Article By: Superkarts! USA
Photo By: DromoPhotos.com
S1 sees third different winner with NorCal contingent stealing glory in TaG Senior at Buttonwillow
BUTTONWILLOW, CA (April 9, 2011) – As the temperature across the country is heating up, so is the racing in the Superkarts! USA regional programs. Round three of the ProKart Challenge South series took place April 9 at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park kart track and served as the organization’s final event prior to its Pro Tour opener at the end of the month. The racing at the Buttonwillow, Ca facility was intense despite seven drivers completing a weekend sweep. The two headline categories were led by first-time winners on the season, Ryon Beachner (S1 Pro Stock Moto) and Mason Marotta (TaG Senior).
The Buttonwillow event served as a warm-up to the Honda Racing/HPD SpringNationals in Tucson, Arizona (April 29-May 1), and was evident in the Tony Kart West-sponsored TaG Senior category with a number of non-PKC South drivers filling out the 17-kart field. David Vasquez kicked off his first PKC start of the season with the quick time in qualifying (46.022). The top five were within a tenth of a second with Mason Marotta, Kiel Spaulding, Chris Cricca, and Emily Maddison completing the fast-five. Vasquez’s time at the front was short-lived, as aggressive racing to begin the first heat race shuffled him outside the top-five early on. Spaulding assumed the point and took the win over Matt Johnson and Jess Peterson. During the race, Marotta was penalized for rough driving and put to the bottom of the result sheet. Spaulding broke away in heat two, claiming his second win of the day as Peterson held off point leader Travis Lowe for much of the race before Marotta knifed his way forward to steal the third position in the final circuit. The front of the field for the main event was missing one contender as Lowe was unable to start on time and started at the back of the field, eventually retiring from the race. Spaulding held the top position to begin the 20-lap race with Marotta trailing. Peterson fell down the order following contact, putting Johnson third early. The top two were able to break away with the final move coming on the final lap. Spaulding led all but the final circuit, as Marotta was able to take the lead and the checkered flag on lap 20 for the victory. Johnson held on to complete the podium while Peterson recovered strong to finish fourth with Maddison rounding out the top-five. Point leader Lowe was up to eighth before retiring on lap 10 to be classified 14th.
The Extreme Karting-sponsored S1 Pro Stock Moto class welcomed its third different winner in as many events, with Ryon Beachner scoring his first ever S1 victory in SKUSA competition. The class rookie led the way in qualifying with a 44.334-lap to edge out the two former winners Brad Dunford and Clinton Schoombee – with all three lap times separated by less than one-tenth. Both Dunford and Schoombee got the jump on Beachner to begin heat one. Schoombee retired on lap five with a broken rear bumper, moving Beachner to second. It was not for long, as he then took the top spot from Dunford and powered away for the win. Beachner went flag-to-flag in heat two over Dunford, with Schoombee driving back into third. To begin the 20-lap Final, Dunford once again grabbed the holeshot and led early, with Beachner and Schoombee trailing. Beachner – who appeared to have the set-up for the long run – worked by Dunford for the lead on lap eight. As Dunford and Schoombee fought for the second position, Beachner gapped the two and drove to his first class victory. Dunford held on to finish second, with Schoombee completing the podium to make the series championship very interesting heading into the second half.
Defending SKUSA SuperNationals S4 Master Stock Moto champion Jimmy McNeil is serving notice to probably the largest field for the upcoming SpringNationals. McNeil swept the action in Buttonwillow for his second straight victory, heading into Tucson with a ton of momentum. McNeil’s 44.684-lap was best in the qualifying session for the G-Phactory-sponsored ProKart Challenge South class, clearing the field by two-tenths. Going wire-to-wire in both heat races, McNeil set it on cruise control to lead all 20 laps of the main event to earn the victory by 15 seconds. Behind him was a fury of drivers fighting for the runner-up position. For much of the day, round one winner Robert Marks held the spot until losing it early on in the feature. Doug Hayashi held the chase position throughout the first half of the race with three-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner Jeff Littrell, Marks and multi-time PKC champion PP Mastro on his tail. As the laps clicked off, Mastro was the driver on the move as he inched his way forward. Up to third by the final lap, Mastro was able to stick the move for the second position over Hayashi. Randy McKee won the fight for fourth over NorCal driver Jim Kidd and Marks, with Littrell retiring on lap 14.
