Smith doubles up at Infineon while Leesmann and Diaz each score wins for Aluminos
SONOMA, CA (April 21, 2010) ? It was a successful start to the Superkarts! USA North American Pro Tour for the Team Aluminos squad. The inaugural SKUSA SpringNationals took place at the Jim Russell International Karting Center over the April 16-18 weekend on the Sonoma, California facility. Exceptional weather shined down on the 3/4-mile circuit throughout the three days of on-track action and the Aluminos squad produced some brilliant results in the process. Jeff Smith scored a near weekend sweep in the S4 category, leaving with two victories and the lead in the championship chase. Fritz Leesmann scored a first and second in the headline S1 category to also lead in the point standings while Fernando Diaz was lightning fast in G1, securing victory in Saturday?s feature race.
Smith entered the SpringNationals as a favorite in the Masters Stock Moto category. Aboard his Aluminos prepared CRG machine, Smith showed why in Friday?s practice with scorching lap times to put him at the top of the leader board. Posting an even faster lap in Saturday?s morning qualifying session, Smith was shockingly edged out by a slim 0.020-second for the pole position. Putting that behind him, Smith would go on to dominate the heat races with two-second margin of victories in each. Untouchable and leading all 20 laps, Smith recorded the victory in the main event by six-seconds. The following day, Smith and the Aluminos squad made the necessary changes to insure he scored maximum points by securing the pole position by over four-tenths. Though challenged, Smith came away with both heat wins once again to start the main event on the pole. A tad slow off the line, Smith slotted into second on the opening lap of the feature. Quickly reassuming his position at the front, Smith checked out to lead the final 19 laps and score win number two on the weekend.
Leesmann looked primed to duplicate Smith?s feat after the stomping he put down in Saturday?s Pro Stock Moto action. A driver coach and mechanic for Team Aluminos, Leesmann demonstrated his teaching styles with top honors in qualifying while leading all the laps of the two heats and feature race for an unchallenged victory on the opening day of racing. The next day Leesmann was greeted by a number of challengers. Just edged out of the pole position in qualifying, Leesmann lined up and held onto second following an exciting first heat race. The second heat race went uneventful as Leesmann was able to escape quickly with the lead and the win. An uncharacteristic slow start to begin the main event, Leesmann found himself back in third after the first lap. By lap eight, Leesmann was once again out front and showing the way until the final lap. A bold move by the competitor in third saw in lunge inside of second place and Fritz into turn three. Leaving some room to avoid contact, Leesmann lost the lead. Quick to recover, he was on the leader?s bumper as the entered the final few corners. Unable to complete a move, Leesmann had to settle for second. The wise move helped the NorCal star to score the most points on the weekend, taking home $1,000 in cash and the top of the championship standings.
Diaz was the third Aluminos driver to score a victory at the SKUSA SpringNationals. The G1 (Masters Open Shifter) standout was just that throughout the weekend in Sonoma. Diaz edged out the competition for the fastest lap in qualifying on day one. Challenged in the heat races, Diaz would come away with both victories. After some early pressure to begin the 20-lap main event, Diaz?s Aluminos-prepped GP kart came on at the right time to break away from the field to score the victory by a margin of seven-seconds. The next day seemed to be a duplicate of the previous one. After scoring top honors in qualifying once again, Diaz drove strong to both heat wins and the pole for the feature. Following some exchanges for the lead, Diaz secured the lead on lap six and began to drive away to an apparent victory. Leading by over five seconds his engine had other ideas as it gave up and expired on lap 17. Spinning off course, Diaz would unfortunately finish watching the last three laps from the sidelines. Despite the unhappy end to the weekend, Diaz as positioned himself as a favorite for the SKUSA Pro Tour championship and will look to return to the top of the podium at the next event.
Aside from Smith, the S4 category was loaded with Team Aluminos drivers. Peter Workum (GP) was quick all weekend, coming from 17th to fifth in Saturday?s feature while improving one spot better to fourth on Sunday. Jonathon Allen (GP) certainly had his best weekend of the year, showing impressive speed while recording finishes of eighth and seventh. Phil Dunford (GP) was quick as well but suffered some tough racing luck. Battling inside the top-five Saturday, Dunford spun around in turn one, ending his race. Before completing a lap in the main event, Dunford lost the drive chain leaving him stranded on the starting line. With the positive attitude he carries, he will be back again to challenge up front. Colorado driver Mike McDonough (GP) returned with Aluminos after his first event with the group last month. Improving each time on track, McDonough recorded a 10th place finish both days against a strong 20-kart field. Todd Wilson (GP) continues to learn under the guidance of Team Aluminos however the results did not bode well in his favor with two early retirements in the feature races.
Alongside Leesmann in the S1 division were Brad Dunford (GP) and Canadian Don McGregor (GP). Dunford, much like his father in the S4 group, fell on some hard luck on the weekend. Making up ground from a DNF in the second heat on day one, Dunford was caught up in a wreck in front of him when two competitors arguing over the same piece of track spun each other out, leaving Dunford no where to go and ending his day early. Sunday?s main event, Dunford showed he had the pace by running times just a few tenths off the leaders, finishing 10th. McGregor made his first race with the Team Aluminos squad, improving each session out adjusting from his normal ICC powerplant to the Stock Moto package. McGregor was 10th and 11th on the weekend. David Conyers (GP) joined Diaz in the G1 class and the Colorado driver enjoyed every minute of the weekend. Coming back to national level racing, Conyers recorded finishes of eighth and ninth.
Team Aluminos will be back to work in just a short time as the third round of the ProKart Challenge North program returns to action at the Infineon Raceway facility on April 30-May 1. The Northern California based-operation is already putting in the planning for the SKUSA SummerNationals, set for July 16-18 at the challenging USA International Raceway in Shawano, WI.
Aluminos is currently accepting any inquires for Arrive and Drive packages for single events or for the remainder of the 2010 season. Whether you need a complete package or you are just looking to gain that extra edge with your current ride, Aluminos can fit your needs. Any interested parties wishing to learn more about this professional team are asked to contact Aluminos at 925.786.7865 or visit them online at www.aluminos.com
Aluminos Inc. offers a comprehensive arrive and drive program for all racers from beginners, to seasoned veterans and pro level drivers looking to climb onto and on top of the victory podium. Through proper equipment preparation to driver development the Aluminos team is dedicated to establishing and achieving the goals of its customers on an individual basis.
The Team Aluminos Trackside Support and Arrive & Drive programs are the brain child of longtime racer and karting enthusiast, Rob Soares. A fixture in the US karting scene for the last six years, the former owner of GP kart importer KLS Racing has returned to the competition side of the sport, creating the Team Aluminos brand based out of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA.
Aluminos, Inc. also is a manufacturing and distribution company specializing in kart racing specific products, out of the new location in Danville, CA. For more information and updates visit the team?s website at: www.aluminos.com