TEAM ALUMINOS REACHES PODIUM AT ROUND THREE OF PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH Aluminos owner Soares earns first win of season with two team drivers reaching podium at Grange event APPLE VALLEY, CA (March 28, 2009) -- The Team Aluminos Arrive and Drive...
TEAM ALUMINOS REACHES PODIUM AT ROUND THREE OF PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH
Aluminos owner Soares earns first win of season with two team drivers reaching podium at Grange event
APPLE VALLEY, CA (March 28, 2009) -- The Team Aluminos Arrive and Drive program is considered to be in good hands judging by the performance of the drivers under the tent each weekend, along with the recent performance of team manager Rob Soares. The third round of the ProKart Challenge South program commenced at the Grange Motor Circuit on March 28 with Soares producing what he preaches with a dominant performance in the TaG Masters category. Following his lead, three Aluminos drivers scored a top-five finish - two of which earned trips to the podium.
The tone of the weekend began in qualifying with Soares brushing off the rust from not racing since last season's PKC North finale in September, posting a scorching lap to earn the top qualifier honors by over seven-tenths. He continued the fast pace into the opening heat race as he went flag-to-flag for the win by a margin of six-seconds. The second heat race was a copy of the first except Soares stretched out to nearly a 10-second advantage. The 20-lap feature saw no challenges for the Aluminos leader as he went on to take his first feature win of the season by 14-seconds.
The S4 contingent for Team Aluminos has had a solid start to the 2009 PKC South season with a driver representing the team on the podium at the two opening rounds. The third event of the year saw two making a trip to the post-race ceremonies with Jeff Smith and Phil Dunford placing second and third. Dunford showed the way in qualifying for the team as he placed fourth in the order, just ahead of Smith with Aluminos driver and round one winner Peter Workum in seventh.
In the opening heat race, Smith was shuffled back to seventh in the opening lap but muscled his way back up to Dunford, who was running third. Smith took the position and would finish there while Workum managed to gain one spot. The second heat race was upsetting as Workum first retired on lap four with a mechanical issue while Smith joined him on the sidelines after spinning off course while in the third position. Dunford managed to advance to third to start the feature from inside row two.
Starting from the back, Smith was a driver on a mission as he was able to post identical laps to the leader as he made his way back up through the field. Near the halfway point, Smith reached Dunford - who was running third. The two swapped positions and began to run down second. The driver they were chasing made a few errors and the duo capitalized to take over the P2 and P3. They ran that way to the checkered flag, with Smith scoring his third straight podium finish to continue leading the class championship while Dunford earned his first trip in only his second start of the season. Workum improved on his lap times from the previous sessions and finished in sixth place.
The S3 category is considered the toughest division of the ProKart Challenge South program. Second year shifter kart drivers Brad Dunford and Harley Owen continue to improve each weekend out and are progressing each session on track. The day however started out slow for the duo as they sat seventh and 11th in the order after the qualifying session. Both stepped up their game once the wheel to wheel action began as Dunford grabbed two positions in the opening heat while Owen earned one spot. In the second heat race, Dunford was as high as the fourth spot but was shuffled back to sixth while Owen was a solid tenth. The start of the feature was a good one for Owen as he bolted up to seventh, one spot back of Dunford after the opening lap. The two ran nose to tail for the majority of the race until Dunford ran up on the tail of the group battling for third. Though he only managed to gain one spot, Dunford crossed the line fifth on the bumper of third and fourth. Owen earned the checkered flag in the seventh spot.
Much of the success achieved by each driver was in-part due to the excellent staff on hand under the Aluminos tent. Driver coach/tuner Tom Dyer helped the drivers adapt to the Grange circuit quickly while engine specialist George Tavares keep the packages running strong all weekend. Top shifter kart driver Fritz Leesmann and New Zealander Daniel Bray also provided help to on the weekend. The next journey for Team Aluminos will keep the team in Northern California as they head back to the Jim Russell International Karting Center @ Infineon Raceway on April 18 for the second round of the ProKart Challenge North program.