DIAZ PUTS TEAM ALUMINOS ON TOP AT PROKART CHALLENGE WEST COAST SHOOTOUT G1 driver earns first victory of season at Buttonwillow Raceway Park BUTTONWILLOW, CA (May 16, 2009) -- Team Aluminos contested the first ever running of the West Coast ...
DIAZ PUTS TEAM ALUMINOS ON TOP AT PROKART CHALLENGE WEST COAST SHOOTOUT
G1 driver earns first victory of season at Buttonwillow Raceway Park
BUTTONWILLOW, CA (May 16, 2009) -- Team Aluminos contested the first ever running of the West Coast Shootout, which matched the North and South programs of the ProKart Challenge together at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park in central California. Many of the top racers from across the West Coast converged to the event with Team Aluminos drivers looking to emerge as the top pilot in their respective class. Fernando Diaz accomplished that feat as he earned top honors in the G1 category.
Diaz began the event third in the order after the timed qualifying session, just 54-thousandths off the fast lap, ensuring he and the rest of the Aluminos staff would have to put in the extra work to gain the top spot. Able to gain one spot at the start of the first heat race, Diaz put his GP machine on the bumper of the leader. The two were evenly matched once again, running a fast lap with five-hundredths of one another but Diaz would settle for the second spot. It was a similar scene in the second heat race with Diaz attached to the leader once again, unable to make a pass for the lead. In the feature, Diaz got the holeshot once the green flag was displayed and established a small lead. That advantage disappeared near the half-way mark, resulting in Diaz putting down the fastest laps of the race to earn his first feature win of the season by a one-second margin.
Five drivers carried the Aluminos colors in the S3 category with team driver coach Tom Dyer and New Zealander Daniel Bray showing the way. Bray would lead the Aluminos squad in qualifying as he recorded the fourth fastest lap of the session. Dyer would show his muscle and experience as he shot into second place on the start of the first heat race and battled for the lead ultimately finishing in third with Bray finishing in seventh. Heat two was similar with Dyer coming in third again and Bray improving on his heat one finish by coming home in fourth. In the main event, the duo were running second and third and pressuring the leader until a slight error by Dyer caused him to slide wide in turn five allowing Bray and two others to slide through, dropping him to fifth. Bray assumed the second spot, but eventually he slipped up as well and finished in fourth after the 20-lap event with Dyer following in fifth.
Brad Dunford put in an impressive stint after early troubles had him toward the tail of the field because of a DNF in the first heat race. Running lap times similar to the leaders, Dunford mananaged to climb back to ninth in the main event. Harley Owen maintained a constant consistent pace all weekend as he battled to remain in the top-ten throughout the day. Though he fought valiantly, Owen would record an 11th place finish. After scoring his first podium of the season at the second round of the North program, Steven Reasoner qualified ninth in the stout field and carded a DNF during the first heat race. Determined to turn things around he found the speed he was looking for during the second heat charging up to ninth from the back of the grid and was optimistic heading into the main event. Unfortunately, a broken chassis resulted in another DNF putting an end to his forward progress two laps into the race. It was an unusual circumstance that happened to the hard luck of Reasoner.
The S4 Aluminos contingent continues to fight for the championship in both the North and the South. Jeff Smith went into the Shootout event leading the South standings while Workum sits in the top three in both programs. Smith looked to challenge for his first victory of the season after qualifying third overall but would fall back to start fifth in the feature following the heat action. A poor start cost Smith three more positions as he found himself eighth after the opening lap. Making his way through the field, Smith was battling for the third spot by lap nine. Though he held the position for the majority of the second half of the race, he would lose the spot in the closing laps of the race to finish fourth - his worse finish of the year. Workum would not help his championship chances with his Shootout results as he was hit and spun in the first heat, dropping him to the tail of the field. Workum would manage to advance up to seventh in the Feature. Like Owen, first year driver Jonathon Allen fought to break into the top-10 all day but would settle for an 11th place performance.
The Team Aluminos squad will now regroup to attack the second half of the season with the fourth round of the North program set for June 13 at the Jim Russell International Karting Center and the sixth South event scheduled for Santa Maria on June 27.