The Aluminos Racing Team will celebrate its three year anniversary in November at SKUSA SuperNationals XIV. The Aluminos race program has experienced its best season thus far and is looking to cap off the 2010 season in Vegas next month adding more event titles to its resume. Leading up to the highly-anticipated event, the Aluminos squad has spent the first 10 months of 2010 developing its program, from the drivers behind the wheel to the machines they pilot to victories.
The Aluminos story of origin came about in 2007 and is the brainchild of Northern California karting veteran Rob Soares. Focused on manufacturing kart racing specific products, the company grew quickly and within months of its launch, Soares saw the need to create a different kind of racing program which made its debut at the 2007 SKUSA SuperNationals. Since then, Soares has continued to refine and accumulate pieces to make the racing operation one of the top programs in the United States. From top to bottom, the Aluminos mantra is to improve both on and off the track collectively as a unit and individually, allowing their drivers to continually improve and experience positive results.
In addition to Soares' experience in the sport, both mechanically and behind the wheel, he knew a team of the sport’s best on his side would only help the program and its customers more. George Tavares was brought in to handle the in-house Stock Moto engine program, which has proved to be one of the biggest assets to the Aluminos race outfit. Just in 2010, an Aluminos Stock Moto engine won 15 times in 30 features.
Engine power is one part of a three piece equation as driver and chassis balance is the rest of the complete package. That is where Tom Dyer, Fritz Leesmann and other driver coaches come in. Dyer, a two-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner and racing driver in many different disciplines of motorsports, has helped guide a number of the pilots that have become part of the Aluminos race team operation and arrive and drive program. Leesmann, another experienced karter, has been a key factor in Aluminos success - both on and off the track.
The entire Aluminos race team package is focused around providing the best program to fit each and every driver’s need. Pre-race preparation is a big key to Aluminos success with a number of man-hours spent in the shop and testing trackside to be ready for each upcoming event. No matter what type of race package a driver may have, Aluminos is prepared to work with them to the fullest. That has helped to transition into a low failure rate, equaling to Aluminos drivers taking the checkered flag in over 95% of the 321 races contested in 2010.
In addition to victories, championships were added to the trophy case for Aluminos thanks to two drivers, Fritz Leesmann and Jeff Smith. Leesmann scored the title in his initial S1 Pro Stock Moto campaign for the ProKart Challenge North program. Leesmann is also in position for the inaugural SKUSA Pro Tour S1 championship with the SKUSA SuperNationals remaining on the schedule. Also in the North, Smith dominated the S4 Master Stock Moto division to go six for six in feature wins, including the North vs. South Shootout and scoring a near perfect score each weekend. Smith also has two SKUSA Pro Tour victories to his credit as well. In addition to Leesmann, Fernando Diaz will be looking to lock up the SKUSA Pro Tour point title after the SuperNats in the G1 category. Running a limited schedule in 2010, Diaz has four wins in seven starts on the year. With two victories and a runner-up finish, Diaz is the driver to beat in the SKUSA PT chase. Also in the Pro Tour, Aluminos has four drivers in the top-five of the S4 Stock Moto championship chase heading into the season finale.
Aside from those accomplishments, the rest of the drivers under the Aluminos tent have gone on to reach their goals for 2010 and experience the full capacity of what the operation can do for individuals.
In his second year with Aluminos, Arizona’s Peter Workum continues to strive to improve each time out thanks to Aluminos. Racing both S4 Master and TaG Master on the season, Workum was busy behind the wheel while the Aluminos squad kept his karts in-tack and fast. Despite missing two races on the season to welcome his baby twins into the world on June 18, Workum finished sixth in the PKC South championship aboard his shifter and third in the PKC North piloting the TaG machine.
“My goal was to end up top three in both classes,” stated Workum. “The Aluminos prep and race support with Rob, George and Carlos along with the coaching from Tom and Fritz were top notch throughout the season. My driving was the only causes for failure to finish where I wanted to.”
