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Leading Edge Leverages Solid Weekend in Lead-Up to SKUSA Pro Tour Opener

4/13/2011

NorCal shop uses events at Buttonwillow and Infineon to tune-up for SKUSA SpringNationals

Article By: Leading Edge Motorsports

Photo By: DromoPhotos.com

LODI, CALIFORNIA (April 13, 2011) – With the clock ticking down to the drop of the green flag for the season-opening SKUSA Pro Tour Honda Racing/HPD SpringNationals in Tucson, the Leading Edge Motorsports team rolled down from Lodi to southern California for the third round of the ProKart Challenge at Buttonwillow on Saturday. Following the event, Leading Edge’s Greg Bell headed back north to support one of his NorCal pilots at the opening event of the Redline Oil Championship Series at Infineon Raceway. Bell brought five drivers to the PKC event with a focus on continuing the development of their programs and the entire squad left Buttonwillow better prepared for the challenge that awaits at the end of the month.

“It was a good weekend overall,” said Leading Edge team leader Greg Bell. “We used the Buttonwillow event as a test for the Pro Tour. It gave us a chance to really work on set-ups and, most importantly, continue with driver coaching. Some of the younger kids really made some big progress and I’m very proud of them.”

In the TaG Junior class, Brennen Mankin was very impressive for the team aboard is Bell-tuned Intrepid. After qualifying fourth, the up-and-coming driver went on to sweep the heat races before running flag-to-flag in the 20-lap main event to record a three-second win. “Mankin was really impressive,” added Bell. “He settled into the kart quickly and really focused on his driving. It’s paying off and this win was big for him and our team.”

Leading Edge Motorsports’ TaG Senior pilot Kathryn Cornell had a mixed weekend. A tough run in qualifying saw her start the opening heat from the 13th position on the grid. In the first heat, she showed incredible pace and tactical aggression as she raced her way to fifth, but a DNF in the second heat once again relegated her to the back of the grid for the final. Sometimes starting at the tail of the field can be a positive in terms of developing racecraft and Cornell was stellar in running back up to eighth in what is an incredibly stacked field of talent in TaG Senior. This was a great recovery that bodes well for the SpringNationals. As a rookie in the Senior category, Cornell could be a force in Tucson.

“Kathryn showed in the final that she can run the same times as the leaders,” offered Bell of Cornell’s eighth place result. “It was a tough weekend for her, but we worked hard to improve the kart and make it faster for the final. Watching her drive her way through the field was awesome!”

Tanner Carter represented LEM in the growing TaG Cadet class. “Tanner had a pretty good weekend,” said Bell, from his Lodi, CA shop. “He’s young and is learning his way around. We spent a lot of time coaching and working with him. He had a rough time in the final but he’s developing. That’s the name of the game with a kid like Tanner – getting him a little better, a little more comfortable every time out.” Bell’s program at Leading Edge Motorsports has always been focused on driver development and this approach will be a positive for Carter, who qualified seventh. In the heat races, Carter picked up the pace against his more experienced competitors to start the final from the outside of row four. After advancing to fifth in the opening laps, contact from behind resulted in a thrown chain and a disappointing DNF.

Also joining Leading Edge for the event was TaG Masters pilot Paul Hohlbein. “This was Paul’s first weekend on an Intrepid chassis and it went well,” Bell commented. “He got a feel for the kart quickly and we were then able to focus on making the set-up work for him.” After a second place run in qualifying, Hohlbein ended the event on the box in third, setting himself in good position for the SpringNationals.

With the Buttonwillow event in the bag, Leading Edge packed up and rolled north in Infineon Raceway for the opening round of the Redline Oil Championship Series on Sunday. Bell attended the event to tune for LEM driver Chuck Hastings, who was entered in his first 80cc Masters race. The result of a day’s worth of fine-tuning of the chassis, the engine and the driver, Hastings emerged as the class of the field in the final, recording a seven-second victory.

“This was a really solid weekend for the team. We got a lot of good data for the SpringNationals and we got the drivers out on the track in competition to help with their development,” added Bell. “Testing is important, but nothing ever compares to race laps. We got quite a few of those in the books this weekend.”

To learn more about the LEM and Greg Bell, visit www.leadingedgemotorsports.com or contact Bell directly at 209.369.0921 or e-mail leadingedgeguy@sbcglobal.net .

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About Leading Edge Motorsports:

Since 1995, Greg Bell and his Leading Edge Motorsports outfit have provided the foundation for a number of the sport’s champions. Based in Lodi, California, Leading Edge Motorsports is a full-service kart shop providing the best equipment for all levels of the sport. As an Intrepid dealer, LEM is available to support Northern California customers of the brand. LEM was recognized as the national Team of the Year by eKartingNews.com in 2001, and in 2006 along Champion Racing. Bell added a Mechanic of the Year award that same season. From arrive-and-drive programs and kart preparation to driver coaching and parts supply to get you on the track, Leading Edge Motorsports is the answer to the question of success. Winning never gets old.

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