TEAM ALUMINOS ADDS TO SEASON WIN TOTAL AT PROKART CHALLENGE NORTH Leesmann, Smith and Fraser all pilot Aluminos-prepped machines to victory at Infineon SONOMA, CA (February 13, 2010) -- The opening round of the SKUSA ProKart Challenge North ...
TEAM ALUMINOS ADDS TO SEASON WIN TOTAL AT PROKART CHALLENGE NORTH
Leesmann, Smith and Fraser all pilot Aluminos-prepped machines to victory at Infineon
SONOMA, CA (February 13, 2010) -- The opening round of the SKUSA ProKart Challenge North program on February 13 was a successful event for the Team Aluminos squad. At the Jim Russell International Karting Center in Sonoma, California, Team Aluminos used their home track knowledge to put three of their five drivers competing on top of the podium, with a runner-up finish added in for good measure. Team tuner Fritz Leesmann scored the headline S1 victory with Jeff Smith and Larry Fraser scoring wins in S4 and TaG Senior.
Leesmann, an ICC standout the last few years, made his Stock Moto debut aboard an Aluminos-powered entry. Out of the box race day, Leesmann was the driver to beat as he posted the fast lap of the qualifying session - a 48.909. He would go on to lead all eight laps of the opening heat race, however a fault at the start cost him two positions in the finishing order. Leesmann battled back in the second heat to reassume the point by lap five, en route to the win. In the 20-lap feature, Leesmann was untouchable as the NorCal native posted the fast laps of the race to score the win by over eight-seconds.
"It was great to get back into the seat as it's been a few months for me," stated Leesmann following the event. "Aluminos gave me a chance to get back in and have fun. The Aluminos stock moto engine package is awesome so all I had to was fine-tune my CRG chassis throughout the event. If feels good to be on top of the podium."
Smith and Fraser had similar results on the weekend, leading all their on track proceedings. Smith, making his 2010 debut after scoring the 2009 ProKart Challenge South S4 championship, began the event with top honors in qualifying with a 50.985 - the only driver under the 51-second mark. Falling back to third in the opening lap, Smith bounced back and was again at the point by lap five, holding on to take the win. Smith then stretched out the legs of the Aluminos-prepped entry in heat two to lead all eight laps for a five-second win. On cruise-control, Smith carried on in the 20-lap feature to post the fast laps of the race for a 12-second margin of victory.
"It felt really good to start the year off strong," commented Smith. "The Aluminos squad pulled the kart out of the garage for me and it was solid from the moment we hit the track. I really need to thank Rob, George Tavares and Tom Dyer for their efforts to put me up front as I haven't been in the seat for a number of months. Hopefully this will lead into another championship season, this time in the North, and also when we began to contest the SKUSA Pro Tour in April."
Fraser kept strong in P1 throughout the event though his journey to victory was hotly contested. In the morning qualifying session, posted a 52.039, which put him on the pole position by just seven-hundredths of a second. Pressured all eight laps of the first heat race, Fraser led them all for the win, duplicating the feat in the second heat with his closer rival retiring after the first half of the run. Pacing the field for the first half of the 20-lap main event, Fraser engaged in battle for the final 10 laps for the win. Buying his time and using his experience to his advantage, Fraser piloted his Aluminos entry to the checkered flag first by just 0.068-seconds for the victory.
Fraser stated, "This win is big for me. I raced on a chassis that was new to me which we put together the day before down at the Aluminos shop. I was a little nervous because we didn't get a chance to practice with it because of the rain on Friday, but it was fast right away. It's always nice to beat the young guys in the TaG Senior group as there were a number of fast guys here this weekend. I have to thank Rob and the rest of the Aluminos group for their help in my victory."
In the TaG Masters category, Peter Workum flew Aluminos colors to a runner-up position in his first TaG outing of the season. The Arizona driver competed in the opening PKC South round in the S4 division and will contest the TaG Masters category in the North. Workum qualified third overall behind two veterans of the Sonoma circuit. In the opening heat race, Workum raced his way to second and just missed out for the same position in the final heat race to run third. Shuffled back at the start of the feature, Workum went to work to recover the real-estate lost. By the halfway mark, he reclaimed the second spot. Despite running the fastest laps of the race, the leader was too far out to contest for the win, settling for the second step of the podium.
The final driver competing under the Aluminos banner on the weekend was S1 driver Brad Dunford. In his third year competing in the Stock Moto division, Dunford was awarded the SKUSA A license to compete in the headline division. Finishing sixth in last year's PKC North S3 standings, Dunford picked up where he left off by placing in the same position in Saturday's main event. Dunford continues to work on building his racecraft and karting knowledge under the Aluminos tent, working with drivers such as Leesmann and SKUSA SuperNationals two-time winner Tom Dyer along with George Tavares, the team's data engineer and in house engine builder.
On the docket for Team Aluminos will be the second round of the ProKart Challenge South at the Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, California on February 26-27.