Finale Event for Texas ProKart Challenge Decides 2016 Champions
Heavy rains hit Dallas Karting Complex as regional program closed out season in special night racing event
Everything in Texas is done bigger and better. The same can be said for the Texas ProKart Challenge 2016 finale held at the Dallas Karting Complex. The Caddo Mills, Texas facility welcomed the top drivers in the P1 Promotions Superkarts! USA and Texas Barge & Boat Inc. Rotax Max Challenge categories in a special night race event held Thursday, August 18 to Saturday, August 20. Plenty of off-track activities took part during the three days, including a free concert and a dunk tank fundraiser benefitting Karting Community United, which raised $1515 for the charity. Both brought a level of fun to the event, whereas the weather brought on a real challenge for competitors with heavy rains throughout the Friday portion of the event. Dry weather welcomed racers for the final day of action Saturday, putting in the final round to decide this year’s series champions.
Each day brought different conditions and different winners in the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto category presented by Champion Racing, involving the two championship contenders. Jordon Musser, a former SKUSA Pro Tour S4 champion, showed his talents in the wet conditions to sweep Round Seven. Musser was unchallenged throughout Friday’s action, dominating the qualifying and Prefinal before leading all 14 laps of the Final to secure his third victory of the season. Fellow championship contender Austin Wilkins came up from a DNS in qualifying to finish second, about three seconds back of Musser. Nathan Mauel recorded his first podium finish of the year in third ahead of Brady Ross and Lawson Nagel.
Wilkins had a similar performance on Saturday for the final round of the 2016 championship, securing his fourth triumph of the year. Wilkins secured fast time in qualifying, and won both heat races. Musser challenged him throughout, including early on in the main event. It wasn’t enough as Wilkins drove to a near seven-second advantage. Brady Ross improved to reach the podium Saturday in his series debut. Nagel and Andretta Young completed the top-five. Riley Dickinson swept the event in the S3 Novice Stock Moto, driving to a 22-second advantage in the wet Friday over Randy Burnett and Nathan Ratton while securing the victory by 19 seconds Saturday ahead of Burnett and Mark McGuire. Rod Clinard went uncontested in the Uncle Hal Gottspeed Racing-sponsored S4 Master Stock Moto division both days.
The IAME Mini Swift division, presented by Mind Shift Financial was once again the largest class of the weekend with 18 drivers challenging for the win. Round Seven was all Jak Crawford, as the former series champion made his series debut at the finale. Crawford swept the wet sessions with ease, never relinquishing the top spot all day. Crawford was a missile, stretching out to 28-second advantage in just 12 laps. Ayrton Hernandez won the battle for second over point leader Branyon Tiner with Davis Cunningham and Alex Stanfield completing the top-five. Things evened out in the dry conditions with Caiden Mitchell ending the series where he began, at the top of the podium. Crawford opened up as the top qualifier, but was shuffled back in the early laps of Heat #1. Alex Stanfield recorded his first heat win of the series with Mitchell just behind in second. Stanfield was the bouncing ball, dropping down the order in Heat #2 with Mitchell driving away to the win with Crawford advancing to second. In the 12-lap main event, Mitchell fought off Tiner and Crawford for his second victory of the season. Luke Lange drove to fourth with John Burke placing fifth.
Maxwell Waithman jumped back on top of the podium in the Texas Barge sponsored Rotax Junior division, winning both main events at the series finale. Waithman missed the third event of the season after opening up with three straight victories on the year. Maxwell secured his first win of the event by sweeping the action in Round Seven. After qualifying first, Waithman had to fight back to the top position by the end of the heat race before leading all 14 laps of the main event. Cade McKee drove to second with Cash Tiner rounding out the podium. Tyler Orum and Ethan Arndt placed fourth and fifth. Yusuf Moola, making his series debut, challenged Waithman in the final round. Waithman recorded the fast lap in qualifying, only to see Moola earn the win in both heat races. Yusuf controlled the first half of the main event until Waithman controlled the second portion, recording a second victory on the weekend. McKee joined the two on the podium beating out Tiner and Landen Wilkins for the P3 step.
