De La O Battles Through Difficult Weekend in New Castle June 3, 2009 (Glendale, Ariz.) -- Some of the lessons that young kart racers learn that they will carry throughout the rest of their racing careers are learned on race weekends that you ...
De La O Battles Through Difficult Weekend in New Castle
June 3, 2009 (Glendale, Ariz.) -- Some of the lessons that young kart racers learn that they will carry throughout the rest of their racing careers are learned on race weekends that you might just as soon forget. Sixteen-year-old Phil De La O from Glendale, Ariz., has enjoyed a strong season competing in several karting series and has already earned a trip to the Rotax Grand Finals thanks to his championship in the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas.
Before competing in last weekend's inaugural Championship Karting International race at New Castle Motorsports Park, De La O had spent a large amount of time testing aboard the CRG kart and Iame Junior engine package. In his last national series race, De La O had dominated the weekend in the KF3 class, but had not enjoyed the same success in Iame Junior. Thus, he devoted much time to that package and was confident heading to New Castle.
However, during qualifying, his kart was bit by a mechanical gremlin that hindered De La O from putting his kart any better than twelfth on the grid. His team effected repairs and De La O was able to make progress in each of the heat races, putting him within striking distance of the front pack in the pre-final, where he finished fifth. In the final, De La O found himself in a battle for third place in the early stages of the race when contact with another kart led him to retire only seven laps into the race.
While he struggled in Iame Junior qualifying, De La O had a much better time of things in KF3 where he put his CRG on pole. The battle for the lead in KF3 was hard fought throughout the heats, and De La O took one win before finishing second in the pre-final. In the final, De La O put on a show as he battled for the lead, but was unable to make a clean pass and settled for second place. However, the joy of his podium result was short-lived as his motor was found to be out of compliance in tech, and De La O was removed from the results.
"This was a difficult weekend for us, from beginning to end," said De La O afterwards. "But, it is only one weekend, and there are three more to go where we can make up our deficit in the points. A lot of the problems that we had were kind of out of our control. That isn't good or bad; it is still something that I have to overcome as a driver, with the help of our crew. I'm still happy with how I drove, and if we keep at it we will get better results next time."
De La O will compete next at the Championship Karting International race at F1 New Jersey in Millville, New Jersey, June 26-28.