Los Angeles Karting Championship Hosts Another Successful Event at CalSpeed with Huge Fields
Five drivers score perfect weekends at Round Three; championship fights taking form
The Los Angeles Karting Championship continues to host large fields, showcasing great racing (Photo: LAKC.org)
The Los Angeles Karting Championship held its third round of competition this past weekend at the CalSpeed Karting Center in Fontana, California, and the series welcomed 186 entries. Despite running just a little behind time, racers, teams and families alike had an incredible day at the track enjoying some of the best kart racing in the state of California. Racing under beautiful and clear SoCal skies, the large number of entries provided for some fantastic on-track racing. As the season progresses, point battles are beginning to take shape, making every round of the LAKC more important than the last. Several drivers made noise at Round Three as they completed successful sweeps of their respective classes. Trey Brown logged back-to-back wins in TaG Cadet and Junior 1 Comer on Sunday, grabbing the spotlight on the day.
As time goes on, LAKC is proving that it is one of the strongest regional programs in the country. One of the contributing factors to the series’ growth is that of overwhelming support for the PRD classes offered at LAKC races. This year, one of the largest classes of the day continues to be the Mack Motorsports PRD 2 class. This weekend, Jake Drew conquered the largest group of the LAKC, which featured 24 drivers. Drew’s path to the win on Sunday was a difficult one, however. Despite laying down the fastest lap time of the qualifying session, Drew’s time was thrown out as he was disqualified for a technical issue with his tires. This moved Chance Skaufel to the pole position, with Hannah Grisham and Gary Lyles completing the top three. The Prefinal was about two drivers at different ends of the starting grid. Up front, Skaufel managed to lead every lap of the race and drive to the win. However, starting from dead last was Drew and by the third lap, he had gained nearly 10 positions. When the Prefinal was complete, Drew had made his way into the top-10 with an eighth place finish, opening the door for some excitement in the Final. Skaufel’s chance at victory came to an end in Sunday’s main event, falling out of the top-10 on lap four, but ultimately recovering with an impressive fourth place. Meanwhile, it was finally Drew’s time to shine. The second-generation driver battled with Dylan Cartier for the lead, ultimately winning the race by just over a tenth of a second. Behind Drew and Cartier, it was Anthony Sawyer, Skaufel and Grisham completing the top-five.
PRD Senior Pilot presented by Mike Manning Karting featured a strong turnout of 19 drivers this past weekend, and Jacob Pope nearly swept the weekend over a tough field. Point leader KC Cook began the day by beating out Christiana Castrol for the pole position by a tenth of a second in qualifying. The Prefinal began with Cook establishing himself a solid lead for the first three laps, but by the time the pack of PRD Senior Pilot racers made their way back around to start lap four, Pope was the new point man. Coming from fourth on the grid in three laps, Pope led the last seven to score the win ahead of Castro, who made a last lap pass on Cook for second place. The main event saw Pope lead flag-to-flag, driving to a dominant victory ahead of Cook. Kirk Fieldkamp came from sixth on the grid to complete the podium in third.
Reigning Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior class champion Alejandro Fernandez returned to the category after spending the first two rounds of LAKC competition in the S2 class. Fernandez’s come back was highlighted with a main event win. The day began with Fernandez laying down the fourth fastest time of the timed qualifying session. Ahead of him was Andrew Wilson on the pole, Tyler Coffman in second, and point leader Eric Molanatti in third. Fernandez’s Prefinal was nothing out of the ordinary as he ran in the top-five the length of the race. Out front, second place starter Coffman nailed the start to take the lead on the opening circuit and held the positiong from the remainder of the race over Molanatti. At the start of the main event, Coffman led the opening three laps before Molanatti took back the point. Three laps later, it was Fernandez reclaiming a familiar spot, the lead of the TaG Senior field. Fernandez eventually drove to the win ahead of Molanatti and Wilson.
