SONOMA, CALIF. (July 13, 2003) -- Local racers Brett Buckwalter and Tom Dyer produced shocking victories in a the ICC (125cc Shifter) kart races this weekend (July 12-13) at the Snap-on Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow's Bridgestone Grand Prix of...
SONOMA, CALIF. (July 13, 2003) -- Local racers Brett Buckwalter and Tom Dyer produced shocking victories in a the ICC (125cc Shifter) kart races this weekend (July 12-13) at the Snap-on Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow's Bridgestone Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.
Buckwalter, a 20-year-old karting veteran from nearby Novato, Calif., passed karting star Jason Bowles in the last two turns to capture Sunday's ICC main event, while San Rafarl's Dyer, a former car racer, defeated teenage phenon Nick Halen to take Saturday's ICC Feature. The ICC field had 53 entries with 36 starters in each main.
In addition, Canada's Kevin Glover continued his ICA (100cc direct drive) domination with double main event wins on the fast and tight seven-tenths of a mile karting circuit at the popular Northern California racing complex.
On Sunday, Bowles assumed the lead on the last lap when Halen and Lorenzo Mandarino tangled on the final lap, eliminating them from contention. Bowles clipped the stationary kart of Mandarino, slightly damaging his CRG/TM/MG machine, leaving him prey to Buckwalter's attempt.
Buckwalter, who was one of the original Stars of Tomorrow finalists back in 2000, had been away from the national karting scene for sometime and his timing couldn't have been better.
"I think we had a chance to stand on the podium, but not on top of the podium," said the happy Buckwalter. "When a big race comes around on the hometown track I have to do it. I love racing and I love coming out and racing against the best in the country. We proved we can run right with them. I saw Halen and Mandarino collide and it was just what I was hoping for. That put me right behind Jason's bumper because he went off the track a little bit getting through it. We came out of the off-camber turn and I thought 'I have to do it here or it's not going to happen' and I just stuffed it in there."
After California teenager Alan Sciuto won the pole for the third consecutive Stars ICC race, it was a fierce battle at the front. At the start of the 26-lap final, Mandarino got away first, but Halen tore through the leaders and put his Birel/TM/Vega tires kart into the lead. Bowles, a Colorado winner, moved to third at halfway.
Halen and Mandarino battled wheel-to-wheel and the Carson City, Nevada driver lunged past Mandarino and headed towards a potential victory. Halen flew past the white flag a kart length ahead of Mandarino, but the two karts touched and became entangled, spinning both around.
Bowles, who took the Western Division point lead this weekend, looked poised to pick off the victory, but the clipping of Mandarino's kart seemed to give Buckwalter just what he needed.
In Saturday's main event, Dyer beat Halen after an exciting back-and-forth race in the ICC class. Bowles finished third, surviving a spin and battles with a slew of drivers to earn another podium finish. Graham Rahal, son of 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, finished fourth.
"I could see that I was staying with him," said Dyer. He was able to get out several kart lengths. Once things stabilized I knew we had a good shot at it. I slowly kept chipping away, chipping away. That's what this class seems to be about, track position and not making too many mistakes."
Glover led the Saturday's ICA main event flag to flag, bettering Landon Yee and Joshua Harris. All was not a breeze for the Burnaby, BC driver on this hot Sonoma day as he battled failing brakes nearly the entire race. He came back on Sunday to win his fourth straight Stars ICA feature, beating Joel Miller by less than a second.
"I made a change for the final," said Glover. I realized in the pre-final I had a little bit of a wrong setup. It was fast, but it wasn't good for the race. It made a big difference, but by lap six, I started losing my brakes. I managed to adjust my driving by throwing my body into the kart a little bit to slide under braking and it seemed to keep me in the lead. On Sunday, It was easier to drive because my brakes stayed consistent today but, as always on Sunday, the competition was tighter. I lost the lead a few times but just kept fighting back and it all worked out."
Sunday's ICC and ICA action was taped for broadcast on SPEED channel later in the year.
In other classes, it was dominatation by four drivers. Clark Sanchez-Figueras won his fifth and sixth consecutive Rotax Max races of the season. The 80cc Junior also saw a double winner in Justin Moon of Shingle Springs, Calif., with James Kennedy taking both features in the Junior Superbox class and Dylan Albinani scoring the double in the Grand Products Cadet class.
The next Stars of Tomorrow event is set for Trane Motor Speedway in Norway, Ill., on Aug. 1-3, for the third point race in the Eastern Division. The Western and Eastern Divisions will meet in the Stars of Tomorrow finale set for Nov. 1-2 at California Speedway as part of the Champ Car 500-mile race weekend.
The Champ Car 'Stars of Tomorrow' presented by RACER karting series is the official first level in CART's driver development system and an officially sanctioned series of WKA/SCCA Pro Racing. Founded by racing star Bryan Herta and now owned in conjunction with a group of racing veterans, including three-time CART champion and Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, the Stars of Tomorrow serves as the first step for the CART driver development ladder. Stars focuses on recognizing the skills of the drivers rather than the technology development within the machines, using FIA/CIK International standards. More information can be found at www.cartstars.com.
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