Lowe earns second straight TaG Senior victory as Schoombee earns first of the year in S1
Article By: Superkarts! USA
Photos By: dromophotos.com
ROSAMOND, CA (March 16, 2011) – A number of drivers earned their first victories of the season at the second round of the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South series on March 12. The Willow Springs International Motorsports Park kart track was the location of the event, always a circuit known to produce great racing. Saturday’s racing did not disappoint – with eight of the 11 categories welcoming different winners from the opening event at Adams – further establishing the tough competition within the SKUSA organization. Those who repeated their triumphs were TaG Senior championship leader Travis Lowe, Howie Idelson (G1) and Micah Hendricks (S5).
Lowe was challenged on the day in the Tony Kart West-sponsored TaG Senior division by veteran karter and former two-time SKUSA SuperNationals TaG Master champion Billy Cleavelin. The elder statesman squeaked out the pole position by just 0.055-seconds with his 44.125-lap time. The two stood out from the rest of the pack, allowing for a one-on-one day through the heat races and the feature. Cleavelin led most of the heat race laps, taking both wins over Lowe. From the pole position, Cleavelin set the pace during the first half of the 20-lap main event. Lowe put on the pressure in the second half, stealing the top spot from Cleavelin on lap 16. The younger Lowe was able to put some distance over Cleavelin in the closing laps – to take the victory by half a second. Chris Cricca overcame a poor start to drive from sixth to win the battle for third.
The Extreme Karting-sponsored S1 Pro Stock Moto class was also a two-driver affair, with reigning champion Clinton Schoombee and last year’s TaG Senior champ Phil Giebler doing battle. Giebler had the edge in qualifying with a 42.665-lap time, 84-thousandths quicker than Schoombee. Grabbing the holeshot in the opening heat, Schoombee led all 12 laps of the first heat, and then repeated the feat in the second heat with Giebler in tow. Starting the feature race, Schoombee was great off the line once again, leaving Giebler to pick up the pieces. Schoombee kept up a consistent pace while recording the fast lap of the race to earn the victory by over one second ahead of Giebler. Peter Abba earned his second straight podium finish, out-running Ryon Beachner for the third spot while Adams winner Brad Dunford placed fifth.
Defending S4 Master Stock Moto SKUSA SuperNationals champ Jimmy McNeil went to the top of the podium once again, this time at round two of the G-Phactory-sponsored ProKart Challenge South class. McNeil swept the action – despite a full field of 22 drivers challenging him throughout the day. Taking the pole position by just over three-tenths, McNeil led all 12 laps of the first heat. Doug Hayashi grabbed the holeshot to begin heat two, only to have McNeil regain the top spot in the second lap before he drove away to the win. The feature would be one-sided, as McNeil was on his game. Getting away off the line cleanly, Jimmy went wire-to-wire to a five-second victory. Five-time PKC South G1 champion PP Mastro made his class debut with a runner-up finish, while Adams’ winner Robert Marks stood on the podium once again, this time in third. Randy McKee and last year’s class champion Wayne Mello rounded out the top-five.
Howie Idelson took his second victory in the G1 division as he edged out Peter Workum, making his first start in the class. The S4 Magnum category was a close battle until the feature. Marc Lewis and Bob Legate were the top challengers, with point leader Robert Morales in tow. As Morales retired early in the main event with mechanical issues, Lewis was able to drive away from Legate for his first victory of the season.
The 2 Wild Karting-sponsored S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto category was anyone’s for the taking following qualifying. The top three were separated by just 31-thousandths of a second, as point leader Nicky Freytag posted the fastest time (43.244) over Michael Leib and Vivek Tandon. Freytag and Tandon would experience troubles in the opening heat, allowing Leib to take the win over last year’s S3 champion Jason Attwood. Freytag and Tandon would return toward the front of heat two, crossing the line behind Leib after 12 laps. The trio put on a heck of a show in the feature until Tandon dropped the hammer and led the way to the checkered flag. Freytag finished second and Leib completed the podium in third.
