Team News: Tony Kart West - Gatorz Challenge of the Americas CalSpeed Report
Royal McKee took the Saturday win in Minimax aboard his Tony Kart
(Photo: Sean Buur - Go Racing Magazine)
It was hard to miss the huge Tony Kart West pits at the Calspeed Karting Center for this past weekend’s Gatorz Challenge of the Americas event. The large tent housed no less than 18 Tony Karts competing in four classes, but by the end of the weekend, it also housed five new trophies including two for victories.
The first win of the weekend came on Saturday when Royal McKee, after qualifying on pole, gambled on slick ties with looming dark rainclouds when the Minimax final hit the track. After breaking away from the field, McKee survived the final four laps of rainfall to take the win with teammate with Garrett Gulenchyn in second and Sting Ray Robb in fourth. On Sunday, Robb qualified first but both he and McKee did not finish the main, and Gulenchyn finished 10th.
The second win of the weekend came on Sunday when Parker Thompson out-battled the rest of the Junior Rotax field win his third Gatorz Challenge of the Americas race of the season after finishing second during the rainy Saturday main. Teammate Jonathan May had an impressive weekend, qualifying first on Saturday and battling for the lead in the Sunday main before he finished fifth. Their teammate, Kyler Repella finished eighth on Saturday in the rain and sixteenth on Sunday.
Tony Kart West’s two Rotax Senior drivers, Matt Johnson and John Wallace, had a rough weekend with Johnson’s fourth-placed qualifying effort on Saturday being the highlight. Johnson would finish fourteenth on Saturday with Wallace finishing twelfth, while neither driver finished the Sunday main.
With Saturday’s Rotax Masters main postponed until Sunday, Larry Hayashigawa and Harin De Silva would have to run both of their weekend’s mains on Sunday. De Silva retired early from the first main after contact bent his axle, while Hayashigawa finished sixth. In the Sunday main, the two drivers finished in tandem, with Hayashigawa eighth and De Silva in ninth.
Joining Tony Kart West at Calspeed was Black Flag Racing Products from Tigard, Oregon. The team had three drivers contesting in Rotax Junior, and Artie Carpenter splashed through the rainy main to get himself onto the podium with a third place finish, and then backed it up with a seventh on Sunday.
Austin Hudson finished 19th on Saturday and 18th on Sunday, while Marco Eakins finished 11th in the rain on Saturday and ninth on Sunday. Competing in Rotax Senior, Darren Ward was eliminated in a crash on Saturday and finished 27th on Sunday.
“This was a very challenging weekend with eighteen total karts under the tent and with the rain to deal with, but we are very happy with how things went for us,” said Buddy Rice, president of Tony Kart West. “The Tony Karts were competitive in both the dry and the rain, and were fast in every class. We were thrilled to see Parker and Royal get wins and it was great to see Artie and Garret get on the podium in some really competitive races.”
The team will be out next at the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas finale at the Jim Russell International Karting Center in Sonoma, California.
About Tony Kart West
Owned by Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Tony Kart West, LLC is an official importer of Tony Karts and OTK Kart Parts. Tony Kart West services 13 dealers across the western United States, in addition to competing in several series including Gatorz, IKF, Championship Karting International, and SKUSA. To learn how you can race for Tony Kart West call 1.877.TONYKART, or e-mail Seth Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org , or Marc Miller at email@example.com . The team’s website is at www.tonykartwest.com