NEAL SCORES TWO WINS AT WILLOW SPRINGS PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH BATTLE Emerging star stands atop podium in both S1 and S3 categories ROSAMOND, CA (February 28, 2009) -- The second round of the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South series went...
NEAL SCORES TWO WINS AT WILLOW SPRINGS PROKART CHALLENGE SOUTH BATTLE
Emerging star stands atop podium in both S1 and S3 categories
ROSAMOND, CA (February 28, 2009) -- The second round of the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South series went into the books this past weekend following the action at the Willow Springs Raceway kart track, a popular destination in the California karting scene. Roughly 60 drivers -- a number of talented drivers with positive attitudes -- made the journey to the 6/10-mile Rosamond circuit in perfect weather conditions for racing, which resulted in no major incidents all weekend. The second event of the 2009 schedule was also void of any repeat wins, as no one driver was able to back up their victories from the first round at the CalSpeed track. Jacob Neal was the only first double winner during the weekend, besting his competition in both the S1 and S3 main events.
Neal made it look easy in the S1 category, as he swept the day's on-track sessions. With a full year in the ICC division now under his belt, Neal put his experience on display as he led all of the green flag laps in both heat races and the feature. In contrast to what happened at the CalSpeed round, where an injury put Neal on the sidelines for the S1 feature after he showed the way earlier in the day, this outing was picture-perfect. Peter Abba took advantage of Neal's troubles last month to win the feature, but he ran second to the CRG pilot at Willow by beating out Gregory Liefooghe for the runner-up position.
Doing the double duty stint once again, Neal was right in the middle of the S3 battle, although it was no easy task with a number of championship contenders in attendance. Jimmy McNeil, who struggled at CalSpeed, came out the man to beat as he put his entry on top of the timing sheets in qualifying, besting Neal by a full two-tenths. A terrible start dropped McNeil back to sixth in the first lap of Heat 1, allowing Neal to battle Tommy Thompson for the lead. McNeil would recover quickly, as he caught the front in just six laps and assume the point on lap eight to take the win. Another bad start for McNeil in the second heat forced him to play catch-up again as Neal led the early going of the final moto. Clinton Schoombee challenged Neal this time around; however, it would be McNeil who would come through for the win once more.
The feature would be a repeat of McNeil's previous starts but he would only fall to third behind Neal and Patrick Cushenberry. Despite running the quickest lap of the race, McNeil's third attempt to drive back to the point failed one spot short -- as Neal would go on to lead flag-to-flag with McNeil settling for second. Schoombee came from 12th on the grid after falling back toward the end of the second heat to charge through the field in the 20-lap feature to finish third.
The TaG Senior class was a battle of age and experience versus youth and enthusiasm. Larry Fraser and Howie Idelson, two veteran drivers, put down the fast laps in qualifying to fill out the front row while 15-year old round one winner Brett Felkins was third quickest. The top two pilots swapped spots in the opening heat with Idelson taking the win over Fraser, while SuperNationals TaG Master winner Billy Cleavelin came up from fifth to finish third ahead of Felkins. Idelson took the second heat win as well, with Cleavelin edging Fraser to the line for second. Fraser would eventually be sent to the back with a technical DQ, due to an improper airbox. This ruling moved Felkins up a spot to start the feature in third.
Idelson led the field around to begin the 20-lap feature race with both Felkins and Lloyd Mack shuffling Cleavelin back to fourth. Cleavelin would not be denied as he rebounded quickly to assume the point by lap six. Both Felkins and Mack fell back in the early stages, opening the door for two more young guns, Dylan Nobile and Miles Maroney, to give the leaders something to worry about. Keeping the young lions at bay, Cleavelin and Idelson would go unchallenged to finish 1-2 while Maroney out-raced Nobile to the line for third with Fraser completing the top-five.
The S4 category was a close battle all day long, with a number of drivers in contention for the win. PKC newcomer Jason Attwood led the way in qualifying to earn his first pole honor, edging last year's S3 Heavy champion Phil Conte and S4 Heavy titlist Ken Schilling. In the first heat race, Conte got the jump on the field to go flag-to-flag for the win -- ahead of round one winner Peter Workum and Jeff Smith. Attwood fell back to eighth in the opening lap, but worked himself to fifth behind Schilling. Smith got the better of Conte in the second heat race to take the win, with Attwood moving up to third ahead of Rob Whitley and Schilling. Workum had troubles at the start, and left the grid from the last row instead of his second starting spot, advancing to eighth.
Conte would not go down quietly, as he got the jump on Smith at the drop of the green for the 20-lap feature race. Smith stayed glued to his bumper until the white flag lap, when he made his move for the lead. The pass stuck and Smith fought to hold off Conte as they drag-raced to the line; however, it was Conte who got there first, taking his first win of the season. Attwood ended a solid weekend in third.
Two drivers put in dominant performances on the weekend, sweeping all on-track sessions in their respective classes. Troy Butts took a six-second victory in G1 division over round one winner Jason Campbell, while Roy Montgomery made it to the podium for the second straight event. The new S4 Magnum class was added at Willow Springs and Luke Bianco led the way throughout the day. Tony Morrison was second in the feature, with Jim Miller completing the podium.
The TaG Master division was a revolving door at the front, with a number of drivers taking a turn up front. Mike Kelley led the way in qualifying, while Steve Wiener took the heat one win. In heat two, Jeff Deehan took his turn up front, earning the win -- and he would not relinquish the spot in the main event. Deehan beat Kelley to the line by just two-tenths, with Jim Elia rounding out the top three. Max Zacky went unchallenged on the day in the TaG Junior class.
During practice on Friday and a brief stint on Saturday, the PKC offered free testing in the new KF2 race packages, through Tony Kart West and G-Phactory. The test runs were a success, with a number of drivers taking advantage of the opportunity. The class will officially be added to the championship class line-up at round three on March 28 at the Grange Motor Circuit in Apple Valley, California. For more information on Superkarts! USA's ProKart Challenge, head to www.prokartchallenge.com