PKC-S: Series Fontana event report

FELKINS AND MENEZES SCORE WINS AT KAL-GARD GRAND PRIX Perfect weather and a deep paddock highlight start of ProKart Challenge South 2010 season FONTANA, CA (January 30, 2010) -- The 2010 edition of the Superkarts! USA program was kicked...

FELKINS AND MENEZES SCORE WINS AT KAL-GARD GRAND PRIX
Perfect weather and a deep paddock highlight start of ProKart Challenge South 2010 season

FONTANA, CA (January 30, 2010) -- The 2010 edition of the Superkarts! USA program was kicked off in fine style at CalSpeed Karting this past weekend when the ProKart Challenge South officials played host to 95 drivers at the Kal-Gard Grand Prix in Fontana, Calif. SKUSA's new class structure and licensing program was finally debuted to the country, and the resulting grids proved to be extremely successful. The series also enjoyed a solid turnout in the TaG Senior category, which bodes well for the season. The two winners of the headline classes were Brett Felkins in S1 and Gustavo Menezes in TaG Senior, while Fernando Diaz and Jason Campbell were impressive in dominant outings at the front of the G1 and S4 classes, respectively.

The debut of the new S1-S2-S3 ladder of progression in the Stock Moto class was a definite success, with 22 drivers taking to the track separated through the three levels of racing. As these numbers grow through the season, the competition will only grow stronger and stronger. In the headline S1 Pro Stock Moto class, a few expected entrants were not able to make the trek to CalSpeed, leaving six talented drivers to begin the year with some heated competition. Clinton Schoombee (CRG) came out of the gate strongly in taking the pole during qualifying, edging Brett Felkins (Intrepid) and Tommy Thompson (Energy) for the inside of the front row for the opening moto. Schoombee and Felkins would split the two heat races, running nose-to-tail in each one, swapping the lead on several occasions. In the 20-lap main event, Felkins would step up his game to score the big victory to start off the new year. Schoombee would end up going for a wild up-and-over ride late in the race after making contact with one of the curbing tires, which vaulted Brad Dunford (CRG) to a strong second place finish ahead of Peter Abba (GP). Thompson would finish fifth after falling well back following a turn one altercation with Jimmy McNeil (CRG), putting Schoombee in fifth in the final tally. It was a solid start to the S1 program, which will feature the finest shifterkart pilots in the SKUSA community.

The S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto class was particularly exciting, as the future stars of SKUSA put on a great show all day. A pair of young guns fought it out in qualifying as Billy Musgrave (CRG) edged Race Liberante (Maddox) by a scant 0.036 seconds during the timed run. Former Indy Lights race winner Arie Luyendyk Jr. (Birel) was third in the initial order ahead of Bryce Miller (Sodikart) and Ryon Beachner (Tony Kart). Just as in S1, two drivers took heat race wins as both Musgrave and Liberante would take turns at the front, setting up for a big battle in the main. The duo was embroiled in a thrilling scrap until Liberante slowed with a mechanical issue midway through the race, allowing Musgrave to stretch away to a 6.703-second advantage over Miller and Luyendyk. Erik Jackson (Arrow) and Cody Diede (Intrepid) rounded out the top-five.

An encouraging group of six Novice Stock Moto drivers hit the pavement in the S3 class with Vinny Maestas (CRG) and Jason Attwood (Arrow) both performing well in qualifying, timing inside the overall top 10 in the race group, which also included the G1 competitors. Tristan Orear (Italkart) was third in qualifying, timing in ahead of Steve Berg (Arrow) and Todd Wilson (GP). Maestas would prove to be the driver to beat all day, although he and Attwood went at it in the main for several laps before slipping past a G1 driver to build some cushion between himself and his challenger. Attwood would hold on to second, while Berg took third ahead of Orear and Jessica Sollberger (Arrow).

