BUCKWALTER LEADS DOMINATING WEEKEND IN SONOMA FOR PROKART CHALLENGE NORTH Seven drivers score event sweeps at Jim Russell International Karting Center for round five SONOMA, CA (July 11, 2009) -- The Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge North...
BUCKWALTER LEADS DOMINATING WEEKEND IN SONOMA FOR PROKART CHALLENGE NORTH
Seven drivers score event sweeps at Jim Russell International Karting Center for round five
SONOMA, CA (July 11, 2009) -- The Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge North wrapped up the fifth round of the seven event championship program on July 11 at the Jim Russell International Karting Center inside the Infineon Raceway facility. The event was contested on the 0.68-mile 'Sprint' configuration at the Sonoma, California circuit, with a number of drivers offering dominating performances to sweep the day's action.
Brett Buckwalter put himself back into the TaG Senior championship chase with a weekend sweep -- to a near perfect score in the points on the day. A 48.524 lap time in qualifying gave Buckwalter a two-tenths advantage over championship leader Will Martindale for the pole position. A bad opening lap by Martindale -- which dropped him to eighth in the order -- allowed Buckwalter to cruise to the first heat win over Larry Fraser. Despite his bad luck, Martindale powered through to regain most of the spots to end up third after the eight-lap sprint. Buckwalter went flag to flag in the second heat, as Martindale assumed the runner-up spot -- Fraser retired after taking the green with a broken chain. Brett Felkins -- struggling in qualifying and the opening heat -- found the right changes to come up from 13th to third.
The feature was a mere duplicate of Buckwalter's earlier performances, as he again went green to checkered in the 20-lap main event for his second straight feature victory. The only thing that kept it from a perfect weekend was Martindale stealing the fast lap honors in the feature for 10 extra championship points. It would be much needed after losing the second position to Felkins in the opening lap and unable to reclaim the position to finish third. JP Cadoux recorded his third fourth-place feature result of the season, while Fraser recovered to fifth to salvage his points total for the weekend and stay in the title hunt.
Tom Dyer was successful in ending the S3 winning streak of championship leader Jacob Neal with a sweep in the class action Saturday. The 2007 S3 SKUSA SuperNationals champion returned to action -- in preparation of this year's November event -- and was successful in stopping Neal's streak at three on the PKC North program. Dyer edged teammate Daniel Bray for the pole position, with title contenders Tommy Thompson and Neal third and fourth quickest. Dyer and Kiwi Bray ran 1-2 in the opening heat, with Neal getting around Thompson for third. Neal would get by Bray in the final heat to run second to Dyer to set up for a great feature battle. The inside line with Dyer and Bray would relegate Neal back to third at the start of the main event. With Bray running second, Dyer was able to put space on the two fighting for the runner-up spot to lead all 20 laps. Neal spent the entire race chasing Bray, and was successful in taking over the second spot on lap 18. It would all be for not, as Neal made a slight error and went off course on his way to the checkered flag, ending his race and putting him eighth -- which allowed Bray to assume the second spot. Steve Reasoner slipped past Thompson for fourth at the start and would end up completing the podium in third with Neal's DNF.
A kart change did not slow down HPV-2 Junior point leader Kiel Spaulding, as the young pilot switched brands prior to the event and nevertheless put in a perfect weekend to extend his lead. Scoring the fast lap in qualifying by just one-tenth over championship rivals Luis Tyrrell and Dylan Lupton, Spaulding cruised to two-second wins in both heats. Lupton would run second in both eight-lap runs, with Tyrrell in third. Spaulding continued to put down a torturous pace -- nearly four-tenths of a second quicker a lap -- to stretch out to a nine-second victory. Lupton held strong in second, while Tyrrell retired on lap four with mechanical issues, handing the third position and the final podium step to Federico Paoloni in his first PKC North event.
Lupton would earn his victory on the day, however, in the TaG Junior division -- and assume the points lead. With the absence of Spaulding and former point leader Adrian Starrantino, Lupton ran unchallenged throughout the day, scoring the pole position in qualifying while leading flag to flag in the heat races and the feature. Austin Elliott scored the fast lap of the feature to steal 10 championship points; however, he was unable to stick with Lupton for the full 20 laps. Elliott earned his first podium of the season, while Kathryn Cornell ran to third, scoring her second podium finish of the season.
The S4 category saw championship leader Jamie Wilson add to his points lead with his second straight feature victory, his third on the year. Wilson was two-tenths quicker than Peter Workum and Alex Keith in qualifying, and continued to show the way once racing got underway. Keith kept it close in the first heat as he crossed the line just half a second back from Wilson -- as Workum ran third. Wilson picked up the pace in the second heat to stretch out to a three second margin over the field. Workum assumed the challenger role in the 20-lap main event, as he put Keith back to third while setting his sights on Wilson. Though he kept it close early, Workum was unable to match Wilson's pace as he went on to take the victory by two-seconds.
Jeff Deehan submitted his name into the TaG Master's title mix with his class sweep toward his first feature victory of the season. Deehan edged championship contenders Jim Zootis and Steve Elo for top spot in qualifying. A poor opening lap in heat one put Deehan at the back of the six kart field; however, he muscled his way back to the point to take the win over Elo and Zootis. That would be the only time Deehan was challenged, as he went flag to flag for the heat two win and the feature victory. Zootis and Elo ran second and third in heat two. However, they fell off the pace in the feature -- finishing sixth and fourth respectively. That allowed Helmar Beregszaszy and David Gwin to slide through for second and third.
Jim Kidd was the final sweep of the day, as he bested Ethan Wilson each on-track session in the G1 category to extend his standings lead. Cody Hodgson and Jacob Neal each now have two wins a piece in the S1 category, as Hodgson scored the victory Saturday to tighten up their duel for the class title.
Tom Kutscher wants to thank Shawn Thomas for again bringing out a priceless vintage race car -- this time a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO -- to share with the ProKart Challenge contenders. TaG Masters winner Jeff Deehan and S4 winner Jamie Wilson enjoyed a victory lap (or two) around the track after the race on Saturday, courtesy of the Tom Price collection.
Round six of the seven race program will take place on August 15 at the Jim Russell International Karting Center, while the ProKart Challenge South will wrap up the 2009 season on August 29 at the CalSpeed Karting circuit in Fontana, California. For more information on the Superkarts! USA's ProKart Challenge itself, head to www.prokartchallenge.com or call 951-491-0808.