ended the standings in third ahead of Zirves with Ava Dobson in fifth.
The Perkins All-Star Briggs 206 Sportsman class was the second largest of the weekend at 18 drivers. Earning his first pole position of the season, Landon Buher recorded a 58.555 lap to sit atop of the time sheet ahead of AJ Stoner and Ezekiel Haight. Stoner, Buher, and Brady Schad all took a turn at the point in the Prefinal with Stone earning the win on the last lap. All three led early in the Final until lap four when Buher took over. He led the remaining laps, holding off a last lap charge by Stoner to earn the victory by 60 thousandths of a second. Schad was a close third at the line while Christopher Youtsey and Brayden Domont – who recorded fast lap of the race – were fourth and fifth.
Schad opened the Sunday action on a wet track with fast time to record his second pole position of the season. Switching back to dry MG Tires, Schad remained up front in the Prefinal, leading all 10 laps while holding off Buher at the end by 56 thousandths. Buher was the only driver to battle Schad for the top spot in the Final and try to break up the round sweep. Schad led the opening four laps before Buher took over the point for five laps. Schad returned to the point, holding off Buher in the final five laps to claim his third victory of the season. Domont recorded his best finish of the season, posting fast lap of the race to finish on the podium in third. Youtsey duplicated his result from Saturday in fourth while Stoner ended up fifth.
Six straight podiums to close out the year, including three wins, helped Schad earn the Briggs 206 Sportsman title. Buher finished out 67 points short, earning six podium results of his own. Youtsey ended up third ahead of Ezekiel Haight and Stoner.
Malachi Haight was one of three drivers to record double wins on the weekend, earning both victories in the One Powersport Briggs 206 Junior category. Haight cleared the field by six-tenths of a second in qualifying to open Saturday. He would go wire-to-wire in both the Prefinal and Final for his first victory of the season. Nagisa Yoshikawa drove to second with Jackson Wolny in third. Logan Wackerlin and Blake Sarcia rounded out the top-five.
Jack Sutton broke up the perfect weekend for Haight in Briggs 206 Junior by recording the fast lap of a wet qualifying session to open Sunday’s action. Ending the session in fourth, Haight was able to get up to the lead in the Prefinal by lap three, going on to score the win. Haight then led all 14 laps of the Final to secure his second victory on the weekend. Wackerlin improved to second with Yoshikawa in third. Wolny was fourth as Jocelyn Schlenker finished in fifth.
Ava Hanssen went into the series finale weekend with enough points to clinch the championship in Briggs 206 Junior, thus did not compete with her broken leg. Haight’s double-win weekend helped to secure the second spot in the championship ahead of Wolny. Wackerlin and Cody Linstrom completed the top-five.
Laurentiu Mardan recorded his third double win weekend of the season in the Franklin Douglas KA100 Masters division. Mardan went wire-to-wire on Saturday, setting fast time in qualifying before leading every lap of the Prefinal and Final to earn his fifth victory of the season. Cristian Vomir was second with Randy Klimek rounding out the podium. Roman Padans and Chris Surdenik completed the top-five. The perfect weekend was ended in qualifying on Sunday when Mardan took to the track with the incorrect tires, thus his times were removed and Padans earned the pole position for the Prefinal. Mardan was back to the point in the Prefinal by the halfway point, taking the race win. From there he led all 14 laps of the Final to secure the victory. Padans held off Klimek for the runner-up spot as Jeff Bays was moved up to fourth after Vomir was penalized one position for a bumper penalty.
Mardan’s six victories on the season put him atop of the championship podium, ahead of Padans by 251 points. Vomir was a close third in the standings while Klimek and Jerome Pettke completed the top-five on the season.
Cameron Marsha made it six wins on the season to open the weekend at Autobahn for the Quickswim IAME Micro Swift class. Marsha was able to sweep Saturday, opening up with fast time in qualifying to clear the 16-driver field by over two-tenths of a second. Marsha led the entire Prefinal but slipped back to fifth on the opening lap of the Final. By lap seven, Marsha was back to the front and drove away to two-second victory. AJ Stoner drove to second as Tucker Trieb held off Holden Harder and Slaton Baldock for the third.
Sunday for the Micro Swift class came with a new name at the top as Stoner secured fast time in the qualifying session. Marsha did not record a lap and started the Prefinal in 16th. Stoner took advantage and led every lap of the Prefinal and Final to record his first sweep and victory of the season. Marsha fought forward all day, placing seventh in the Prefinal and up to second for the Final, behind Stoner by 2.7 seconds. Jacob Modjeski ended up third with Tucker Trieb and Christopher Youtsey completing the top-five.
The six victories over the eight rounds helped to put Marsha at the top of the Micro Swift championship podium. Modjeski ended up placing second on the year with Stoner in third. Harder and Youtsey completed the point standings top-five.
It was a battle all weekend long between the Tovo brothers in the DNJ Intermodal Services Mini Swift category. Jackson Tovo struck first, setting fast time of 54.800 in qualifying, edging out Ethan Tovo by 61 thousandths. Ethan led the final nine laps of the Prefinal to take the win as Jackson slipped to fifth. He would bounce back in the Final, jumping up to second on the opening lap and taking the lead by the end of lap two. From there, he drove away to a five-second victory. Landon Buher drove to second with Acen Dramaliev beating out Brady Schad and Benym Abernethy for third. Ethan was unable to complete a lap, placing last.
Jackson Tovo continued his run at the front in Mini Swift on Sunday, securing fast time in qualifying ahead of Dramaliev by 74 thousandths of a second. Ethan was third in the session and led the majority of the Prefinal until Jackson took away the win on the final lap. Ethan returned to the point on the opening lap of the Final and never looked back, driving away to a 2.4-second advantage for his third victory of the season. Schad edged out Jackson at the line for second with Buher the same to Abernethy for fourth.
The three victories over eight rounds, including three other podium results put Ethan Tovo on top of the Mini Swift standings to end the season. Dramaliev finished the season second, 75 points back with Buher in third. Jackson Tovo and Abernethy complete the top-five in the championship chase.
Adam Maxwell was able to record his third sweep of the Mill-Rite Briggs 206 Medium class during Saturday’s action at Autobahn. Maxwell cleared the field by eight tenths in qualifying, however, the field closed up in the Prefinal. Connor Fasching put on the pressure and was only seven hundredths short of stealing the win. In the Final, Maxwell led the first nine laps before Fasching took the lead for the first time. On the final circuit, it was Maxwell that came out with the victory, winning by 35 thousandths at the line. Brayden Johnson was third with Harbir Dass and Jayelynn Kerr completing the top-five.
It was multiple drivers on Sunday fighting for the top spot. It began with Fasching setting fast time in qualifying, quicker by 59 thousandths ahead of Maxwell. Kerr added his name to the fight, as he eventually took the top spot from Fasching in the Prefinal. However, Maxwell secured the race win on the final lap to lead the field to the green flag in the Final. Maxwell led most of the main event. Kerr took over the lead coming to the white flag and held off Maxwell on the final circuit, crossing the line first by 12 thousandths for his first series victory. Fasching drove to third ahead of Johnson and Dass.
Maxwell completed the championship run in Briggs 206 Medium with eight straight podiums, including four runner-up results. Johnson ended the season in second with Kerr finishing third. Fasching and Drew Szuch completed the top-five.
The Route 66 Sprint Series would like to thank all the competitors, families, teams, sponsors and supporters for another amazing season in 2022.