EKN Trackside: 2014 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals – Sunday Report
Lennox continues S1 streak while TaG Senior rookie Rocha triumphs in front of home crowd in Modesto
The final day of the Save Mart Supermarkets Modesto Grand Prix closed out Sunday evening, ending the 2014 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals. After a long and grueling day to complete the Round Three action Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday, the SKUSA crew and City of Modesto volunteers came back to keep all the record number of drivers safe through the final day of action. The day’s format saw a round of heat races removed, making the one heat race a double point round toward the season ending Pro Tour championship standings. Less major incidents occurred as drivers respected the track and each other more through the final day, which saw Lennox add a fourth S1 victory to his resume while TaG Senior rookie Blaine Rocha won his first major race in front of his hometown family and friends.
Pure Karting TaG Senior
Joining with Praga North America has boosted Andrick Zeen back onto the national stage. His win Saturday night in the late hours of the day was his first Pro Tour victory. The momentum carried over into qualifying on Sunday as he posted a 49.147-lap to earn the pole position. Senior rookie Blaine Rocha (Kosmic) was off by two tenths in second, with fellow rookie Brendan Baker (Tony Kart) in third. Defending Pro Tour champion Andrew Zimmer (ART GP) was fourth with current championship leader Jake Craig (Tony Kart) in fifth.
The start to their heat race was the best start all weekend, as each driver held their own line into the opening corner. Four drivers broke away with Zeen at the point and Baker up to second, dropping Rocha to fourth behind Craig. Baker led the way for the first time on lap two, and remained there until Zeen drafted past him into turn one on lap seven. Rocha moved into third on the same lap, and then around Baker for second as they took the white flag. Zeen scored the win while Rocha, clocking in the fast time of the race, ended up second to keep the same front row for the main event. Baker returned to third with Craig in fourth. Chris Cricca (ART GP) was fifth for much of the race until Remo Ruscitti (Italkart) took over the position on the final circuit.
A false start delayed the beginning of the main event, but Zeen jumped into the lead once it was underway. Three drivers, Ruscitti, Rocha and Craig, followed to make up the early top-four. Ruscitti would retire on lap four, pushing to the outside of turn eight and making hard contact with the barrier, ending his race. On lap eight, an incident for Nick Ramirez (Top Kart) brought out the red flag, and thankfully he walked away. During the re-order procedure, Zeen was forced to pull off and out of the race with a broken radiator, having his X30 engine heating up above the 200 degrees mark and losing water. That gave Craig the lead when the race resumed, with only three laps given to end the main event. Rocha moved to the second spot on lap 10, and began closing in on the championship leader. On the final circuit, Rocha moved past Craig and reached the checkered flag to earn his first Pro Tour victory. Craig settled for second with Carvalho his first podium as a Senior driver. Another rookie Jordan Redlin put his PSL West/CRG into the fourth spot, his best result of the weekend, with Cricca right there again in fifth. Craig will retain the championship lead going into the SuperNationals, scoring the most points during the Modesto Grand Prix, earning another $1,000 pay day. Zeen was second ($500) with fellow race winner Rocha in third ($250)
SwedeTech Racing Engines S1 Pro Stock Moto
About the halfway point of the eight minute qualifying session is when the S1 drivers found their space around the track, and were able to settle in to record their best lap. A number of drivers held the provisional pole position with Saturday’s fast driver Oliver Askew (Tony Kart) setting the quickest time, with a 47.450-second lap. That was good enough to edge out Jake French (Intrepid) by nine hundredths of a second. Saturday winner and championship leader Jordon Lennox (CRG) was third with Billy Musgrave (Tony Kart) improving to fourth and Nick Neri (Tony Kart) in fifth.
Askew was in control through the 12-lap heat race, leading flag-to-flag for the win. Grabbing the holeshot and getting out to a solid lead, the Ocala Gran Prix driver used consistent laps to earn a 0.8-second win. Former S2 SuperNationals winner Musgrave was second after the opening lap as the top six broke away from the field. With Askew out front, Musgrave began falling down the order on lap five, with Lennox moving into the second position. Neri dropped back to sixth at the start, but was into third by lap seven, with Fore working past Musgrave for fourth on lap nine. French was third at one point as well, but ended up sixth, right behind Musgrave.
