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Johnson earns third ProKart Challenge win of the season at Santa Maria while Brooks and Lowe top the charts at IKF Grangé


Article By: Buddy Rice Karting

Buddy Rice Karting (BRK) has had a busy summer winning races at both the SKUSA Pro Kart Challenge events and IKF Region 7. Matt Johnson has flown the BRK banner high at the ProKart Challenge events winning 3 out of 5 TAG Sr. races, the latest victory coming in beautiful Santa Maria, Ca.
BRK brought four Sr. TAG Drivers with them to the SKUSA event and they were scattered throughout the field. Many of the newest BRK drivers had the challenge of learning the Santa Maria track, while others like Johnson know it well. Qualifying was not as good as they had hoped for, but the heat races saw Johnson win both and Lowe move up a handful of positions for a 3rd. The two BRK drivers are championship rivals and every point counts for them and for the team. Johnson and Lowe dominated the main event gapping their nearest competitor by over a second. Johnson led every lap with Lowe in tow for a BRK one-two finish, and Johnson's third of the season. Alejo Fernandez finished his day with a top ten as he continues to learn new circuits. “The team did really well this weekend,” said team principle Buddy Rice. “Johnson and Lowe drove smart and were patient. We are looking at the championship big picture, and finishing 1st and 2nd is the best way to achieve that goal at the end of the season.”
TAG Junior saw BRK driver Christian Brooks post the 2nd fastest lap in qualifying, just a blink of an eye off the pole. Phillipe Denes was 9th quick with Justice Lepe slotted in for 11th. Brooks maintained his 2nd place all weekend long, finishing on the bumper of the leader in both heats and the main event. Brooks in his #34 Energy was right there, but just didn't have that little something to make a bid for the win. His championship goals remain in tack as he sits in 3rd overall and gained ground on the points leader. BRK teammates Denes and Lepe both had top ten finishes with a 7th and 10th.
Dante Yu was the sole BRK TAG Cadet driver in Santa Maria. After a slower than hoped for qualifying session Yu bounced back in the heat races finishing in 4th both times and right in the thick of the battle. The main event didn't go as planned for Yu who dropped out after only three laps of racing.

IKF Region 7 saw Lowe once again top the charts in TAG qualifying. The #63 dominated qualifying and the heat races, sitting on pole for the main event. Lowe continued to pace the field in the main, consistently running times three tenths quicker than everyone else. Lowe brought home the win after leading every lap. Alejo Fernandez made great strides every time he was on the track and had a solid run to 2nd place in the final. His and Lowes great driving earned team BRK another one-two finish.
Sr. PRD looked like it was going to have a repeat of the TAG results as Lowe qualified on pole and took the win in both heat races. After a jumbled turn one Lowe found himself well back of the leader and in a position of chase. Chase he did, but with ultra close competition and similar laps times the best he could do was 4th. Alejo Fernandez consistently ran in the top five all day and finished the 20 lap final in 5th.

Christian Brooks headed up the charge for the BRK Juniors at Grangé by sweeping the KPV 2 class on Saturday. With a pole and two heat race wins under his belt Brooks was poised for a win in the final. Brooks bounced back from an earlier crash in another class to kill it in the KPV 2 final. Brooks led all but one lap on his way to a 3 second win. Justice Lepe joined Brooks on the podium in 3rd place after picking up a few positions and fighting hard all race long.
After bringing out the red flag in PRD Junior 2 controlled Brooks was not up to his earlier speed. Nathan Seegrist was the highest placed BRK driver finishing in 6th. Brooks finished in 8th.

Sunday saw the KPV 2 drivers at it again in the Heavy class. Brooks qualified P2 and finished both heats in the first few positions. He came on strong in the main event taking the lead with only a few laps remaining. A wild last lap saw Brooks lose the lead and try and retake it a few corners later. The three leaders all made contact and slowed their pace coming to the checkered flag. Brooks lost the drag race and had to settle for 3rd on the day. Lepe finished right in the thick of it all in the main pack of drivers for 6th.

Drivers under the BRK Trackside Support tent at ProKart Challenge: Matt Johnson, Travis Lowe, Alejo Fernandez, Alex Kirby, Christian Brooks, Justice Lepe, Phillipe Denes, and Dante Yu.

Drivers under the BRK Trackside Support tent at IKF Grangé: Travis Lowe, Alejo Fernandez, Christian Brooks, Justice Lepe, and Nathan Seegrist.

Owned by 2004 Indy 500 winner and 2009 24 Hours of Daytona winner Buddy Rice, Buddy Rice Karting LLC is the official importer of Energy Karts, Frixa Brake Pads ,OTK kart parts and proud distributors of OMP, Uni Pro and Rotax. Buddy Rice Karting services dealers across the United States and Mexico and competes in several national and regional race series including Gatorz, IKF, and SKUSA. BRK is conveniently located just 5 minutes from the CalSpeed Karting Center.

Call 909.854.5350 or Fax 909.854.5333

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