TEAM ALUMINOS WINS FINALE TO CLINCH PROKART SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP WITH SMITH S4 driver sweeps seventh and final round to secure championship, squad looking for more wins in North program FONTANA, CA (August 29, 2009) -- As the 2009 season comes...
TEAM ALUMINOS WINS FINALE TO CLINCH PROKART SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP WITH SMITH
S4 driver sweeps seventh and final round to secure championship, squad looking for more wins in North program
FONTANA, CA (August 29, 2009) -- As the 2009 season comes to a close, the Team Aluminos drivers and staff are steering toward ending the year on top. With the final round of the ProKart Challenge South taking place August 29 at the CalSpeed Karting facility in Fontana, California, the first of three events to wrap up the season is in the books with Aluminos coming out as a champion. With a full tent of seven drivers, team manager Rob Soares and the staff of George Tavares, Tom Dyer and Fritz Leesmann were kept busy throughout the event with the tough circuit and fierce competition in attendance.
Championship hopes rode on the shoulders of S4 driver Jeff Smith. With a consistent string of results, Smith entered the event as the championship leader and a recent feature winner. Smith kicked the event off on the right foot, literally, as he just grabbed the pole award by a mere 24-thousandths of a second. That slipped away at the start of the first heat race as Smith fell back to third in the opening lap. With grit and determination, Smith managed to reclaim the top spot for the heat win. Getting off the line better to begin the second heat, Smith led all 10-laps for the win, placing him on the pole for the main event. From there, Smith was able to stretch out for solid victory to clinch the S4 championship.
"It was a great feeling to get the win in the fashion that I did," commented Smith following the weekend. "I was so excited to get the win to end the season on top and it couldn't have come in a better way as it helped seal the deal for the championship. The title is my first championship of my career so it's very special. Coming home from Fontana was a great feeling, just over the top with excitement. I can't thank Rob (Soares) and the staff for all they did for me this year. A team like theirs is what makes karting so much more fun and relaxing for a driver like myself. They make the weekend go smooth for me and the experience staff of Tom Dyer, Fritz Leesmann, and George Tavares helped me earn the win this weekend and the championship."
Alongside Smith were Aluminos drivers were Peter Workum and Jonathon Allen. Workum was third in the qualifying order however contact in the opening heat put him at the rear of the field. Moving up to 10th in the final heat, Workum was able to climb up to finish sixth in the feature, putting him fifth in the final standings. Allen was consistent all day, starting out sixth in the lineup and breaking into the top-five in the heat races. In the feature, Allen battled to move further up the top-five but settled for the fifth spot when the checkered flag waved.
Brad Dunford led the charge for Team Aluminos in a stacked S3 category that looked like a mini-SuperNationals field. Dunford had a respectable fast lap in qualifying that put him seventh in the order however contact put him back to the tail of the field in the opening stint of the first heat. Regaining the spots he lost in the second heat race, finishing seventh, Dunford challenged the top-five. Though he crossed the line seventh, a driver ahead of him was removed from the results, placing him sixth. The result put him fifth in the final point standings.
The event began out slow for fellow S3 drivers Harley Owen and Kyle Hathcox - who returned under Aluminos tent after being away for a few months. The two were classified 12th and 13th in qualifying with some work to be done. The Aluminos staff worked closely with both drivers to improve both their racecraft and the machines they were piloting. Both improved each time on the track and it showed in the feature with both drivers running at the same pace as Dunford. When the checkered waved, Hathcox was seventh and Own was eighth.
Brad Dhesi - a new driver under the Aluminos tent - was the lone driver in the G1 division flying the squad's colors with high hopes of a podium run. The day began with Dhesi placing fifth in the qualifying session followed by one spot gain in each heat race. Starting third for the feature, Dhesi was set on pacing himself for the 20-lap event before charging forward near the end of the race. Unfortunately, a slight error entering a corner allowed a group of drivers to slide underneath as Dhesi went wide, putting him near the tail of the field. Working hard to regain the spots lost, Dhesi ended up sixth by the final lap, a solid performance for his first weekend with the Aluminos operation.
This coming weekend, the Aluminos crew will battle in the ProKart Challenge North finale on September 12, back at the Jim Russell International Karting Center, with Aluminos drivers looking to secure the top positions in the point standings once again. Driver coach Tom Dyer will return to the driver's seat for some extra track time, running in the S3 division with round six winner Daniel Bray from New Zealand and championship contender Steve Reasoner. Peter Workum will fly the Aluminos colors in the S4 division, coming into the finale second in the standings and looking for his first feature win and slide in for the class championship.