2011 WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Round 2 – Kershaw, SC

The second round of WKA Man. Cup competition was held for the first time ever at the Carolina Motorsports Park. Day 1 saw Shinya in action in the Yamaha SuperCan Lite class and off to a good start by taking the 3rd spot in qualifying. His luck would run out in the Prefinal; however, as an incident on the start would knock Shinya all the way back to 11th in the first lap. He managed to work his way back up to 8th place to set where he would start in the Final. In the Final, Shinya would lose one spot on the start but over the course of the race, managed to gain back four positions to grab the last spot on the podium for 5th place.
Shinya then competed in the TAG Parilla Leopard class and was fortunate enough again to have NASCAR Cup stars Jamie McMurray and A.J. Allmendinger among the field of 33. This time in qualifying; however, Shinya was bested by one of the pros as he qualified in 4th, just behind Allmendinger. Shinya had a great run in the Prefinal and was able to finish in the 3rd position putting him in a great place to start the final. However, as TAG starts are often chaotic, Shinya was punted off the track on the start of the Final and after a long trip through the grass never letting off the gas, Shinya got back on in 14th. He knew he had a fast kart and was quickly working his way through the field when on lap 3, he was caught up in an incident with another kart going airborne and driving over him. The resulting bent tie rod and spindle ended his race.

Day 2 saw Shinya competing in his usual Komet Lite class and adding himself to the entries for TAG 2. After knowing he had a fast kart in Leopard the previous day but having suffered a DNF, Shinya wanted another chance to see what he could do. The TAG 2 class would be a little different, of course, due to the allowance of a variety of motor classes, but Shinya wanted to see how competitive he could be with his Parilla Leopard motor. First up was TAG 2, where Shinya again proved he was quick by qualifying 7th out of a field of 38 and was the highest qualifier in the class among those with the same motor (Parilla Leopard). In the Prefinal, Shinya would move up one spot to finish 6th, just behind Jamie McMurray in 5th and Allmendinger in 3rd. Shinya ran great lap times making him the fastest Leopard in the field and 3rd fastest overall. In the Final, more chaos in the first lap saw him off the track and getting back on in 13th position. He fought hard to move up during the race, but as is often the case in mid-pack, after gaining several positions, you end up in an incident which causes you to lose several positions again and have to start all over. Shinya was able to end up in 10th place at the end of the race. McMurray finished in 4th place with Allmendinger coming in 6th. A top ten finish in this extremely competitive class is still a good finish, but again, a bit frustrating when you feel you have a competitive kart.

The Komet Lite class ended with much better results. Despite qualifying in the 6th spot, Shinya was able to move up one spot in the Prefinal to put himself in the 5th spot on the grid for the start of the Final. In the Final he got a great start and was able jump into 2nd place, but as the race winner also got a great start and put a huge gap between him and the rest of the field, Shinya ran out of laps and was unable to catch him in time. Shinya was able to finish in 2nd place without challenge. It was a great finish to a successful weekend overall. Special thanks to the extra crew members Shinya was very fortunate to have this weekend with Uncle Donnie serving as Crew Chief and Aunt Renae running Team Support and Hospitality. You guys have no idea how much your help means and we can’t thank you enough! It was great that Grandpa and Grandma Hartsell as well as Uncle Donnie and Aunt Renae all from nearby Kannapolis, North Carolina, were also able to attend the WKA Man. Cup National Awards banquet for the 2010 National Points Champions. They were on hand to see Shinya being honored as the 2010 Yamaha Supercan Lite National Champion as well as his 2nd place finish in Komet Lite. WKA also honored Shinya by presenting him with the Senior Rookie of the Year award for having such a successful year and winning a National championship in his first year moving up to the senior class. It was a big surprise and a great honor to receive this award. Shinya took a moment at the end of his speech to extend his thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan in light of the massive earthquake and tsunami that had just struck Japan. Shinya was able to find out immediately that all of his family in Tokyo was safe. Needless to say, it was a challenging weekend trying to keep updated on the ongoing crisis in Japan. Our hearts are with the people in Japan and we wish them the best as they try to pick up the pieces and recover from this tragedy.

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