Los Angeles Karting Championship Nears End of 2013 Season
Somber seventh round of season contested at CalSpeed following loss of karting family member
Taking advantage when he could, Erik Jackson drove to an impressive win in the S4 class (Photo: Joe Stalker - LAKC)
For the seventh time this year, racers with the Los Angeles Karting Championship did battle at the CalSpeedKartingCenter outside the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The penultimate round of the 2013 season boasted the series usually high entry numbers, with even better racing spread out across 11 different race groups and 18 individual classes.
The September edition of the LAKC’s 2013 season unfortunately carried a somber tone as the LAKC suffered the loss of one of its members earlier in the weekend. Art Gutierrez, father of LAKC competitor Maya Gutierrez, past away Saturday. With heavy hearts and thoughts with the racers family, the LAKC continued on in honor of Mr. Gutierrez and put on another great race weekend.
In the 2 Wild Karting.com Semi-Pro S2 class Billy Musgrave’s complete domination of the season thus far was challenged through the day’s activities by Augie Lerch and Kolton Griffin. In qualifying, Griffin edged out the point leader by one one hundredth of a second. In the prefinal, Musgrave got the holeshot over Griffin and continued on to lead all 10 laps on his way to the win. Griffin maintained a tight gap the whole race, never letting Musgrave getting far ahead. In the main, it was Musgrave and Griffin up front after the start once again. Griffin filed in behind Musgrave as the two worked on pulling away from the rest of the field. As the race neared its halfway point, motor issues snuck up on Griffin and ended his chances at challenging Musgrave for the win. Behind Musgrave, Lerch had been steadily moving his way up after a DNF in the prefinal. Without the pressure of Griffin, Musgrave drove to an 18-second victory over Lerch. Paul Whiting completed the S2 podium.
As always, joining the S2 drivers were the MRC S4 Masters drivers. Keeping the friendly father-son rivalry going, Willy Musgrave looked to match his son’s performance in the S2 category. Willy got a great start to his goal by picking up the pole over Erik Jackson and Antonio Cianciardo. In the prefinal Willy got a great start and drove away with the win ahead of Jackson by nearly three seconds. The main event had Musgrave looking spot on as usual as he led the first half of the race, and inheriting second in the combined S2 and S4 field behind his son Billy. Unfortunately for Willy though, brake issues on his kart would open the door to championship contender Erik Jackson to get by for the lead, and the victory. Musgrave’s brake problems would force him down the leader board to finish fourth while Troy Butts and Jason Chott stood on the podium in his place.
In the biggest field of the weekend, Willy Axton swept the weekend in a stacked field of 22 karts contesting the Mack Motorsports PRD Junior 2 class. Axton beat out Aaron Aguirre for the pole, with Christian Brooks close behind in third. Axton was challenged by Brooks in the prefinal. Brooks led the middle portion of the race, before Axton got back around picking up the win. Axton couldn’t be touched in the main event as he went on to lead every lap and beat Brooks by half of a second for the victory while Anthony Sawyer stood third on the podium.
Sharing the track was the Empire Karts KPV-2 class. Bryce Murphy beat Erin Kistler by less than an tenth of a second for the pole position. From there, Luis Perez had a terrific start, passing Murphy and Kistler on the opening lap giving him and easy path to the prefinal win. Kistler drove from the third place starting spot in class to take the lead on lap one of the main event. Kistler continued to lead every lap of the main event and picked up the win ahead of Murphy and Perez.
Eric Molinatti kicked things off in the RLV PRD Senior class by beating Alejandro Fernandez by one hundredths of a second for the pole in qualifying with pre race point leader Lloyd Mack running third quickest. Molinatti led the first eight laps of the 10-lap prefinal before Fernandez stole the lead coming to start lap nine. Fernandez held off Molinatti for the win, giving him the pole position in the main event. It was all Fernandez from there as he led all 18 laps of the main event and scored the victory over Molinatti by over a second and a half. Behind Molinatti was Joey Bickers standing third on the podium. Trouble for Mack on the opening lap caused the point leader to record a DNF.
Who would stand on the top of the podium in the Pitts Performance Junior 1 class was anyone’s guess Sunday, as a different youngster took the top spot through each of the three official sessions. First, in qualifying it was Tanner Hudspeth beating Ryan Schartau out for the pole position going into the prefinal. Starting in the fourth position, Jagger Jones went to work in the prefinal quickly as he took the lead on the opening lap, then taking it back from Schartau on lap three. In the final, it appeared to be Jagger Jones to have. The son of professional racer, PJ Jones, led every lap of the final except for the last lap. As the white flag flew, Schartau took the lead from Jones and held the top spot the final circuit as he scored the victory over Jones and Joseph Daniele.
Racing together on the track were the S4 Masters Magnum drivers, along with the Open 125 shifter pilots. In the Acceleration Kart Racing S4 Magnum class, Marc Segal picked up a perfect weekend. First, Segal beat Kevin Gilroy by two tenths for the pole position, with Steve Donia behind in third. Segal was perfect in the prefinal as he led all 10 laps with Donia getting around Gilroy for second place. Segal’s dominance would be challenged in the final however, as Donia took the lead on lap five and held it for the next three laps. Segal would reclaim the top spot before lap ten, and pull away for the victory Gilroy. Harris Koenig finished off the podium in third. The TM Racing USA Open 125 Shifter class saw John Baldasare sweep the day. Baldasare beat Slava Prikhodko for the pole position before moving ahead and scored the prefinal win. The main even was a demonstration in repetition, as the top three drivers did not change positions throughout the entire race. Baldasare led every single lap on his way to the victory with Prikhodko hung tight in second and Rob Whitley rounding out the podium.