Rotax Senior presented by Dallas Karting Complex was won by two national level stars. Jake French made his class debut in Round Seven, scoring the victory. Four-time race winner Brett Mitchell recorded the fast time in qualifying while South African driver Jordan Sherratt came through for the Prefinal triumph. Jake French had worked his way toward the front, and a great start to the main event put him into the top spot. French led all 14 laps to the checkered flag. Sherratt settled for the second spot with Thomas Beaudoin joining them on the podium in third. Marcellus Dukes and Mitchell completed the top-five. French swapped his Rotax ride for a shifterkart, running uncontested in the S1 Pro Stock Moto class for a second victory on the event. Gabe Bargas, a Round Two winner, stepped up in the dry conditions Saturday, securing fast time in qualifying and winning the opening heat race. Sherratt was able to work around Bargas for the win in Heat #2, en route to a wire-to-wire victory in the main event. The gap was 27 seconds back to Beaudoin with Miguel Mier a third podium finish on the year. Dukes and Moises De La Vara finished fourth and fifth.
Gabby Selden became a first time winner in the Nuclear Imaging Services-sponsored IAME Micro Swift class during Round Seven. Jacob Ewing was the early driver to beat, with Selden coming through in the main event to record a near eight-second margin of victory over Ewing with Ethan Ayars in third. Round Eight was championship leader Noah Baker recording his fifth victory of the season. The sweep of the day’s action was capped off with a 12-second advantage in the main event over Ewing and Selden.
Matt Stretch secured his fifth and sixth victories of the season in X30 Junior division. Stretch drove to victory in the wet Friday over Zander Taylor by 10 seconds with Prefinal winner Jett Morton third and top qualifier Cooper Heffley fourth. Saturday’s round was a 15-second victory ahead of Morton and Heat #1 winner Taylor. Nathan Adds added to his win total on 2016 in the X30 Senior division with victory in both rounds. Lane Vacala was the only driver to beat Adds on the weekend, just in the Round Seven qualifying session. Adds took over the top spot for the remainder of the event. The advantage was seven seconds in the main event Friday night over Vacala with John Berry third. Saturday was a complete sweep for Adds en route to a nine-second margin of victory with Vacala and Berry duplicating their previous finishes on the podium.
A season-long battle for the championships concluded in Dallas for the Texas ProKart Challenge with the best seven of eight rounds counting toward this year’s title chase. Jordon Musser was able to edge out Austin Wilkins in S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto by a slim 10-point margin, equating Musser earning five top qualifier bonuses (10 points each) to Wilkins earning just three. Andretta Young won the battle for P3. Jake French earned the title in the S1 Pro Stock Moto with Nick Neri in second. Rod Clinard is the S4 Master Stock Moto champion with Venkat Reddy and Tamer Hassan joining him on the championship podium. Riley Dickinson won the last three rounds to secure the S3 Novice Stock Moto championship over Randy Burnett and Mark McGuire.
Brett Mitchell held the point lead all season in Rotax Senior, securing the championship. Thomas Beaudoin and Miguel Mier end up second and third. Cade McKee was able to hold off a late charge by Maxwell Waithman to secure this year’s Rotax Junior title. The gap was just 66 points in the final calculation with Cash Tiner placing third. Only 15 points separated Nathan Adds and Lane Vacala in the X30 Senior standings. Adds takes the championship with Vacala earning second. Max Hewitt ended 2016 in the third position. Matt Stretch capped off the year with victory, securing the X30 Junior championship. Taylor Zander and Cooper Heffley are set to join him on the championship podium at the awards ceremonies. David Scherotter was the lone competitor in the X30 Master title chase.
Mini Swift was highly competitive all year, with Branyon Tiner coming away as the series champion. Caiden Mitchell won the final round, coming just 65 points short of Tiner’s total. Ayrton Hernandez placed third in the title chase. Half the victories on the season in Micro Max went to Noah Baker, as does the championship. Baker controlled the standings all year, beating out Cooper Shipman and Miles Preston.
The Texas ProKart Challenge is scheduled to crown the 2016 champions during an awards ceremony scheduled for October with full details coming soon. Make sure to watch the series website texasprokartchallenge.com with exciting event details forthcoming. Be sure to find Texas ProKart Challenge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.