Round Four of Los Angeles Karting Championship Welcomes Repeat Winners
Five drivers sweep the weekend in Fontana
TaG Cadet drivers get ready for the green flag at Round Four of the Los Angeles Karting Championship (Photo: LAKC.org)
A full paddock of racers filled up the CalSpeed Karting Center this past weekend (May 18) as the Los Angeles Karting Championship hosted the fourth round of their 2014 race season. The LAKC has become one of the most successful regional karting clubs in the country and continues to gain momentum. The year has been a strong one for the LAKC as the club has seen large fields in all of its classes. They welcomed 179 drivers across 16 categories to the Fontana, California facility. Five drivers swept their respective divisions during the fourth event of the season with a number of repeat winners adding to the list of victors on the day.
The largest class of the weekend was the Mack Motorsports PRD Junior 2 category. Hannah Grisham entered the weekend fifth in points and made her name known as she beat out Christian Brooks, and 19 other drivers for the pole position in qualifying. Brooks slipped at the start but rebounded to take over the lead from Jake Drew with three to go. Brooks drove to the win ahead of Drew and Jonathan Eshom while Grisham settled for a fourth place finish. Brooks led the way in the main event from the drop of the green flag to the checkered flag. Leading all 14 laps, Brooks scored the victory with Aaron Aguirre six seconds back in second place. Andrew Murowatz completed the podium. Top qualifier Grisham and Eshom filled out the top-five.
A special guest joined the series regulars in the Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior class at Round Four in the form of Gustavo Menezes. The California native is a two-time champion at the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals and is one of the most decorated karting pilots of his generation. Competing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in 2014, Menezes proved this past weekend that he can still wheel a kart. Menezes grabbed the pole in qualifying, edging out point leader Eric Molinatti by two tenths of a second. The Prefinal checkered flags waved on Menezes first, but unfortunately the win would not stand. An issue with Menezes’ air box would remove him from the results, handing the win to Molinatti with Andrew Wilson and Vincent Tam moving up the order. In the Final, Molinatti led all 14 laps for his third victory of the season. Menezes drove the wheels off of his kart, coming from the back of the pack to pass over 10 karts to finish a solid fourth behind Tam and Wilson.
Fifteen drivers filled the grid for the PSL So-Cal TaG Master class. Erik Jackson has been stellar throughout 2014 as he entered the weekend with the point lead over Nicolas Esguerra. Jackson started off Round Four earning the pole position in qualifying ahead of Tony Rossetti. Jackson was solid in the Prefinal as he led all eight laps for the win. Rossetti ran in the second position behind Jackson the entire race up until the final lap when Brian Phillipsen came from the middle of the pack to take over the runner-up position. Jackson led the opening three laps of the main event while Phillipsen hung tough on Jackson’s bumper. Phillipsen took over the lead on lap four and drove to the victory with Jackson back by half a second at the line. Rossetti joined the pair on the podium while Peter Mokran and Roy Steele completed the top-five.
A total of 25 drivers were on track when the Junior 1 Comer and Junior 1 Comer Pilot classes hit the track Sunday. Twelve drivers contested the Fleming Racing Engines Junior 1 Comer class. Colin Queen had a fantastic Round Four with the LAKC as he led the pack most of the day, en route to scoring the main event win. Queen began by scoring the pole position in qualifying with Jagger Jones, Tanner Hudspeth, Myles Farhan, and Daniel Inzunza completing the fast five. Jones made his move at the start of the Prefinal and took control, holding it until the end of the race. Farhan advanced to second while polesitter Queen dropped to third. Queen came back in the main event, taking advantage of his inside row two starting spot to reassume the lead at the start. Farhan slotted into second and ran behind the leader for the majority of the race. With four laps to go, Farhan took the lead over and held it until Queen fought back on the final lap. Queen drove to the checkered flag to score the victory as Farhan settled for second with Jones ending up third. Inzunza and Dakota Tate rounded out the top-five. In the Empire Karts Junior 1 Comer Pilot category, Dominic Gorden had a solid Round Four in which he captured the Prefinal and Final win after qualifying second behind Cole Keith Cotham. Placing behind Gorden at the end of the day was Ryan McElwee and Nathen Gutierrez. Kasey Gillis finish fourth with Shea Weston fifth.
Billy Musgrave continued his reign of dominance over the LAKC this past weekend. Musgrave scored the clean sweep on the weekend in the 7G S1 Pro Stock Moto class. Musgrave battled with Matias Podboj all day in the premiere shifter class. Musgrave grabbed the pole position and drove on to the Prefinal and main event wins to strengthen his already stout point lead. Along with Musgrave in S1, Kolton Griffin swept the fourth round of competition in the 2Wild Karting S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto class. Griffin kicked off the day by beating out Chandler Campbell for the pole position in qualifying. Griffin was solid in the Prefinal, leading the race the entire way. Third place qualifier Alan Michel advanced up to second while Travis Nicklas finished third as Campbell slipped out of the top-three. Griffin remained perfect on the day as he led field from green to checkered in the main event for the victory. Michel and Nicklas filled out the S2 podium while Campbell and Cameron Jocelyn finished fourth and fifth respectively. Slava Prikhodko was perfect Sunday as he swept the day in the TM Racing USA Open 125 Shifter class. Behind Prikhodko all day was Willy Axton and Kris Valdez.
