Texas ProKart Challenge Battles Heat and Night Racing Conditions at North Texas Kartway
Unique Thursday through Saturday event completed rounds five and six of the 2013 season
Miguel Lopez (13) and Ryan Kinnear (3) were the top two drivers on the weekend in S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto
It was a special three-day event at the North Texas Kartway in Denton, Texas for the Texas ProKart Challenge regional series – presented by 3G Kart Racing/Burger King®/Fernelius Alvarez Attorneys/Dallas Karting Complex. From June 27-29, the evening air was filled with fuel and tire smell with sparks flying as the karts navigated the challenging course for rounds five and six of the 2013 season. The Superkarts! USA and Burger King Rotax Max Challenge regional program held its first ever event under the Texas sunset and NTK lights, much to the delight of the many competitors that took part in the event. Despite the change in time and weather conditions, reaching above the 100 degree mark both days, many of the same names were standing on the podium each night of competition.
The Pole Position/DR Kart S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto category was a two driver battle throughout the weekend. Championship leader Miguel Lopez held the advantage through the first night of competition. Scoring the pole position by just 15 thousandths over Ryan Kinnear, Lopez took the first 10 points of the weekend. Kinnear was strong in race-mode, moving past Lopez in the first heat for the win. Lopez regrouped in heat two, working past Kinnear in the late stages of the race for the win as round four winner Garrett Boone moved to second on the final lap. The main event was clear sailing for Lopez, driving off to a seven-second advantage after 16 laps to earn his third of the year. Kinnear fell to the tail of the field, losing his front brakes early but nursed his ride to a fourth place result. Boone was trailing Lopez for much of the race, until making contact with a lap kart and ending his race early. This moved Luke Shanahan into the second position for his best finish of the season with Cody Freeman placing third for a second time on the year. Lopez continued the pace into Saturday afternoon as he once again was the top qualifier, this time by just 96 thousandths quicker than Kinnear. The heat races belonged to Kinnear, winning both races by a comfortable margin. Lopez stepped up and grabbed the holeshot to begin the feature race. Kinnear ran second until lap nine, regaining the top spot. From there, he first held off Lopez and then Boone in the late stages of race for his second victory of the season. Boone settled for second with Lopez back to third.
SwedeTech S4 Master Stock Moto championship leader Jordon Musser was the driver to beat on the weekend in Denton, coming away with nearly a weekend sweep. Musser was the top S4 driver in the combined S2/S4 field, running just behind the top S2 drivers all day. Earning fast time in qualifying and the two heat race wins, Musser was cruising with the lead in the main event. Navigating through lap traffic, Musser was caught up in the wreck involving S2 driver Boone. Able to continue, Musser lost valuable positions and time as Katy double winner Chris Jennings inherited the lead. Jennings went on to score the victory with Musser fighting back to second in the closing laps, moving past Venkat Reddy for the position. Musser went wire-to-wire on the day, as he drove to his third victory of the season while scoring maximum points. Jennings kept Musser honest throughout the day, running third with Jorge Galvan rounding out the podium.
Alex Tartaglia padded his championship lead in the Rotax Senior division with a complete sweep on the weekend in Denton. Tartaglia was quickest in qualifying both days, earning the win in all four heat races and crossing the line first in each main event. Round five hold off the challenges from round one winner Chaz Nagel in the 16-lap final with championship contender Conner Clay in third. It was the same result for round six, as Nagel kept it close but was unable to work pass Tartaglia for the lead. Tommy Veith edged out Ronnie Price for the final podium position as Clay retired on the opening lap. Jesus Robles and Steven Clark ran solo in the TaG Master and Rotax Masters categories on the weekend, earning maximum points.
It was on impressive performance by Michael Bartholomew in the TaG Senior category as he won both main events on the weekend, propelling him back into the championship chase. Current point standings leader Wyatt Maness was the top qualifier in round five, but Bartholomew squeked past in the opening heat race. Maness dropped to the tail of the field at the start of the race, allowing Bartholomew to run uncontested in heat two. With no pressure, Michael led all 16 laps of the main event from the pole position. Richy Yates ran runner-up with Mat Souza a close third, just ahead of Maness. Saturday afternoon, Yates was the driver to record the fast lap in qualifying, but Bartholomew struck back in heat one to steal the win. Both Yates and Maness retired early in heat two, giving Bartholomew clear sailing to the race win and leading to another wire-to-wire victory in the feature. Luke Waller gave a late chase but came up just a few tenths short and settled for in his first Texas PKC weekend of the season. Maness was able to battle back to third in the eight driver field, salvaging precious points in the title chase.
Tartaglia made it a solid outing on the weekend, earning two more wins in the DD2 category. After earning the fast time in qualifying for round five, he lost the opening heat race to CJ Cramm. Tartaglia bounced back in heat two with the win, and they continued their battle in the main event. Leading all 16 laps, Tartaglia scored the victory with Cramm settling for second over Nathan Mauel. Cramm was the top qualifier for round six the next day, but Tartaglia responded in the heat races. Earning both heat wins, Tartaglia drove to another wire-to-wire victory for his fourth of the weekend. Cramm was able to fight off Mauel for second afterhe retired early, giving Thomas Jackson a podium finish in his first Burger King Rotax Max Challenge start.
