Team News: Champion Racing Puts Intrepid Brand On Top at SKUSA SummerNationals
Intrepid drivers invade western Colorado for second stop of Superkarts! USA Pro Tour
Champion Racing once again guides its drivers and the Intrepid brand to the top step of the podium, as they have done for many years now. After the first four rounds of the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour, the operation and its core group of Intrepid drivers are racking up wins and podiums. Champion Racing/Intrepid drivers most recently led the way at the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SummerNationals in Grand Junction, Colorado on July 19-21. The flowing yet technical Grand Junction Motor Speedway welcomed the best drivers in the country for the fourth annual event, and Champion Racing/Intrepid drivers were at the front all weekend.
“The Champion Racing team had a terrific weekend in Grand Junction,” Champion Racing’s Brett Berryhill said regarding the performance of the team at the SummerNats. “Our Stock Honda program looks great, and our TaG program is progressing very well. To perform so well, and score multiple wins in multiple classes on the Pro Tour is incredible. The whole team is over-joyed with the weekend and the future of the Intrepid brand.”
The S2 Semi-Pro Stock Honda class was a full class with 36 drivers on the grid both days. S2 saw great racing both days, with Champion Racing driver Ryan Kinnear lingering at the front of the pack all weekend. The Scotsman ended the final timed practice session Friday afternoon as the fastest S2 after running the only sub-53 second lap time of the final session. Kinnear stayed quick on day one of racing as he grabbed the pole position for Saturday’s opening heat race. In the race, Kinnear fell from the front at the start, but hung tough to finish fourth. Kinnear climbed to second when the checkers fell on heat number two, giving him the off-pole starting spot for Saturday’s main event. The feature saw Kinnear race mostly in the top five with fellow championship rivals. Kinnear finished Saturday’s main event in the sixth position. After qualifying outside the top-10 Sunday morning, the second day of racing was certainly off to a different start to what would be a great day for Kinnear and Champion Racing. Kinnear spent both heat races climbing impressively through a loaded top-10, and would start the main in fifth. The main event saw close back and forth racing between Kinnear and the polesitter, before Ryan took the lead coming to start lap 13. Kinnear would not look back as he scored his first national victory in 10 years.
Kinnear’s teammates in S2 were Tyler Fling and Micah Hendricks. Fling had an up-and-down weekend as his position on the track constantly fluctuated. Saturday was spent fighting to stay inside the top 20, before his race was cut short before halfway in the main event. Despite another up and down day on Sunday, Fling proved his determination as the main event results were much better as he finished the weekend in the 23rd. Micah Hendricks ran top-20 all day on Saturday en route to his 19th position in round three. Sunday, Hendricks pushed as hard as possible, but struggled as he brought his Intrepid home in 33rd place. All three of Champion Racing’s S2 drivers showed speed all weekend, and will without a doubt be a threat at the final round of the Pro Tour in Las Vegas come November.
In S5 Stock Honda Junior, Champion Racing represented very well with their duo of drivers, Jarred Campbell and Jesse Woodyard. The S5 class was dominated by Intrepid driver Campbell as he swept the weekend, scoring the main event both days. Woodyard hung around the front of the S5 pack all weekend also. The Oklahoma native ran in the top five all day Saturday with the exception of a sixth place finish in the second heat of the day. Woodyard ended Saturday fourth. Jesse’s day on Sunday would see the same results but with a more difficult path. Qualifying 10th left Woodyard to climb the running order through two heat races. Woodyard did so valiantly and came home with another fourth place finish on the second day in a row, despite being 20 pounds over weight at the scales all weekend.
In the large and extremely competitive TaG Senior field, Champion Racing supported two drivers, Luke Waller and Wyatt Manness. For both, it was a weekend spent learning the technical GJMS circuit and doing their best to keep up with some of the country and the world’s best TaG drivers. Waller’s day on Saturday was spent trying to stay inside the top 25. Waller qualified 31st and went to work from there. Waller was able to drive his Intrepid to a pair of 26th place finishes in both heat races. The main event on Saturday saw Waller’s best run of the day as he battled to a well-earned 21st place finish. Sunday Waller qualified 36th heading into the days heat races. Unfortunately, Waller would not make it to the grid in time for the heat race, resulting in a DNS. The second heat race saw an extremely impressive drive by Waller as he vaulted from his dead last 42nd place starting position, to 27th on the second lap. Waller would finish the second heat in the 28th position seeing vast improvement in the short eight lap pre-final. A superb opening lap vaulted Waller comfortably inside the top 20, from there he steadily gained positions after the halfway point in the race. At the end of the main, Waller finished an impressive and well earned 15th place. Manness’s weekend was a little rougher. Saturday Mannes did his best to climb out of the 30’s as he tallied a 31st place finish in the main event on Saturday, his highest finishing position of the day. Sunday saw much better results for Manness. Despite once again hanging around in the low 30’s and even recording a DNF in the second heat race Manness drove to a 28th place finish in the main event, ending his weekend on a high note.
Waving the Champion Racing banner in TaG Masters was Oklahoma’s Gary Butler. Battling with a rib injury all weekend, Butler fought on-track as best he could. On Saturday, Butler would finish in the 11th position, barely missing out on a top-10 while on Sunday he retired early.
The Champion Racing team and its fleet of drivers completed a successful weekend in Colorado, and will now turn their focus to the remainder of the Texas ProKart Challenge, which includes a stop at Champion Racing’s home circuit – Oklahoma Motorsports Complex – for rounds seven and eight the weekend of August 16-18. The Intrepid brand will once again be among the contenders at the Superkarts! USA/US Rotax Max Challenge regional program. To find out more about the Intrepid brand or working with Champion Racing, visit www.championkart.com
About Champion Racing:
Champion Racing, located in Norman, Oklahoma alongside the Oklahoma Motorsports Complex, has a long history as one of the most respected shops and teams in the sport. The North American importer of the Intrepid kart line runs a national-level arrive-and-drive racing team. Champion Racing is also well-known for their engine building performance. In both 2006 and 2007, the team won the prestigious eKartingNews.com Team of the Year Award.