New Winners Highlight Second Stop of Texas ProKart Challenge
Oklahoma Motorsports Complex provides challenging weekend for Superkarts! USA and US Rotax Max Challenge competitors
Jordan Dick put himself in championship contention with a win in S2 Semi-Pro (Photo: Dreams Captured Photography)
The Texas ProKart Challenge – presented by 3G Kart Racing/Burger King®/Chase Racing/Dallas Karting Complex/Fernelius Alvarez Attorneys – hosted the second event of the 2014 season at the Oklahoma Motorsports Complex on June 6-8. The challenging Norman, Oklahoma circuit welcomed over 100 racers and changing weather conditions. Rainstorms came and went throughout the three-day event, testing the limits of drivers, crewmembers and race officials. Many new winners were crowned in the Superkarts! USA categories along with the Burger King® Rotax Max Challenge – as part of the United States Rotax Max Challenge – while the chase continues for over $30,000 in cash and prizes set to be awarded on the season.
The largest category of the weekend was the Pole Position/DR Kart S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto division, welcoming 20 drivers to continue their battle that began in Dallas. Luke Shanahan paid off his pre-race testing after scoring his first qualifying fast lap honor of the season, edging out Round One winner Miguel Lopez by eight hundredths of a second. Lopez grabbed the holeshot and led all 10 laps in Heat #1, matching the same result in Heat #2. An early challenge by rookie Nathan Adds was all the pressure Lopez felt in the 20-lap main event. Miguel assumed the lead on lap three, going on to score the win by seven seconds. Adds recorded the fast lap of the race, but fell to the tail of the field after losing the lead to Lopez. Colorado driver Tase Flores scored the second position with Sky Finley coming from dead last on the grid to round out the podium. Tyler Fling and Jordan Dick capped off the top-five.
Michigan native Dick put himself in championship contention with a sweep on Sunday. Jordan was fast in the wet conditions, setting a blistering lap in the rain. He fell back at the start of the opening heat race, but climbed back to the top spot quickly and went on to the win. A wire-to-wire win in the second heat race led to another flag-to-flag performance in the Final, with a five-second margin of victory for his first in series history. Shanahan and Flores stood on the podium with CJ Cramm and Adds placing fourth and fifth. Garrett Boone ran uncontested in the Champion Racing/Intrepid S1 Pro Stock Moto category after championship leader Ryan Kinnear was unable to attend. Boone had a great seat throughout the weekend watching the S2 battles, running away to the overall win on Sunday in the S1/S2/S4 combined race group.
The feature wins in the HPD/Honda S4 Master Stock Moto class were split once again by Jordon Musser and Chris Jennings. Four of the last seven weekends have seen the two split the main event wins, with no other driver to beat either since the series began in 2012. Round Three appeared to belong to Musser, securing the fast time in qualifying as Jennings sat just 87 thousandths off. Musser won both heat races yet still felt pressure from Jennings. Musser was able to get a better start, but Jennings took over the lead on lap two. The duo fought each other and S2 drivers, with Jennings holding on to secure his second victory of the season. Musser settled for second with Mexican driver Jorge De La Juerta third. Sunday was all Musser, as the reigning Pro Tour champion swept the days action, showing speed in both the wet and the dry. Musser led the entire 16-lap main event with Jennings back by two seconds. De La Juerta bagged his second podium finish of the weekend, ending up third.
In total, six drivers doubled up in the win column on the weekend with two wins in Oklahoma. Raul Guzman improved on his two runner-up finishes in Dallas to score the victory in the SwedeTech Racing Engines S5 Junior Stock Moto category each day, placing him at the top of the standings at the halfway point. Round Three was a perfect score as he led the way from qualifying to the main event with the fast lap bonus. Guzman won the main event by six seconds over double SKUSA SpringNationals winner Trenton Estep with Max Hewitt making up the podium in third. Jacob Loomis was super quick in qualifying on Sunday, earning his first pole position of the season. He kept the top spot through the Heat #1, until Guzman drove away to the win in Heat #2 after the track had dried. Estep picked up the pace in the main event, leading six circuits before retiring early. That allowed Guzman a clear path to the checkered flag over Loomis with Hewitt placing third once again. Conor Turnage ran uncontested in the RPM Race Karts S3 Novice Stock Moto division on the weekend for two wins and the outright championship lead.
Two Cadet drivers were double winners as Maxwell Waithman and Jak Crawford earning top honors in the Kart Life TaG Cadet and Ribtect Micro Max classes. Crawford pulled double duty, opening up the TaG Cadet weekend as the top qualifier. He continued to lead the field through Heat #1, but retired on the opening lap of Heat #2, allowing Waithman to score the win. Crawford fought his way forward and challenged Waithman for the win during the middle portion of the race. Crawford slipped back through the field however, and Waithman scored his first victory of the season. Hayden LeFever ended up second with Clayton Whatley third. LeFever was quickest in Sunday’s wet qualifying session, with Crawford coming through for the win in Heat #1. The second heat race was close as Waithman edged out Crawford and Cade McKee for the win and main event pole position. The top two went head-to-head in the Final, with Crawford leading the majority of the laps. Waithman took the lead over as they took the white flag and nipped out Crawford for the victory by just 61 thousandths of a second. Yusuf Moola completed the podium.