In the Purekarting.com Comer Kid Kart class, Dylan Johnson showed how well he has progressed over the 2013 season as he put his kart on pole an impressive six tenths of a second ahead of Dominic Gorden. In the prefinal, Gorden and Cole Keith Cotham raced back and forth for the lead throughout the eight lap race. Gorden led the opening lap, before Cotham held the spot for five laps. Gorden would get around Cotham coming to the white flag, giving him the prefinal win. The main event was a copy of the prefinal, as Cotham and Gorden raced closely the entire race. Each spending time at the front, Gorden took the lead from Cotham at the halfway point and held on for the win. Cotham scored a very solid second place with Chance Gibson behind him in third. Pole winner Dylan Johnson rallied for a fourth place finish with Jake Daniele completing the top five.
The Honda Performance Development Honda Kid Karts class saw Kasey Gillis dominated the day. Gillis beat Jalen Mack by 1.3 seconds for the pole in qualifying. The young driver then went on to lead every lap of the prefinal, and the final to tally a perfect score on the day. Behind Gillis in the main event was Mack in second with Jaden Goetz coming home third. Skyler Geczi and Ethan Ho rounded out the top five.
Next on the track Sunday afternoon was the combined race group of TaG Masters and TaG Senior. The Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior class opened up with Carlee Taylor scoring the pole position over Andrew Wiener and Alejandro Fernandez. In the prefinal, Taylor led the opening five laps before relinquishing the lead to Wiener. The last four laps, Wiener would lead and go on to win the prefinal with Taylor finishing behind him in second. The main event belonged to Wiener, as he led all 18 laps. Wiener scored the victory over Taylor by 1.3 seconds. Despite finishing second, Taylor would record the fastest lap of the race. John Wallace III completed the podium in TaG Senior. In TaG Masters, qualifying was won by John Molinare when he edged out John Crow by a tenth of second for the pole position while Jerry Henderson sat third on the time charts. In the prefinal, it was a race between Andrew Wilson, Erik Jackson and Andy Seesemann. At the start of the race, Seesemann led early, before being greeted by Erik Jackson. The two would battle, with Andrew Wilson never falling behind. With three laps to go, Jackson took the lead from Seesemann and brought Wilson with him as the pair finished first and second. Jackson looked impressive in the main event, as he spent most of it racing with the TaG Senior drivers. Jackson led every lap in class and scored a 5+ second win over Ed Quinn in second and Michael Middleton in third.
In the Hyper Racing Engines PRD Junior one class, Johnny Dressler looked very strong early in the day as he led eight of the nine laps in the prefinal after scoring the pole position. The only lap that Dressler did not lead unfortunately was the last lap. Justin Hodge came across the white flag as the leader, before Gary Lyles took it from him during the final circuit, handing Lyles the win. Hodge led the majority of the final, as he paced the field for the first 11 laps. With seven laps to go, Dressler took the lead and held it for the remainder of the race. Lyles held the third position the entire race. Racing in the same group were the Fleming Racing Engines KPV-1 drivers. After getting around pole sitter Trey Brown on the start, Ryan Schartau drove to the prefinal win. Schartau was perfect in the main event as he led every lap and scored the victory. Dante Yu finished second, with Brown close behind in third.
After being beaten by Nicolas Esguerra for the pole position in the Valley Trophy Rotax Senior Pilot class, Elric Navatel chased down fast qualifier in the closing laps of the prefinal. He would eventually maneuver around Esguerra for the lead and the win. From there, Navatel led every lap of the main event to earn the victory. Steven Novikoff and Esguerra joined Navatel on the podium.
A different driver would pick up the checkers in each of the official sessions in the Mike Manning Karting PRD Senior Pilot class. Karlee Polon took top honors in qualifying over Logan Calvin. The prefinal saw Stephen Wetterau take the win, with Calvin runner-up once again. Determined not to have a race day full of second place finishes, Calvin went to work in the main event. Racing hard with Wetterau and Connor Funk throughout the entire 18 lapper, Calvin came out of the main event victorious. Polon and Jacob Pope completed the podium.
In the Phil Giebler Racing.com PRD Grand Masters class, Ron Rossetti entered the race third in points knowing he would have to make big strides if he wanted to move up the order. Rossetti made a quick statement in qualifying, as he beat out the man above him in the point battle, Paul Bonilla. In the prefinal, it was the top three in the point chase swapping positions on the track. Rossetti would fall to third early, as point leader John Bush and Bonilla took their turns at the lead. Staying calm and collected, Rossetti rallied in the last two laps and passed Bush for the lead and the win. Rossetti got off to a great start in the main event by leading the opening four circuits. Bonilla and Rossetti would then take turns at the front over the next several laps. Ultimately, Bonilla would take the lead and not look back as he checked out to a three-second victory over Rossetti. Tony Rossetti filled out the podium.
Myles Farhan kicked off OTK Kart USA competition on Sunday by grabbing the pole position by a slim two hundredths of a second over Jonathan Shone. In both the prefinal, and the main event, Farhan would lead the majority of the event while holding off a very competitive field of Cadet drivers behind him including Jagger Jones, Shone, and Joseph Daniele. In the end of both races, however, it was Daniele sneaking up to take the wins in the last laps of the race. Behind Daniele in the main event was Jones and Shone.
The 2013 season for the Los Angeles Karting Championship will close out in just over a month, hosting round nine on October 27 at the CalSpeed facility. For more information on the finale, or any other information about LAKC, be sure to visit www.lakc.org today, and ‘Like’ them on Facebook. Please join the live video and audio feed of our monthly events, along with previous events, viewable from the LAKC website at the Watch Live tab and choose “Livestream”.