Sharing the track with TaG Senior was the PSL So-Cal TaG Master category. Sweeping the weekend and scoring his third win in the three-race-old season was Erik Jackson. The only driver to stand atop the podium through the first two rounds of competition this year in TaG Masters did it again this weekend as Jackson swept the day from qualifying to the main event. Jackson outran Nicolas Esguerra by a whopping five seconds for the main event win. Next to Esguerra on the podium was Brian Phillipsen.
Keeping with the theme of big PRD classes, PRD Masters presented by Phil Giebler Racing.com welcomed an impressive 15 entries, along with fantastic racing. The standings picture certainly will see a sizeable shake-up following this past weekend as point leader John Bush struggled while Mike Johnson, second place in points, excelled. Johnson made his intentions of a championship known as he made quick work of the weekend, sweeping the day in PRD Masters. After edging out Bonilla by a tenth of a second for the pole in qualifying, Johnson was perfect in the Prefinal, leading all 10 laps. Rosetti hung to Johnson’s rear bumper and finished the heat race in second place. Johnson’s path to the main event win would not be as easy. Bonilla challenged Johnson as he took the lead over on lap five, and maintained the position for the next seven laps. Johnson reclaimed the lead with five to go and drove to the win ahead of Bonilla and Rosetti.
A different driver took their turn at the front through the three official sessions in the D Power Racing PRD Senior category. Jordan Robertson began the day on top as he beat Bonilla out for the pole position by a slim two hundredths of a second. Next up at the front was Kelley. After the green flag dropped on the Prefinal, Kelley stole the lead and never looked back. Stanovich drove from fifth to finish second, with polesitter Robertson finishing third. The third driver to lead the way to the checkers on Sunday looked to be Stanovich as he came from second on the gird to lead the first 10 laps. But with six laps to go, it was Seegrist who showed the way. Seegrist came from seventh on the grid to score the third round win by over a full second. Stanovich settled for second after leading early, while Kyle Hayner completed the podium.
As part of the strong shifter presence at LAKC events, Stock Honda field is becoming equally impressive. Due to their partnership to Superkarts! USA, the LAKC is helping to grow Stock Moto racing as a whole in Southern California. Among the changes to enhance the racing at the LAKC this year was the club’s addition of the 7G S1 Pro Stock Moto class. After dominating the S2 class in 2013, Billy Musgrave has adapted well to the premier shifter category, and is winning everything he can. Musgrave built on his Round One win, and his Round Two runner-up finish as he swept the weekend this time around. After winning the pole position, Musgrave proceeded to lead every lap of the combined race group Prefinal and main event. Musgrave beat Matias Podboj by nearly two seconds for the win.
Also scoring a perfect weekend was Pete Yerkovich Jr. in S2 Semi-Pro Stock presented by 2Wild Karting. Yerkovich began the day by grabbing the pole in qualifying. Behind Yerkovich were Chandler Campbell and Alejandro Fernandez. The Prefinal was all Yerkovich as he led the way the entirety of the race, grabbing the win ahead of Campbell. The main event was more of the same as Yerkovich ran away to a one-second-plus win over Campbell, while Fernandez completed the S2 podium in third. Joining the S1 and S2 racers on the track was the TM Racing USA Open 125 Shifter class. Point leader Slava Prikhodko had a great day for Round Three as he picked up the main event win. Prikhodko went to work on strengthening his point lead early as he grabbed the pole position in qualifying ahead of Willy Axton and Kris Valdez. Prikhodko had mechanical issues at the start of the Prefinal and did not complete the race. In his absence, Axton drove to the Prefinal win. Prikhodko returned to prominence in the main event and drove to the Round Three victory by 10 seconds ahead of Axton, and Jesse Romer in third.
