WKA: IRL SoK: Desert MINI summary

Miller and Vorrath Keep Momentum Alive at the Desert MINI Grand Prix Seattle, WA (June 5, 2006) -- The competitors in the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the IRL faced triple digit temperatures, an unfamiliar temporary layout, and the...

Miller and Vorrath Keep Momentum Alive at the Desert MINI Grand Prix

Seattle, WA (June 5, 2006) -- The competitors in the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the IRL faced triple digit temperatures, an unfamiliar temporary layout, and the usual fierce competition that every race weekend in the series brings at this weekend's Desert MINI Grand Prix held at Buffalo Bill's Hotel and Casino in Primm, NV.

The shifter pilots in the Cytomax ICC class put on some of the most intense racing action seen this season in the parking lot at Buffalo Bill's. Saturday's racing action would see Trackmagic pilot Gary Carlton take the Zoombang Pole Award in Gatorz Pole Qualifying, the Northern California operation obviously not missing a beat under the new ownership of Andrew Alphonso. An impressive drive in the Final saw Jordy Vorrath (Leading Edge/Champion Intrepid) take strong two second victory. Behind him however the action was fierce as a tangle eliminated Tony Kart's David Jurca and Top Kart's Matt Jaskol, who was pulling double duty between Buffalo Bill's and his NASCAR Weekly Racing Series ride at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Bullring, out of action. Tad Funakoshi (Italkart) took second with Gary Carlton recovering from a broken chain in the Prefinal to charge through the field for third. Lorenzo Mandarino (KLS GP Racing) and 2005 series runner-up Kyle Wiegand (Top Kart) rounded out the top-five. Sunday's action in the Cytomax ICC class was heated in every way imaginable. Vorrath followed up on his Saturday victory to take pole. In the Final he would jump out to an early lead but would soon be hunted down by the charging Gary Carlton. The two were nose-to-tail going into the final lap. Carlton made his move coming out of turn four. The duo was side-by-side, and rubbed sidepods over the next couple of corners but Vorrath was able to hold the lead. Going into the final corner Carlton contacted Vorrath from behind sending the Intrepid driver wide and allowing Carlton to slip underneath and cross the finish line in first. Vorrath let his displeasure be known by running into Carlton on the cool-down lap giving race officials plenty of content to review and discipline. After intensive meetings, Carlton was docked one position for his final corner maneuver, giving the victory to Vorrath. However, Vorrath was then fined for his unsportsmanlike actions on the cool down lap. Funakoshi once again grabbed a podium result with a third place finish while Las Vegas native Michael Abbate (Birel) took fourth in an impressive one-off showing. Lorenzo Mandarino (KLS Racing GP) rounded out the top five.

Joel Miller (Tony Kart), the 2005 ICA West Champion came into the Nevada weekend on a roll after taking his first victory at the New Castle race weekend two weeks earlier and hoped to keep the momentum going. However, Aaron Neliton (Sodi Kart) surprised many in the paddock on Saturday by taking the Zoombang Pole Award in Gatorz Pole Qualifying. Miller and Neliton had a heated battle in the Final until Neliton retired allowing Miller to walk away with a comfortable victory. Jess Peterson (Champion Intrepid) took second with James Kennedy in third in his first race aboard a Sodi Kart. Costa Rica's Juan Sanso (CRG) and Garrett Napier (Maranello) rounded out the top-five. On Sunday the Zoombang Pole Award was taken by Canadian Tyler Dueck (Champion Intrepid). In the Final, Miller would take control and walk a way to five second victory. Jess Peterson would take his second runner-up finish of the weekend with Colby Jenn (Italkart) in third. Nick Johnston (Maranello) and Aaron Neliton would round out the top-five.

In Spec Racer Chris Scribner (Scribner Plastics Tony Kart) took the top spot in Saturday's Gatorz Pole Qualifying. In the Final a three kart pack consisting of Scribner, and First Kart teammates Eric Gerrits and Devon Sandeen would duke it out for the win. Gerrits would prevail to take his first victory in Snap-on Stars of Karting competition, with Sandeen placing second and Scribner rounding out the podium. Chelsie Jackman (Biesse) and Tucson, Arizona's Jamie Slone (Intrepid) would round out the top-five. Sandeen would bounce back from his runner-up finish to take pole on Sunday. In the main event Sandeen would establish a strong lead and pull away to take a 12 second victory. Eric Gerrits worked his way up from an early race tangle to take second with GT Karts Kyle Heckman taking the last step on the podium. Nick Fairney (First Kart) and Lucas Wilkinson (Intrepid) rounded out the top-five.

