WKA: IRL SoK: Trio of drivers get Midget car test

K & N and Ford Focus Midget Teams Give Stars of Karting Pilots a Test at Irwindale Three drivers from the Snap-On Stars of Karting presented by IndyCarSeries were given the opportunity to test out a new form of Open-wheel machinery at Irwindale...

K & N and Ford Focus Midget Teams Give Stars of Karting Pilots a Test at Irwindale

Three drivers from the Snap-On Stars of Karting presented by IndyCarSeries were given the opportunity to test out a new form of Open-wheel machinery at Irwindale Speedway in California.

Three teams from the Ford Focus Midget Series, Maier Racing/K&N Filters, Western Speed Racing and Wally Pankratz Racing provided 100 laps with full crew in race ready, 185 horsepower Ford Focus Midget cars for Cory Pollack, Jacob Neal and Nick Johnston.

The three drivers were selected because of their accomplishments in the Snap-On Stars of Karting program organized by series sponsor K&N Filters. Ultimately up to 21 drivers will have an opportunity to receive a test drive in the Ford Focus Midget cars courtesy of Maier Racing, Wally Pankratz Racing, Western Speed Racing, Beast Racing, Ron Suttton Winner's Circle, Richard Petty Drive Experience and Cory Kruseman Racing.

K&N Filters has entered the sport of karting this season with a new CIK-FIA approved K&N airbox (RK-1000) which is legal in all classes of the Snap-On Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series.

"K&N likes the idea of getting young drivers enthusiastic about motorsports and the variety that comes with it," said K&N Sports Marketing Director Charles Maier. "The USAC Ford Focus racing series is a blast to drive in and relatively affordable. I personally transitioned from karting to midgets and think that it is wonderful that K&N allows me to share the seat time with kids eager to learn about the next step. Knowledge is a key component. The Ford Focus series is a bit more money, marketing, power/engine, travel and organizing to participate. On these test days the young drivers get a chance to see how involved the program really is."

Jacob Neal enjoyed his experience at Irwindale. "When I got the opportunity, I was excited about what it would be like," said Neal. Western Speed Racing helped me understand what the midget car would feel like and how to drive it. I had a blast." The 16-year-old from Wildomar, California has raced for 5 years. "This was a whole different type of racing. The laps helped me decide which direction to go in my future. Midgets are fast and there is lots of acceleration. I really enjoyed it."

Nick Johnston has been racing for 10 years. The 17-year-old for Northridge, California said he learned a lot. "I did well," he said. "I learned a lot and the cars are fun to drive." Johnston has several championships on his racing resume and is currently up for a chance to compete in the 2007 Rotax World Finals at Dubai, Saudi Arabia. "I use K&N Filters," said Johnston. "K&N works the best and keeps the dirt out of my engines."

Cory Pollock had similar sentiments, "It was a great program. The car was awesome. I just want to thank Maier Racing, K & N, and the Stars of Karting Series for everything they did to make this happen." Series Marketing Director Jeff Swoboda was thrilled with the first testing round at Irwindale. "It was very satisfying to see these three drivers getting strapped into the cars for the first time," he said. "The smiles on their faces said it all."

The Snap-On Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series will have its next event September 14-16 at Moran Raceway in Beaumont, California. The race will serve as the West Division Finale and will tee up divisional champions to head off to the Desert MINI of Las Vegas National Finals October 19-21 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

-credit: sok

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Series Kart
Drivers Richard Petty , Cory Kruseman , Wally Pankratz