Los Angeles Karting Championship Races to Halfway Point
Nine drivers rack up perfect weekends at Round Five
The Los Angeles Karting Championship hosted racers and teams this past weekend for the fifth round of the 2014 season. The LAKC is a premier karting series in Southern California that holds its races at the CalSpeed Karting Center located outside the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The season’s fifth event saw nine drivers sweep their respective classes, as well as several drivers extending their already impressive championship lead at the halfway point of the season.
Eric Molinatti stretched what is already an impressive point lead in the Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior field. Molinatti owned Round Five on Sunday as he dominated from qualifying to the main event. After edging out Jin Bai for the pole position, Molinatti went on to lead flag-to-flag and grab the Prefinal win ahead of Bai and Dylan Palatin. The main event began with Bai jumping out to the lead on lap one and maintaining the spot in strong fashion. Bai lead from the opening lap until lap 14, which is when Molinatti reclaimed the lead and drove to the win. Bai completed a successful weekend by coming home in second ahead of Cody Ensign. Aaron Schmitt and Nikita Lastochkin completed the top-five.
Tony Rossetti continued to work on closing the gap on Erik Jackson by sweeping Round Five in the PSL So Cal TaG Masters category. Rossetti scored max points on Sunday from qualifying to the final, staying on top throughout the day. Rossetti beat Roy Steele and Peter Mokran for the pole position in qualifying and kept the position through the Prefinal. After a poor start to begin the main event, Rossetti slipped from first to third. Steele took the point with Jackson running second. Lap three is when Rossetti made his move and reclaimed the lead. Rossetti drove to the victory with Peter Mokran climbing up to finish a close second. In third was Nicolas Esguerra, while Tim Meyers was fourth and Harin De Silva was fifth.
The S1, S2 and Open 125 group session saw all three of the classes get swept by three talented drivers. Billy Musgrave added yet another win to his long list at Round Five. Musgrave swept the weekend in the 7G S1 Pro Stock Moto Class by beating out Matias Podboj each of the race day’s three official sessions, from qualifying to the main event. Kolton Griffin continued to show drivers in the 2 Wild Karting S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto how to get around CalSpeed Karting Center. The Arizona driver outran Cameron Jocelyn and the Travis Nicklas for the class pole position. Griffin was solid in the Prefinal, enough to track down and pass S1 race leader Billy Musgrave for the overall win. Griffin duplicated the feat in the main event as he grabbed not only the S2 class win, but the overall victory as well. Behind Griffin in S2 was Pete Yerkovich Jr. and Jocelyn. Slava Prikhodko kept Kris Valdez and Chris Curtis at bay as he swept the day in the TM Racing USA Open 125 Shifter category.
Jagger Jones scored his first win of the 2014 season in the RPM TaG Cadet class, and he did it in dominating fashion. Jones swept the action in Round Five staying out front all day. After beating point leader Myles Farhan for the pole in qualifying, Jones went on to lead every lap of the Prefinal. No body had anything for Jones in the Final as he drove to his first main event victory of the season. Behind him on the podium was Farhan and Ryan Schartau, while Colin Queen and Jagger’s brother Jace completed the top-five. KC Cook grabbed his third win of the season this past weekend in the Mike Manning Karting PRD Senior Pilot class. Cook was the class of the field sweeping the day. Behind Cook in the finishing order was Luis Perez and Michael Manning. Bryce Murphy and Jin Bai completed the top-five.
Paul Bonilla was working on a perfect day in the D Power Racing PRD Senior class after going two for three in official on track session. Bonilla was on top of the leader board in qualifying and then led the whole Prefinal heading to the win. At the start of the main event, Matt Johnson got around Bonilla for the top spot. Bonilla came back the next lap to retake the position and then engage in a battle with David Vasquez for the next several laps. Vasquez and Johnson then demoted Bonilla, and shared the battle for the win. Johnson would end up scoring his second straight feature win over Vasquez. Bonilla joined the top two on the podium, while Jordan Robertson and Derek Zimmerman filled out the top-five. Bonilla would redeem himself in the Phil Giebler Racing PRD Masters class. Bonilla ran away with the class victory sweeping the day from qualifying to the main. Behind Bonilla in the Final was Mike Johnson and Bryan Bender on the podium. Steve Hansen and Robert Montgomery completed the top-five.
Anthony Sawyer earned the victory in the Mack Motorsports PRD Junior 2 class. Chance Skaufel opened up the racing action with a win, working by top qualifier Aaron Aguirre for the Prefinal triumph. Sawyer, who qualified second, completed just one lap in the Prefinal and was forced to start from the 18th grid position. A great start put him into the top-10 early, and by lap six, he was into the top-five. Sawyer continued the stellar drive, reaching the lead with two laps remaining. He held on to take the checkered flag by over a second ahead of Jake Drew and Jonathon Eshom, while Aguirre and Jordan Turner completed the top-five.
