California ProKart Challenge Honors 2013 Champions
Superkarts USA! regional program set for awards ceremony November 2 in Southern California
With the final checkered flag waved on the 2013 season for the California ProKart Challenge’s ninth season, Superkarts! USA is happy to honor those drivers who achieved class championships and top honors in the championship chases. The flagship regional program for the North American organization has been the testing and proving ground for all of SKUSA’s revolutionary concepts over the last nine years. Coming up in a few weeks on November 2nd, the California PKC will welcome its teams, competitors and families to its year-end awards ceremony.
The old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt” could not be farther from how SKUSA operates their California ProKart Challenge. Even in its ninth year, California PKC racers were greeted with new challenges, exciting and unique events, and the best customer service in the state. Starting with record high entry numbers at round one in Buttonwillow, the series ran up and down the GoldenState before ending at one of the premiere street races in the country, the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, with another record-breaking attendance mark set for the event.
SKUSA’s premiere class, the Extreme Karting/Vemme S1 Pro Stock Moto crowned its newest champion this year, as motocross transplant Billy Musgrave claimed the top spot in the headline division. After winning the SKUSA SuperNationals S2 Semi Pro-Stock Moto feature in 2012, Musgrave exceeded everyone’s expectations as he went five for six in main event wins in regional action. Musgrave made his presence known right off the bat at round one in Buttonwillow where he swept both heat races and won the main event after qualifying in third. From there, he never looked back to record five straight victories, only losing to reigning Pro Tour champion Fritz Leesmann by inches at the Lancaster GP. Behind Musgrave in the point chase was former California PKC champion Jimmy McNeil. Throughout the 2013 season, McNeil never left the front of the pack as he constantly was in contention for wins and pole positions. Coming home third in the Pro category was Alec Gumpfer. The ‘Flyin Hawaiian’ started making noise during round three at the historic AdamsMotorsportsPark, where he grabbed the pole ahead of Musgrave and then proceeded to finish a strong second place that day. Gumpfer followed his second place run at Adams up with another solid weekend one month later at Willow Springs. Gumpfer stuck to Musgrave throughout the heat races, before finishing the main event with a second place finish. At Lancaster, Gumpfer would finish his season out on the podium, finishing the year’s final race in third.
The largest field of racers in the 2013 California PKC – Pure Karting TaG Senior – saw 54 racers do battle throughout the year. Former Pro Tour TaG Junior champion Jake Craig secured another championship trophy to his mantel, finishing the year atop the standings. Craig made his case at round two where he swept both heat races, set the fast time in the main and drove to the feature victory. Round three saw Craig win again while also setting the fast time in the main. Round four is where Jake Craig scored his first perfect weekend, sweeping the weekend and securing the title one round early. Behind Craig was former champion Travis Lowe. Round five was Lowe’s best finish of the season, placing second in Buttonwillow. Third place in the final championship listing went to Mason Daughters. The Missouri driver opened the season in strong fashion as he finished third, fourth and second at the opening three rounds. Daughters’ ultimate undoing was his absence at the season’s final two rounds.
Despite an up-and-down opening to the 2013 season, Texan Connor Wagner won the Buddy Rice Karting S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto championship through his work during the middle portion of the season. After suffering a heart breaking engine failure while leading in the final laps of round one, Wagner went on a tear in the next four races, winning three of the four main events. Behind Wagner in the final points tally was S4-transplant Robert Marks. Taking advantage of Wagner’s engine failure in Buttonwillow, Marks scored the victory in round one. Two fourth place finishes and a fifth place finish led the elder driver to a second place on the season against some of the best rising stars in Superkarts! USA. Don Whittington capped off the S2 championship podium. The middle of the season is where Whittington made his mark, stitching together an impressive three-race run. Second place at round three led to his first regional victory at round four. Another top-five the following round helped secure the third step of the championship battle.
Making it a family affair, Willy Musgrave drove to his second California ProKart Challenge championship, beating out Ken Schilling in the Leading Edge Motorsports S4 Masters Stock Moto category. After missing round one at Buttonwillow, Musgrave scored a perfect weekend at two of the remaining five rounds, earning a total of three victories on the year. Musgrave ended his championship run with a solid win at the Streets of Lancaster GP. Schilling fought strong throughout the 2013 season, placing top-five for three straight events with a best finish of runner-up during round four action. Darrell Tunnell finished the year third in the final tally. Coupled with two fifth place finishes at rounds one and two, Tunnell’s best results came in rounds four and five with back-to-back fourth place finishes.
Billy Cleavelin left only the scraps for the rest of his fellow competitors as he ran away with the championship in the Mike Manning Karting TaG Master class. Cleavelin scored an impressive five wins – two of which came at the end of perfect weekends – during the six race season. Cleavelin capped off the year with an impressive victory at the Streets of Lancaster, setting up the three-time SuperNationals champion for a good run at four next month in Las Vegas. Former Pro Tour champion Ethan Wilson finished his 2013 campaign with a runner-up finish in the final standings. Two second place finishes at the final two rounds and the pole position at Lancaster were the highlights of Wilson’s 2013 season. Coming home in third place was another veteran, Kevin Manning. Starting the year off with a runner-up finish, he posted podium results three more times to stick him third on the final championship podium.
