Successful 2013 Season Comes to an End for Los Angeles Karting Championship
Class champions crowned in front of record-high turnout of drivers and families
A year of huge numbers for the LAKC ended with 203 total entries, its highest turnout in 10 years (Photo: Joe Stalker - LAKC)
The 2013 Los Angeles Karting Championship season came to an end with the final race of the year, taking place during the weekend of October 27 at CalSpeed Karting Complex. The series crowned its 2013 champions in front of a record setting crowd at the circuit located outside of the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, welcoming its largest turnout in over 10 years with 203 entries taking to the track. Following a canceled round one in February due to high winds, the LAKC’s eight race season ran from March to October and played host to some of the best kart racing in the state of California.
“Our 2013 season was great,” commented LAKC President Chris LaTorre, “Our classes have grown and we are looking forward to another fantastic season in 2014. I can not say enough about the LAKC staff, and our incredible drivers and teams. They made 2013 our best season yet.”
Billy Musgrave ended 2013 the way he had started – and ran most of the season – as the best. The junior Musgrave finished 2013 with yet another perfect race day in the 2 Wild Karting.com Semi-Pro S2 class. After beating Kolton Griffin out for the pole position in qualifying Musgrave led every lap of the prefinal. Behind Musgrave, Griffin fell from second early on after Clinton Schoombee stole the spot at the start. Schoombee would ride second until the final lap which saw Augie Lerch take the runner-up position. In the main event, it was the same song as Musgrave led from green to checker as he picked up a nine-second victory over Lerch, who ran second the entire race. Behind Lerch for the first half of the race was Colorado driver Christian Schureman in the third position. Schureman would fend off challenges from Griffin for several laps before ultimately losing the third spot and settling for fourth in his first LAKC race. With the final race of the weekend going all Musgrave’s way, it was his seventh perfect race day of eight in 2013. Musgrave walked away with the S2 championship while Chandler Campbell and Emmanuel Benedotto rounding out the championship podium.
Looking to match son Billy’s perfect weekend, Willy Musgrave was dominant in the MRC S4 Master class. Musgrave would be beat out by seven hundredths of a second in qualifying for the pole by Rob Logan. A terrific jump off the flag saw Musgrave take the lead and not look back, while Logan held strong in second place. Musgrave led the way the entire main event as he balanced racing with the younger lighter S2 drivers ahead of him, while holding off Logan and the rest of the S4 field. Logan would hang tough on Musgrave’s back bumper the entire race, never letting Musgrave to pull away. As the checkers flew, it was Musgrave winning the final S4 main event of the year with Logan right behind for second place and Jason Chott five seconds back in third. The Musgrave family would leave with two championships as Willy ran away with the 2013 S4 Masters title. Keeping Musgrave honest throughout the season was second place finish Erik Jackson, with Jason Chott sitting third on the podium.
In the Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior category, a season long point battle came down to the last round between Alejandro Fernandez and Carlee Taylor, who went back and forth all season. Taylor scored the last main event of the season, but it was Fernandez leaving with the championship only 19 points ahead of Taylor. She beat out Fernandez out for the pole position to begin the final round of action. After qualifying, Taylor led every lap of the prefinal while Fernandez retired after less than one lap. Fernandez stormed from the back of the grid to second place by lap nine, but it wasn’t enough as Taylor scored the victory. Breanna Miscione would complete the podium in third. With Fernandez being crowned the champion, Taylor and John Wallace III stood alongside on the championship podium.
Erik Jackson pulled double duty at the final weekend and was untouchable in TaG Masters. Jackson beat Peter Mokran out for the pole and then proceeded to beat Mokran for the prefinal win. Jackson would go on to lead every lap in the main event, with Michael Middleton on his bumper the entire time. Jackson beat Middleton across the line by six tenths of a second. Behind Jackson and Middleton was Roy Steele finishing P3.
Ryan Schartau capped off his 2013 KPV-1 class championship – presented by Flemming Racing Engines – with a perfect weekend at the final round. Schartau went to work in qualifying beating out Trey Brown for the pole position by a little more than a tenth of a second. Schartau came back in the prefinal and final, winning both over Jonathan Shone. Dante Yu capped off the podium with a third place finish. Wins at rounds two and five in April and July would bolster Yu to a second place finish in the championship fight, while round six race winner Trey Brown finished 2013 in the third position.
In the Hyper Racing Engines PRD Junior 1 class, Johnny Dressler and Justin Hodge shared the spotlight at the final race of the year. After winning the pole in qualifying, Justin Hodge led the opening five laps of the prefinal before Johnny Dressler took over the top spot. Myles Farhan drove from his third place starting spot to lead the opening two laps. Dressler would then return to the lead, which he would hold for the rest of the race. Pole winner Justin Hodge finished the race in second, with Farhan in third. With the podium finish, Farhan would seal the championship ahead of final race winner Dressler and Justin Hodge in third in final point standings.
Kasey Gillis edged out the competition in the Honda Performance Development Honda Kid Karts category for the season championship, but it was Jaden Goetz earning the final round victory. Gillis started the last race of the season off by earning the pole position in qualifying ahead of Skyler Geczi and Jalen Mack. The prefinal had plenty of exciting racing with Mack jumping from the third spot to the lead in the first two laps. Gillis would return back to the point on lap three, only to see Goetz joining the mix. When the checkered flag waved, Goetz took the win. Goetz would lead all but the opening lap in the main event, as he picked up victory ahead of Gillis with Skyler Geczi finishing third, the same as his final point standings position.
