Stern wins first race of MD Varsity Karting Championship

The start

(Jessup, Maryland — February 3rd, 2015) Jemicy School's Brendan Stern held off Jackie Ding of Sandy Spring Friends School to take the checkered flag in the inaugural points-paying event of the Maryland Varsity Karting League.

With a blistering 18.36-second lap on the Autobahn Speedway Le Mans Course, Stern edged out River Hill's Zack Spicer for pole position prior to the race. Ding, who has competed in Skip Barber formula cars, would start third.

When the green fell, Stern jumped out to the lead, while Ding got past Spicer into the tight turn 1 left-hander. From there, the Sandy Spring driver began to apply relentless pressure on Stern. When asked if he was ever nervous about surrendering the lead to Ding, Stern told AutoRacing1 columnist Brian Carroccio, "a little bit; he had a lot more speed than me on the outside."

Ding actually did get past at one point, after light contact between the two. However, clinging to a tight inside line, Stern was able to repass the Sandy Spring driver two corners later, on his way to a flag-to-flag victory.

Ben Punsalan of River Hill completed the podium in third place. Wye River's Thomas Gunther was fourth. Leonidas Williams of Baltimore Lab School rounded out the top-5.

Perhaps, the most impressive drive of the evening came in the B-main. Kelam Amin started the B-main in fifth position after a disappointing qualifying effort. However, Amin would come through the field in the short 15-lap race to take the checkered flag. R.J. Connally, who started fourth and overtook two cars at the start finished second.

Laurent Williams of The Baltimore Lab School won the C-main from pole position.

Overall, 21 drivers from 11 schools competed Tuesday in this unique scholastic racing championship. League director Jordan Wallace noted that he was happy with the event, in particular the quality of the competition and clean driving of the competitors. Wallace noted that all drivers in the A-Main were within a second of each other in qualifying. Also, in a combined 45 laps over three heats there were only two 'local' yellow flags. Otherwise it was clean and green the whole way.

Race 2 of this inaugural season will be next Tuesday February 10th on the Monaco Circuit at Autobahn Speedway. Below are the final driver results from the race.


Pos Driver School
1 Brendan Stern Jemicy
2 Jackie Ding Sandy Spring Friends School
3 Ben Punsalan River Hill
4 Thomas Gunther Wye River
5 Leonidas Williams Baltimore Lab School
6 Seth Foley
7 Zack Spicer River Hill
8 Kelan Amin
9 R.J. Connally
10 Jimmy Feng Sandy Spring Friends School
11 Trey Conroy
12 Jacob Connors Old Mill
13 Brian Tuma Bowie High
14 Laurent Williams Baltimore Lab School
15 Kyle Bruther
16 Ben Jabin
17 Connor Phillips
18 Hunter Cestone
19 Tim Lee
20 I-Chien Hsieh
21 Kwante Stokes

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