The young warriors in the PCH Motorsports JICA class provided plenty of action on track over the entire weekend. Donny St. Ours (Tony Kart) took the top spot in Saturday's Gatorz pole qualifying. The Final would come down to a battle between 2005 West Division Champion Brett Smrz (First Kart) and former National Cadet Champion Sergio Pena (Maranello). In a great, clean dice Pena would pass Smrz on the last corner of the last lap to take his first victory in the JICA category. Connor DePhilippi (KRT) took the last step on the podium while Joey Licata (Biesse) and Hayden Duerson (Italkart) rounded out the top-five. Jacob Neal (PCH Motorsports CRG) recovered from a disappointing day Saturday which saw him go off at the first corner of the final to take pole in Sunday's Gatorz Pole Qualifying. The Final would come down to a battle between Smrz and Kamloops, British Columbia's Brendan Langlois (Maranello). Langlois would take the lead in the middle of the race but Smrz would make up for his Sunday disappointment by passing for the lead on the final circuit. Langlois held on for second with Neal in third. Victor Carbone (KRT) and Michael Hogg (Italkart) would round out the top-five.

In the King Taco Cadet class Mason Marotta (Top Kart) would take the pole in Gatorz Pole Qualifying on Saturday. In the Final a tight battle broke out involving Marotta, his Top Kart teammate Kolby Araki, Oscar Tunjo (Nevoso), Dylan Nobile (Nevoso) and Philip Orcic (WTP). Nobile would edge out Araki in a photo finish with Orcic taking third and Tunjo and Marotta rounding out the top-five. Californian Louie Pagano (Birel) stepped up to take his first Gatorz Pole Award on Sunday. In the final Nobile would have an impressive drive, coming from eighth to take the lead and the victory. Kolby Araki would take his second runner-up finish of the weekend over Andrew Murray (Birel). Oscar Tunjo (Nevoso) and Camden Geise (Top Kart) would round out the top-five.

Good news reached the Snap-on Stars of Karting IRL paddock on Sunday, as word spread that 2003 ICC National Champion and frequent competitor in the series Bobby Wilson took his first victory in the Indy Pro Series at Watkins Glen. 2005 National ICA Champion Phil Giebler took third in the same race reinforcing the series' place as the starting point on the Road to Indy.

The Desert MINI Grand Prix produced some of the most exciting racing action across all classes as any race weekend in recent memory. The corner workers, race teams, series officials, and participants in the series must all be commended for battling the 105 degree temperatures and temporary layout. The series continues next month in North Carolina at the newly repaved karting circuit in the infield of Lowe's Motor Speedway (July 7-9). Those with any promotional or media inquiries should contact jeff@starsofkarting.com.

Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League is based out of Seattle, Washington, sanctioned by the World Karting Association (WKA) and owned and operated by 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion and IRL IndyCar Series team owner Bobby Rahal, IndyCar Series driver Bryan Herta and veteran karting promoter Paul Zalud. www.starsofkarting.com, www.worldkarting.com.

Snap-on Tools Company, LLC is a subsidiary of Snap-on Incorporated, a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of tool and equipment solutions for professional tool users. Product lines include hand and power tools, diagnostics and shop equipment, tool storage products, diagnostics software and other solutions for the transportation service, industrial, government, education, agricultural, and other commercial applications, including construction and electrical. Products are sold through its franchised dealer van, company-direct sales and distributor channels, as well as over the Internet at snapon.com. Founded in 1920, Snap-on is a $2 billion-plus, S&P 500 company headquartered in Kenosha, Wis., and employs approximately 11,500 people worldwide.

Formed in 1996 by Tony George, Stars' presenting sponsor Indy Racing League provides the ultimate in wheel-to-wheel racing excitement through the IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series. The 2005 season marks the 10th year of competition for the IndyCar Series, the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America. The 17-race schedule, featuring 14 ovals, two road courses and a temporary street circuit, consists of the most events in season history. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series, an essential stepping-stone for drivers and teams striving to reach the IndyCar Series, will feature a series-high 14 races in 2005, including three events on road courses and one street course. www.indyracing.com.


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Series Kart
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Bryan Herta , James Kennedy , Sergio Pena , Tony George , Phil Giebler , Kyle Wiegand , Bobby Wilson , Matt Jaskol , Jamie Slone , Lorenzo Mandarino , Joel Miller , Hayden Duerson , Tyler Dueck , Oscar Tunjo , Michael Hogg , Victor Carbone , Louie Pagano