TEAM ALUMINOS CONTINUES WIN STREAK IN PROKART CHALLENGE Smith earns second straight feature win of the season as Aluminos continues to produce results SONOMA, CA (March 13, 2010) - Team Aluminos continues to be a consistent factor in the ...
TEAM ALUMINOS CONTINUES WIN STREAK IN PROKART CHALLENGE
Smith earns second straight feature win of the season as Aluminos continues to produce results
SONOMA, CA (March 13, 2010) - Team Aluminos continues to be a consistent factor in the early months of the 2010 season. In its third season, Team Aluminos has recorded strong results and strives to guide their drivers to the top of the charts. For a fourth straight event, Aluminos recorded at least one victory with S4 driver Jeff Smith scoring a win at this past weekend's ProKart Challenge North Round 2 event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
Smith's weekend wasn't a complete sweep like his round one victory. Aboard a new Mirage kart for the first time, prepped by the Aluminos staff, Smith was narrowly edged out for the top spot in the morning qualifying session. Falling back to third on the opening lap of the first heat, Smith knifed his way to the point by lap three. Hounded through the remaining laps, Smith was able to post the fast lap of the heat to make some space before taking the checkered flag. With a better start from the pole in heat two, Smith was once again at the point, leading all eight laps while recording another fast lap for the win. With momentum on his side, Smith drove a smart and error free 20-lap feature race to score his second straight victory and the first in North America for the Mirage brand, running similar lap times to his first two heat races.
Fritz Leesmann was primed to defend his round one victory once the Aluminos-prepped S1 entry hit the track Saturday. Nearly breaking the 48-second mark, Leesmann secured the pole position by over three-tenths of a second with his fast lap of 48.064. Leading flag-to-flag in both heat races, Leesmann did not get off the line clean when the green flag waved for the start of the feature, falling to fourth the first time by the stripe. Able to reclaim the point by lap eight, things turned for the worse on lap 11 when the shifter lever broke to put him on the sidelines, ending what could have been win number two.
Aluminos up and comer driver Brad Dunford continues to show the poise and maturity of a future star in the sport of karting. With that comes handling a tough weekend at the track. Continuing to develop as a driver under the tutelage of the Aluminos staff, Dunford struggled to find pace in the S1 qualifying session and the first heat. A DNF in the second put Dunford to the back of the field for the feature. Putting the first part of the day behind him, Dunford was able to tune the kart and adjust his driving style on-course with the Aluminos tuners and coaches, posting his fastest laps of the day in the main event driving up to fifth.
Things were promising for two other Aluminos drivers on the weekend. Peter Workum flew the Aluminos colors in the TaG Masters category and started out the race weekend posting the fast lap in qualifying - 52.499, a lap time identical to one other competitor. Battling for the win in the opening heat, Workum's engine expired on the final circuit to cut his race short. Able to get a back-up engine on his Intrepid kart before the second heat, Workum's race was cut short again as he was unable to avoid a spinning kart in the opening corner. Starting at the back of the field for the 20-lap feature race, Workum had a difficult task at hand but was up to the challenge. Running the fastest laps of the race, Workum managed to advance up to fourth by the half-way mark. With a podium finish in sight, the Arizona driver dug deep to close in, however came up just short of third place.
Scoring a victory in round one of the North program, Larry Fraser returned in hopes of a second victory aboard a second kart brand, running the new Mirage kart. Fraser was on pace as he posted the third quickest lap in qualifying. The opening heat looked as if Fraser would take the win until a small error of dropping the wheel off in the dirt sent him spinning around, falling to the tail of the field and eventually finishing 12th. Recording only one lap in the second heat due unavoidable contact in the first turn, Fraser would have to start 11th for the feature. Back in the pack, Fraser would be involved in an opening lap skirmish pushing him back further in the order. Running times similar to the leaders, however, Fraser advanced from the back forward to cross the line fifth, only to be penalized two positions for questionable call.
Joining Aluminos for the weekend were two Colorado drivers - Christian Bird and Mike McDonough. Both joined Aluminos for the weekend for some driver training and to warm-up for the SKUSA Pro Tour event in April. Bird was a consistent top-five driver in the S2 category until recording a DNF in the second heat. Bird bounced back in the feature to come from 10th on the grid up to fifth place at the checkered. McDonough, piloting an Aluminos-prepped Arrive and Drive entry, was also a top-five contender in the S4 division. Things went wrong at the end of the second heat race as McDonough was hit from behind at the white flag lap, taking him out of fifth. Starting eighth in the feature, McDonough worked his way up to third by the checkered flag with some great driving however he was penalized two spots for another questionable call by the race director for a disputable on-track ruling.
"It was a great first weekend experience with the Aluminos crew," stated S4 driver Mike McDonough. "I joined the group to get some solid coaching and I got plenty of knowledge from Tom Dyer and Fritz Leesmann. The Aluminos stock moto package was prepped and ready to go each session out and engine tuner George Tavares kept the engine at top speed all weekend."
"It's great to see Jeff (Smith) score his second victory on the season, it's just tough we were not able to go home with more wins," commented Aluminos' manager Rob Soares. "Our drivers continue to shine, though we were upset with some of the questionable calls that were made on some of our drivers. Race directors simply can't see everything all the time and it would be beneficial to the competitors and the series to review and refine the decision making process when assessing whether a penalty should be levied or not. The mechanical things were out of our control so I hope today we got our bad luck out of the way. We will continue to push on with our commitment to the Aluminos' trackside program."
Up first before the SKUSA Pro Tour event at Infineon Raceway on April 16-18 will be the third round of the ProKart Challenge South program, set for March 26-27 at the Grange Motor Circuit in Apple Valley, California.