In second senior start, 14-year-old George Wheeler wins Briggs Senior at GoPro

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — George Wheeler stopped Connor Yonchuk’s three-race winning streak at GoPro Motorplex’s Karting Challenge Saturday afternoon with a last-turn pass on Yonchuk to win the 15-lap Briggs Senior final.

The 14-year-old Wheeler won his first Briggs Senior final in his second start in the class after winning last year’s Briggs Junior championship and qualifying to advance early to the senior ranks per GoPro rules.

Briggs Sr winner George Wheeler, Connor Yonchuk P2 and Todd Baron P3
Briggs Sr winner George Wheeler, Connor Yonchuk P2 and Todd Baron P3

Wheeler, riding an MGM Espionage, started P2 next to pre-final winner Todd Baron, making a 48-year age gap between Baron, 62, and the young Holly Springs, N.C., racer.

The youngster jumped out to the early lead with Florida’s Dylan Amundsen settling into second ahead of 28 competitors. Yonchuk, who started fifth, moved past Baron into third and then overtook Amundsen for second and Wheeler for the lead at around the halfway mark. 

Yonchuk would lead the rest of the race until the final lap. With onlookers expecting Wheeler to make a move, he’d wait until the entry to the 11th and final corner, shooting to the inside of Yonchuk’s No. 99 MGM and making a clean pass. He’d lead coming out of turn 11 and sail to the victory by a 0.110-second gap over Yonchuk. 

Baron was a close third on his OTK with Victor Turner on a RedSpeed less than one second back of the winner in fourth. First-year senior driver Cam Burris recovered from a 15th-place finish in the pre-final to round out the top five in a solid drive. Amundsen was a kart-length back of Burris in sixth to make it four MGMs in the top six.

Click here for photos from Round 2 of the Karting Challenge.


Briggs Senior Heavy

After winning both senior finals at the Karting Challenge opener in February, Connor Yonchuk made it three in a row with a win in Saturday morning’s Briggs Heavy final. Yonchuk took an early lead from P1 starter Baron with Maryland’s Collin Miller following into P2. 

The two MGM drivers would push away from Baron and the rest of the field with Yonchuk edging Miller at the checkered in a side-by-side finish. The margin of victory was just 0.048 seconds. 

Derek Sokol would take third, Baron fourth and Jack Sukeena fifth in the 12-kart final.

Click here for photos from Round 2 of the Karting Challenge.

Briggs Junior

Briggs Jr finish with Katie Yonchuk getting the win (Jason Wheeler photo)
Briggs Jr finish with Katie Yonchuk getting the win
(Jason Wheeler photo)

Connor Yonchuk’s younger sister, Katie, scored an exciting Briggs Junior win during Saturday’s morning session. 

After riding third for most of the race behind Nitro Kart racers Spencer Conrad and Will Loller, Yonchuk overtook both drivers on the last corner to get the win on her No. 66 MGM. The triumph marked Katie’s first at GoPro Motorplex after several years of trying and a number of top fives.

In a finish with only 0.204 seconds separating first through fifth, Yonchuk crossed the stripe ahead of Loller, Christopher McKeithan, Conrad and Jared Clarke. Yonchuk’s MGM led four Nitro “lefty” karts in the top five.

Click here for photos from Round 2 of the Karting Challenge.

Briggs Cadet

Max Weiland and Lucas Palacio broke away from the rest of the 22-kart Briggs Cadet field and raced hard at the front throughout the 13-lapper. 

Carter McMurray and Tristan Murphy, riding P3 and P4, worked well together and caught the lead duo with only a couple laps to go. A two-kart race for the win turned into a four-kart battle with Weiland and his No. 120 Magik Kart coming out on top by a 0.186-second gap over McMurray’s CompKart. Murphy would settle for third with early leader Palacio slipping to fourth at the end. Rhys Bowman rounded out the top five, a little more than 2 seconds back of the winner.

Weiland’s triumph denied McMurray of opening the 2022 Karting Challenge with back-to-back wins in Briggs Cadet. McMurray would go on to win the IAME Swift final in the afternoon session.

Next up for GoPro’s Karting Challenge is round three Saturday, April 23. Round two of the United States Pro Kart Series (USPKS) is at GoPro April 28-May 1. 



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