EKN Race Recap: Mazda Race of the Americas It was certainly an exciting day at New Castle Motorsports Park on Sunday as the main events of the Snap-on Stars of Karting Mazda Race of the Americas went in the books. Mazda, in...
EKN Race Recap: Mazda Race of the Americas
It was certainly an exciting day at New Castle Motorsports Park on Sunday as the main events of the Snap-on Stars of Karting Mazda Race of the Americas went in the books. Mazda, in its continued support of grassroots motorsports and their comprehensive motorsports ladder was the title sponsor of the series' largest event for the second year running. The paddock had the opportunity to see what the ICC competition would look like without powerhouse Gary Carlton in the line-up as the two-time defending champion suffered mechanical failures in both finals, opening the door for some great racing for the top step of the podium. When the final checkered flag dropped, Michael Vincec (CRG) and David Jurca (Italkart) had scored big wins in ICC.
As has been the case throughout the year, Gary Carlton (CRG) was able to get to the point at the drop of the green flag with the rest of the top-five battling hard for the P2 position. Carlton pulled out to an 0.6-second advantage early on as Michael Vincec (CRG) slotted into second ahead of David Jurca (Italkart) in third. The top three ran within a couple kart lengths as Jordy Vorrath (Intrepid), Alex Speed (Trackmagic) and Josh Schreiber (CRG) fought hard for the fourth position.
It looked to be all Carlton once again until he went off at the far end of the track with apparent engine failure, handing the lead to Vincec with a charging Jurca, Vorrath, and Speed separated by less than a second with seven laps to go.
The fight was back on.
On lap 14, Jurca made the move for the lead in the same corner that Carlton went out as the Italian Motors drivers led his first laps of the year as Speed and Vorrath went back and forth, losing ground to the top two. Vincec battled back, nipping Jurca heading into turn four to overtake P1 position. Jurca then looked for another opportunity, but was not able to get by as Vincec would go on to take the victory. Jurca, in his first karting weekend of the year, stood on the second step of the podium while Speed held of Vorrath for the final podium position - Trackmagic's first in ICC since 2006.
PSL's Schreiber held off rookie Arie Ouimet (CRG) for fourth and Clayton Snow (Energy) for the fifth spot, while Jacob Neal (CRG) advanced 10 position to an impressive eighth. Hayden Duerson (Italkart) and Ryan Kinnear (Intrepid) rounded out the top-10.
Looking to recover from the first final, Carlton got the jump at the drop of the green in Final 2 with Jurca powering around the outside Vincec in the opening corner as the rest of the field bunched up behind them. As they crossed the stripe to end the first lap, Carlton and Jurca were 1-2 with Speed in third. Vincec ducked inside of Vorrath in the last corner, just as Vorrath's engine stuck, sending him to the garages without completing a lap.
The line-up stayed that way with the front four pulling away from the battle for fifth, at one point led by a resurgent Ron White (GP). On lap eight, Carlton was holding the point exiting the tight turn 11 when the engine bogged down and he pulled to the side for a second straight DNF (carb fell off). Carlton could only wonder what could have been as he has never suffered consecutive DNFs in Stars competition.
This departure gave Jurca the lead and began a vicious fight for the win. Most of the action happened in T11, first with Speed getting around Jurca, followed by Jurca returning the favor a few laps later with the help of a bump from Vincec. Dropping his quickest lap of the race, Jurca was able to get away from Vincec and Speed as the white flag flew at start-finish. Jurca would not put a wheel wrong, taking the victory by 1.725-seconds as Speed got a great run on Vincec through the final corner to take the runner-up spot. Fritz Leesmann (CRG) rebounded from a tough weekend to finish fourth while Arie Ouimet (CRG) improved one additional position from Final 1.
The rest of the top-ten was mixed around in the closing stages with Duerson in sixth. Cody Jolly (Intrepid was seventh ahead of Jess Peterson (CRG), who turned in a strong effort in his debut with PSL Karting. White dropped to ninth while Ryan Yop (Sodi Kart) completed the top-10.
Kyle Wiegand (Top Kart) and Jose Zanella (Tony Kart) continued their battle from Saturday at the start of the first TaG ICC final. Wiegand got the holeshot to lead as Zanella planted himself on his bumper, with Matthew Mair (Tony Kart) in close proximity. The trio pulled away from the rest of the pack early in the 11-lap race, although no one would make a change in position as the three ran 1-2-3 to the checkered flag. Eastern Division point leader Michael Hogg (Italkart) was alone in fourth while Western Division point leader Bryan Eady (Intrepid) edged Nick Boulle (Gillard) for the fifth. Boulle would eventually be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for contact following the checkered flag and was removed from the results.
Wiegand again took the holeshot to begin Final 2 with Zanella dropping back to fourth behind Mair and Hogg. This round, Hogg would be the driver to watch as he quickly took care of Mair and set his sights for Wiegand. It only took a few laps before Hogg got around the first final winner with Eady making his way into the top-three. Wiegand looked multiple times in the closing laps to resume the lead but was just not able to get by as Hogg took his third victory of the year. Zanella ran fourth while Don McGregor (Italkart) finished fifth after Mair retired early with three laps with mechanical issues.
After two failed attempts to get Final 1 started, the Stars officials moved outside pole driver Scott Saunders back to row two, bringing Joey Wimsett (Intrepid) alongside polewinner Victor Cabrera (Kosmic). What was initially thought to be the start was waived off after the initial first few corners, again firing up the officials to scold the front few rows.
