Phil Giebler clinches TaG Senior SKUSA Pro Kart Challenge South
championship at Santa Maria
Phil Giebler cliched the TaG Senior championship in the Superkarts! USA Pro
Kart Challenge South by finishing second in the main event Saturday (Aug.
14) at the Santa Maria (Calif.) Kart Track.
Giebler, of Huntington Beach, Calif., has won many prestigious
championships in karting, but the most recent was the first for Phil Giebler Racing,
which he established this year.
“It’s a great way to showcase my new race team, race shop and new
equipment that my team uses,” Giebler said. “It’s a great feeling being able to
race against good competition and be as dominant as we were all year long.
Karting is the best place to race for the cost. I don’t think there is better
wheel-to-wheel racing anywhere on four wheels.”
Giebler had three wins and a pair of second places in the six main events
in the PKC South, which completed its season at Santa Maria. In the other
main, the 2007 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year was leading when he fell out
with a mechanical failure.
Giebler qualified in third position with a lap of 47.845 seconds, an
average speed of 60.104 miles per hour on the .8-mile track. He finished fourth in
the first heat and second in the second heat.
“There was a problem with my transponder in qualifying and I had to pull in
to have it replaced and got only two hot laps,” Giebler said. “In the
first heat, I was running third on the second lap when my airbox came loose from
the carburetor and I had to drive the rest of the race one handed. It was a
very bumpy and physical track and I had to hold the airbox to prevent from
being disqualified and engine damage. I still managed fourth.
“I had a good start in the second heat and got into third. I finally got
around (Nick) Johnston for second with four laps remaining. I tried to chase
down (Bobby) Kelley, but ran out of laps and finished second.”
Giebler took the lead at the start of the 15-lap main event and held it for
seven laps before Kelley passed him.
“I was struggling in the right-hand corners and Kelley got around me,”
Giebler said. “I stayed on his bumper waiting for an opportunity to get by him.
About lap 10, we came up on a dirty track left from a backmarker entering
the Turn Nine hairpin. I locked up my brakes and almost went off the track.
It put a lot of distance between me and the leader.”
Giebler, driving an FA Kart powered by a 125cc water-cooled Vortex Racing
engine on MG Tires, finished second to Kelley by 1.056-second in the main.
Phil Giebler Racing had six other drivers entered at Santa Maria in the
West Coast Shootout, which included racing against PKC North competitors and
made it one of best fields of the year.
PGR’s Chris Cricca, of Simi Valley, Calif., crashed in the morning warm-up
and, without time to properly repair his FA Kart, raced with a bent frame.
He was 10th in the main, 10th in the second heat and 13th in the first heat.
Brother Shawn Cricca, of Simi Valley, was running fifth in the main the
chain on his kart broke in the closing laps and he finished 12th. He was 18th
and 11th in the heat races.
Andrew Wiener, of San Diego, wrapped up the TaG Junior championship by
finishing 10th in the main, fifth in the first heat and 10th in the second heat.
It was Wiener’s first race with PGR in the series. Wiener had a fouled
sparkplug at the start of the main and the engine never cleaned out to run
Mason Daughters, of Polo, Mo., finished sixth in the main, eighth in the
first heat and 11th in the second in TaG Junior, his first event with PGR.
Both Wiener and Daughters, who drove FA Karts with Iame Leopard engines on MG
Tires, were collected in a crash in the second heat.
PGR’s Steve Wiener drove with sore ribs that effected his performance in
TaG Master. The San Diego resident finished fifth in the main, seventh in the
first heat and eighth in the second after qualifying in seventh position.
Noah Grey, of Dana Point, Calif., finished third in the main, second in the
second heat and third in the first heat after qualifying fourth in TaG
Cadet. Grey was pushed off track in the second heat and his 60cc Vortex engine
didn’t have full power at the start of the main for several laps before
Phil Giebler Racing’s next event is Aug. 28-29 in the Los Angeles Kart
Club’s Calspeed and Gatorz Rotax championship combined event at the Auto Club
Speedway in Fontana, Calif.