Running with S3 in the final race group of the day, the G1 class enjoyed a good turnout. Fernando Diaz was unbeatable at CalSpeed in sweeping all four official G1 sessions to take the early lead in the points, beginning the outing by out-qualifying Troy Butts (CRG) by 0.142 seconds. Robert Marks (CRG) was third quick, just ahead of Nick Firestone (Tony Kart) and PP Mastro (CRG) on the charts. After Diaz walked the field by over three seconds in both heat races, he found himself behind Mastro at the start of the final when the veteran got a great launch at the green light. Diaz would only be held back for a couple of laps, immediately stretching out another advantage once he slipped by Mastro, who would hold on to second. Firestone would finish up in third, while Roy Montgomery (CRG) bounced back from a heat race flip to take fourth ahead of Butts.

In the S4 Stock Moto Masters category, a daylong battle ensued between Jason Campbell (Tony Kart) and three-time SuperNationals winner Jeff Littrell (Tony Kart). Littrell drew first blood by qualifying on the pole by 0.257 seconds over Campbell, with Wayne Mello (Tony Kart), Doug Hayashi (Tony Kart) and Willy Musgrave (Arrow) completing the fast five. Campbell turned it up for the first heat race to edge Littrell, but Musgrave would do the same in the second moto to secure the pole for the main. Littrell suffered through a pair of spins in the second heat and needed to claw his way back to tenth, making life tough for himself with a row five starting spot in the final. Despite the fact that Musgrave would turn the fastest lap in the main event, Campbell was untouchable, walking away to a 9.534-second win over Littrell, who put in an impressive recovery. Mello completed the podium in third, while Paul Russell (Tony Kart) advanced to fourth ahead of Musgrave. In S4 Magnum, Todd Scholta (CRG) took the win over Marc Lewis (Kosmic) and Robert Morales (GP).

The TaG Senior class drew 16 competitors, highlighted by some of the sport's brightest stars, quickest veterans and fastest up-and-comers. Tony Kart West's Gustavo Menezes qualified on the pole ahead of Bobby Kelley (Maddox) and veteran Billy Cleavelin (CRG), while Phil Giebler (FA Kart) and Kyle Shriver (Avanti) capped the top-five. Giebler put his considerable talent on display as the former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year won both heat races handily, but he dropped out of the main event at the halfway point with a broken exhaust, leaving the spotlight to Menezes and Shriver. After swapping the top spot more than once, Menezes made his move for the win in the late going and was able to hold off a determined Shriver for the victory. A thrilling battle for third ended with Travis Lowe (Kosmic) taking the final step on the podium, winning out over Devin Lindsay (Maddox) and Billy Cleavelin (CRG). In TaG Masters, Paul Bonilla (Birel) went four-for-four, taking the pole, two heat race wins and the main event by 0.404 seconds over Ron Rossetti (Arrow) and Jeff Bobbitt (Tony Kart).

In the Junior classes, the debut of the S5 Junior Stock Moto class in the ProKart Challenge South was big for the series, with four drivers making up the first grid. Scott Phillips (PTK) would find his way to the front at the end of the main, outrunning Augie Lerch (Intrepid) for the inaugural win. Matias Podboj (CRG) finished third ahead on Micah Hendricks (Tony Kart). In TaG Junior, Louie Pagano (Birel) qualified second to Emmanuel Mestre (Kosmic) and then proceeded to dominate the proceedings. Pagano's team made big changes heading into the 20-lap final and the result was a kart no one could catch, propelling him to a 5.106-second advantage at the checkered flag.

As always, PKC South's Tom Kutscher dolled out some nice prizes following the podium presentations, awarding two sets of MG race tires and free entries to the next ProKart Challenge event to their valued customers. The next PKC South race is set for Willow Springs Kart Track on February 26-27, while the SKUSA crew heads to Infineon Raceway first on February 12-13 to kick off the ProKart Challenge North. All of these events lead to the opening round of the SKUSA Pro Tour on April 16-18 in Sonoma, CA.

-source: SKUSA ProKart Challenge

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Series Kart
Drivers Phil Giebler , Bryce Miller , Louie Pagano , Arie Luyendyk Jr. , Gustavo Menezes , Augie Lerch