Willy Musgrave spent most of the day at the front, which is nothing new for the Musgrave Racing Company S4 Masters Stock Moto category. After grabbing the pole position in qualifying ahead of point leader Erik Jackson and veteran Darren Elliott, Musgrave went on to win the Prefinal with Jackson and Elliott hanging tight in second and third. The main event began with Musgrave leading the combined field for the first three laps. On the fourth circuit, Musgrave fell from the lead pack and then retired from the race a lap later. With open track in front of him, Jackson took over the lead for the next six circuits. The race came down to a battle between Jackson and Elliott. The final laps were led by Elliott, as he drove to the win ahead of Jason Chott and Alex King. S4 Magnum presented by Acceleration Kart Racing featured strong runs by Gary Delcoure. Sitting second in the points picture prior to Round Three, Delcoure served notice to point leader Steve Donia, outrunning Donia for the pole position on Sunday morning. The Prefinal went to Donia, but Delcoure finished right behind in second. Delcoure sandwiched his second place run in the Prefinal with the pole from qualifying and then a win in the main event. Delcoure beat John Reikes by nearly two seconds to the line, while Austin Dyne completed the podium. Nicky Hays swept the day’s racing in the Nash Motorsportz S5 Junior Stock Moto class. Anthony Sawyer, and Zach Arthur filled out the S5 podium.
The LAKC has been a great force in introducing young drivers to the world of competitive and safe racing. The Honda Kid Karts presented by Pure Karting have put forth some of the best Kid Kart racing in the state, let alone some of the best racing at LAKC race days amongst all classes. Carson Morgan kicked things off by grabbing the pole with Nick Curry two tenths of a second back in second. Cooper Hicks, Chant Gibson and Anthony Quiones completed the fast five. The Prefinal featured a terrific race between Morgan and Curry for the lead. The lead was swapped several times over the span of the eight-lap race. Curry made the last pass for the lead and was awarded the win. Curry, unfortunately, was only able to complete the first two laps of the main event before having to retire. This left the door wide open for Morgan to check out. As the checkers flew, Morgan crossed the line an impressive 18 seconds ahead of Dane Idelson. Skyler Geczi rounded out the podium.
Trey Brown made his first start of the 2014 LAKC season this past weekend, making his presence known in the RPM TaG Cadet class. Brown’s sweep of Round Three started with him outrunning point leader Myles Farhan for the pole position in qualifying. Farhan would challenge Brown valiantly in the Prefinal, but after leading the first lap, Brown was passed by Farhan for the race lead. Farhan proceeded to pace the next five laps, before Brown returned to take the lead and Prefinal win. As expected, the main event was an exciting one. Ryan Schartau stole the point from Brown right off the start, and proceeded to lead the first three laps. Brown returned to take the lead back for the following three circuits. Farhan joined the party as he took over the top spot on lap seven. Just as in the Prefinal, Farhan would lead the most laps, but fall short in the end to Brown who completed his sweep of the day beating Farhan to the checkers. Daniel Inzunza finished third.
Brown doubled up in wins at Round Three as he scored the victory in the Fleming Racing Engines Junior 1 Comer class. Brown beat out Daniel Inzunza and Tanner Hudspeth in the Junior 1 Comer race after qualifying on the pole and winning the Prefinal. Cole Keith Cotham extended his point lead thanks to his victory in the Empire Karts Junior 1 Comer Pilot field. Cotham’s day began with a third place qualifying effort behind Shea Weston and Dominic Gorden. Cotham maintained third throughout the Prefinal as Weston stayed on top, ahead of Kasey Gills in second. The main event looked to be where Weston would complete the sweep of the weekend, but unfortunately, Weston’s dominant weekend came to and end after retiring from the lead, only six laps into the race. Taking advantage of Weston’s misfortune was Cotham, as he drove to the main event victory ahead of Jalen Mack, and Kasey Gillis.
The Los Angeles Karting Championship now takes just a little less than a month off until racers returned to the CalSpeedKartingCenter for round four on May 18. The LAKC would like to extend a big thank you to all of its sponsors who have made the 2014 season possible. For more about the Los Angeles Karting Championship, please visit LAKC.org and Like them on Facebook.