DRIVERS DOUBLE DIP AND SET NEW TRACK RECORDS AT CALIFORNIA PROKART CHALLENGE WEEKEND IN FONTANA
Multiple two-win performances for drivers at double-header weekend
The California ProKart Challenge resumed the 2019 season with the first ever two-race weekend in series history. Rounds Two and Three were held at the CalSpeed Karting facility on June 8-9 following the opening event of 2019 in Buttonwillow in March. Approximately 150 competitors navigated the ‘Tecnico’ layout under challenging-hot weather conditions each day, totaling over 300 entries for the weekend. A number of drivers were able to double up in the win column on the weekend in their respective categories, closing out the first half of the 2019 championship chase for the California PKC. Racers also made history by setting new track records in all California PKC classes on their Evinco Tires, as well as winning incredible podium and raffle prizes.
One driver took home three first-place trophies on the weekend among those to win multiple times. Three-time SKUSA SuperNationals winner Billy Musgrave doubled up in the Croc Promotion USA/Mad Old Nut Pro Shifter category on his IAME SSE 175cc engine to extend his win streak in the class to nine. Saturday was a perfect score, his eighth straight dating back to the opening round in 2018. Fast time in qualifying was followed by a wire-to-wire win in the Prefinal. 2017 SKUSA Pro Tour champion Jake French grabbed the holeshot to lead the opening lap of the Final, only to see Musgrave reclaim the top spot and drive away to a three-second advantage at the checkered flag. French and Cody Hodgson completed the podium. On Sunday, French broke up Musgrave’s perfect round streak by clinching the pole position in qualifying with a 42.603-lap – as well as breaking Billy’s track record. Musgrave responded, leading every lap of the Prefinal and Final. French was second, with Keawn Tandon third in Sunday’s main event.
Musgrave grabbed his first series victory in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Senior division on Saturday to bring his total wins on the weekend to three. Three-time SKUSA Pro Tour defending champion Ryan Norberg set fast time in qualifying, dropping to second behind Musgrave in the Prefinal. Musgrave posted fast laps of the race in the Final to lead all 22 laps toward his first class triumph. SKUSA WinterNationals winner Christian Brooks advanced to second, dropping Norberg to third on the podium. Joey Brienza and Trey Brown completed the top-five. Musgrave was en route to grabbing a fourth victory on the weekend after setting fast time in qualifying and leading the entire Prefinal to begin Sunday’s action. However, contact at the start of the Final put Musgrave off course and out of the race, taking away his chance at victory. This opened the door for someone to take control. Brooks and Joseph Daniele fought for the top spot for much of the race until Hannah Greenemeier took the top spot from both. She led the final five laps to claim her first series victory. Norberg followed through to place second for a third straight podium finish in the series. Daniele completed the podium, with Edward Portz up to fourth with fast laps of the race. Travis Wiley rounded out the top-five.
Next to X30 Senior with 23 entries per day, the Allen Berg Racing Schools KA100 Junior class was the second largest on the weekend with 21 drivers competing. Leading the way throughout the weekend with a complete sweep was Josh Pierson. Qualifying was decided by 21 thousandths of a second, with Pierson edging out Cole Morgan for fast lap to begin Round Two. Pierson went on to dominate the rest of the day, winning the Prefinal and Final in wire-to-wire fashion. Branyon Tiner won the battle for second over Morgan, with Caleb Shrader fourth and Jacob Yesnick fifth. Pierson continued his authority on Sunday, clearing the field by three tenths of a second in qualifying before leading all the laps of the Prefinal. He would get challenged early on in the Final, dropping down to third for one lap before retaking the lead. Once back to P1, Pierson led the remainder of the race, stretching out to a 10-second advantage at the checkered flag to earn maximum points on the weekend. Shrader came away with the runner-up spot over Yesnick, with SKUSA Pro Tour winner Ethan Ho and Ethan Lampe placing fourth and fifth.
Yesnick came away from the weekend with two wins of his own, doubling up in the Evinco Tires S5 Junior Stock Moto class. Yesnick won both the Prefinal and Final in Rounds Two and Three, earning his first two victories in the category. Mathias Coito was top qualifier both days placing runner-up, with Kailey Meris in third each round. The leader in the clubhouse for the most first place trophies on the weekend went to Brett Harrelson. He went unchallenged in the Bell Helmets S4 Super Master Stock Moto class for two victories, and then won both days in his Empire Karts X30 Master debut. It was a near perfect score for Harrelson, with a jump start penalty taking away the Prefinal win on Saturday. Harrelson drove to a near six-second victory for Round Two, while sweeping the action in Round Three with maximum points. Round One winner Steve Martin was runner-up on Saturday, with Branden Bell third. Bell moved up one spot on Sunday, with Chris Kneevers up to third.
Mike Smith had a great California PKC debut of his own in the IKF-sponsored KA100 Master division with a sweep of the action on the weekend. Smith went wire-to-wire on Saturday to secure his first series victory, with Ricardo Arruda and Ron Jenkins on the podium. Round One winner Arruda stole the fast lap honor to stop Smith from scoring maximum points. Smith repeated on Sunday, this time posting fast lap for maximum points on the day, as well as beating his own track record in qualifying. Kelly Heil was runner-up, with Arruda in third.
