WKA: IRL SoK: PSL Karting Ocala summary

PSL KARTING SCORES VICTORY IN STARS OF KARTING OPENER Leesmann leads Canadian team to victory in ICC category in rainy conditions OCALA, FL (April 9, 2008) -- The PSL Karting team opened the 2008 Snap-on Stars of Karting Presented by IndyCar...

Leesmann leads Canadian team to victory in ICC category in rainy conditions

OCALA, FL (April 9, 2008) -- The PSL Karting team opened the 2008 Snap-on Stars of Karting Presented by IndyCar this past weekend at the Ocala Gran Prix facility in central Florida. Battling both the weather and tough competition, success for PSL continued in the shifter category as the CRG importer brought home victory in the headline ICC category by way of Californian Fritz Leesmann.

Leesmann began the event as the top driver in Friday's final two practice sessions, but come qualifying time, he would have to settle for the fourth fastest lap as the rest of the field got a little bit quicker. Starting from outside row two for each of the three heat races, Leesmann got great jumps in both the wet and the dry as the weather in a state of constant uncertainty. Strong performances resulted in two thirds and a second place, giving Leesmann the outside pole position for the two Finals. While running second in the first final, the leader retired near the halfway mark with a mechanical issue, handing Leesmann the point and the eventual win. It was the first Stars of Karting ICC win for both PSL and their new driver. Looking to repeat the feat in the second race, Leesmann was stricken with trouble early as his brake bias adjustment had locked to full front brakes. Looking to stay close to the leaders, he pushed it too far and locked up the brakes heading into the turn one, careening off the track and into the barriers. Totally focused, Fritz got the kart turned around and re-fired, before managing to drive back up to 19th.

Canadian Tom Cadieux had a solid weekend in ICC as well. Cadieux was sixth quickest in qualifying, but one bad heat race would put him back to 13th for the pair of main events. A 12th place run in the first final would be trumped his best performance in the second final, driving up to seventh place in the rainy conditions. Considering the depth of the field and the challenging weather, these were solid drives.

New PSL pilot Josh Schreiber adjusted quickly to his CRG/Maxter package come race time. After a 18th in qualifying, Schreiber got down to business in the heat races, advancing to seventh and 13th in the first two sprints before an accident took him out of the third qualifying race. These results put him 16th on the grid for the finals, where he shined in the wet. Running the fastest laps of the race, Schreiber climbed up to the fifth spot when the checkered fell, sitting right on the bumper of the fourth place kart. He would not be as fortunate in the second final as trouble hit the Pennsylvania native while running near the top-ten.

Completing the four-driver PSL ICC line-up, Corey Rossmann gained valuable experience racing against the best shifter kart driver in North America in his first Stars of Karting start. After troubles in qualifying, Rossmann advanced positions in each of the three heats and the finals as well. The second final would see his highest finish of the weekend with a run to the 18th position.

Making his Stars debut by graduating to the Senior category in the TaG class, Chris Ernst gained some valuable competition laps. Learning the new class and adjusting to the higher speeds, Ernst completed every lap in the three heat races. Avoiding the rain all weekend, the TaG class would run their Finals on the wet track, where Ernst performed to the best of his abilities, finishing 24th and 26th.

In JICA, Tommy Beshro and Jesus Rios Jr. carried the PSL colors. Getting a slow start on the weekend, the duo shined in the rain-soaked finals. Starting 28th in both 21-lap mains, Beshro put in a stellar performance to climb his way to a sixth place run in the opening final. He would follow that with a drive to 18th in Race #2. Rios came from 21st to finish 14th and 13th, respectively, in the two finals.

The Eastern Division squad will now look to the East versus West 'Race of the Americas' event, their second round, which takes place at New Castle Motorsports Park on May 30-June 1. PSL owner Dominic Labrecque will be traveling before that date though, heading to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on April 25-27 to support Kohilo Racing with Fritz Leesmann, Jordan Jadallah and Josh Schreiber in the Stars Western Division opener.

-credit: www.pslkarting.com

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