An increased number of entries were welcomed in the Select Shifter/DR Kart-sponsored S3 Novice Stock Moto class at Willow Springs, with a second different winner in as many PKC South events. Jessica Sollberger dropped the quick lap of the qualifying session to clear the field by three-tenths. A bad opening lap put her third in the order to start off heat one, as Kellen Guthrie and round one winner Sebastian Scaglia showed the way. Sollberger was up to second by lap five before she went off course, dropping her to the tail of the order. Guthrie went on to score the win over Scaglia and Austin Countryman. Guthrie and Scaglia went 1-2 in heat two, as Sollberger climbed back up to third in the 12-lap run. The feature race start went bad for the front row, as the two drivers went for the same space and made contact. Both were able to get restarted and continue, albeit at the tail of the field. Sollberger inherited the lead and went on to score the big win – with Todd Wilson and former SKUSA Marketing guru Jim Baltutis hopping back into the seat of a kart for a third place podium finish. Micah Hendricks scored his second straight E.U.S.I. S5 Junior Stock Moto feature win, following an event sweep. Hendricks was challenged throughout the day by Augie Lerch, who came up just short behind the current point leader.
The Leading Edge Motorsports-sponsored TaG Master class also welcomed a number of new participants and a new winner, as Will Jadiker drove to the victory. Ryan Rush led the way in qualifying, but Jadiker came through to win both heat races and take the feature by five seconds. Rush settled for second, with Bryce Watson completing an all first-timer podium for the category. The top three in TaG Junior battled closely throughout the day, with Willy Axton coming through to score his first PKC South victory. Carter Williams was the top qualifier and drove to the win in heat one. In heat two, Axton was able to knife his way on the final lap to take the win – with Adams’ winner Austin Dement placing second until he was disqualified during engine tech. Axton was able to escape Williams and Dement in the feature, as they battled for the second spot. Williams would come through with the position, dropping Dement to the third spot on the podium.
Reigning SKUSA Pro Tour TaG Cadet champion Colton Herta carried the SKUSA #1 plate to the top of the podium for the first time in 2011, scoring the feature win in the Phil Giebler Racing-sponsored category. Herta edged out the #3-SKUSA plate of Noah Grey in qualifying by just 59-thousandths of a second. Christian Brooks and Jacob Drew joined the mix in heat one, crossing the stripe behind Herta. Drew was able to best them all, taking the win in heat two over Herta, Brooks and Grey. The feature came down to the final lap in the final corner. Drew led the majority of the laps, with Herta setting up his final move. The two made contact in the final corner – deemed to be racing contact by the officials –with Herta able to escape with the lead and the victory. Drew ended up second, with Grey edging Brooks for the final podium spot.
The SKUSA ProKart Challenge South returns to action on April 8-9 at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park kart track in Buttonwillow. The SKUSA crew will first travel north to the second round of the PKC North program, set for the All Star Karting facility in Prairie City, CA on March 25-26. Time is also closing in on the first round of the SKUSA Pro Tour – the 2011 SpringNationals at Musselman Honda Circuit (formerly P1 Kart Circuit) in Tucson, AZ on April 29-May 1.
About Superkarts! USA:
Established in 1995, Superkarts! USA is dedicated to shifterkart and TaG racing and is the leader in the field, currently promoting five regional racing series. Racing programs are currently running in Southern California, Northern California, Hawaii, Colorado, Missouri and Iowa, in cooperation and support from official tire supplier MG Tires. In 2011, the organization is promoting the second edition of the SKUSA Pro Tour, which features a pair of major events in Arizona and Colorado, all leading up to the annual SKUSA SuperNationals, the biggest shifter kart race in the world, held every November in Las Vegas, NV. For more information on SKUSA, please visit www.superkartsusa.com.