The Dallas Karting Complex DD2 Masters class was a back and forth battle between championship leader Lance Lehrman and Mike Wherley. Round five looked to be Wherley’s as he led the way through qualifying and the two heat races. Come the main event, he was unable to make the start, handing the lead and victory to Lehrman. Wherley began round six at the top of the time chart in qualifying, but Lehrman came through to steal the opening heat race win. Earning the win in heat two, Lehrman kept the lead the entire main event for his fifth victory of the season and placing him comfortably out front in the title chase. Wherley ran second with Troy Owens placing third.
The weekend belonged to Jesse Woodyard in the Champion Racing/Intrepid Rotax Junior category, scoring a sweep for a
ll on-track sessions. Woodyard was at the top of the order through qualifying and the two heat races on Friday, and fought with Nathan Adds and Trenton Estep in the feature. The trio exchanged the lead several times over the 12-lap feature, with Woodyard securing the lead with two laps to go. He went on to earn the victory by a slim margin over Adds with Estep retiring on lap 11, moving David Ilavia into the third position. Estep was credited with the fast lap of the race, and thus the only blemish on Woodyard’s weekend as Saturday was a perfect score. Qualifying first, he went on to win the two heat races and led all 12 laps of the final, extending his championship lead. Estep rebounded to finish second with Adds in third. Rodrigo Rejon ran uncontested in the Champion Racing/Intrepid TaG Junior division on the weekend.
The J&T Racing S5 Junior Stock Moto class saw a dominant performance from Nathan Adds. After earning the pole position Friday, Adds raced with Jesse Woodyard early on before winning the first heat race. Adds led all eight laps of the second heat race, beating Jacob Loomis to the checkers. The main event was all Adds as he led each of the 12 laps and to score the win over Jacob Loomis and Jesse Woodyard. Round six on Saturday saw Adds quicker by four tenths of a second in qualifying with Raul Guzman the closet challenger. Guzman got around Adds at the start of the first heat and picked up both heat race wins. The main event however went to Adds, as he worked around Guzman on the opening lap and went on to lead every lap, seeing him earn both main events on the weekend. Guzman and Woodyard finished behind Adds.
Round five for TaG Cadet was kicked off by Ryan Lewis grabbing the pole position ahead of Max Hewitt. In the first heat was Hewitt scoring the win while the second heat of the day went to Luis Pena after Hewitt fell to sixth place. Moving up consistently through the race, Hewitt came from sixth on the grid to eventually working around Pena with less than two laps to go. From there he went on to take the victory over Pena with Cade McKee in third for his podium finish of the season. Round six on Saturday saw Hewitt pick up where he left off, on top. Hewitt grabbed the pole and the heat one win. The second heat saw a mix-up in the order as the win went to Jak Crawford, setting up for a great main event that saw back and forth racing between Crawford and Maxwell Waithman. They swapped the lead six times on the official record over the 12 lap final as Waithman was able to hold off Crawford in the final four laps to secure the victory. Pena was able to slip into the second spot with Crawford back to third over Hewitt.
The Enertech/Chase Racing Mini Max class began with a tight fight in qualifying for round five, as Pierce Dawlett edge out Max Hewitt by only nine thousandths of a second for the pole position. Dawlett led the whole way in the first heat race until coming to a stop on the final lap, dropping him from the running order and handing the win to Hewitt. The second heat race went to Hewitt after leading all eight laps. Round five’s main event got started by Parker Chase leading the first two laps before Hewitt took over from there and drove to the main event victory. Dawlett ended up second with Luis Pena up to third as Chase fell back to fourth. Saturday in round six had Hewitt pick up the pole position this time around, as he turned it into a win for the first heat race. Hewitt led nearly the whole race in the second heat until the final lap when Dawlett took away the lead, and the win. Dawlett, Hewitt and Pena all took turns at the lead in the main event. In the end, it was Pena leading the last two laps, earning him the victory. Behind Pena on Saturday night was Hewitt in second, and Dawlett finishing third.
In the Micro Max class, Maxwell Waithman nearly recorded a perfect score at rounds five and six. Waithman was perfect on Friday in round five, falling short only in the second heat to Ethan Arndt after the two had a great dual for the lead all race. The rest of the weekend was all Waithman as he won both main events. Cash Tiner and Ethan Arndt finished second and third behind Waithman on Friday, while Arndt and Logan Stretch filled out the podium on Saturday in round six.
The series will take the month of July off as competitors prepare for the upcoming SKUSA Pro Tour SummerNationals at Grand Junction in two weeks, along with the United States Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals at the end of the month in North Carolina. The seventh and eighth rounds will take competitors north to the Oklahoma Motorsports Complex in Norman, Oklahoma on August 16-18. Be sure to visit http://www.texasprokartchallenge.com and ‘Like’ them at Facebook.com/texaspkc for all the updates on the event and the rest of the season.