MENEZES SCORES STARS OF KARTING MAIN EVENT WIN IN UTAH California karter returns to America in fine fashion with pair of podium finishes TOOELE, UT (April 27, 2008) -- California karting talent Gustavo Menezes kicked off his quest to win the...
MENEZES SCORES STARS OF KARTING MAIN EVENT WIN IN UTAH
California karter returns to America in fine fashion with pair of podium finishes
TOOELE, UT (April 27, 2008) -- California karting talent Gustavo Menezes kicked off his quest to win the Junior Intercontinental A national championship at the Snap-on Stars of Karting Western Division opener this weekend by scoring an important victory on Sunday, backing up a second place finish in the opening race of the weekend doubleheader. Running at the Miller Motorsports Park karting facility in Tooele, Utah, Menezes was in the lead pack all weekend and took second to fellow Tony Kart driver Phil DeLao in the opening race, pressuring his young rival into an error on the last lap of the second race to slip past for the win. This weekend performance has put Menezes in a tie for first place in the JICA points standings in the program's Western Division.
The 13 year-old Coto de Caza, CA resident began the year early, running a trio of events in Europe with Ward Racing, gaining experience at the CIK Winter Cup, Margutti Trophy and the opening round of the WSK International series. The lessons learned competing against a tough international field prepped Menezes for his return to U.S. action, as he qualified his Tony Kart in the fifth position on Saturday morning. This year, the Snap-on Stars of Karting series is running three heat races following the qualifying session, using the points gained from those heats to set the grid for a pair of main events. In Utah, Menezes approached the short sprint races with patience as he scored a third and a second on Saturday before taking the win in the third moto, securing a position on the front row for the start of both feature races.
In the opening final, last year's JICA vice-champion dogged the race leader DeLaO relentlessly, but came up just short at the checker. This second place result was considered a success, and changes were made to his Ward Racing-powered Tony Kart in preparation for the second final just over an hour later. Primed with a set-up more focused on the long run, Menezes re-fired his consistent pressure on DeLaO as the duo pulled away from the rest of the pack. Set to battle it out among themselves, Menezes forced his challenger into a minor error in one of the corners with just two laps to go, opening the door for him to slip through to take over the lead. Menezes would not be challenged over the remaining lap and a half, winning by 0.771 seconds at the line.
"I was pretty happy with second place in the first final, because I knew that we were going to be able to make some minor tire pressures changes for the second main to give me a better kart late in the race," detailed Menezes after his first win of the year. "I just kept the pressure on Phil hoping that he would make a mistake and when he did, I knew I needed to jump on it. Winning in my first weekend back here in the United States is great and I know that my European races have helped. I can't wait to go back."
Menezes will return to Europe on May 8-10 to run in the WSK International event in Lonato, Italy. From there, he will fly back to the U.S. to compete in the Snap-on Stars of Karting Mazda Race of the Americas in New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana on May 31 -- June 1, the weekend following the Indianapolis 500.