SKUSA: PKC-S: Team Aluminos Willow Springs summary

TEAM ALUMINOS HITS WILLOW SPRINGS FOR PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH Smith earns podium for squad at second round PKC South series ROSAMOND, CA (February 28, 2009) -- The Team Aluminos karting squad was back into action after a month's hiatus following...

Smith earns podium for squad at second round PKC South series

ROSAMOND, CA (February 28, 2009) -- The Team Aluminos karting squad was back into action after a month's hiatus following the ProKart Challenge South opener in Fontana in January, this time competing at the Willow Springs Raceway kart track in Rosamond, California for the second round of the program. The February 28 event saw six drivers flying the Aluminos colors with driver instructor Tom Dyer and engine tuner George Tavares making sure that each pilot was ready for every session on track. The trio of Aluminos drivers in the competitive S3 division held their own and continued to improve on their personal performance goals, while the S4 contingent produced a podium finish in the main event.

Peter Workum and Jeff Smith led the way in the S4 group, coming into the weekend sitting second and third in the points. Smith took the unofficial win at CalSpeed but was penalized two spots, giving Workum the victory. However, the PKC awards points for all on-track sessions, so they found themselves trailing the championship leader by five and 10 points, respectively. Smith and Workum ran near identical times in qualifying, placing fourth and fifth in the session.

Workum got the better start for the opening heat race, jumping up to second while Smith eventually drove up to third, where they would finish after 12 laps. After leaving the pre-grid late, Workum had to relinquish his second spot in the final heat race to start from the tail of the field. He would eventually work himself up to the eighth place. Meanwhile, Smith bided his time running in second before taking over the lead with four to go, taking the heat win, which put him on the pole for the main event.

It was an exciting 20-lap feature with Smith settling into second at the drop of the green flag before stalking the leader for the majority of the race. Waiting until the final lap to make his move, Smith took the lead three turns from the checkered. However, as they made their way out of the final corner, his challenger caught the draft and they drag-raced to the stripe. Smith would come up just short of holding him off, settling for the second spot. Workum would again have a poor start but methodically worked his way forward again through the field to finish sixth. Smith was credited with the fast lap of the race while Workum recorded the second fastest lap.

Joining the lead duo in S4 was Phil Dunford, father of S3 driver Brad Dunford. Phil made a welcomed return to the driver's seat after a lengthy hiatus and settled in quite well in his comeback. After qualifying seventh, he held the position for most of the day, finishing in the same spot in the main event, just a few tenths back of Workum.

Not to be outdone by his elder, Brad continued to impress in only his second year of racing, competing in the toughest and most competitive class in the ProKart Challenge South program, S3. Posting the fourth fastest lap in qualifying, Dunford had a tough opening heat race as he fell to sixth in the order. Brad would bounce back in the second heat race as he muscled his way back up to third. The feature was a hard-fought battle for the third podium spot with championship contenders from one year ago. Dunford held his own, but would cross the line fifth after 20 laps, recording the third fastest lap of the race.

Also entering their second season in the S3 category are Harley Owen and Kyle Hathcox. Owen continued to improve his pace throughout the weekend but a DQ for being two pounds light in the opening heat hurt his chances of contending for a podium. He would manage an eighth place run in the feature. Coming off a victory at his home track in Phoenix, Hathcox came into Willow Springs with some extra confidence. Mechanical gremlins, however, disrupted his hopes for a strong weekend, finishing 10th in the feature. The young pilot is looking to bounce back at the next round of the series.

Team Aluminos will be closer to home for the next event as the SKUSA ProKart Challenge North kicks off its 2009 season at the Infineon Raceway Jim Russell International Karting Center facility in Sonoma, California on March 14. The following weekend they'll head down the coast again for round three of the South program at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

-credit: ta

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Series Kart
Drivers Peter Workum , Jeff Smith , Tom Dyer