MENEZES HOLDS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD FOLLOWING UTAH ROUND California youngster scores two runner-up finishes to increase Stars West Division point lead TOOELE, UT (July 9, 2007) -- Emerging karting young gun Gustavo Menezes is one step closer to...
MENEZES HOLDS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD FOLLOWING UTAH ROUND
California youngster scores two runner-up finishes to increase Stars West Division point lead
TOOELE, UT (July 9, 2007) -- Emerging karting young gun Gustavo Menezes is one step closer to claiming the Snap-on Stars of Karting Junior Intercontinental A (JICA) national championship following a successful second round at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT during the July 6-8 weekend. The 12 year-old battled hot weather conditions and fierce competition to score two runner-up finishes, thereby extending his points lead in the Western Division championship.
On Saturday, Menezes began to day on top, capturing the Gatorz Pole Award with a 58.232-second lap time. In the Prefinal, he grabbed the lead at the drop of the green until Tony Kart USA teammate Jarvis Gennari worked by for the top spot. The duo ran 1-2 until long-time rival Brendan Phinny came through the lead group on a charge, taking over the top spot and dropping Menezes back to third when the checkered fell. In the Final, Menezes ran second for most of the race after getting by Gennari, but he was unable to catch the leader, settling for second.
"The kart came in perfectly during qualifying but came in too late in the Prefinal, which caused it to be loose early on," commented Menezes, on the first day of competition. "In the main, my kart took a few laps to come in after falling back a couple of spots, but it finally picked up grip and I took off on the chase for (Brendan) Phinny."
The next day, Menezes qualified second fastest behind Phinny to start the Prefinal from the outside of row one. At the start, the Tony Kart pilot was shuffled out of the grove, dropping him back to eighth after the first lap was complete. Staying composed and focused, Menezes drove back up to fourth in the 13-lap race, nearly earning third at the line. After the initial start to the JICA Sunday Final was red flagged due to an injured driver in an opening lap incident, the second start of the 20-lap race again saw Menezes drop back in the opening lap. Running the fastest laps of the race, he was able to move up to second place, completing a successful point-collecting weekend.
"In the main on Sunday, I had a rough start and fell back," continued Menezes. "After a few laps, my kart came in, getting faster and faster to the end but ran out of time to catch the leader. Finishing second though both days gave me a great run for the championship."
Menezes currently holds a 93-point advantage after two rounds in the Stars JICA Western Division championship standings. He will look to extend his point lead at the third round at Moran Raceway in Beaumont, CA over the September 14-16 weekend, but not before he competes in the third round of the Eastern Division at USA International Raceway in Shawano, WI on August 3-5, where he is still in the fight for the divisional crown.