California ProKart Challenge Finale Crowns 2015 Champions
11th season comes to close for Superkarts! USA flagship regional program, crowing 11 title winners
The California ProKart Challenge completed its 11th season at the end of September, celebrating another successful season of shifterkart and TaG competition featuring some of the best racers in the western half of the United States. The flagship Superkarts! USA regional program completed its six-event series at the recent Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix on September 26-27. The 2015 California PKC featured over 300 competitors on the season, up nearly 30% from a year ago. Taking on six distinct circuits, 11 drivers rose up above the rest to claim the 2015 California ProKart Challenge championships.
Vemme Kart/Extreme Karting S1 Pro Stock Moto rookie Jarred Campbell led the championship from start to finish, earning his first title as a Senior driver. Campbell opened up the season with two victories, adding a third in Round Five after two straight runner-up finishes to secure the top spot in the standings. Two-time defending champion Billy Musgrave could only muster two podium finishes in six rounds of racing, placing second in the championship chase. Matias Podboj matched his same results as 2014, finishing the year in the third position in the point standings with a best finish of runner-up in Round Two.
Rookies ruled the headline categories in 2015, with Christian Brooks coming away as the champion in the Phil Giebler Racing TaG Senior division. Brooks, who celebrated his 15th birthday during the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix weekend, earned three victories on the season to secure the title. 2015 Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix Scholarship driver Austin Elliott kept it close all season long, landing on the podium five straight races including one victory, as the 2014 series champion ended up in the runner-up position in the standings. 2012 series champion Matt Johnson improved on his results this year, with the veteran placing third in the championship chase.
Carter Williams won four of six feature races in the Ryan Perry Motorsport S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto class to earn the series championship. The 2014 Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix Scholarship driver led from the beginning of the season to the end, earning himself a chance at graduating to the S1 division for 2016. Jack Freese stood on the podium three times, placing himself second on the championship podium for 2015. Matt Koerner ended up third in the standings, thanks to his three top-five finishes on the year.
A similar performance was put in by Aaron Schmitt in the Professional Kart Support S3 Novice Stock Moto championship. Schmitt was first in five of the six main events, missing out in Round Two for a perfect score. The wins were not as easy as expected, with drivers like Robert Heck Jr. challenging. Heck drove to two runner-up finishes and two third-place results to finish second in the standings, while Garrett McKelvie ended the year in third.
The closest battle in 2015 came down to the Mike Manning Karting TaG Master championship chase. Vatche Tatikian assumed the lead in the point standings after his win in Round #2. The rest of the season, however, belonged to Brian Phillipsen, ripping off four straight victories including the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix. Phillipsen’s point total was tarnished, following a non-droppable disqualification in the opening round of the season. When the final tally was calculated, Tatikian secured the title by just five points over Phillipsen. Rob Brackett closed out the season third in the standings.
Darren Elliott managed to defend his title in the SwedeTech Racing Engines S4 Master Stock Moto class. Elliott won two of the first three main events to begin the first half of the season on top. Two more podium results to close out the year secured the second straight championship for Elliott. Rob Logan remained his top challenger, placing on the podium three times including a big win at Adams. Robert Marks finished third in the standings, recording a best finish of second at Sonoma. Ken Schilling became the inaugural 2Wild Karting S4 Super Master Stock Moto class champion. Schilling became the point leader after his first win at Round #2, and added to his point lead with another victory and two more podium results. Even though he wrecked for a second straight year at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, Ken earned enough points to claim the championship. Kalvin Chen reached the podium steps four times in 2015, winning Round Five to come just 68 points short of the title. Darrell Tunnell went winless but stood on the steps four times to claim the third position in the standings.
Two wins to close out 2015 helped Nicky Hays move to the top of the Nash Motorsportz TaG Junior title chase. Hays’ win at Adams and in Lancaster to close out the season gave him three victories on the year, promoting him to the top of the championship podium. Trey Brown led the standings during the middle portion of the season, but fell down to second after two tough outings to close the series. Brown did, however, earn the 2016 Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix Scholarship, which will help to fund his racing at the California ProKart Challenge and SKUSA Fikse Wheels Pro Tour program next season. Ethan Barrett moved himself up to third, thanks to solid results at the end of the year. Callum Smith led wire-to-wire in the Sanner Racing S5 Junior Stock Moto division. Smith ripped off the first four victories before placing third at the final two events to safely earn the 2015 title. Victory at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix secured the vice-champion position for Hunter Kelly over Noah Grey.
Two wins and two runner-up results was all that Anthony Willis needed to claim his first Leading Edge Motorsports TaG Cadet championship. Willis kept himself toward the front of the field all season long, finishing off a wire-to-wire title run. Ryan Schartau went winless on the season, but managed to finish second in the standings with four total podium trips. Oliver Calvo ended the year in third with one victory in 2015. The Leading Edge Motorsports TaG Cadet Rookie title went to George Diakoumopoulos. A victory in Round Two and at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix helped promote him to the top of the standings after the final calculations were made. Aiden Kempf had a best finish of runner-up twice on the year, ending up as the vice-champion while Round #5 winner Bryce Stevens was classified third.
The 2015 year-end awards ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, October 24 at the Riverside International Automotive Museum. The top three drivers in the championship standings for each category will be honored, presented with awards and prizes for their accomplishments, along with a number of exciting raffle prizes for all attendees. Tickets are $39 for drivers and guests, including kids over the age of five. The ticket includes appetizers, dinner, drink tickets, dessert, museum self-tour, and eligibility for various raffle prizes. Superkarts! USA welcomes all PKC supporters, but is asking attendees to purchase a ticket prior to Monday, October 19 through the SKUSA Store – as tickets won’t be available for purchase at the door. For more information, visit the SKUSA Banquet Page or contact Patti at the SKUSA office – 951.491.0808.
The California ProKart Challenge champions (in the SKUSA Pro Tour categories) will once again be awarded a guaranteed starting position on SuperSunday at the SKUSA SuperNationals XIX, set for November 18-22 at the new location of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Westgate Resort & Casino.
For a complete listing of the 2015 California ProKart Challenge standings, or more info on anything related to Superkarts! USA, please visit the website – www.superkartsusa.com – or call the SKUSA head office at 951-491-0808.