Askew grabbed the holeshot with factory CRG driver Lennox tucked in right behind. On the second circuit of the 16-lap main event, Lennox moved inside of Askew at turn four, and as the two made the exit of the corner, Askew made contact with the outside barrier and ended his race. That gave Neri, the other OGP driver in the S1 category, the lead as he slide past both drivers along with Fore. Lennox quickly put himself into the second position and at lap eight, regained the lead. Fore followed him through, dropping Neri back to the third position. Lap 13, Neri was back into the second position, and began posting the fast laps of the race. Lennox, aboard his PSL Karting CRG, responded to better those lap times, and secured a half-second margin of victory at the checkered flag. Neri finished runner-up for his fourth podium result in the four Pro Tour races, beating five-time world karting champion Fore, racing under the CRG-USA banner. Dutch driver Milan Dontje (CRG) was fourth with Ryan Kinnear fifth in his debut aboard a Praga, earning his best finish thus far in his S1 rookie season. Lennox, Neri and Fore were on the weekend podium, with a cool $1,000 to Lennox, $500 to Neri and $250 to Mr. ‘Five-Time’.
DRT Racing S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto
Kyle Kirkwood knifed his way forward in the Saturday main event, racing with a bent axle after jumping over another driver at the start. The Ocala Gran Prix/Tony Kart pilot posted the fast lap of the race to land on the podium. He came back the following day with the same drive and determination in Sunday qualifying. A 47.811-second lap was best to secure the pole position, as his teammate Morgan Healey (Tony Kart) jumped to second late in the going. Loris Ronzano (GP) was among the quickest all event, and set the third best time while Saturday winner Austin Garrison (Tony Kart) was fourth and Austin Schimmel (Aluminos) bouncing back from a hard wreck Saturday to be fifth.
Kirkwood looked to have the heat race in his hands, getting away early and holding a solid lead. On lap five however, contact with the outside barrier at turn eight ended his race, moving the entire field up the order, putting Garrison into the lead. He along with Healey were well out front, scoring the 1-2 finish with a great fight for third behind them. Schimmel was able to secure the position on the final circuit with Jonathan Kotyk (Tony Kart) following through to push Ronzano to fifth.
Garrison was on fire in the day and under the lights. When the lights went out to begin the 16-lap main event, the Ocala Gran Prix driver was gone and alone out front. The top six were the class of the field with Ronzano at the lead challenge position. Garrison grew his lead to about 1.1 seconds, but Ronzano slowly crept in closer. That lasted until about the halfway point when Ronzano was only a half second behind, and the two ran consistent laps to remain the same distance apart. After 16 laps, Garrison scored his second feature victory of the weekend. Ronzano was runner-up with Healey running third the entire time for her first Pro Tour podium. Jarred Campbell (Intrepid) had his best result of the weekend in fourth with Miguel Lopez (GP) into fifth. Kotyk was in the top-five, but fell back and lost another spot to Jordan Dick (FA Kart) to end up seventh. OGP swept the weekend podium, with Garrison, Healey and Kotyk splitting the $1,000 purse for categories over 30 drivers.
Italcorse America TaG Master
The quickest driver in last night’s TaG Master main event kept the pace with new tires for qualifying on Sunday. The ‘Honeybadger’ Anthony Honeywell (MMK) went only three laps to secure the pole position, with a 50.496-second lap. Championship leader Billy Cleavelin (CRG) was only seven hundredths off the fast time in second, with Larry Fraser (Aluminos), Saturday winner Ethan Wilson (FA Kart) and Kevin Manning (MMK) completing the fast five.