The work at the regional level has helped propel Workum into the second spot of the SKUSA Pro Tour rankings thanks to three top-five finishes in four races, including a victory at the SKUSA SummerNationals. Workum’s bid at the first national title will complete at the SKUSA SuperNationals next month.
Another S4 driver - San Diego’s Jonathan Allen - made the switch to the Aluminos squad with a goal of improving his ranking in the ProKart Challenge South program and winning a PKC main event. Allen did just that in 2010 when he scored the win at the Streets of Willow event this summer thanks to the help of the Aluminos crew. Allen also recorded two pole awards at the SKUSA SummerNationals - in the dry on day and wet the next.
“Racing for Aluminos was the key to my success in a number of different ways,” commented Allen. “I believe it starts with kart prep and setup. I knew that every time I strapped on the helmet, I was given the best possible kart to compete for the win. The engine was meticulously serviced and tuned by George, the driver coaching by Tom and Fritz were phenomenal. Having up to five fellow S4 drivers under the tent also helped add a competitive advantage as we were able to work with one another in order to help each other. It’s a true team effort under the Aluminos tent with Rob.”
Making the trek from Colorado to work with the Aluminos group was Mike McDonough. Looking to improve on his finish at the 2009 SKUSA SuperNationals, McDonough recruited Team Aluminos to prepare him for the 2010 event. After just a few events with the operation, McDonough is convinced it has helped him improve as a karter.
“My first race with Aluminos was an Arrive and Drive team rental kart, which was custom fit to me, race prepped and sorted for the track,” explained McDonough. “The weekend included the kart, tuning, driver coaching and comparative data. I was hooked. Since that race, I sent my kart to be maintained and transported to all the tests and races by Aluminos. The knowledge that Rob and everyone from the coaches, tuners, data and mechanics bring to each event is extremely positive and top quality. The big test is still to come in Vegas but this year with Aluminos has brought me to a new level and only good things are ahead. I recommend Aluminos to anyone who wants to go to the next level.”
Under the Aluminos banner for the past few seasons is a father/son pairing - Phil and Brad Dunford. Phil competes in the S4 Master Stock Moto category while Brad races in the headline S1 Pro Stock Moto division. Phil entered the 2010 season looking to improve his skills behind the wheel in order to become a consistent podium contender. Running in the top-five in the second half of the season, Phil took home victory at round five of the PKC South program and stood on the podium at the SKUSA SummerNationals.
“I struggled with consistency early on in the season, however, with Aluminos's encouragement and supervision I was able to step up in the second half of the season,” commented Dunford. “Aluminos's driver training, chassis and motor program are top notch. Rob Soares has put together the best crew out there and their attention to detail and dedication to the sport of karting is unsurpassed. I genuinely enjoy the sense of competition and the camaraderie you'll find in the Aluminos tent. Rob doesn't favor any one driver over another as he pushes each of us to be the best we can be.”
Aside from the shifter categories, the Aluminos group has found success in the TaG divisions as well. Larry Fraser carried the Aluminos colors in 2010 and competed for the PKC North title in TaG Senior. With two victories in six events, Fraser was able to walk away with the vice-champion award.
“Certainly finishing second in the TaG Senior category was a great result on the season,” stated Fraser. “With the help from the Aluminos crew, I was able to reach my expectations on the year. Their dedication and focus is above any other operation out there. The knowledge and direction they gave me was key to my success.” Fraser will look to end the year on top at the SKUSA SuperNats in the TaG Master category, where he was among the contenders last year.
The Northern California-based operation is making the final preparations for the final event of the 2010 season - the SKUSA SuperNationals XIV at the Rio Casino Hotel in Las Vegas in November. The squad has been testing since the end of the regular season in September. The Aluminos squad is continuing to accept inquiries to arrive-and-drive opportunities for the event. The successful program will devise a specific program around the driver’s need and kart package, including pre-race testing options. Visit www.aluminos.com for more information.