SMITH EARNS FIRST VICTORY AT PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH WITH TEAM ALUMINOS S4 point leader extends advantage in Santa Maria as season heads toward championship finale SANTA MARIA, CA (June 27, 2009) -- It was a very successful weekend for the Team...
SMITH EARNS FIRST VICTORY AT PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH WITH TEAM ALUMINOS
S4 point leader extends advantage in Santa Maria as season heads toward championship finale
SANTA MARIA, CA (June 27, 2009) -- It was a very successful weekend for the Team Aluminos squad as they contested the sixth round of the ProKart Challenge South program at the Santa Maria Karting Association circuit in Santa Maria, California. Six drivers flew the Team Aluminos colors on the weekend with a number of them putting in some of their best performances of the 2009 season. A number of fast lap honors and battling for victories highlighted the event for the Danville, CA based program and it was Jeff Smith's win in S4 that punctuated the weekend.
Smith came into the event not having won a feature race but his consistency kept him atop of the championship standings. He narrowly earned 10 bonus points for the fast lap in qualifying, missing out on the pole position by just 0.032-seconds. Once the racing began however, Smith put himself into the lead and would go on to win both heat races unchallenged. A slow start to begin the feature put Smith back to the third position as they came around to the line for the opening lap. The next time by, Smith was up to second and a lap later regained the lead reestablishing himself as the man to beat. From there, Smith put down the fast laps of the race to extend to a two-second margin of victory, his first of the season.
Smith was joined in the S4 category by Phil Dunford and Peter Workum. Dunford was just a tick back of Smith in qualifying, only 0.066-seconds off the pole while Workum was only a tenth back of the fast lap in the session to line up fifth in the class. Dunford however would have an off-track excursion in the opening heat race, retiring on lap four while running in second place. Workum took advantage of the opportunity and finished the race in third. The next heat Workum would have a mechanical misfortune during the warm-up lap and unable to complete a lap. Dunford worked his way from the last to fifth again posting quick lap times. In the main event he dogged second place throughout the race finishing third and missing second by a nose at the stripe in a side by side photo finish joining Aluminos teammate Smith on the podium. Coming from the back forward, Workum worked his way up the fifth spot after the 20-lap event posting fast lap time like the rest of the Aluminos S4 squad.
Brad Dunford and Harley Owen continue to record solid results in the S3 category, keeping them in the top-20 of the eKartingNews.com Driver Rankings. The duo qualified fourth and fifth, running near identical fast laps in the timed session. The two swapped positions in the opening heat with Owen, who had a personal breakout performance for 2009, was able to pick up the pace just enough to work by his Aluminos teammate for fourth. Owen continued to get faster, posting the fast lap of the race and working himself up the second position. Dunford held his ground in the fourth as the top-four crossed the line within a second. The early stages of the 20-lap feature looked good for Owen as he held his second position in the opening lap and came around as the leader the next time by. Lap three however he was shuffled back to third and laps later fell back to fourth, battling with Dunford. On lap nine, Dunford was able to slide by for the position and they would run that way for the remainder of the race. Though neither finished on the podium, the weekend was a solid one for both drivers as they each improved their pace and showed they have the complete package running under the Aluminos tent to challenge the best in the S3 category.
ProKart Challenge West Coast Shootout G1 winner Fernando Diaz looked to earn his second straight win however a few challenges stood in his way. Diaz qualified his Aluminos machine in the second spot, putting him on the front row for the start of the opening heat. A bad first lap however dropped him outside of the top-five. Diaz eventually worked his way back up to forth after the 10-lap race. From there, he held onto the spot through the second heat race to start outside of row two for the feature. After losing one position at the start of the 20-lap race, Diaz was up to third by lap four. Running the same pace as the leading duo and ultimately setting the fastest race lap in the main, Diaz was unable to make up the lost ground and crossed the line third for his second straight podium finish.
The Team Aluminos squad will now return to the ProKart Challenge North program on July 11 for the fifth round of the championship at the Jim Russell International Karting Center in Sonoma, California. The PKC South championships will be decided on August 29 at the CalSpeed Karting facility in Fontana, California for the seventh and final round.