The TaG Master group was just a bit too fast as they attempted their first start, and thus lost two laps to make their heat race only 10 circuits. Honeywell maintained the lead through the opening lap, with Cleavelin into the second spot. He would work past the Oklahoma driver, leading a majority of the race until lap nine when Honeywell returned to the point. On the final lap however, Cleavelin moved up to the point, stealing the win from Honeywell. Wilson moved up to third after dropping to fifth on the opening lap. Jim Russell Jr. (Parolin) drove to fourth while Vatche Tatikian (FA Kart) pushed Fraser to sixth.
The 14-lap main event was a four driver battle that went the distance. Cleavelin was able to come away with the lead after the opening lap as Honeywell dropped to third behind Russell with Wilson in fifth behind Tatikian. Wilson moved into fourth, and Tatikian wrecked in turn five along with Lewis. That left just the four out front to fight for the lead. Wilson crept his way forward, into third and then second with Honeywell back to fourth. Cleavelin felt the pressure, but held on to the checkered flag for his first Pro Tour victory. Wilson took the runner-up spot with Russell in third, making his first start in nearly nine months, and Honeywell survived a broken seat strut to place fourth. Manning rounded out the top-five.
3G Kart Racing S4 Master Stock Moto
The eight minute qualifying session for the S4 drivers was led by championship leader Matthew Hamilton. The Aluminos driver had to climb his way back up into the top-10 after trouble in both heat races. A 48.148-second lap was best, edging out Saturday winner Gian Cavaciuti (GP) by two tenths of a second. Round Two winner Darren Elliott (CRG) was third in the order, but his session was cut short with a bent axle. Mirko Mizzoni (Italcorse) was fourth with Richard Heistand (Tony Kart) in fifth. Cavaciuti was penalized two positions for a off-track penalty.
Hamilton was able to score the heat race win after falling back to second early on. He grabbed the holeshot, but Elliott was the leader after the opening circuit. Hamilton was locked on his bumper, working past for the lead and what would be the winning move on lap five. Elliott continued to fall back, as he did not quite have the pace through the final corner, letting Cavaciuti, Trevor McAlister (Praga) and Mizzoni getting by. Cavaciuti was there at the end, but Hamilton held him off at the line for the win and main event pole position. Elliott crossed the line fifth, but was handed a five position penalty, moving Musser into the fifth position.
Making it two for two, Cavaciuti swept the main events on the Modesto Mile. Hamilton grabbed the holeshot with McAlister slotting into second and Gian to third. Cavaciuti was into the second spot by the end of lap two, and took the lead from Hamilton on lap three. They ran in that order until lap 10 when McAlister tagged a barrier to end his day. The next lap, Musser did not come back around after he made slight contact and broke a rim, and Hamilton dropped back to fifth, mixing up the order to put Mizzoni in second, Logan third and Elliott fourth. Hamilton was into fourth by lap 15 and on the final circuit, was around Logan for third. Out front, Cavaciuti took the checkered flag by seven tenths of a second over Mizzoni. Hamilton was credited with the second position as Mizzoni was given a one position penalty for jumping the start. Logan was fourth once again with Elliott in fifth. Cavaciuti took home a $500 check for first place overall on the weekend, with Elliott second ($300) and Logan third ($200).
Nash Motorsportz TaG Junior
The top of the order in TaG Junior was a juggling act with a number of drivers taking a turn at the top. When the checkered waved, it was Saturday provisional pole driver Chase Farley (Energy) that clocked in the best lap with a 50.277. Losing yesterday’s pole position after a loose exhaust, he rebounded to set the pace Sunday. Saturday winner David Malukas (Top Kart) was second, just ahead of runner-up Nick Brueckner (Birel). Neil Verhagen (Arrow) and Luis Perez Jr. (Tony Kart) rounded out the fast five. Farley was demoted back to third as an off-track penalty of two positions placed him inside row two of the heat race.
A false start delayed the beginning of the TaG Junior heat race, and pushed them to just 10 laps. Once they got going Brueckner was able to get a run past Malukas to the lead, holding a sizable advantage early on. Malukas dropped back to third, but was able to get around Perez and run down the leader. Lap four, the Saturday winner was back into the lead with Brueckner tucking in behind. Brueckner ran the fast lap of the race, but Malukas won the battle. Farley drove to third with championship leader Christian Brooks (Tony Kart) up to fourth late in the race, moving Perez to fifth.