Victory came to Oliver Calvo both days in Doran Motorsports Group KA100 Senior after missing out at Round One. Calvo was third after qualifying and the Prefinal on Saturday behind Brendon DeLorto and Alex Siragusa. Calvo settled in behind DeLorto when the main event started, with Siragusa getting shuffled back. After the halfway point, Calvo took the lead and held on for the remainder of the 22-lap Final. DeLorto ended up second with Luis Perez on the podium in third. Round One winner Nick Persing was fourth and Christopher Martin fifth. Calvo was unable to complete a lap in qualifying on Sunday, thus starting from 17th on the grid for the Prefinal. A great opening circuit and passing nearly one kart per lap, Calvo reached the top spot by the checkered flag for the win. Calvo then went on to lead all 22 laps of the Final for his second win of the weekend. Aiden Kempf drove to second, as Martin posted fast laps of the race to third ahead of Siragusa and Nathan Martin.
Jesus Vasquez Jr. set his record at three-for-three on the season in the Ace High Designs Mini Swift class. Vasquez extended his championship lead with a perfect weekend, earning maximum points over the two rounds with wire-to-wire victories. Vasquez won Saturday’s main event by eight seconds over Parker DeLong and Wyatt Vidovich. Dane Idelson was fourth with John Antonino in fifth. Sunday was a near four-second advantage over DeLong with Idelson on the podium in third. Jack Schrady was fourth with Ryan Persing completing the top-five.
Another driver to extend his championship lead on the weekend was Vicente Salas in Honda Racing/HPD S3 Novice Stock Moto. Salas produced his own sweep on the weekend, placing P1 in all on-track sessions in class. After earning fast time in qualifying and winning the Prefinal on Saturday, Salas drove away to a 13-second victory over Toby Longenecker and Round One winner Jacopo Pizzinato. Salas repeated on Sunday, holding off Luca Bortone at the end for the victory, with Longenecker in third.
Closing out the double winners on the weekend was Logan Chambers in IAME USA West Micro Swift. Chambers won the Prefinal and led the majority of the main event for his first series victory of the season. Alex Mercado was second, with Round One winner and defending champion Graham Trammell in third. It was Trammell showing the way on Sunday, posting fast lap in qualifying and winning the Prefinal. He and Chambers battled back and forth for the lead until Logan secured the spot and the victory. Mercado slipped by to grab second once again, dropping Trammell to third on the podium.
The Nash Motorsportz X30 Junior division now has three different winners in the first three rounds. Josh Pierson came away with victory on Saturday. Pierson set fast time in qualifying, but was shuffled back in the Prefinal, ending up in second after Cole Morgan won the race – but was penalized for jumping the start. That put Jonathon Portz on the pole position for the main event. Pierson was able to grab the lead early, and drove away to a six-second advantage for the win, his third of the weekend. Portz held off Dustin Salaverria for second, with Morgan fourth and Branyon Tiner in fifth. Sunday was Tiner’s turn to shine, sweeping Round Three. The top-four in qualifying were separated by just six-hundredths of a second with Tiner at the top of the sheet. It continued in the Prefinal, where he fought off Portz for the win before leading all 22 laps of the Final for his first victory of the season. Round One winner Carson Morgan worked up to the second spot ahead of Portz, with Maximillian Opalski and Frankie Mossman completing the top-five.
Splitting the wins on the weekend in the AiM Sports X30 Super Master class were Stuart Hayner and Federico Aquini. Round One victor Hayner swept the action on Saturday, stretching out to a 15-second advantage over Robert Switzler and Jeff Rice. Sunday was all Aquini, as he finished P1 in every on-track session. Aquini established a nine-second gap over Hayner in the Final, with SKUSA Pro Tour winner Jon Persing in third. Rob Logan and John Crow each took home a win in the Alpinestars G1 Gladiator class. Logan, a 2018 SKUSA SuperNationals winner, swept Saturday over Crow and Carl Lewis. Sunday was Crow’s turn as the 2018 SKUSA Pro Tour champion was P1 in all on-track sessions, with Logan second and Lewis third in the main event.
The Musgrave Racing Company Pro Shifter 2 division featured some great battles throughout the weekend. Royal McKee began the event with fast time in qualifying on Saturday until Emon Fazlollahi took over in the Prefinal. From there, Fazlollahi led all 22 laps of the Final for the victory. Round One winner Micah Hendricks was able to slip past McKee for the second spot. Hendricks started off Sunday as the driver to beat, setting fast time and winning the Prefinal. Troubles for Hendricks at the start put him at the back and eventually out of the race. This gave McKee the lead, and he would never relinquish to score his first victory of 2019. Fazlollahi was second, with Calvin Ming in third.
A number of prizes were awarded during the podium ceremonies, thanks to MG Tires and the Evinco brand. SKUSA’s Tom Kutscher awarded the top-three podium finishes a free California PKC entry and race tires to first place, a free California PKC entry to second place, and $50 credit towards the next California PKC race to third. Each day, 10 sets of Evinco tires, four free entries with race tires to a California PKC event and one SKUSA Pro Tour entry with race tires for the upcoming SummerNationals were raffled away.
Round Four of the 2019 California ProKart Challenge takes competitors to the home of the Monterey Bay Karters in just 4 weeks. The Marina Airport Kart Track will host the start of the second half of the championship chase in Marina, California on July 13-14, for more great racing and beach-like temperatures.