Los Angeles Karting Championship Opens 2015 Season
Over 180 entries enjoy great Southern California weather as championship chase begins
The 2015 kicked off for the Los Angeles Karting Championship with the first event of the year held at the CalSpeed Karting Center in Fontana, California on March 29. The leading race series in Southern California welcomed over 180 entries, with perfect weather conditions throughout the day for the 18 categories to begin their championship chase that includes over $40,000 in cash, prizes and other assorted programs that will be awarded this year, thanks to the support and contributions of the sponsors and series supporters.
The largest class of the weekend was the Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior group, swept by Aaron Aguire. Qualifying in the 23-driver field was tight, as six drivers posted a lap within a tenth of a second to Aguire’s 42.963-second lap. Henry Morse and Matt Johnson came 11 thousandths off his time to finish the session second and third. Aguire led all 10 laps of the Prefinal over Johnson. Shuffled back at the start, Aguire fell back to fifth at one time in the Final. He worked his way forward, taking over the lead from Carlee Taylor with the white flag waving. Aguire held on for the victory with Taylor in second. Christian Brooks was a close third with Johnson fourth and Justice Lepe completing the top-five.
Colby DuBato scored the first victory of the season in the second largest class of the weekend, the Mack Motorsports PRD 2 division. The day began with Jake Drew at the top of the order after qualifying, posting the only sub 44-second lap. Both trailed Jonathan Shone in the Prefinal, as Dubato was second at the stripe. Shone charged forward in the 10-lap event, beating DuBato to the line for the win. The two continued battling in the 16-lap Final with Drew waiting in the wings. DuBato raced to the checkered flag first for the victory. Shone settle for second with Drew in third. Ryan McElwee was fourth with Jordan Turner in fifth.
Eight drivers, aside from Aguire, swept their respective categories on the day. Billy Musgrave doubled up in the sweep and win category, besting the field of the TM Racing Open Shifter and Pure Karting S1 Pro Stock Moto. Willy Axton kept Musgrave honest all day in the Open division, with Jesse Romer placing third. Musgrave ran uncontested in the S1 class. The new Acceleration Kart Racing S4 Super Masters Stock Moto welcome Kalvin Chen as the first victor. Chen swept the action in the new category, driving to a five-second victory in the main event over Sean Bond and Ron Rossetti. Nicky Hays bested Cruz Fiore in the Nash Motorsportz S5 Junior Stock Moto class.
The successful HMS Honda Kid Kart division welcomed 11 drivers for the day, as Sheldon Andrews set the pace. Andrews went wire-to-wire in the Prefinal and Final after qualifying, scoring the victory by nearly 15 seconds. Zackary Martinez and Brodey Vicars completed the podium. Three of the five PRD categories were swept on the day. Connor Funk bested the iKart West Senior PRD field by nine seconds in the main event with the victory over Joey Paonessa and Jacob Pope. Bryan Bender held off Daniel Rivera in the Phil Giebler Racing PRD Masters category, with Mike Johnson placing third. Cole Keith Cotham was under attack in the Prefinal for the P1 Engines PRD 1 race. After earning the win, the top qualifier went on to nine-second advantage in the main with Dominic Gorden and Shea Weston joining Cotham on the podium.
The MMK PRD Senior Pilot category featured 16 newcomers and novices to the class, helping to grow the sport toward the future. Ivan Urueta finished the day as the first winner on the season. Urueta qualified third behind Derek Esquibel and Tyler ReviereVerninas. All three were separated by just 76 thousandths of a second. The Prefinal finished with Urueta squeaking by Esquibel at the line for the win, while the final was all Ivan, pulling away to a five-second victory. Esquibel drove second with Reviereverninas running third.
Completing the Superkarts! USA TaG categories with LAKC are the Master and Cadet divisions. Seven drivers made up the CRG So-Cal TaG Master class on the day, all chasing Erik Jackson. An issue in qualifying placed Jackson at the back of the field for the Prefinal with Tony Rossetti on the pole position. It took just six laps before the defending class champion was at the point, taking the win and going on to lead all 16 laps in the Final for victory. Nick De Graf made a late charge to take over the second spot from Rossetti.
The 13-driver field in the DR Kart TaG Cadet division began chasing Cole Keith Cotham, after posting a fast lap two tenths clear of Colin Queen and Oliver Calvo. The Prefinal saw Calvo come away with a last lap pass on Ryan Schartau, who was penalized down to fourth after the race to move up Cotham and Shea Weston up the grid for the main event. Schartau quickly bounced back, getting into the lead on lap two and holding on for the remainder of the race to secure the victory. Calvo ended up in second with Cotham the third spot.
Junior 1 Comer continues to be among the larger classes at LAKC, with 19 in the Fleming Racing Engines Jr. 1 Comer and six in the Empire Karts Jr. 1 Comer Pilot divisions. After qualifying sixth, Joseph Daniele went on to win both the 10-lap Prefinal and 16-lap Final. The main event was a five-driver battle, as Daniele secured the victory on the final lap over Rylee Martinez, Jace Jones, Aden Dodge and Colin Queen. Jones was removed from the results following technical inspection, promoting Dodge to the third step of the podium. Chance Gibson duplicated the same feat as Daniele, winning the Prefinal and Final in the Pilot group. Gibson scored the victory by over four seconds ahead of Aidan Yoder and Devin Newcomb.
Chandler Campbell scored her first win in the PKS S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto division. After Alejandro Hernandez earned fast time in qualifying, Campbell won the Prefinal and battled with the top S1 and S4 drivers in the main event. She finished second overall to Musgrave, beating Tyler Coffman and Hernandez in class. The MRC S4 Master Stock Moto class was decided between Willy Musgrave and Darren Elliott. Musgrave dropped the hammer in qualifying and came out the winner in the Prefinal. Elliott was able to edge out Musgrave for the victory in the Final, as Kalvin Chen completed the podium.
The Smokin Fast Racing S3 Novice Stock Moto welcomed 13 drivers to the grid on Sunday, with Royal McKee taking the victory. Aaron Schmitt set the pace in qualifying, and was able to score the win in the Prefinal. McKee worked past Schmitt on the opening lap, never looking back to take the victory. Schmitt settled for second with last year’s PRD Senior Pilot champion KC Cook in third.
The next event for the LAKC program is set for April 26 at the same CalSpeed facility. For more about the 2015 Los Angeles Karting Championship program, please visit LAKC.org and ‘Like’ them on Facebook.