PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH RETURNS TO ACTION AT BUTTONWILLOW Legate continues form in S3 while Whitehead takes first TaG Senior checker BUTTONWILLOW, CA (April 26, 2008) - The ProKart Challenge South series continued its 2008 schedule this past...
PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH RETURNS TO ACTION AT BUTTONWILLOW
Legate continues form in S3 while Whitehead takes first TaG Senior checker
BUTTONWILLOW, CA (April 26, 2008) - The ProKart Challenge South series continued its 2008 schedule this past weekend, running the second round of its six-race calendar at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park karting facility in Buttonwillow, CA in absolutely beautiful conditions. On-track, Bobby Legate repeated his domination of the S3 category, backing up his win at the season opener in late March with another impressive victory to extend his early point lead. Travis Whitehead was the driver to beat in TaG Senior when the final came around, recording his first ProKart main event victory.
Clinton Schoombee edged Legate in S3 Light qualifying, running a quick 44.251-second lap to earn the pole for the opening heat race. Brad Dunford was third on the time sheet, marginally quicker than Patrick Cushenberry and Doug Hayashi to secure the inside of the second row for the opening moto. Legate would take control in both of the 12-lap heats, outrunning Schoombee to earn the pole for the main event. In the final, Legate flexed his muscles and built a 5.571-second lead at the checker, winning over Schoombee and Marc Elliott. Rapidly-improving rookie Harley Owen was fourth ahead of the veteran Hayashi. The fastest lap of the race actually went to Cushenberry, but a mechanical issue put him on the sidelines with just three laps to go in the main. In S3 Heavy, Phil Conte was the man to beat all weekend, topping all four official sessions to take the win. In the main, he would outrun Grant Westmorland and Marty Henderson.
In S1, Jimmy McNeil put in a great weekend to stand atop the winner's podium at the end of the day. Winning by a margin of 5.260 seconds over Peter Abba and Slava Prikhodko, McNeil started the day by qualifying right behind polewinner Cody Hodgson by just 0.062 seconds. The duo went at it in both heat races with Hodgson maintaining his position up front to a pair of wins, but the final would belong to McNeil as Hodgson retired with four laps to go. The addition of Kiwi Daniel Bray to the S1 field was a highlight, as Bray was reunited with the Aluminos squad with which he ran last fall's SKUSA SuperNationals. Bray was third in qualifying and fifth in the first heat, but he only managed two laps in the second heat and was forced to start at the tail of the grid for the final. Over the course of the 20-lap run, he was able to advance back to fifth in the final tally.
Like Conte in S3 Heavy, no one could challenge Robert Marks in G1 as he was at the top of the charts in qualifying, both heat races and the final. PP Mastro and Ethan Wilson joined Marks on the podium following the races, as Nick Firestone and Troy Butts wrapped the top-five.
Willy Musgrave powered through as the top pilot in the S4 Light class, outrunning his son Billy Musgrave for the victory, edging him by just over two tenths at the end of the 20-lap main. Billy was quickest in qualifying, edging Bryce Miller for the pole position in the opening heat race, while Willy Musgrave was third. Willy worked his way to the lead in the opening heat race and would never look back, scoring his first ProKart Challenge victory. Billy Musgrave was second ahead of Jimmy Barnes. John Cram and Craig Cutler rounded out the top-five.
In the S4 Heavy category, Ken Schilling made it two-for-two, scoring another victory to continue what has been a good season thus far for the sophomore shifter pilot. Schilling tuned up for the new season by campaigning in the SKUSA WinterNational Series and the seat time has paid off with a solid start to '08. Alex King debuted as the fastest pilot in the class by topping Schilling in qualifying, but in the opening moto, Marc Segal found himself in the lead to take the win over Schilling and King. The competition in this class is very tight this year and while the lap times are incredibly close, Schilling took control in the second heat and the final to score a half-second win over King in the main. Jeff Krueger completed the podium, finishing ahead of Mike Goebel and King.
A total of 14 TaG drivers trekked to Buttonwillow for the second round of the ProKart Challenge South series, with Travis Whitehead and Bill Cleavelin taking the TaG Senior and TaG Masters wins, respectively. Zach Dericco edged Ryon Beachner in TaG Senior qualifying by just 0.007 seconds with Whitehead another seven tenths back. Whitehead would DNF the first heat as Dericco and Beachner were locked together, with Larry Fraser running a distant third. The order up front would be repeated in the second heat as Whitehead came back to fourth, setting up his run in the final as he would move to the front to record a 5.833-second win over Fraser and Shawn Cricca. Dericco would fall to fourth and Beachner completed just four laps. In TaG Masters, Cleavelin led the way in every session but qualifying, which was handled by Greg Smith, who was a full half-second ahead of Cleavelin as the only Masters driver to break the 47-second barrier. Cleavelin paced the remaining races to top Matt Kimball by just over three seconds in the main. Ian Thomas completed the podium in third ahead of Chris Riddington and Mike Wesson, who capped the TaG Masters top-five.
The G2 class enjoyed a good turnout at Buttonwillow with 13 karts in the field. In the final, Eric Ortega would capture the checkered flag ahead of fast qualifier Darrel Tunnell and Blair Chang, who was just 0.008-seconds off the pole time in qualifying. Steve Donia and Harris Koenig wrapped the top-five in the 20-lap battle.
The series now looks towards Willow Springs on May 31 to cap off the first half of the six-race calendar with Round #3. However, the ProKart Challenge crew will head north before that event to put on the second race in the new NorCal series, running on May 10 at the Jim Russell International Karting Center at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. The opening round of the series was very well supported, and a growing entry list is expected as Stock Moto and TaG racing are heating up in the northern half of the state.