When the green final waved, it was Cabrera, Kyle Wiegand (Top Kart) - pulling the double duty in TaG and TaG ICC - and Saunders in the break-away front pack. Saunders, quick yesterday, was fast again today, getting up into the lead as he pushed Cabrera back to second while Cole Mann (Maranello) and Josef Newgarden (Arrow) closed in on the leaders. The top three were able to pull away again and Cabrera eventually put the pressure on with two to go. This allowed Wiegand to move into the runner-up spot. Cabrera came back in the far left-hand hairpin with Wiegand returning the favor in the last corner, dropping Cabrera back to fourth as Mann caught the leaders again to sit third on the final lap.
With the mixing up going on behind him, Saunders was able to pull way to take his first-ever Stars victory. Wiegand took the defensive line to the final corner and slid wide, allowing Mann to duck inside and steal the second spot at the line. Cabrera would finish fourth with Joey Wimsett (Intrepid) completing the top five.
Cabrera started Final 2 once again thanks to his two heat wins on Saturday, pulling out to an early lead over Wiegand and Saunders. A large group battled for fourth in the early opening laps until Chris Scribner (Top Kart) managed to get to the front of the pack after starting sixth. Cabrera laid down a furious pace and was untouchable to cruise to a three-second victory. Saunders was able to hold off Wiegand for second as Wimsett came through to get by Scribner for fourth.
It is not unusual to see contact to begin the official JICA racing as contact in the opening few corners shuffled the second half of the field as Miles Maroney (CRG) led the grid around for the first lap ahead of Tatiana Calderon (Tony Kart), who fell back to sixth. Brendan Phinny (Top Kart) moved into second early with seven other drivers in position to make up the early front pack. Phinny eventually advanced to the point on lap three, as Maroney dropped back just one position in the change.
The field then ran static with the exception of the charging Gustavo Menezes (Tony Kart), who started 15th as he posted the fastest laps of the race in the first half of the vent to move up to seventh with five of 15 laps still to go. Up front, a four-kart pack broke free from the rest of the group to run nose-to-tail with Phinny, Maroney, Phil DeLaO (Tony Kart) and Calderon all in the hunt.
The racing began on lap 12 as DeLaO worked himself into second and then passed for the lead in the last corner, dropping Phinny back to fifth as Taylor Miinch (Top Kart) caught the lead group with all the shuffling going on in front of him. With just one to go, Calderon moved up one more spot in turn six, allowing DeLaO to pull away to the victory. Calderon would hold to second while Miinch slipped past Maroney for third in the final corner. Phinny would cap of the top-five with Menezes working his way to sixth followed by Daniel Formal (Tony Kart), who came from 18th. Defending champion Jarvis Gennari (CRG) recovered from his roll-over yesterday and put in a strong drive in Final 1, going from 21st to tenth in 15 laps.
In the second feature race, the field got through the opening corners until an accident ensued on the backstraight away as hard contact between a spinning Kelsey Nilsson (Tony Kart) and a surprised Bristol Gunderson (Maranello) sent both karts flying in the air, bringing out the red flag. Both were alert following the incident, but Gunderson was sent to the hospital for precautionary tests.
Once the race was restarted, Maroney again held the point with DeLaO, Phinny and Calderon in tow. Action began early with DeLaO moving to the point, dropping Maroney back to third on the second lap. Phinny took his turn at pacing the field as he and DeLaO broke away from Maroney and Calderon at about the halfway point. On lap 11, DeLaO made his move in the last corner to get around Phinny and that was all he needed as he would run away to earn his second victory of the day. Maroney held onto third behind Phinny, with Mason Marotta (Intrepid) and Tristan DeGrand (Kosmic) advancing into the top-five.
Menezes and Gennari again drove up into the top-10 with Gennari sitting eighth and Menezes 10th after Spencer Pigot (Gillard) received the meatball flag for a loose bumper. Pigot would eventually get removed from the results after ignoring the flag.
Austin Self (Birel) and Trent Hindman (Merlin) led the field to the green flag for the first 11-lap feature race for the Cadet category. After getting through the opening corners clean, the front pack shuffled around with Mason Chelootz (Top Kart) getting to the point with Self and Hindman in tow. They would develop a comfortable gap until Andrew Murray (Birel) and Luis Tyrrell (Top Kart) worked together to catch the lead group with about three laps to go. The group was then shuffled around again as Hindman and Murray battled for the top spot as they did in Utah. Coming to the final corner, Hindman took the inside line and held off Murray on the exit to take the victory. Self won the battle for third while Chelootz and Tyrrell rounded out the top five.
Nearly the entire field ran nose-to-tail in the second final for the Cadet class until another three-kart breakaway set up the closing laps of the 11-lap race. On the white flag lap, Self, Hindman, and Broc Yocom (Intrepid) diced it up heading to the far hairpin with Hindman getting the draft past Self with the help of Yocom. Hindman cleared Self, but Yocom was not as lucky, losing ground to the top two as they exited the corner. Self used the draft to close back in on Hindman, but it was not enough as the Merlin driver earned his fifth victory of the year. Logan Bearden (Birel) and Chelootz crossed the line behind Yocom to complete the top five.
-credit: irl sok