SKUSA: Bobby Legate Fontana WinterNationals summary

LEGATE WINS SKUSA STOCK MOTO WINTER SHOOTOUT Martindale tops stellar Sunday TaG battle at WinterNational Series finale FONTANA, CA (March 12, 2008) - The first edition of the SKUSA WinterNational Championship Series went into the books this...

Martindale tops stellar Sunday TaG battle at WinterNational Series finale

FONTANA, CA (March 12, 2008) - The first edition of the SKUSA WinterNational Championship Series went into the books this past weekend at the CalSpeed Karting facility in Fontana, CA, highlighted by the inaugural running of the organization's Stock Moto Winter Shootout. Designed to shine the spotlight on the Stock Moto package that is the foundation of SKUSA's program, the race did not disappoint as 2 Wild Karting's Bobby Legate put in a strong weekend-long effort to amass the winning point total over an 18-kart field.

After having fought tooth-and-nail with Bryan Eady (Intrepid) all winter long, Legate (CRG) delivered an almost-perfect performance on Sunday to clinch the S3 title at Fontana, taking the Winter Shootout victory in the process with a pair of main event triumphs. On Saturday, Legate went a perfect four-for-four, taking the pole position ahead of heat race wins that would give him the pole for the main event. Eady put up a challenge all day, but would find himself in the tire wall coming onto the backshute early in the final when he drove wide at the exit while leading. With Eady out of the race, Legate powered unchallenged to the race win. Utah's Patrick Cushenberry (Arrow) was impressive as he came on strong late in the race to take second following a great dice with Clinton Schoombee (Birel), who completed the podium.

In the Sunday final, Legate launched away from the line and put in 20 error-free laps to keep a charging Eady at bay, winning by close to a second, securing the S3 title and the Winter Shootout crown in the process. A flat tire had put Eady on the sidelines in the second heat, again from the lead, relegating him to the tail of the grid for the final. He would storm quickly to second, but could get no closer, finishing less than 0.8 seconds behind the leader. Aside from Legate's impressive performance, third place finisher Brad Dunford (Aluminos GP) recorded his first podium finish in SKUSA competition, showing well all weekend. It was certainly a breakout weekend for Dunford, who will now look to challenge for the S3 title on this year's Pro Kart Challenge circuit. In other Winter Shootout action, Marty Henderson (GP) completed his championship-winning run in S4 by scoring the class victory over Ken Shilling (GP).

The S1 field featured nine entries, so it was definitely a case of quality over quantity with several national pilots in the paddock. On Saturday, G-Phactory Sodikart driver Ryan Yop made his first start of the season and ran away with the day, taking the pole and the first heat race victory ahead of a 1.206-second win over Jacob Neal (CRG) in the final. Team Aluminos' Scott Rossi (GP) scored the win in the second heat and looked good for the final before a flat tire took him out of contention. In his absence, Slava Prikhodko (GP) would finish third on Saturday, capping the podium with a great effort.

Yop would not return to the track on Sunday, opening the door for others to step into the limelight. Rossi won the pole with a great lap in qualifying and then went unchallenged to the victory in the first heat when Neal stalled on the line. With Rossi and Neal fighting for the title, Rossi had closed the gap with his Heat #1 win, but returned the favor in the second heat, getting left on the grid himself when the lights went out to start the 10-lap sprint. Neal would take over from there, going on to the heat race win that he would use to race from the pole in the final to a 0.188-second triumph over Rossi, winning the class title in the process. Coming home third, Nick Halen was making his debut with his new team, G-Phactory. Halen led early in the final and ended up third overall, happy with his initial outing in the Sodikart.

Like S1, the TaG Senior class was stacked with talent and the racing was amazing. Adam Zeen put his G-Phactory Sodikart on pole after Saturday morning's qualifying session ahead of Will Martindale (CRG) and Colin Katzakian (Intrepid). Katzakian stepped up to win the first heat, but the competition was heated as the lead pack was rarely by more than a second. Martindale took his turn up front for the second heat, taking the pole for the final, setting up a dice between he and Katzakian for the Saturday win. Diede Racing's Katzakian would win out in this battle, edging Martindale for the victory while Zeen cruised in to complete the rostrum.

Sunday's action took things to another level as the final was one of epic proportions; showing everything that is good about karting. After taking the pole, Zeen was passed by Cody Diede (Intrepid) for the heat race win, while Katzakian edged Zeen for the Heat #2 victory to set the front row for the main.

In the final, Katzakian and Zeen kept things exciting up front, but all eyes were on Martindale, who was working his way through the field after dropping to sixth in the early going. Over the final 10 laps, Martindale was the quickest driver on the track and eventually worked his way to Zeen's rear bumper, as the Sodikart pilot was pressuring Katzakian. With two laps remaining, Zeen slipped past Katzakian to assume the lead, but he could simply not hold off Martindale, who made a great overtaking maneuver in the hairpin for the win. Zeen and Katzakian would complete the podium. The overall championship title would go to Scott Kennedy, who had amassed enough points in the opening four races to ensure that he could not be overtaken, giving him the opportunity to skip the series finale.

Eric Von Zeipel (Birel) rolled to both TaG Masters wins during the weekend, taking the points championship in the process. On Saturday, Von Zeipel topped Paul Grey (Tony Kart) and Philip Grey (Tony Kart) after polesitter and heat race winner Billy Cleavelin (CRG) was sidelined with a motor failure. Von Zeipel then scored another victory on Sunday, topping Grey and George Gallardo (Birel) to secure the title. Von Zeipel would finished deadlocked in the points with Paul Grey, winning the tie-breaker via having the most wins.

The G1 category fielded 11 entries on Saturday, where Nick Firestone (Tony Kart) would win over Steve Ferrario (Arrow) and Troy Butts. No G1 competitors had entered the Sunday show, leaving the grid wide-open for the S1s, giving Firestone the series title.

The Superkarts! USA organization will get its 'summer' season underway at the end of the month as the Pro Kart Challenge on March 29 at CalSpeed, running the same layout used this past weekend. SKUSA will also have four additional regional series running in 2008, with two new soon-to-be-announced series set to join the Desert Kart Challenge (AZ) and NorCal Kart Challenge (CA) on this year's calendar.

-credit: blPR

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Series Kart
Drivers Scott Kennedy