Paddock Insider: Challenge of the Americas 2016 – Tucson

Ninth season gets underway at Musselman Honda Circuit in Arizona

Challenge of the Americas-2016-logoEKN’s Paddock Insider is a new Trackside coverage addition, bringing you notes, updates and breaking news as it happens. The article will be a timeline of events as they happen during the 2016 Challenge of the Americas season opener at the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizona. The information will not be seen anywhere else, including interviews and photos. Please feel free to comment and discuss our coverage and today’s action in the EKN Global Members Discussion area below: For complete coverage head to the EKN Event Page.


Sunday Audio

Finals

Prefinals

Qualifying


Saturday Audio

Finals

Prefinals

Qualifying


Shifter with the green.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Masters and Senior Shifters hitting the track for their prefinal.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Juniors not quite able to make it through turn one for their prefinal.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Another close one in Mini Max as Marco and Diego go at it again again.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Christian Brooks with a late race charge scores the prefinal win in Senior Max.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Opening corners of the Senior Max prefinal.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Masters away with a clean start

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Micro is the books completing the first heat race of the day.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Sunday, January 31, 2016


Challenge of the Americas Saturday Prefinal winners from Musselman Honda Circuit.

A photo posted by eKartingNews (@ekartingnews) on

Challenge of the Americas Saturday top qualifiers from Musselman Honda Circuit

A photo posted by eKartingNews (@ekartingnews) on

For the first time in series history Honda shifters grid up to take a green for their prefinal.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Saturday, January 30, 2016

Juniors clean down through turn one to start their prefinal.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Saturday, January 30, 2016

Little contact in turn one to start Mini Max off for their prefinal. All drivers continued.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Saturday, January 30, 2016

Christian Brooks leads the Senior Max drivers down to complete lap one of their prefinal.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Saturday, January 30, 2016

Masters underway in heat race #2

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Saturday, January 30, 2016

First green of the season at Challenge of the Americas. Micro Max under way.

Posted by Rotax Challenge of the Americas on Saturday, January 30, 2016


Friday Final Practice

The fifth and final session of on Friday was the pre-qualifying session for all seven categories. Each got a 20-minute run with an open hot-pit lane, giving drivers and teams a final chance to prepare for Saturday’s action. EKN broadcasted live from pit lane the final session for day, including interviews with series promoter Andy Seesemann, Senior Max pilot Christian Brooks, Masters Max driver Scott Falcone, Senior Max driver Jim McKinney, and Shifter Senior pilot Jake French.

Brooks Carrying Flag for CRG Brand

Brooks is set for 2016 with CRG (Photo: EKN)

Brooks is set for 2016 with CRG (Photo: EKN)

The sensational sophomore Senior Max driver Christian Brooks is taking on a new challenge as he bids for his first series title. The longtime Tony Kart driver has moved over to the CRG chassis for 2016, staying with the Nash Motorsportz operation. Brooks schedule is a busy one for this season, hitting all the major United States events including the Challenge this winter, helping to give feedback and data for the CRG brand. He was seen testing the shifterkart model this winter, as the team has added a strong list of shifter drivers including veteran Darren Elliott who is racing in the new Shifter Masters division here in Tucson this weekend. Nash Motorsportz, based in Riverside, California, added the CRG brand this November, joining Tony Kart and Benik as its chassis line for their customers. Brooks will be venturing outside the karting world, debuting in the Red Bull Global Rallycross this summer with AF Racing in the Lites division.

Shifterkarts Make Series Debut

Shifterkarts making their debut at the Challenge here in Tucson (Photo: EKN)

Shifterkarts making their debut at the Challenge here in Tucson (Photo: EKN)

The sound of downshifting into the corner, and slamming the six-speed gearbox on the exit can now be heard at the Challenge of the Americas. New for 2016 is the addition of the Shifter Senior and Shifter Masters categories, carried over from the US Open championship. The two categories are debuting with nearly 20 drivers combined, competing on the MG Yellow tire. Teams like Nash Motorsportz, Dallas Karting Complex, Pure Karting, Champion Racing, Energy Kart USA and others are fielding entries with more expected in the Phoenix and Sonoma rounds. The drivers will also be competing in the Qualifying, Prefinal, and Final format as most are used to the heat style weekends.

Perfect Weather for Racing

Bright sunshine for the weekend here at the COTA opener (Photo: EKN)

Bright sunshine for the weekend here at the COTA opener (Photo: EKN)

Mother Nature has not been kind to the opening of the 2016 season here in the United States. The weather for the Florida Winter Tour was not kind to the drivers and teams that took part in the double weekend event, with severe rain storms cancelling the second half of the Friday portions for Rok and Rotax events. This weekend in Arizona, the weather is perfect with clear skies and bright sunshine forecasted for the weekend. The temperature really cools down in the evening after the sun goes down, but mid-70s is forecasted throughout the three days during competition time. The only scare may be some heavy winds that could wipe up some dust storms on Sunday here in the Arizona desert.

EKN Global Members Discussion:

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