Dominic Gorden ended 2013 on a high-note as he won the final race of the year and earned the point championship in the Pure Karting Comer Kid Karts class. Rylee Martinez posted the fast lap in qualifying ahead of Cameron Easton and Chance Gibson. Martinez led most of the laps in the prefinal, until Gorden took over with two laps to go, holding on for the win. The main event was all Gorden as he pulled away and nearly cracked the overall top-five. Behind Gorden was pole winner Rylee Martinez and Dylan Johnson in second and third. With Gorden taking the championship, it was Chance Gibson behind him in second, and Cole Keith Cotham in third place.
Ron Rossetti has been at the front all season in the PhilGieblerRacing.com PRD Grand Masters class, and this weekend was no different as he racked up another podium finish to end 2013. Behind Rossetti in the final points tally was John Bush, and Paul Bonilla. At the final round of the season, Bonilla stuck his neck out first as he edged out Sean Brazeau by three tenths in qualifying. Bonilla led the opening two laps of the prefinal before being forced to retire on lap three. Steve Hansen took over the lead and held it for the remainder of the race for the win. After having to start from dead last due to his DNF in the prefinal, Bonilla put on a show as he drove from last to first in less than 10 laps. Taking the lead from Hansen on lap 10, Bonilla led the final six circuits to cross the line first. Unfortunately for Bonilla, a post race disqualification would hand the win Hansen, with Bush in second and Rossetti landing in third place to cap off the championship run.
Despite not making the final race of the season, Elric Navatel conquered the Valley Trophy Rotax Senior Pilot class. In Navatel’s absence, Nicolas Esguerra swept the weekend in Rotax Senior Pilot. Steven Novikoff and Mark Kempkey finished behind Esguerra on the podium. Karlee Polon swept the final weekend in the Mike Manning Karting PRD Senior Pilot category, which allowed her to edge out Stephen Wetterau by nine points for the championship. Polon was the top dog from qualifying to the main event. Behind Polon, a terrific fight for second was being waged between Connor Funk, Wetterau and Logan Calvin. Wetterau and Calvin battled early, before Funk moved up to engage Wetterau. Funk would get around Wetterau on lap nine for second but would ultimately be scored in fourth after contact was made on the track with Wetterau.
TaG Cadet presented by OTK Kart USA was another close championship fight that saw Jagger Jones outlast Joseph Daniele by 13 points for the championship. Behind Jones and Daniele in the final point tally was Myles Farhan. Jones showed why he was deserving of the championship Sunday as he swept the weekend from qualifying to the main event. After getting around Jonathan Shone on the opening circuit, Jones led every single lap and capped off 2013 Shone finished in second behind Jones with Daniele rounding out the podium.
Heading into the weekend, Andrew Murowatz knew that the Empire Karts KPV-2 championship trophy was all but in his trailer heading home. So Sunday, Murowatz qualified his KPV 2 entry – earning him enough points for the championship – and then spent the prefinal and main event racing his PRD 2 machine, in preparation for 2014. With Murowatz pulling out of KPV 2 action, Bryce Murphy drove to the win in the prefinal. The main event however was all Jonathan Eshom, as he led all 15 laps to pick up the final win of 2013 and finish the year second place in the standings while Murphy was third in the final points tally.
Christian Brooks made it a clean sweep in the Mack Motorsports PRD Junior 2 class. Brooks took the pole position over Dylan Cartier by two tenths of a second, from there he went on to lead every lap of the prefinal and the main. Willy Axton finished just over a second behind Brooks in second, with Jacob Drew in toe for third place. Finishing in ninth place on Sunday was class champion Nick Ramirez. Finishing the year in the standings behind Ramirez was Skylar Estrada and Nathan Seegrist.
With a fifth place finish in the final race of the season, Eric Molinatti locked up the championship in the PRD Senior class presented by RLV. Ahead of Molinatti was Derek Zimmermann, who swept the final round in front of Brandon Reed and championship contender Lloyd Mack. Molinatti was crowned the champion with Mack, who won rounds two, four and five, in second. In third place it was Alejandro Fernandez, who saw victory at rounds six and seven.
Like many of the other champions of 2013, Ryan Schartau walked away from the final event of the season with a main event win, and the championship. Schartau spent the entire season atop the Pitts Performance Junior 1 category. Tanner Hudspeth got things started in qualifying as he beat Schartau in qualifying by a tenth of a second. Schartau led every lap of the prefinal and then swapped the lead twice with Joseph Daniele in the main event. Schartau and Daniele battled the entire race with Schartau edging out Daniele by an incredibly close four thousandths of a second. Trey Brown finished the final race of the year in third.
In the two other shifterkart categories in LAKC, Kevin Gilroy took it all home in the Acceleration Karting S4 Magnum class, while John Baldasare left with the trophy in the TM Racing USA Open Shifter division. Alex King finished fourth in the final race of the year and was crowned the champion of the Open 125 Shifter class. After sweeping the day, Gilroy was crowned the S4 Magnum champion.
What will go down as one of the best seasons for the Los Angeles Karting Championship in many years, President Chris LaTorre and his team are already preparing for an even better 2014. LAKC has set the 2014 schedule: