Article by: Superkarts! USA
The title of ‘Best in the West’ will be up for grabs next weekend as the second annual ProKart Challenge West Coast Shootout will be contested at the Santa Maria Kart Track on the grounds of the pacific coast city airport in California. The August 13-14 event will pit the ProKart Challenge North series against the ProKart Challenge South program in a North versus South battle on the permanent 7/10-mile circuit. For the North, the event will count as round five of the six event program, while the South competitors will have their championships decided at the completion of the event – putting even more emphasis on the weekend.
The event will see a total of 12 classes competing when combining the two programs together. S1, S2, S3, S4, S5 Junior, TaG Senior, TaG Master, and TaG Junior are classes from both regions, while G1 and S4 Magnum competitors come from PKC South and HPV2 Junior from PKC North. Rounding out the categories will be the addition of the TaG Cadet class per an overwhelming demand from racers in the area. Those in that class, along with others, will be using the Shootout to gauge their expectations for the upcoming SKUSA SuperNationals XIV later in the year, with many of the heavy hitters scheduled to be in attendance in Santa Maria.
“Following last year’s success with the Shootout, we’re certain to make this an annual deal for our ProKart Challenge programs,” stated Tom Kutscher of ProKart Challenge and Superkarts! USA. “The ability to put both programs together at one event allows the competitors to see how they stack up against some of the best in the western half of the country. Some of the top contenders from the SuperNats can be found at this event, as well, so what better way to warm-up for Vegas than in Santa Maria. And of course, it gives the winners a year to talk some smack to their racing buddies for winning the Shootout.”
At last year’s event, the South topped the North in the overall Shootout – which took each region’s best three finishes in the cross-over classes. In the end calculations, the South had amassed 134 points to the North’s 114 markers. The bragging rights for this year extend to eight categories, giving both regions some extra ground to earn the top honors at the conclusion of the main events.
Making his bid for top honors in the S1 category is Clinton Schoombee. The new number one driver for the eKartingNews.com Stock Moto Driver Rankings heads into the event leading the points in the South program over season-long challengers Tommy Thompson and Brad Dunford. With the North joining the battle, the field will look similar to a SKUSA Pro Tour event. SKUSA PT championship leader Fritz Leesmann heads into Santa Maria leading the S1 standings for PKC North as well, being chased by Brett Buckwalter and Brett Felkins. Nic LeDuc, second place in the standings, will be forced to miss the final two events due to scheduling conflicts. Joining them will be SKUSA Pro Tour winner Alex Speed as the former national champion is priming up for the SKUSA SuperNationals among several others.
S2 has been the domain of Matt Alcorn in the debut of the new class. The point leader in both the PKC North program and the SKUSA Pro Tour is set to add another bullet point to his racing resume – West Coast Shootout winner. Neil Joseph and Cameron Pringle have been chasing Alcorn all season, and they will be joined by a stout field of S2 drivers from the South. Bryce Miller is currently leading the championship chase heading into Santa Maria, with Ryon Beachner and Billy Musgrave in the challenge positions.
Back to karting full-time, former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Phil Giebler has groomed himself into the same racing form he displayed before moving up to the open wheel ranks. Giebler has a solid lead over Billy Cleavelin and Kyle Shriver heading into round six of the South program. Larry Fraser currently leads the standings in the North – as his fight continues with Bobby Kelley and Jess Peterson. With a number of top-notch drivers expected to join the party in Santa Maria, there is no telling who will walk away with the ‘Best in the West’ title for TaG Senior. In TaG Master, Ron Rossetti has all but wrapped up the title in the South but would like to close out the season with the West Coast Shootout title. He’ll have to do battle with the North championship contenders Jeff Deehan, Paul Hohlbein and Ethan Wilson.
As the case has been all season, the S4 Master category has been one of the most competitive groups in ProKart Challenge. The South has seen five different winners compared to just one in the North. Jeff Smith has been perfect in main events this season, winning his share in PKC North action as well as the two weekend events he has contested for the SKUSA Pro Tour. Alex Keith and a host of others will do battle to break Smith’s streak. The South contingent has seen point leader Jeff Littrell at the top of the podium once, and he holds a slim 4-point advantage over teammate Wayne Mello -- who has yet to score victory this season. Phil Dunford, Willy Musgrave, Jonathon Allen, and Jason Campbell are the other four drivers to score victories on the So Cal season. In S3 Novice, soon to be PKC South champion Jason Attwood will go toe-to-toe with PKC North up-and-comer Chris Yettito.
The TaG Junior fight continues on in Santa Maria. Niki Luna and Deven Sanchez from the North have gone back and forth all season, heading into their round five event separated by just 18 points. A host of others from the North will join the top driver in the South – Andrew Wiener – along with other So Cal (and West Coast) drivers ready for competition in what is expected to be a solid driver roster. In S5 Junior, the South’s Matias Podboj and Scott Phillips will match up with SKUSA Pro Tour winner and PKC North class leader Daniel Langon.
With the PKC South program completing its season in Santa Maria, the G1 and S4 Magnum championships will also be on the line. PP Mastro is looking to claim another G1 title in the series, looking to hold off Roy Montgomery and Robert Marks in the final outing. Luke Bianco is going for his second straight S4 Magnum crown, as he will try to outrun Marc Lewis as well as a few others at the Shootout. The HPV2 Junior category will continue its chase for the PKC North championship with Kathryn Cornell still holding the top spot over Daniel Langon and Jack Freese.
The ProKart Challenge West Coast Shootout will begin on August 13 with a practice day, as on-track activities will take place from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. This practice day is highly encouraged, with only one round of warm-up for each class scheduled on Saturday morning due to the full day’s schedule. Race pre-registration is currently being accepted, with racers able to save $35 on their entry fees and also guarantee their fuel and tires by submitting an entry prior to midnight on Wednesday, August 11. SKUSA memberships are mandatory for the event, and forms are available on the SKUSA website. Pit spot reservations are available for $30, and those interested are encouraged to contact the SKUSA office directly. Camping on site will be permitted, starting Thursday night, at $50. Trailer parking is also available starting Thursday evening. A tentative schedule for race day, the host hotel information along with more information on the event can be found at the PKC event page: www.superkartsusa.com/regional/pkc-south/round-6-2010.html
For more information on anything related to SKUSA and the ProKart Challenge, visit the redesigned and updated www.superkartsusa.com website or call the SKUSA head office at 951-491-0808.