Speed Victorious at ProKart Challenge North Event at Infineon Top shifter pilot wins TaG division at biggest NorCal event of the year SONOMA, CA (June 14, 2008) -- Another historic event went in the books for the Superkarts! USA organization...
Speed Victorious at ProKart Challenge North Event at Infineon
Top shifter pilot wins TaG division at biggest NorCal event of the year
SONOMA, CA (June 14, 2008) -- Another historic event went in the books for the Superkarts! USA organization this past weekend during the third running of the ProKart Challenge North program at the Jim Russell Int'l Karting Center at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The NorCal-based series ran the national course in the reverse direction for the first time in the facility's history, and the feedback was tremendous. With the unique event format and clear warm skies highlighting the day, a record number of entries for the program filled the paddock and lined the fences with spectators as a positive atmosphere was enjoyed throughout the paddock. Besting 22 other drivers, veteran Alex Speed took home the TaG Senior win to highlight the weekend.
The qualifying run for the TaG Senior division looked more like an old SuperNationals S1 line-up as Tom Dyer and Brett Buckwalter led the way in the timed session. Running an Aluminos GP with new Rotax power, Dyer was the only driver to break the 50-second mark running in the reverse counter-clockwise direction with a 49.950-second lap, edging Buckwalter by just over a tenth of a second. Dyer would go flag-to-flag in the first eight-lap heat, while they shuffled around behind him to begin the wheel-to-wheel action. Speed started fifth and came up to finish second, bringing Wes Phillips with him. Buckwalter dropped back to fifth behind point leader Jason Toft. The second heat was nearly the same as Dyer took another win, although he was pressured significantly by Speed. Buckwalter was also able to get around Toft for fourth, improving on his performance.
The final was an exciting one to watch with the top-three mixing it up for the 15 laps. Phillips attacked early, leading the opening lap before Dyer regained the position the following circuit. The Aluminos driver coach would lead the next seven laps as Phillips and Speed went back and forth for second. Phillips retook the top spot for three more laps until Speed took his turn on lap 12, running with Dyer right on his bumper. Speed was able to hold him the top qualifier for the final three laps to take the victory by a scant 0.137 seconds. Phillips -- who was credited with the fast lap of the race -- crossed the line third just in front of Buckwalter and Cameron Pringle.
Also new to the program was the HPV-2 Junior class. As a test for a possible new class in the upcoming SuperNationals XII in November, the PKC North staff added it to the regular class lineup for the weekend. The dozen Juniors who attended this debut were electrifying on-track, beginning with their qualifying session -- as Donavon Wheeler edged Kiel Spaulding for the pole position by just 0.062-seconds. Brett Felkins got into the mix during the first heat action, coming up from the third starting spot to take over the point and the eventual win. Wheeler was second with Spaulding third. In heat two, Spaulding took the victory on the final lap ahead of Felkins and Wheeler. Felkins, however, would not make the green flag for the 15-lap final as he suffered brake issues on the parade lap. Following a red flag incident in the opening lap for Janna Spear, who was later cleared with no injuries, the race got underway. With Felkins out, Spaulding was offered a clear run up front as he led green-to-checker, with Joseph Keaton getting by Wheeler on an exciting pass at the final lefthander of the final lap for second place. Great driving!
S3 began with drama as top qualifier Jason Toft was disqualified for a bad batch of fuel. This gave Marc Elliott the pole position for the opening heat. Elliott took the victory in the first eight-lap race, while Toft was able to get up to fifth from the tail of the field after sorting out the fuel issue. Toft quickly made up ground in the opening corner and was at the point by lap two of the second heat. He would take the checkered flag; however, he was penalized one position for jumping the start, giving Elliott the win once again. In the final, Toft would run flawlessly, taking his second victory on the year, as Elliott ran to a solid second. Neil Joseph and Steffan Maus had a heated battle for third until contact took both out on lap 10. The two showed great sportsmanship with a hand shake as they stood on the sidelines. This allowed Brad Dunford to slide onto the podium in third.
Matt Alcorn continued his dominance in the S4 division, taking all of the on-track sessions, including an almost 10-second victory in the feature, while scoring maximum points to extend his championship lead. Sergio Machado finished second in his third race of the season, coming home ahead of Alexander Keith.
S1 point leader Cody Hodgson looked to have the advantage early on, with Jacob Neal on his heels in both qualifying and the opening heat race. In heat two, Neal turned up the wick and took the win, which he parlayed in a feature race victory. Jon Allen won the battle for second, however he skipped the tech barn at the end of the race, thus removing him from the results and giving Hodgson the position, with Gregory Liefooghe in third. G1 was 'The Craig Corwin Show' for the third straight event, as the veteran swept the class on the day. Ethan Wilson won a tight battle for second over Jim Kidd.
With TaG Masters championship leader Rob Soares out with a broken hand, the category was left open for the taking. Jim Ferguson was the man who stepped up, taking the top qualifier honor, as well as the two heat race wins. The final, however, would not end the way he had hoped, as electronic issues with his engine ended Ferguson's race on lap eight. This handed the win to Helmar Beregszaszy, with Jeremy Hillhouse and Steve Elo joining him on the podium. In TaG Masters Light, Herman Ip won his third straight feature -- with David Oroshnik and Jim Zootis running second and third.
The series will continue next month on July 12th, with the fourth round of the series returning the teams to the Jim Russell Int'l Karting Center. For more information about this event and to check out the line-up of year-end prizes available to ProKart Challenge competitors, head to www.prokartchallenge.com .