The Buttonwillow event kicked off a mini-series within the ProKart Challenge program for the Phil Giebler Racing-sponsored TaG Cadet category. The last four races for both the South and the North programs will serve as host of the two mini-series, with each winner earning an invitation to compete at the Rok Cup International Final. To add extra incentive, SKUSA put a full entry on the line to the event winner in Buttonwillow to this year’s SuperNationals in Las Vegas. Carrying the #1 SKUSA plate, Colton Herta was up to the challenge as he swept the weekend in impressive fashion to start the mini-series on top and gain an automatic start for SKUSA SuperNationals XV. Herta laid down a monster lap in qualifying (50.766) to set the tone. Challenged by Jacob Drew, Herta went on to win the two heat races. Both Drew and Christian Brooks relegated Herta to third in the opening lap of the 15-lap feature, only to lose the positions the following lap. Herta would go on to lead the remaining laps to earn a six-second victory and assume the overall series point lead, with Drew edging out Brooks for second in the race.
The #1 plate is holding strong for defending TaG Master champion Ethan Wilson, as he swept the Leading Edge Motorsports-sponsored division in preparation for the upcoming SpringNationals. Wilson ran unchallenged to the victory over JP Cadoux and Paul Hohlbein. Jessica Sollberger established herself as the championship chase contender with a sweep in the Select Shifter/DR Kart-sponsored S3 Novice Stock Moto class. An impressive 45.965-lap in qualifying put her on the pole position – until she was placed at the tail of the grid for heat one with a mechanical issue. After she was restarted, Sollberger put down impressive laps to move forward and came away with the win in the 10-lap sprint. From there, she went wire-to-wire in heat two and the feature for the event sweep. Kellen Guthrie was second, with Sebastian Scaglia in third. Marc Lewis earned his second win of the season in S4 Magnum Stock Moto as he outran Robert Morales and Bob Legate throughout the day. Peter Workum earned his first G1 victory with an event sweep in only his second class start. Jorge Menchu and Thomas Cerny completed the podium.
The drivers making up the field in the 2 Wild Karting-sponsored S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto category are proving just how tight the competition is becoming – as Matias Podboj edged out championship leader Nicky Freytag by just seven-thousandths of a second in qualifying. Freytag used his experience, grabbing the holeshot and victory in both heat races, with Vivek Tandon jumping in to run second with Podboj back in third. The fight went down to two in the main, as Podboj fell off the pass and dropped to the tail of the field. Tandon challenge Freytag, leading early on, but the younger Freytag prevailed to score his first feature win of the season. Tandon settled for second, with Bryan Lemon placing third.
Carter Williams appeared to be in position to earn his first feature win of the season after placing third and second in the first two rounds of the TaG Junior chase. Williams posted the fast lap in qualifying (47.000), won the opening heat race, and led the first eight laps of heat two before Brennan Mankin stole the position and the race win. Starting outside row one of the final, Williams fell to third behind Mankin and Willy Axton. Grabbing back second from Axton, Williams positioned himself behind Mankin – until Austin Dement made his way from back in the field into the second position by lap 12. Out front, Mankin was able to gap the rest of the field and drive to his first series victory – in his first PKC South start. Dement would stand on the second step of the podium, with Williams retiring on the final lap with a mechanical issue, giving Mason Daughters the third spot. Micah Hendricks showed the way in the E.U.S.I.-sponsored S5 Junior Stock Moto class and was well on his way to a third straight feature victory – until a rare engine issue put him on the sidelines. That gave the win to Augie Lerch, along with some much needed extra points to cut into Hendricks’ championship lead.
The SKUSA ProKart Challenge South returns to action on May 13-14 with a trip to the Streets of Willow road course on the grounds of the Willow Springs Motorsports Park in Rosamond, CA. The event is sure to bring in the ‘speed freaks’ to the exciting 1.8-mile road race circuit that is a racer’s favorite. Next on the docket for the Superkarts! USA organization is the much-anticipated Honda Racing/HPD SpringNationals – the opening event for the 2011 SKUSA Pro Tour – at the 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.