Malukas was able to double up in the win column, putting himself into championship contention with a solid weekend in Modesto. From the drop of the green, Malukas showed the way the entire 14 laps, securing a massive lead at the checkered flag, earning a $500 check for his efforts on the weekend. Brueckner ran second for much of the race until lap 13 when the engine began to misfire. He dropped to fifth with Perez into the runner-up spot. On the final lap however, Brooks, who charged his way forward from outside the top-five after the opening lap, came across the line in second with Brueckner clawing back to third to earn his third straight podium result. The MRP Motorsport/Birel America driver was second overall on the weekend, earning $300, with Brooks placing third overall ($200).Anthony Sawyer (Tony Kart) ended up fourth with Phillippe Denes (ART GP) and Sting Ray Robb (Tony Kart) past Perez for position.
Rolison Performance Group S5 Junior Stock Moto
Four of the top drivers from Saturday elected to sit out day’s action, including Saturday winner Trenton Estep (Sodi Kart), ending his three race win streak to make Round Four his drop race going into the Pro Tour finale. Also included in the withdraws were Austin Versteeg (Kosmic), Mathias Ramirez (Tony Kart) and Jacob Loomis (Intrepid). Christian Brooks (Tony Kart) took the reigns of the category, and paced the field in qualifying with a 49.605-second lap. Raul Guzman (GP) was second with Andretta Young (Birel) in third. Ryan P. Lewis (GP) and Max Hewitt (Intrepid) rounded out the fast five.
Brooks and Guzman went back and forth the entire 12-lap heat race. Brooks secured the position with a few laps remaining, and held off Guzman at the line for the win. Behind them was another great fight with Young and Hewitt dicing it up, finishing in that order while Anthony Sawyer (Tony Kart) completed the top-five.
The top two put on a show in the 16-lap main event. Brooks and Guzman were locked together the entire time, each taking a turn at the point. In the final laps, Guzman drive very defensive lines to help keep Brooks behind. They crossed the line with the checkered and black flags in the air, with Guzman edging out Brooks by 64 thousandths of a second. Officials however ruled Guzman was blocking, and docked him one position to hand Brooks his first S5 Pro Tour victory. Sawyer bagged his first Pro Tour podium, placing third with Hewitt and Ryan P. Lewis (GP) rounding out the top-five.
Leading Edge Motorsports TaG Cadet
The same contenders who were at the front in Saturday’s event were right there for Sunday qualifying. Lachlan DeFrancesco (Benik) set the fast time, edging out Jagger Jones (Tony Kart) by 74 thousandths of a second. Saturday’s hard charger Lance Fenderson (Benik) was third in the order while Michael d’Orlando (Tony Kart) and Kaylen Frederick (Tony Kart) completed the fast five.
A pile-up in turn one blocked the track and brought out a red flag to line them back up for a complete restart. The race was dropped to eight laps, and once green, the field was through the opening corner without an issue. It was a six driver lead group that decided the win on the final circuit. Michael d’Orlando was able to hold off a late charge by Fenderson, exiting the final corner side by side. Jones led for most of the race and ended up third with pole sitter DeFrancesco fourth. Jace Jones (Tony Kart) moved up to fifth with Frederick in sixth.
After two red flags trying to get the Cadet field going, they were removed from the track and given a complete restart at the end of the day. With a single file start, d’Orlando took the lead from the pole position, with the rest of the field following. The top four broke away, but no one had anything for d’Orlando. In just eight laps, he stretched out to a 1.1-second victory over Jagger Jones. Fenderson completed the podium with DeFrancesco fourth and Saturday winner Trey Brown (Tony Kart) winning the fight for fifth.
Jones, with two runner-up finishes on the weekend, scored the most points to earn the $500 check. DeFrancesco and Fenderson were second ($300) and third ($200).