SKUSA: PC-S: Round four Utah preview

HALEN RETURNS AND UTAH 'BRINGS IT' TO STEAL VICTORIES AT PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH SKUSA regional championships get shuffled following Willow Springs event ROSAMOND, CA (June 4, 2008) -- The Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South program...

SKUSA regional championships get shuffled following Willow Springs event

ROSAMOND, CA (June 4, 2008) -- The Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South program reached the halfway point of its season following the third round, which was held at the Willow Springs International Motorsports Park in Rosamond, CA this past weekend (May 31). Running the fast and technical 6/10-mile course in the reverse direction, the PKC drivers enjoyed a competitive weekend as the championship chases became more defined -- and took some surprising turns.

S3 Light championship leader Bobby Legate has been near-perfect on the year. However, the introduction of a few new talented pilots this past weekend broke up his winning streak. This list of 'party-crashers' included veteran shifter drivers Nick Halen, Mike Beeny and Bonnier Moulton. The trio has been on-and-off participants of the ProKart Challenge over the years, and all three made their 2008 debuts this past weekend at Willow. Halen, a former PKC champion in the S3 class, was on form as soon as racing began, taking both heat race wins and the 20-lap feature. Beeny was second in the main event, as top qualifier Clinton Schoombee edged Moulton at the line for this final step on the podium. Legate settled for fifth after running fourth for most of the race. He still leads in the points standings after round three.

S3 Heavy was just as close, with all four drivers entered in the class running within six-tenths of each other following qualifying, where Phil Conte took the top honors. Conte would go on to win the opening race, as Grant Westmorland stepped up to take the second heat victory -- setting up an exciting main event. All in all, Marty Henderson came through for his second feature win on the year, with Westmorland in second and Conte in third. Some great racing, for sure. The result: the points battle heats up, as Conte's performance for the day has put him in a tie with Henderson for the championship to date.

While Legate saw his streak end in S3 Light, another run continued in S4 Light, as Willy Musgrave earned his third straight feature race win by edging his son Billy Musgrave. While Bryce Miller was top qualifier, Billy Musgrave won both heat races leading up to the main event. Willy did not wait long to make his move in the final, getting around Billy on lap three and holding the top spot for the remainder of the 20-lap race. Miller ran a strong race and finished third behind the Musgrave duo to round out the podium.

Running at the same time as S4 Light, the S4 Heavy division mixed 10 drivers into the on-track action, including some hot newcomers from Utah. Scott Clark was the winner in both heat races, then went green-to-checkered for his first main event win on the year, with fellow Utah racer and top qualifier Lloyd Putnam taking second. Longtime PKC competitor Bill Cox took the third spot. As the upset, point leader and two-time race winner Ken Schilling had a tough weekend, getting shuffled back at the start of the final, only to recover to a sixth place finish.

Jimmy McNeil and Robert Marks both put in perfect days at Willow Springs in the S1 and G1 categories. Running on the track at the same time, both drivers were P1 for all on-track sessions and, most importantly, the feature race. McNeil outpaced Vivek Tandon and Peter Abba to extend his S1 point lead as did Marks, who earned his third straight G1 main event win ahead of Troy Butts and Brad Dhesi.

Blair Chang looked to be the driver to beat early on in G2, as he led the 12-kart field in both qualifying and the first heat -- before Steve Donia picked up the pace in heat two. In the feature, Donia continued to outpace the field, leading the 20-lap race from start-to-finish for his second feature win on the year. Points leader Eric Ortega was able to work around Chang in the closing stages of the race for the runner-up spot.

TaG Senior was a small but competitive group, with more great racing throughout the day. Ryon Beachner was the top qualifier, although Zach Dericco took both heat races. In the main, Dericco was squeezed off the track temporarily, and fought hard to work his way back to the second spot. Travis Whitehead rounded off the podium in third.

Billy Cleavelin and Greg Smith enjoyed an exciting battle all day in TaG Masters, as the two went toe-to-toe every lap. Smith took top qualifying honors, while Cleavelin earned the win in both heats. In the 20-lap showdown to decide it all, Cleavelin got away early but a charging Smith would not go down quietly, cutting into his lead each lap. In the end, Smith came up just short, as Cleavelin would earn his third straight feature win. Matt Kimball rounded out the podium.

Although only two drivers competed in the new S5 restricted 125cc Stock Moto division for Junior drivers, both competitors left the track with solid weekends under their belts. Race Liberante took all on-track sessions over Nicholas Silva. Both were talented and fast drivers, running competitively with the S4 class throughout the day. ProRacing Specialties, along with PKC and a few other local kart shops, are offering up special sponsorship prizes and incentives to help this class grow.

Up next for the PKC South program will be round four at the CalSpeed Karting facility, located outside the Auto Club Speedway (formerly known as the California Speedway) in Fontana, CA, running the Nuovo configuration on June 28.

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Series Kart
Drivers Greg Smith , Bryce Miller , Blair Chang