SKUSA regional series ends 2012 at growing street race in Southern California
Article By: Superkarts! USA
TEMECULA, CA (September 24, 2012) – The California ProKart Challenge completed the 2012 season with the fourth running of the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix on the September 15-16 weekend. The Southern California city and Superkarts! USA welcomed just over 120 racers from across the country in ten classes to tackle the fastest street race in North America. In addition to a stand-out event in front of hundreds of spectators lining the fences, the 0.7-mile street course situated on the ‘Boulevard’ section of the city was used as the final championship point event toward the California PKC program, the first time in series history. Each and every class featured its own bit of drama, including some of the championship chases to the final checkered flag.
The Extreme Karting S1 Pro Stock Moto category was all Fritz Leesmann as he swept the action over the two days. The SKUSA Pro Tour championship leader did not earn his accomplishments without a challenge, as California PKC championship leader Jimmy McNeil was on his bumper the entire time. The fight for the main event victory came down to the final corners as contact was made. Leesmann escaped, while McNeil was unable to continue allowing Fritz to score the victory. 2011 event winner Daniel Langon moved up to second, with Nicky Freytag in third. While the result was his worse over the six rounds, McNeil secured the series championship in his return back to the S1 ranks. Ryon Beachner ended the year second, with Freytag placing third in the standings.
Matt Johnson locked up the TaG Senior championship, sponsored by Leading Edge Motorsports, with his fourth victory on the season. After showing the way the entire weekend, the victory came down to the final corner – as Johnson battled teammate and championship rival Travis Lowe. The two made contact through the fifth and final turn, with Johnson able to escape first and earn the checkered flag. Lowe ended up second, same in the championship standings. Missouri driver Mason Daughters ran to an impressive third place finish in the race over Devin Lindsey – who ended the year third in the championship chase.
Arizona driver Augie Lerch was the top S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto driver throughout the weekend, topping the charts in each and every session. From qualifying to the main event, Lerch was the top S2 driver and placed second overall in the S1/S2 grouping. The fight for second was between championship rivals Matias Podboj and Michael Leib. Each took a turn in the heat races in the position, but the main event saw Podboj involved in contact, forcing him to retire early. Leib drove to a strong second place finish, posting the overall fast lap of the race. Colorado driver Jack Bradley finished third in the race. The Phil Giebler Racing-sponsored championship chase went to Podboj, earning enough points prior to Lancaster to secure the championship by 92 points over Leib, with Vivek Tandon in third.
Trevor McAlister entered the Lancaster event with strong momentum, and continued rolling through with an event sweep in the Pure Karting-sponsored S4 Master Stock Moto category. The victory was his third of the season and put him third in the final championship standings. Robert Marks and PP Mastro were the top two drivers in the hunt for the title, and battled for the runner-up spot throughout the weekend behind McAlister. The fight continued into the main event until just three laps from the checkered flag when Marks lost a tire, ending his race early. Mastro went on to finish second, with NorCal’s Jim Kidd placing third. After factoring in the drop race, Marks accumulated enough points to secure his first S4 California PKC championship. Mastro was just 68 points back in second.
One of the most dramatic races of the weekend was the TaG Master group, sponsored by Buddy Rice Karting. Billy Cleavelin had all but wrapped up the championship, and was the driver to beat entering Lancaster. Cleavelin suffered a motor issue in qualifying, and was unable to complete a lap. Former Pro Tour champion Ethan Wilson took advantage and led the class through qualifying and the first heat. By the second heat, Cleavelin had worked his way up to the front and scored the win. The feature came down to four drivers, with Wilson falling back to 10th before an early full-course caution came out and bunched up the field. Once the race returned to green flag action, Wilson drove his way back into the lead group, including Cleavelin, Randy Froom and Paul Bonilla. Froom’s race came to an end early as he lost his chain, leaving the lead group to just three. Dicing lap after lap, Cleavelin and Wilson took over the top two spots after an error by Bonilla dropped him back to fourth. Swapping the lead two times over the course of the last lap, Wilson was able to secure the position to the checkered flag for the victory. Cleavelin settled for second, with Vatche Tatikian sliding up to third for his best finish of the season. The win put Wilson up to second in the point standings, while Paul Grey ended the year in third.
Palmdale resident Brenden Baker made a last-lap move to secure the victory in the Russell Karting Specialties-sponsored TaG Junior division. Championship leader Carter Williams led the class throughout qualifying and the two heat races. Jumping out to a solid lead, Baker was able to move up to second and cut into the gap Carter established. With a move into turn three, Baker secured the top spot and led the way to the checkered flag. Williams settled for second, his fourth podium in six races, to secure his second straight series title. Garrett Dixon recovered from a last-lap, last-corner crash in heat two to place on the podium in the feature race. Starting 15th, Dixon propelled himself up to third in the 20-lap event for his first podium finish of the year. Class rookies Christian Brooks and Colton Herta ended up second and third in the championship standings.
Williams did earn a victory in the S5 Junior Stock Moto category to secure the class championship. He was able to outrun fellow Pro Tour championship contenders Jim McKinney and Micah Hendricks. Steve Ryckebosch scored his fourth victory in the Select Shifter/DR Racing Kart-sponsored S3 Novice Stock Moto category, but lost the war in the championship battle. A tech disqualification in round three cost Ryckebosch the title, giving it to Chalee Siengthai, who finished third in Lancaster behind Austin Countryman. Wyoming driver Scott Allen scored the win in S4 Magnum Stock Moto, outrunning Ken Manning, who clinched the championship on the weekend. The TaG Cadet events in Lancaster belonged to Hunter Kelly. The championship leader heading into the final round of the series led the entire weekend, from qualifying to the main event to lock up the title. Trenton Sparks finished his second series start with a runner-up finish, while Jackson Logsdon ran third, scoring the fast lap of the race in his series debut. Anthony Sawyer finished fourth to keep him second in the standings, just ahead of Jack von Quilich.
The racers of the California ProKart Challenge will meet together one final time before the 2012 season is officially over with the Championship Awards Banquet scheduled for Saturday, October 20 at the Riverside International Automotive Museum. The ceremony will honor all the 2012 series champions along with the rest of the top-three in each class championship. A number raffle prizes will be awarded, with anyone in attendance able to win these great prizes. The ticket cost for the event will be $39, which includes appetizers, dinner, dessert, and a limited number of drink tickets. Children are encouraged to attend, with any under the age of five welcome at no charge. Doors open at 5:30pm with dinner beginning at 7:00pm. Purchase your tickets now at www.skusastore.com, and be sure to provide an RSVP or have your tickets purchased by Monday, October 15 at midnight.
For more information on the California ProKart Challenge banquet and to follow updates on the 2013 season, bookmark www.superkartsusa.com today.
About Superkarts! USA:
Established in 1995, Superkarts! USA is dedicated to shifterkart and TaG racing and is the leader in the field, currently promoting six regional racing series. Racing programs are currently running in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, in cooperation and support from official tire supplier MG Tires. In 2012, the organization will be promoting the third edition of the SKUSA Pro Tour, which features a pair of major events in Arizona and Utah, 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.