For the third straight year, the same driver will stand atop the championship podium in the highly competitive TaG Junior class presented by Phil Giebler Racing. That driver is Carter Williams. Willow Springs was the site of William’s only win on the year, but consistent podium finishes the rest of the season helped the young driver score his third straight crown. Williams’s 2013 season will go down as a memorable one, not only thanks to his championship, but earning the first ever Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix Driver Scholarship worth over $11,000. Behind Williams was Brenden Baker, who led the standings for most of the season. Baker kicked off the 2013 season in strong fashion as he scored a perfect round one in Buttonwillow. Baker won again at round three, but came up short in the closing rounds overall. Noah Grey ended the year third in the TaG Junior point standings, thanks to three straight podium finishes during the middle section of the year.
Jarred Campbell of Sacramento dominated the 2013 SwedeTech Racing Engines S5 Junior Stock Moto class. Campbell won the first four rounds on the season, with a total of five victories, scoring perfect weekends at rounds three, four and six. Behind Campbell in second place on the S5 podium was last year’s champion Carter Williams. Round five went to Williams, making him and Campbell the only winners in 2013. Along with the win at round five, Williams had four runner-up finishes, keeping the points race tight until the end. Behind Campbell and Williams was S5 rookie Garret Dixon in third place. Dixon’s season-high finish came at round three at Adams where he finished second.
TaG Cadet presented by Sunshine Daydream Creations was the closest championship fight in 2013, and with good reason. Once again TaG Cadet racers were competing for the chance to compete at the Rok Cup International Final in Italy. An all-expense-paid trip will be awarded to Ryan Schartau. After a fourth place finish to open the season, Schartau won two of the next three rounds to help guide him to his first California PKC crown. Finishing in second place behind Schartau was Trenton Sparks. A number of podium finishes and fast lap honors, including a victory at Adams, helped put Sparks in the vice-champion role. Jagger Jones came home in third place in TaG Cadet. Jones posted a best finish on the year with a win during round five action, and scored two other top-five results. Running in conjunction with the TaG Cadet class was the TaG Rookie division, for those young drivers competing in their first year with Superkarts! USA’s regional program. Jude Logsdon scored the most points on the year, with Anthony Freese and Colin Queen completing the championship podium.
Thanks to winning four of the series six rounds, Gianfranco Casadei was crowned the 2 Wild Karting S3 Novice Stock Moto champion. After not making the trip to Buttonwillow for round one, Casadei won the next three rounds before securing the championship in front of thousands of fans and spectators in Lancaster. Behind Casadei in the championship fight was round one winner Will Vogel, and in third was round five victor Travis Nicklas. S4 Magnum Stock Moto presented by Leading Edge Motorsports was dominated by Luke Bianco. Scoring a perfect day at rounds one and two at Buttonwillow and Willow Springs, Bianco won the S4 Magnum title with a 555 point gap over second place Ken Manning. Despite never claiming a main event victory in 2013, consistency and finishing near the front in every race worked in Manning’s favor as he finished the year in second. Third place went to Rick McAllister, who recorded a season high second place finish at Willow Springs during round four.
On November 2, the Superkarts! USA staff will host racers for the season-ending championship awards banquet. Kicking off at 6pm at the RiversideInternationalAutomotiveMuseum, the banquet will be hosted and emceed by Tom Kutscher and Chris Ortenburger. As per usual with SKUSA’s year end banquets, an impressively large prize purse will be given away. Along with countless pieces of SKUSA swag, MG Tires and VP Fuel, Honda CR 125 top-end kits and the popular Mother Polish buckets, the highlight of the night will be awarding two drivers a trip to compete in the Granja Viana 500 in Brazil. Courtesy of Wagner Rossi and MG Tires, the prize package will send two drivers to the legendary karting race, all expenses paid, directly following the SuperNationals. The two tickets to the Granja will be drawn at random from a pool of names of S1, S2 and TaG Senior drivers who competed in all six of the California PKC races. Each of the California ProKart Challenge champions will also receive a guaranteed starting spot on Super Sunday for the 2013 SKUSA SuperNationals XVII in those categories recognized at the event.
Once again SKUSA partner Honda Performance Development will be awarding class champions in the S1, S2, S3, S4 and S5 classes in a big way. Stock Moto class champions will receive a $200 gift certificate, while second and third place drivers will be awarded $100 and $75 certificates. Honda has also put up a brand new Honda generator to be raffled off at the banquet. Tickets to the banquet are $39 a person, while children five and younger will eat for free. The deadline to RSVP will be at midnight on October 28. Event information and tickets can be found at the following LINK.
Superkarts! USA would like to thank the following companies, in addition to the support of the class sponsors, for their aid toward the PKC 2013 season: MG Tires, Mothers Polish, Honda/HPD, VP Racing Fuels, Motul, MIR, and AiM. Head to www.superkartsusa.com to register for this year’s awards ceremony, along with late-breaking news. Be sure to follow them on Twitter – @SuperKartsUSA – and at Facebook.