MENEZES CHARGES FROM MID-PACK FOR TOP-10 FINISHES AT MAZDA RACE OF THE AMERICAS Californian recovers after slight hiccup in heat race at New Castle Motorsports Park NEW CASTLE, IN (June 1, 2008) -- Heading into the Snap-on Stars of Karting ...
MENEZES CHARGES FROM MID-PACK FOR TOP-10 FINISHES AT MAZDA RACE OF THE
Californian recovers after slight hiccup in heat race at New Castle Motorsports Park
NEW CASTLE, IN (June 1, 2008) -- Heading into the Snap-on Stars of Karting Mazda Race of the Americas event at New Castle Motorsports Park this past weekend (May 30-June 1), Junior Intercontinental A (JICA) pilot Gustavo Menezes was tied for the overall and divisional championship lead. One error however at the New Castle, Indiana facility cost him that place and put will now force the 13-year old to play catch-up for the remainder of the season in his bid for his first national championship.
Coming off a solid opening weekend at the Western Division opener at the Miller Motorsports Park where he earned his first victory of the season, Menezes had the momentum on his side entering the 'East vs. West' battle. Among the quickest in the practice sessions, Gustavo continued that pace on a dirty track following heavy thunderstorms that washed away the rubber that had been laid down the previous day. Just one-tenth off the pole position, Menezes was classified second in the qualifying session and lined him at the front of the B-group for the heat races - giving him a front row start for both 12-lap sessions.
Starting on the outside of the A vs. B heat, Menezes was sent back one row after two failed attempts by the Stars of Karting officials. Once the green flag waved, Menezes was hit from behind as the field bumped through the opening corner. The driver directly behind was sent over top of Menezes, dropping him to the tail of the field after the contact. Charging his way forward, Gustavo would advance to 13th in just 12 laps. Following the race, he would be placed 26th by officials that ruled a failed pass attempt by Menezes that resulted in the driver not able to continue. Putting that behind him, the B vs. C heat race would fair much better as Menezes led from green to checkered flag. The result would give him the 15th starting position for both of the feature races.
With the quickest laps of the race and nearly picking off one driver each lap, Menezes was on the war path to the front in the first 15-lap final. Running times nearly three-tenths faster than the rest of the field, Menezes drove to a sixth place finish. Final two was much more difficult as the field fought back in the last race of the weekend. Getting as high as ninth, Menezes was in a fierce battle at the latter half of the top-10, eventually crossing the line in the 10th position when the checkered flag fell. Not the exact results the young pilot was looking for heading into the weekend but his drive and determination helped salvage what could have been as disastrous point weekend toward the championship.
Menezes will now prepare to head back across the big pond for the European Championships KF3 Qualifier at the Gotenborg Karting Ring in Goteborg, Sweden, where Menezes will battle for a transfer spot to the European Championships in September. Following his weekend in Sweden, Menezes will travel to Sarno, Italy for round four of the WSK International Series at the Circuit International Napoli.