What a great way to start the competitive karting season at PGP Motorsports Park! Saturday’s opening round of the Stars of PGP Kart Series saw beautiful weather and fantastic action on the track including a new track record.
Article By: Pacific Grand Prix
Entering its sophomore season, the series has some established contenders but on Saturday some new drivers not only made their PGP debut but also showed early promise of challenging for victories and eventually championships.
Once the dust had cleared first-place trophies in the various categories were awarded to Justin Taylor, Hayden Hochhalter, Derek Wang, Doug Taylor, Sean Naslund, and Cameron Grimes-Hess. Details for each category are below and PGP wishes to thank Leon Cheung for the photos.
The next round of the Stars of PGP Kart Series is Saturday, May 21 — and don’t forget the Friday before, May 20, has been set aside as an exclusive practice session. Can’t get enough competing at PGP? Come out for the opening round of Rental Kart League Racing this Saturday, April 30.
Rotax Micro and Rotax Mini
In Rotax Mini it was all Justin Taylor, who turned lap times just shy of the track record all day long and secured the trifecta with the pole and victories in the Heat Race and Final. After not getting to turn a lap in qualifying due to mechanical issues, Matt Nelson came back to take second.
Caleb Daniells shattered his own Rotax Micro track record during qualifying and then followed up that by running away with the Heat Race win. In the Final, Caleb felt pressure from behind coming from 7-year-old Hayden Hochhalter, who found a lot more speed from his run in the heat. Hayden stalked the leader for several laps then inherited the lead when Caleb made an uncharacteristic mistake entering Turn 4. Hayden held on for his first victory in just his first race at PGP.
PGP’s Rental Kart Class
Some of the day’s best racing and one of the most exciting finishes was in the Rental Kart Class, as new drivers put pressure on the established contenders. One of those was Shawn Tracy, who won the pole in qualifying and earned a podium finish in the Final after making the move up from the Saturday morning league series to challenge to the drivers of the Stars series.
Battling for the victory in the Heat Race and Final would be three of the best rental kart racers at PGP: Cameron Grimes-Hess, Maurice Shawver and Jerry Peterson. A last-lap pass gave Grimes-Hess the Heat victory over Peterson by the slim margin of two-tenths of a second and set the stage for a thrilling feature event.
Shawver would find the point at the drop of the green in the Final, but he was immediately pressured by Grimes-Hess, eventually losing the spot to his rival. As the two battled back and forth, Peterson and Tracy joined the fight to make it a four-way battle for the win. On the final lap, Shawver shot to the inside going into Turn 6, pulling alongside Hess but losing all his speed and falling into the clutches of Peterson and Tracy. Hess held on for the win, followed by Peterson and Tracy.
Stock Shifter Light
Birel stable teammates Sean Naslund and Derek Hansen were the class of the field in the shifter category followed by Scott Little, who was making his first start in the class. Adding to the fun for the Final was PGP’s own Kyle Zalud, who drove the same shifter kart available for rent from the track.
Naslund, the reigning class champion, looked to once again be in fine form, winning the pole, Heat Race and Final. With just a few races in the class, Hansen was still finding more pace in his ride but he was quick enough to finish second. The feel-good story of the day had to be Little, who overcame early motor issues. Little’s lap times improved throughout the day and by the end he was cutting circuits times just shy of Hansen’s.
From qualifying to the Final, Rotax Senior was a fight for second place as Rolison Performance Group racer Derek Wang completely dominated the day. Clocking a lap nearly a half-second quicker than the rest of the class, Wang cruised to the pole position and then victory in the Heat Race. Although Wang was beaten off the line at the start of the Final, he recovered the lead and then built an insurmountable margin en route to the win.
Battling for the “best of the rest” behind him was Seattle Karting Specialties driver Johnny Blair and Cameron Grimes-Hess. Grimes-Hess had the second fastest time in qualifying but Blair struck back with a runner-up finish in the heat. The two battled again in the Final, with Grimes-Hess applying early pressure that Blair was able to withstand on his way to another second-place finish. Grimes-Hess took the final podium spot.
The driver to beat in Rotax Master was Doug Taylor, holder of the track record holder for TaG Master. Taylor proved he was just as fast in Rotax Master, taking the pole by a narrow margin over Doug Huggler and then recording solid victories in the Heat Race and Final. The battle behind Taylor in the heat was between Huggler and Jerry Peterson, with Peterson taking second. Peterson turned up the pace in the feature, getting past Huggler and turning laps close to that of Taylor, but he wasn’t able to cut into the gap.
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About PGP Motorsports Park
PGP Motorsports Park is the Northwest’s premier multi-purpose racing facility and is located in close proximity to the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Named “Best Guys Weekend Destination” for 2010 in the KING 5 Evening Magazine Best of Western Washington contest, the track is easy to get to and inexpensive to utilize, making PGP a rare combination of top-level racing excitement and affordability. For more information on PGP events and services, visit www.pacificgp.com or call (253) 639-7223.