Grand Prix New York Begins 2014 Winter Racing League
Grand Prix NY kicked off its winter Adult Racing League. Running their midtown configuration there were over thirty competitors looking to win in three different weight classes. The format of this season consists of a five lap qualifier followed by an immediate grid and green flag for the first of two fifteen minute heats for each weight group. The grid for the second heat will be the inverse of qualifying for heat one – that means there will always be a lot of racing action in heat two!
Up first was the GTU class which is weighted to 175lbs. After qualifying, veteran Chris Johnson, fresh off Team GPNY/Eagle Air’s podium at Endurance Karting’s 24 hr. race in Charlotte had pole by a tenth of a second over second place Steve Eickelbeck. At the drop of the green Johnson checked out and cruised to a victory over Steve and Will Eickelbeck and set fast lap of the heat in the process. With the grid inverted, a number of new drivers were gridded at the front – many graduates of the junior leagues. On pole was Gjon Kulaj followed by Xavier Delgado. At the start league sophomore Paige Jockimo was quickly into third while Mark Nievarovski grabbed first from his fourth starting position. A mistake by Nievarovski allowed Jockimo through and she was able to hold off the hard charging vets to notch her first victory of the season. In second was Will Eickelbeck followed by Mark Eickelbeck in third.
Next up was the GTO (205lb) group. Johnson picked up where he left off and grabbed pole and the bonus point again. Rookie Nick Bruno grabbed second in the five lap qualifier. At the drop of the green Bruno was caught by veterans Cory Rossi and Patrick Jamin. This is how heat one would finish. Heat two saw much more action with the grid inverted. Starting on pole was returning driver Brian Maleska and he was flanked by rookie Ben Mezic. At the drop of the green Mexic was dispatched with quickly by Andrew Wood (another member of the 24hr team) and Jonathan Riddle – a bobble by Mezic let a number of other drivers by. By lap seven the top three were running nose to tail with Dave Harmon catching in fourth place. On lap eight Wood was able to get past Riddle and Harmon was right with him. Wood tried a number of moves on Maleska, who was having braking issues in the tight lefthander after the very fast tabletop downhill. A couple of times Wood was able to pull even, but Maleska kept shutting the door. On lap twenty Wood tried an ambitious move on the outside of Maleska that just didn’t work out and opened the door for Harmon. Maleska held on for the next two laps to notch his first victory of the season. Harmon got second and Riddle was able to hold on for a well fought third place.
The final group up this evening was the big boys, GTBB (245lbs). Another driver from the podium at the 24 was Eagle Air’s Cory Rossi who beat Harmon by a tenth to nail down pole position. Qualifying third was Jamin just ahead of Wood. At the drop of the green Rossi took off and Harmon was caught napping which let Jamin and fifth palce qualifier, Riddle, get past him. With Rossi on the distant horizon, the three battled all race. On lap 21 Riddle was able to get under Jamin and a few corners later Jamin tried jamming himself back under Riddle. This left the door open for Harmon to get by Riddle and after a last lap penalty on Jamin, Harmon wound up with second place and Riddle rounded out the podium. In heat two, the action continued. With twelve drivers in this group, the tight lefthander is always an adventure on the first lap. Starting from pole was returning vet Louis Berrick, still nursing an injured wrist while next to him was Doug Winston. In the lefthander everyone came together with Peter Perdikogiannis and Gary Proft on the losing end as they both dropped to the back of the field. Looking to come back from his mishap in 205 was Wood who stormed the field to capture his first victory of the season with a slick last lap pass of Berrick. Rounding out the top three was Rossi who started dead last and was able to get past Jamin on the last lap to round out the podium.