Crawford was near perfect on the weekend in Micro Max, leading all on-track session. He swept Saturday’s action to lead Vittorio Catino by nine seconds with Juan Pablo Cepeda in third. Sunday was much of the same, as Crawford scored the main event victory by 11 seconds over Catino with Logan Stretch in third and stealing the fast lap honors to end the perfect score hopes for the four-time race winner. Paige Evans was another driver to double on the weekend with a perfect score through the Oklahoma weekend in the Turbo Lube/Motul TaG Junior class, besting Glenn Houck both days.
It was back and forth all weekend in the Fernelius Alvarez Attorneys TaG Senior category. Austin Osborne set the tone qualifying for Round Three but Luke Waller led the rest of the day. Waller beat Osborne for the win in Heat #1, and outran Nick Martin in Heat #2. Osborne returned as the lead challenger in the main event, and posted the fast lap of the race, but Waller was able to drive away to a three-second victory. Osborne settled for second with Martin in third. Jason Dempster was quickest in Sunday’s wet qualifying session, and retained the position through the first heat race. Dempster and Derek Proctor went back and forth in Heat #2, as Proctor crossed the line first. The opening lap of the main event saw Proctor and others spin on a still damp track. That allowed Nick Martin to slide into the lead and pace the field to his first checkered flag. Osborne ended up second with Dempster third.
Twelve drivers filled out the Gaddy Web Design Rotax Senior division, as they chased former Team USA driver Louie Pagano. The California driver swept Saturday’s action, driving to a 10-second victory over Thomas Beaudoin and Bradley Smith. Pagano continued to lead the way on Sunday until he was involved in a wreck at the start of the main event. Able to continue, he tried to run down Senior rookie Jesse Woodyard who held the lead. Woodyard drove on to earn his first series victory, with Pagano settling for second and Gabe Vargas in third. The Dreams Captured Photography TaG Master fight came down to two drivers, Mathew Souza and Juan David Gomez. Souza was at the top of the order for much of Saturday, with Gomez stealing the opening heat race. The main event was all Souza, scoring the win and fast lap over Gomez and Polack. Gomez found more speed on Sunday and he was the driver to beat. Souza took the win in Heat #2, but Gomez finished first in the other sessions, including a 17-second victory in the main. Souza and Polack completed the podium.
The Enertech Rotax Junior class welcomed two new winners to the category with Parker Chase and Luis Alfonso Perez Pena besting the 15-driver field on the weekend. Chase was the top qualifier to begin Round Three, with Pena taking the opening heat win. The top position continued to shuffle with Ryan C. Lewis earning the win in Heat #2, setting up for an exciting main event. The three battled early until Chase finally secured the lead and the victory. Pena crossed the line second, but was penalized one position to advance Lewis into the runner-up spot to put Pena third. Lewis was the driver to beat on Sunday, posting the fast lap in qualifying and racing to the win in both heat races. Pena got the jump at the start of the main event, and was able to score his first series victory. Lewis was second, but was removed from the results following technical inspection. That promoted Miguel Ruiz to second and Chase on the podium in third.
It was a two-driver show in the Chase Racing Mini Max division with Kaylen Rex Fredrick and Riley Dickinson leading the way. Round Three began with Dickinson at the top of the time sheets, then edging out Fredrick by seven hundredths of a second in Heat #1. The gap at the line following Heat #2 was nearly identical, with Dickinson winning in a photo finish once again. Fredrick learned from his two previous attempts at trying to score the heat wins, edging out Dickinson for the victory in the main event with a last lap pass. Alejandro Jaramillo won the fight for third over Colorado driver Filip Niemkiewicz. Fredrick was the quicker driver in the wet weather conditions on Sunday, posting fast time in qualifying and winning Heat #1. Dickinson returned to the top of the order in Heat #2 by just 27 thousandths at the line and led all 12 laps of the main event, holding off Fredrick by five hundredths with Jaramillo once again in third.
The Dallas Karting Complex DD2/DD2 Masters group featured 10 drivers, five in each class. Double Dallas winner Jordon Musser was quickest in qualifying for Round Three, but sat out the heat races. That allowed class rookie Nathan Adds to score the heat wins. He was on his way to victory in the main event until he retired on lap 12. Former Team USA driver Nathan Mauel took over the lead and went on to score the victory. Musser returned for the Final and drove to second with Adds classified third. Adds returned the following day to sweep Sunday’s action for his first class victory. Mauel was second in the main event with CJ Cramm in third. Lance Lehrman and Conrad Park split the Masters victories. Lehrman was at the top of the sheets on Saturday for his first victory of the season. Phillip Stoelman crossed the line second but was removed from the results. That put David Hajicek to second and Park third on the podium. Sunday began with Hajicek securing the fast time in qualifying and Lehrman winning Heat #1. Park won the second heat and Lehrman was the provisional winner in the main event. A penalty for contact however placed Lehrman behind Stoelman in the results, handing the win to Park. Rod Lake was runner-up with Hajicek third.
The Texas ProKart Challenge returns to action on August 14-16 at the North Texas Kartway in Denton, Texas, visiting the facility for a third straight year. Go to texasprokartchallenge.com and ‘Like’ them at Facebook for more information on the 2014 Texas ProKart Challenge program.