Beaumont, California, November 4. -- Kevin Lacroix, the 14 year-old driver from St-Eustache, Quebec achieved his goal by winning the 80cc Junior championship in the Stars of Tomorrow series this weekend at the Moran raceway in California.
Beaumont, California, November 4. -- Kevin Lacroix, the 14 year-old driver from St-Eustache, Quebec achieved his goal by winning the 80cc Junior championship in the Stars of Tomorrow series this weekend at the Moran raceway in California. Originally staged in Fontana, the location was moved north to San Bernardino, away from the fires around Southern California. Lacroix, who finished a close second in the Eastern final, led the best drivers in the series and earned the biggest title in his young career. He ends a long season with the North-American 80cc Junior and the Quebec ICA class titles.
"I'm so happy, said a shining Lacroix as he stepped from his kart. I had planned this kind of weekend with my team and PSL Karting and I was quick enough to realise my dream. We worked hard all season, my father and team manager Sylvain, and Serge, my engineer. I also have to thank my sponsors. It's so cold here in California, it feels like Christmas, except for the snow!"
Setting the pace
In the 80 JR shifter class, practices got underway on Friday morning and Kevin started where he had left in Florida, with times 0,4 second faster than the rest of the field. His season archrival and Eastern series winner, Kyle Rahal, was a full second behind. Cold rain set in for the qualifying session and Kevin had to find new settings on his machine. With the teams trying to find a solution for better grip and machines slipping off the track, Kevin never found a clear track and had to settle for second place, behind Ontarian Nelson Mason. "Every time I was on a fast lap, I was running into slower traffic or a spun kart, said the junior high school student. I still got second place but Kyle (Rahal) was far behind in 16th place and I knew he was the one to watch."
In the pre-final, Kevin jumped ahead of Mason but had trouble keeping the pace: " We had lowered the pressure in the tires and they took too much time warming up on this cold damp tarmac, so I decided to let Nelson by and wait for the final.
Solo cavalino in the finale
When the green flag dropped for the Sunday afternoon final, Kevin sprinted to the first corner and never looked behind. He led all laps and clinched the championship with a 5 second lead over-- Kyle Rahal ! "I remembered some races earlier this season where I was far behind and worked my way up the field to second place behind Kyle. This time, it was the other way around." Final scrutiny was a formality for the team and Kevin's team started celebrating.
Some rest before Europe
Lacroix Racing team will Kevin a few weeks rest before heading for Europe where Kevin will do some testing or competitions. " Our season started in March, said Sylvain Lacroix, and we have been traveling a lot. Kevin will take some rest, look after his school work before we analyse what Europe has to offer. We also have to think about the 2004 season, only a few months from now !"
The driver and the team
Full-time driver for PSL Racing team, Kevin Lacroix has entered the 2003 international " Stars of Tomorrow " championship, the Coupe du Quebec series and has won both championships. He is currently under contract with SKF Motorsports, Raybestos, Tenneco, Pennzoil, Auto Parts Plus, Uni-Select national network and Lacroix Auto Parts. His web site can we visited at www.kevinlacroix.com.