For the first time in several years, the wife and I made our way to Whynot Motorpsorts Park in Meridian MS this past weekend for the UAS Grand Nationals. The UAS is a grass roots movement of “old school” high horsepower karting that has enjoyed growth and success under the direction of Mark Bergfelt. To say that many of these guys aren’t “normal” would be an understatement, lol. But, the vast majority are passionate about horsepower, a lil off center, and a helluva lot of fun to hang out with!
Trying to put any kind of rationale on how the organization can pull 37 of these guys from all corners of the country for a meager purse, and less than half of that will show up for ten times the money, is baffling. But that’s what has happened.
Then we get to Whynot, and there are little to nothing in the way of “support classes”. Why? Our conversations with those in the know, say it’s communication. With only 3 classes in the line-up for the organization, to fill the gaps and the time, the local promoting contingency was counted on. But without details of what the organization was bringing to the table, the “locals” were kinda handcuffed when deciding what to do. But then again, this is something that we only get second hand information on, and may not be 100% accurate, but it was obvious that everyone wasn’t on the same page for much of the show.
Hosting the UAS Grands at a southern stock car track that draws thousands of speed junkie spectators each week would certainly bode well for this group of kart racers, or one would think so. We understand fully that karting is not a spectator sport, but c’mon, this is the UAS! The most powerful karts on the planet, not to mention some of the most intriguing machines a speed junkie will likely ever see! So, why was it not promoted as such, to put butts in the grandstands???? Seems like a missed opportunity at easy money to me, but maybe it’s just me. What if only 200 people showed up? That’s 200 bodies that would’ve likely needed drinks, hot dogs and hamburgers, etc. But I digress.
Why were there only ten clone racers (total for 4 classes!) in the house this weekend??? That’s not much support. Local promoter Johnny Brady was charged with being the race director, and sorta had it laid in his lap to pull the show together. Brady, in the past, has put on some fantastic events, so we know he can handle the chore. Unfortunately, without a clear understanding of where he had the freedom to run, he was simply placed in an un-winnable situation, and the results were not good.
Like many events, this one survived on pure quality action on the track. For all the shortcomings of the “show”, the guys and gals put on one helluva show for the fencehangers.
After a scoring issue in qualifying, the UAS and Limited UAS division were forced to make a second run, and Kingston TN’s Wes Snow took full advantage. Snow led the field of UAS racers to the green flag. The “field” was originally slated to be only 20 karts, decided through qualifying and heats, but with weather approaching, officials decided to start the 31 survivors.
Snow was fast all day long, but so were several other hot rods. But for Snow, everything seemed to come together for the feature, as he simply “walked away”. Unfortunately, his pace got him into lapped traffic early and often. Snow had everything under control until he caught the 37 machine of Michael Nicosia, who apparently couldn’t see that big ugly flagman with that big blue flag that has the orange stripe through it, ya’ll know, the flag that means there’s a race coming and you’re about to be in it!! Feeling the pressure from the Seay Hi-Performance mount of Robby Yow, Snow had to go. Snow forced his way to the inside of Nicosia heading into turn one, striking the stock car tire used as a track marker. Finally past the lapped machine, Snow was busy fending off Yow, but Yow fell off the pace a lap later.
With the attention focused on the front of the field, several racers were making their way into the mix. As the field settled down a lil after the halfway mark, Baileyton AL’s Buddy Anderson found himself in the second spot with Corey Payton and Eric Stansberry in tow. After falling back, Anderson admitted after the race, “I was give slap out!”
Snow sailed under the white flag with more than a half a straightaway advantage. As he sailed into turn one, something went south and he looped his steed to the high side. Before he could regain control and get headed in the right direction, Stansberry and Payton were sliding by on the low side. At the stripe, it was the Ultramax PhazeX of Stansberry, all the way from Battle Ground, Washington taking the checkers ahead of his buddy Corey Payton, followed by Mike Evans. Snow slipped out of the top ten.
While Stansberry celebrated with a jubilant crew, Snow was consoled by many. Snow explained that the contact with the tire in turn one knocked the nose loose on his machine, which didn’t help his efforts, but with class, he congratulated the winner, made no excuses, and laid no blame.
The Jr UAS and UAS Limited features were simply “The Evan Seay Show”. The young man from Chesnee SC saddled up, grabbed the pole in both classes, and left Mississippi with both wins.
In the Clone divisions, it was Ethan Edwards strolling to a pair of wins, taking Medium and Heavy over Devin Emfinger and John Laster. Caleb Kennedy and Matthew Henon put on a killer two kart race, with Kennedy taking the win in Jr 3, and Jared Saul beat Kennedy to the stripe for the Jr Pro win.
The bottom line is that this was still a pretty dang good show, but it could’ve been sooo much better. There just seemed to be a lot of “flying by the seat of the pants” stuff going on. However, I will go on record once again to state that Whynot Motorsports Park is one of only two stock car tracks that we’ve visited over the years that I feel is “kart worthy”. Rodney Wing and his crew understands that the racing surface needs to be prepped differently than with the cars, and more times than not, they have this place ready to rock and roll when the karts roll through the gates.
The UAS Grands are slated to be hosted by Arizona Kart Klub in Glendale AZ next year. With the dedication of guys like Stansberry to fly from that coast to get to Mississippi, it’ll be interesting to see who will make that long haul from this coast. If we’re welcome, we just might make the trip. It would be nice to visit the desert again.