Matt Johnson entered the May race weekend sitting third in the points for the D Power Racing PRD Senior class, and was able to capture the victory to close up the championship chase. The day began with Paul Bonilla grabbing the pole position ahead of Robby Stanovich by a slim two hundredths of a second. Bonilla led the way in the Prefinal as Jordan Robertson drove up to finish in second. The main event was all Bonilla for nearly the entire race. Bonilla paced the field until the final lap of the main event. Johnson, who spent the early part of the race dueling with Nathan Seegrist, stalked Bonilla with the fireworks coming on the final corner. It was a four-wide race to the stripe with Johnson reaching the checkered flag first. Robertson slipped up to second with Seegrist and Bonilla alongside.
Bonilla would rebound on the day however as he scored the win and sweep in the Phil Giebler Racing.com PRD Masters category. Bonilla beat out point leader Mike Johnson for the pole position in qualifying. John Bush and Ron Rossetti qualified behind in row two. The front four stayed the same through the Prefinal as Bonilla drove to the win with the others close behind. Bonilla was perfect in the main event as he led every lap and scored the win by seven seconds over Johnson with Rossetti completed the podium. Kalvin Chen and Steve Hansen battled for most of the race, with Chen coming out on top, grabbing the fourth position while Hansen settled for a top-five.
KC Cook came off a second place finish at Round Three last month to score the win at Round Four this past weekend in the Mike Manning Karting PRD Senior Pilot field. Cook started off the day by qualifying second behind Andrew Lemons, who led the way in the Prefinal. Jacob Pope took over the second position on lap four as Cook slipped at the start, but drove back to third at the finish. Cook worked quickly in the main event, taking over the lead on lap two from Lemons. Cook checked out from there and drove to a one-second margin of victory. Luis Perez drove from fifth up on the podium in third along with Lemons. Pope and Bryce Murphy rounded out the top-five.
Nicky Hays scored another sweep at LAKC, pacing the field in the Nash Motorsportz S5 Junior Stock Moto class. Hays bested Anthony Sawyer and Cruz Fiore for the pole in qualifying. From there, Hays was untouchable. He was the top dog in the Prefinal, beating Sawyer for the win. The main event was all Hays, as he threw down consistent laps, and worked the nuances of the Nuovo configuration at CalSpeed to establish a seven-second victory. Fiore was the runner-up with Anthony Sawyer retiring from the race after only one lap Heck stood on the S5 podium in third.
The racing in the Musgrave Racing Company S4 Masters Stock Moto category this year has been exceptional. The first two rounds were won by point leader Erik Jackson with Darren Elliott scoring the win in Round Three. Willy Musgrave was the man to chase at the beginning of the day as he laid down the fastest lap of the qualifying session. The Prefinal featured Jackson working his way to the front, grabbing the win and main event pole position ahead of Elliott and Jason Chott. The 14-lap S4 main event was a great show as Jackson and Elliott battled the entire race. Elliott grabbed the lead at the start and led the opening three circuits. Jackson then took his turn at the point for the following three laps. At lap six, Elliott returned to the point and held on for the remainder of the race to earn his second straight victory. Jackson was back by a little more than a second with Chott joining the pair on the podium, while John Crow and Rick McAllister rounded out the top-five. Gary Delcoure swept the day in S4 Magnum – presented by Acceleration Kart Racing. Delcoure would have to contend with Jeff Krogstad at the start of the main event. Krogstad led the opening circuits of the main, but by lap four Delcoure had reclaimed the lead. Krogstad hung tight to Delcoure’s bumper for the rest of the race, ultimately finishing less than half a second behind Delcoure. John Reikes and Stanley Nikkel completed the running order for the S4 Magnum class.
Through three rounds of racing so far in 2014, there has been a different youngster crowned the winner in the Pure Karting Honda Kid Karts class. Round One was conquered by Cooper Hicks who became the first repeat winner of the season. Hicks started his second winning weekend by qualifying second early in the morning behind point leader Dane Idelson. At the drop of the green flag, Carson Morgan made a move from the inside of row two to take over the lead. Morgan led the field for the first three laps before Hicks asserted himself at the front of the pack. Hicks drove to the win by three seconds ahead of Idelson and Nick Curry. The main event belonged to Hicks as he led all eight laps, scoring the win by three seconds ahead of Curry. Morgan, Chance Gibson and Anthony Quinones competed the top-five.
Anthony Willis recorded a great day in the RPM TaG Cadet class. Willis started the day by qualifying third behind brothers Jagger and Jace Jones. Willis moved up to the second position quickly and followed Jagger for the length of the Prefinal race, until the white flag flew. Willis took over the lead on the last lap and won the pole position for the Final. The main event started and nearly ended with class point leader Myles Farhan at the front. Farhan took the lead on the start and went to work on pulling away from the field. Willis would not let Farhan get away that easily though. As the race stretched on, Willis kept Farhan right in front of him while Jagger Jones stayed close behind in third. On the final lap, Willis made his bid for the lead and passed Farhan for the top spot, and the victory. Farhan settled for second, while polesitter Jagger Jones rounded out the podium. Jace Jones finished fourth and Colin Queen finished fifth.
The LAKC will now take its annual month long break until they resume racing. The fifth round of the 2014 season will be held on June 29 at the CalSpeed Karting Center in Fontana, California. 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.