Arizona driver travels north to upset home crowd in S2 category for regional double-header
Article By: Superkarts! USA
TEMECULA, CA (June 29, 2011) – The 2011 season got underway for the Superkarts! USA Mountain Region this past weekend at the site of the upcoming Mothers® SummerNationals next month – Grand Junction Motor Speedway. The Colorado facility hosted a two-day, two round event to open up the Rocky Mountain regional series. Six categories took to the 9/10-mile circuit on June 25-26, with SKUSA Pro Tour S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto championship leader Kyle Hathcox the only driver to double up over the weekend.
The Arizona driver pulled off a clean sweep on the opening day of action and nearly repeated the same performance on day two. Hathcox posted a 52.192-lap in qualifying to top the charts over Colorado drivers Cory Milne and Christian Schureman. Leading wire-to-wire in the two 15-lap heat races – by five seconds in each moto – Hathcox continued his impeccable pace in the 20-lap main event to score the victory by just over six seconds. Milne ran second through much of the day until he was tracked down by Schureman, Bird and Patrick Cushenberry in the feature race. Opening up Sunday’s round, Bird was able to nip Hathcox for the quick lap in qualifying by just 33-thousandths, posting a 52.505-lap. Undeterred by the qualifying session, Hathcox put down a carbon-copy of his Saturday racing performance, leading all the laps in the heat races and feature for the round victory. Bird held his ground in second, edging Schureman for the runner-up position at the checkered flag. Milne and Eli Zeigler completed the top-five.
Reigning SKUSA Pro Tour TaG Senior champion Phil Giebler nearly pulled off the double as well, coming up just short after Sunday’s action. For Saturday, the SoCal native posted a 54.589-lap in qualifying to score the pole position over NorCal’s Larry Fraser and local hotshoe Rory Mackey. The trio exchanged the top spot in heat one before settling back into their original positions at the checkered flag. The battle continued until Fraser retired early in heat two, leaving Giebler to outrun Mackey for the race win. War raged on between the top three in the main event, as Fraser quickly regained the ground he lost from the DNF in the heat race. In the end, Giebler came out on top, driving to a four-second victory over Fraser – with Austin McGrane in third after Mackey retired on lap 18. Giebler once again earned the pole position (54.429) on Sunday with McGrane stepping up in second over Mackey. Giebler drove off to the win in heat one, but Mackey challenged the entire distance in heat two, only to come up two-tenths short. As they did previously, the top challengers battled early, but this time Giebler fell victim to a mechanical issue on lap 11, with Fraser dropping out as well with a motor problem the following lap. This allowed Mackey to run away to the victory over McGrane – with Tony Davella on the podium in third.
The S4 Master Stock Moto division pulled in some good numbers for the category, with Mike McDonough pulling off the sweep on Saturday and David Conyers scoring the victory on Sunday. McDonough posted a 53.766-lap to top the charts in the Saturday qualifying session over California’s Jonathan Allen and fellow Coloradoan Conyers. Driving to three uncontested wins, McDonough pulled off the tri-fector and the fast lap award to seal the deal on Saturday. Conyers was able to edge out Allen for the runner-up spot by just two-tenths at the checkered flag. With McDonough unable to compete on Sunday, that opened up the chance for anyone to step up. The first to do so was Daryl Mackie, posting the fast lap in qualifying with a 55.605 over Charles Gordon and Conyers. Overcoming a poor qualifying session, Allen came through the field to score heat one win over Conyers and Jet Davis – after Mackie retired on lap one with a mechanical problem. Conyers then picked up the pace, working by Allen for the lead in heat two and driving on to a one-second win. They continued to battle into the feature race until Allen retired on lap six. This gave Conyers a clean break as he cruised to a six-second victory over Davis and Mackie.
Like Giebler, Austin Schimmel came up just short of the double win weekend in the S5 Junior Stock Moto class. Battling with Ryan Rudolph over the two days, Schimmel swept Saturday’s action. On Sunday, Schimmel was on course to repeat the feat until the main event, when his silencer fell off. This put him on the sidelines and allowed Rudolph to score the feature victory.
Despite the low numbers, the TaG Junior and TaG Master groups provided some drama to keep the track busy with action as they ran together in the same group. Missouri driver Mason Daughters (55.851) led the way in TaG Junior qualifying, with Robert Valentino (56.665) leading in the TaG Master division. Daughters was shuffled back at the start of the opening heat race, dropping him back as Giovanni Valasquez took the win. Valentino lost ground early as well, with JP Tandurella driving away to the race win. Daughters returned in heat two for the moto win as Tandurella held off a charging Valentino. After leading for most of the main event, Daughters retired on lap 13, handing the victory to Valasquez. Valentino kept the pressure on Tandurella until retiring on lap 15, allowing JP to score the victory. Fresh off their victories on Saturday, Tandurella and Valasquez began round two as the top drivers in qualifying with lap times of 55.971 and 56.009, respectively. Valentino and Daughters fought back, scoring wins in heat one only to lose out again to the top qualifiers in heat two. At the start of the main event, Daughters was unable to start while Valasquez spun in the opening lap. This allowed Miana Wick to step in and take the top spot in the TaG Junior category, while Valentino drove on and scored the main event victory in TaG Master.
Round three of the Superkarts! USA Mountain Region will take place on August 28 at the Pikes Peak International Raceway grounds in Fountain, Colorado. The circuit will be constructed inside the oval, and competitors will be able to use the first-class amenities available. For all important information regarding this year’s SKUSA Mountain Region program or to contact them regarding the Pikes Peak event, head to the series website – www.skusamr.com.
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.