SKUSA: PKC-N: Sonoma round two preview

ROUND TWO ON DECK FOR PROKART CHALLENGE NORTH PROGRAM Series returns to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma on April 18 TEMECULA, CA (April 9, 2009) -- If the opening round of the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge North regional program last month is ...

ROUND TWO ON DECK FOR PROKART CHALLENGE NORTH PROGRAM
Series returns to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma on April 18

TEMECULA, CA (April 9, 2009) -- If the opening round of the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge North regional program last month is a glimpse into what the rest of the year entails, the second season will be one to remember. Following an action-packed weekend on March 14 to open up the 2009 PKC North season, the organization now looks toward producing an even bigger event on April 18 at the Jim Russell International Karting Center at Infineon Raceway. The Sonoma, California circuit will host round two of the series with another large group of competitors expected to contend the 3/4-mile national circuit.

The opening round was highlighted by the performance of Kiel Spaulding, who won both the HPV2 Junior and TaG Junior features. Though two wins may seem easy, Spaulding was challenged in both divisions throughout the day. He enters the second round leading by just 20 points in the standings over Dylan Lupton in HPV2 Junior and the same margin over Kathryn Cornell in TaG Junior. Spaulding will return next weekend to try and repeat his round one performance against some of the best in Northern California along with Alessandra Madrigal making the trek from Massachusetts.

2008 TaG Senior vice-champion Will Martindale began his bid at the title the right way by scoring the feature win after a near perfect day. Only Larry Fraser, who earned the top qualifying honors, kept Martindale from earning the full 320 points on the day. And, although Martindale holds a 60-point advantage over Brett Felkins after this first round, that lead could vanish in round two with the structure of the points system. A number of national competitors are expected to compete against Spaulding and Martindale -- including Neil Alberico, Michael Hogg, Hayden Ritter and many others.

The S3 division saw a special guest earning some extra laps in between his Rolex Grand-Am Daytona Prototype driver duties, as NorCal's Memo Gidley contended the event. Though Gidley displayed the skills that helped him earn the 1999 SKUSA SuperNationals title, he would be bested on the day by two emerging stars in the PKC program, Tommy Thompson and Jacob Neal. Thompson joined the S3 category last year and has been running up front since, earning the victory in the 2009 PKC North opener. Neal made the trek from SoCal to finish in the runner-up spot. All are expected to return for round two.

Neal also took home the S1 feature win over New Zealander Daniel Bray and defending champion Cody Hodgson. Bray, who has stayed state-side since the opener, will return to battle Neal at round two. Former national champions Gary Carlton and Ron White, both with a number of wins at the Infineon facility, will be in attendance to challenge Neal and Bray. Earning the prize for the furthest traveled however will be Brandon Frank from Bermuda. A number of other drivers are expected, and will certainly improve the S1 field quality.

Jared Woolf was the man to beat at round one in S4 until mechanical issues forced him out of competition, leaving Jamie Wilson to take the point and the feature win. He will look to defend his round one win against a number of newcomers to the category this year, looking for their first win in ProKart Challenge competition. Defending G1 champion Craig Corwin began his title defense on the right path, as he took both heat wins and the feature victory. Fernando Diaz edged Corwin in qualifying, breaking up Corwin's bid for a perfect weekend, and went on to finish second. Steve Elo, third place in 2008 TaG Masters standings, was also near perfect as he won his TaG Masters heat races and the feature only to get beat out for the pole in qualifying by Jeff Deehan.

-credit: skusa

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Series Kart
Drivers Memo Gidley , Ron White , Michael Hogg , Neil Alberico