Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gresham Grabs Karting Crown

Weekly and Touring Series
Champions battle on track.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Max Gresham added another trophy to his mantle on Wednesday after winning the Fourth Annual NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series Champions/Media Karting Challenge as Champions Week got into full swing.

Gresham, the reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, started dead last in the 14-kart field and took the lead with just under two minutes remaining in the 15-minute contest at Charlotte’s Victory Lane Indoor Karting that pitted the seven NASCAR champions in town for the week against members of the local media.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Gresham, the 18-year-old out of Griffin, Ga. “It was cool to race against the champions from the other series and it was even more cool to beat them.”

George Brunnhoelzl III, champion of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, finished second and was the race leader at a competition caution with five minutes remaining in the race.

“If we didn’t have that competition caution, then I might have been able to hold Gresham off because I had a bit of a lead,” said Brunnhoelzl. “After that, he was just too fast.”

The NASCAR Mexico Series presented by Toyota champion Germán Quiroga finished third after a spirited battle with Brunnhoelzl down the stretch.

After a one-hour practice session to get used to the karts and track, everyone got lined up for the main event. The championship race was a timed event. The seven fastest media members started up front, followed by the NASCAR champions, inverted from slowest to fastest based on their best times during practice.

The event is part of a weeklong series of special activities in the Charlotte area for drivers and track representatives leading up to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet on Friday, Dec. 9, and the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Saturday, Dec. 10. Both ceremonies along with a Red Carpet pre-show will be streamed live on in English, French and Spanish. Coverage will get underway at 5 p.m. ET each evening.

Among the champions Philip Morris, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion finished fourth followed by Greg Pursley (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West), Ron Silk (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and Scott Steckly (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series). Jeff Wackerlin of the Motor Racing Network finished fourth overall and was the top-finishing media member.

“Getting to the front wasn’t too bad,” Gresham said. “I was really concerned with getting around (Quiroga). He was hitting every line that he needed to, but I eventually got by.”

Gresham joins Brian Loftin (2009), Ryan Truex (2010) and Bobby Santos (2011) as winners of the Karting Challenge.

Later Wednesday evening, the series champions will be honored at a special dinner affair in The Great Hall within the NASCAR Hall of Fame complex.

By Shon Sbarra, NASCAR
December 7, 2011 - 5:41pm

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