Dominic Gorden and Cole Keith Cotham battled in the Empire Karts Junior 1 Comer Pilot class. Cotham got the day going by grabbing the pole position in qualifying ahead of Gorden and Jalen Mack. Cotham kept the ball rolling in the Prefinal by outrunning Mack, who raced with Gorden to gain the second spot, which dropped Gorden to third for the start of the final. Cotham looked to add to his point lead by completing the sweep of the day, but Gorden had other plans. With less than five laps to go, Gorden took the lead away from Cotham and drove to the victory. Cotham crossed the line three seconds back with Shea Weston third over Rylee Martinez and Ryan McElwee.
The Fleming Racing Engines Junior 1 Comer category had a different driver hold the top spot in each on-track session Sunday. Point leader Jagger Jones grabbed the pole position in qualifying ahead of Myles Farhan and Colin Queen. The Prefinal was a back and forth race between the top two qualifiers as Farhan took the lead on lap three and held it until Jones reclaimed the top spot. Farhan regained the top spot with one lap to go and took the win. Jones came back to lead the first nine laps of the main event until Farhan and Queen began mixing up the order. The trio put on a great show, exchanging the lead with each circuit until Queen edged out Jones by 28 thousandths of a second for the victory. Farhan settled for third with Marcus Rodriguez and Oliver Calvo making up the top-five.
Action in the Pure Karting Honda Kid Karts class has been some of the best at the LAKC program this year. Following Cooper Hicks’ Round Five victory this weekend, he and Chance Gibson are locked in a dead tie for the championship lead. Hicks began the day by grabbing the pole in qualifying ahead of Carson Morgan. Hicks maintained the lead in the Prefinal until two laps remaining when Morgan drove past for the win. Hicks grabbed the lead off the start of the main event, and led each and every circuit en route to the victory. Carson Morgan received a two-position penalty after crossing the line second, moving Gibson to the runner-up spot and Dane Idelson behind in third. Morgan was scored fourth and Sheldon Andrews earned the fifth position.
As they have all year, the S4, S4 Magnum and S5 racers shared the track at Round Five this weekend. The competition in S4 has been so close all year. Willy Musgrave scored his first Musgrave Racing Company S4 Masters Stock Moto victory of 2014 after being out of the mix most of the day. Qualifying went to Darren Elliott with Musgrave failing to get out for the timed session. Elliott led the field for the first five laps until he and Erik Jackson – who had been competing at a race in Utah the day before – took the lead with four to go and checked out for the win. Jackson was on point in the final as he led every lap and drove to the checkers first with Willy Musgrave crossing the line closely behind in second place. Unfortunately for Jackson, a one-position penalty was assessed for a loose bumper, handing Musgrave the win. Jackson finished second while Mike Mantel, Rick McAllister and Alex King rounded out the top-five. There was plenty of parody in the Acceleration Kart Racing S4 Magnum as a different driver was on top each session. Jeff Krogstad got things going by grabbing the pole position in qualifying. Krogstad got a bad start in the Prefinal and fell to the back of the pack while Delcoure drove to the win. Much like in S4, the Prefinal winner crossed the finish line as the winner in the Final. Unfortunately just like is S4, the win would not stand. Delcoure was disqualified for coming across the scales light and Steve Donia was named the winner. Nicky Hays dominated the competition in Nash Motorsportz S5 Junior Stock Moto class. Hays spent the day at the front competing for the overall win in the Prefinal and Final. Anthony Sawyer finished second while Noah Grey stood on the podium in third.
The LAKC’s unique and fun Team Series championship closed up after the action during Round Five. The Smokin Fast Motorsports team of Matt Johnson, Myles Farhan, Luis Perez and Mike Johnson left the weekend as the point leaders ahead of Kolton Griffin, Jagger Jones, and Pete Yerkovich’s Pure Karting team.
Saturday night, LAKC introduced their Econo 100 class before Round Five action took place. Tyler Coffman held off Josh Kurtz for the inaugural race of the class at the LAKC. The July LAKC race for the Econo 100 class will be open to anyone 15 years and older and is open to any karting 100cc air cooled 2-stroke engines (no gearbox), with open clutch or direct drive, any brand or compound for tires and open kart exhaust. Weight will be separated by specific types of engine makes. The cost is just $15 to cover your pit pass fee with cash prizes set to be awarded. For more rule information, visit the LAKC website.
The Los Angeles Karting Championship will resume racing later this month on July 27 as the program prepares for Round Six. With four weekends of racing left on the 2014 calendar, the LAKC is preparing for the best racing of the season as the championships will be decided with every lap. The LAKC will also be hosting a free BBQ for teams and drivers during the July race, following practice Saturday night. For more about the Los Angeles Karting Championship, please visit LAKC.org and Like them on Facebook.