MENEZES STARTS OFF 2008 WITH VICTORY AT FLORIDA WINTER TOUR National championship runner-up warms-up with two podium finishes in Homestead HOMESTEAD, FL - (February 4, 2008) - One of the nation's top Junior drivers - Gustavo Menezes - competed...
MENEZES STARTS OFF 2008 WITH VICTORY AT FLORIDA WINTER TOUR
National championship runner-up warms-up with two podium finishes in Homestead
HOMESTEAD, FL - (February 4, 2008) - One of the nation's top Junior drivers - Gustavo Menezes - competed in his first event of 2008 season late last month, scoring a pair of podium finishes in the Junior Intercontinental A (JICA) category, including a big victory at the first round of the Florida Winter Tour - Group B weekend, which was run on the January 19-20 weekend. No stranger to the Tour or the Homestead-Miami Speedway karting facility in southern Florida, Menezes put himself at the forefront of this year's national championship contenders with his performance over the weekend. Once again teamed with Tony Kart USA, the young pilot looked very good in his '08 debut.
Beginning with a full day of practice on Friday, Menezes was among the fastest all day. When Qualifying came for Saturday's events, the 13 year-old was third overall. His first green flag of the year did not start out as planned when the Prefinal got underway. After getting the early lead in the opening lap, he went wide into turn five, allowing the train of the lead pack to go by and dropping him to seventh. With the challenge in front of him, he worked back up to fourth running the fastest lap of the race.
In the Final, Menezes again led early on until falling back to fifth by lap four. After working back up to third, he began running down the leaders who gapped him by roughly two seconds. In the second half of the race, Menezes had reached second spot and began battling with Jarvis Gennari. After a spirited battle between the two, Gustavo was unable to hold the runner-up spot, crossing the line in third.
Sunday would see an improvement for the Californian, even though Qualifying would be on a wet track. This challenging condition didn't slow Menezes down as he was second quickest in the session, starting the Prefinal from outside row one.
As the JICA field came up to the grid, many were tossing around the decision to stay on wet tires or put on the slick tires as the track was beginning to dry out. Choosing to run slicks would the right decision, as after falling back to fifth in the early laps to drivers on wets, the track came to Menezes and was in second by the halfway mark. With two laps to go, Menezes took over the top spot and went unchallenged to the win, giving him pole position for the main event.
Unlike the previous starts on the weekend, Gustavo got the jump on the field and never looked back to lead all 20 laps of the Final for his first victory of the 2008 season.
Menezes will now head to Italy for two test outings at Lonato with his European squad, Ward Racing, in preparation for the Winter Cup event in mid-February. Looking forward, Menezes is set to contend the European WSK series and will also be aiming for the Stars of Karting JICA title, running in the Western Division.