Red Line Oil Karting Championship Crowns Champions in 2014 Season Finale
Leesmann comes from last to first to win GoPro Hero Pro Stock Honda shootout
The 2014 Red Line Oil Karting Championships season came to an end with lots of exciting and close racing, a great way to end a strong season. A large field of drivers showed up to race and enjoyed a wonderful sunny day at the Simraceway International Karting Center. Several championship and year end award positions were still at stake which added to the excitement. The Pro Stock Honda GoPro feature drew some of the countries top 125 drivers and the feature race did not disappoint. To top it all off, five of the six senior class champs ended the day in a 5 lap shootout in the ZERO Evo electric karts. This race was run on a modified National track layout in which the well know “tic-tac-toe” was replaced by a flat double 90 degree corner. With a very positive reaction by most drivers, look for this configuration to return on 2015!
GoPro Hero feature – Pro Stock Honda
For this last race of the year, the RLOKC allowed some changes to the karts, namely MG tires and air boxes could be run. This brought out a number of NorCals top 125 drivers to use this race as a great way to judge the other competition for the upcoming SuperNats event in Las Vegas. Some of 125 Masters Drivers joined the Pros in to get some more racing. A field of seventeen karts took to the track with Fritz Leesmann taking the pole ahead of Brian Keck, Ron White and Cabot Bigham. The field got away well from the start in the twelve lap Heat race but as they exited the turn one, Leesmann and another kart spun and had to rejoin the race in last place. Ron White assumed the race lead and pulled out a small lead which he held to take the win. Bigham, Nic LeDuc and Brett Buckwalter were next in line. Tom Dyer had to start last due to Qualifying problems but he and Leesmann were charging through the field. On the last turn before the checkered flag, Fritz made a bold attempt to get by Dyer, only to spin out Dyer. In the end Fritz was penalized for the incident with Dyer coming home 7th and Fritz 8th. The finishing order was White, Bigham, LeDuc, Buckwalter, Keck and 125 rookie Joe Morton in 6th.
At the start of the 20 lap Main, the field got way clean and the long battle began. Dyer had a good start and was battling LeDuc when too much rubbing sent Dyer off the track. White had Keck and Buckwalter right on his tail with Leesmann working his way through. Fritz then started picking off the top five one at a time, first getting by LeDuc, then Keck and Buckwalter and now in a position to challenge White. Fritz got by to take the lead with about 5 laps to go. Ron then made a bold attempt to take back the lead entering the “new” double 90 degree turn two, Ron went wide and lost his momentum which let Buckwalter and Keck slip past. The last few laps were relatively quiet and Leesmann came home pulling a first-to-last-to-first race that had everyone impressed. Buckwalter was 2nd, Keck 3rd, White 4th, Bigham 5th, Daniel De La Calle 6th, Morton 7th, Dyer recovered to take 8th, Rene Martinelli was the top Masters in 9th followed by two more Masters, Jim Inglebright and Jim Kidd. 125 Junior Honda driver, Callum Smith came home 13th. With the win, Leesmann took home a GoPro Hero camera.
Mason Cohen took the pole ahead of Enzo Prevost, Matt Keyes and Michael Michoff. Off the start, Prevost took the early lead with Cohen close behind. Keyes, driving his best race of the year held third with Michoff right on his tail. Keyes and Michoff had the best battle of the race with Michoff getting by Keyes taking for the third place. On the last lap, Cohen could not see an opening to attempt a safe pass smartly settled for the runner up spot. In the end it was Prevost, Cohen, Michoff, Keyes and Richard Stock 5th. In the Main, Prevost took the initial lead with Cohen close behind. Michoff and Keyes were close with Keyes getting by and taking over the third spot. Just after half way, Cohen made a pass for the lead going into turn 4 and was able to keep just enough of a gap on Prevost to avoid a late race challenge. Going into the last lap, Keyes was in 3rd with Michoff right behind. Going into the infield off camber left hander, Michoff squeezed by Keyes and held on to take 3rd. In the end it was Mason Cohen taking the win, his first feature win in the series, Prevost 2nd, Michoff 3rd, Keyes 4th (his best finish of the year) and Stock in 5th. With the third place finish, Michael Michoff won the class championship, Prevost coming in 2nd and Cohen taking 3rd.
Rotax Mini Max
Another strong outing for the Mini Max class with 12 karts. This race also had the most competitive class championship still to be determined with four drivers with a chance to win it all by the days end. The point’s battle coming into this race has Clayton Williams on top, Colin Mullan 2nd, Matteo Sandoval 3rd and Dustin Salaverria 4th. In Qualifying, Colin took the pole with Bryson Lew 2nd, Dustin 3rd, Williams 4th and Matteo in 10th. In the Heat race, Dustin took the lead early on with Colin right on his bumper and the two of them pulling away from the rest of the field. Behind the leading duo, a good battle was going on with Bryson, Clayton, Aiden O’Neil and Oliver Reed all exchanging positions. In the end, Dustin took the win with Colin less than a second back, Aiden 3rd, Bryson 4th, Oliver 5th, Clayton 6th and Matteo back in 9th. Coming into the Main, Dustin and Colin’s championship hopes were looking brighter and Clayton and Matteo’s hopes were dimming.
At the start of the Main, the field came out of turn one all in line after a good clean start. Dustin jumped into the lead and again was being chased by Colin. Reed pulled off on lap 4 and the second battle group was Aiden, Bryson, Clayton and Brennan Stammer. Colin stayed on the tail of Dustin looking for the opening to make a pass or wait for Dustin to make a mistake. But Dustin made no mistakes and went on to take the win, closely followed by Colin, Aiden came home 3rd, Bryson 4th and Clayton 5th, Brennan 6th and Matteo 7th. In the championship, Colin takes the class crown with Clayton just 15 points back, Dustin 3rd another 5 points back with Matteo 4th, Aiden 5th and Bryson 6th. Mini Max was by far the most competitive class of the year with seven different winners and a close point’s battle all the way to the end.
Another strong turnout of karts for this last race of the year. Mark Nason came down from Reno to run in the RLOKC and took the pole ahead of Kevin Woods, Chuck Hastings and Roger Cornwall. In the Heat race, Nason controlled the race at the drop of the green flag with Hastings very close behind. Woods dropped a couple spots at the start but recovered to take 3rd followed by Cornwall and Tom Nelson. In the Main, all looked similar to the Heat race with Nason taking the point followed by Hastings and Woods. But on laps 6, Nason pulled off track with a problem and Hastings assumed the lead. Woods stayed close but could not get close enough to challenge for the lead, thus taking 2nd followed by Cornwall, Nelson and Mat Kattanel in 5th. Hasting topped a strong year of race performances to take the class championship followed by Cornwall with Geoff Provo taking 3rd.
Rotax Micro Max
Qualifying saw Grant Langon taking the pole ahead of Garrette Randolph Jr, series newcomer Seth Huntlry and Sebastiaan Mulder. Grant took the lead at the drop of the green with Garrette, Sebastiaan and Seth close behind. These four stayed in close contact the entire race but none of them could muster enough speed to make a pass, thus they finished in the early race order. In the Main, again Grant took the early lead, but this time he started to pull away. The order behind Grant was the same as in the Heat race as the karts were so evenly matched. In the end, Grant cruised to a 6 second win followed by Garrette, Sebastiaan, Seth and Owen McAllister coming home 5th. In the Championship, Garrette Randolph Jr took the class crown with Grant 2nd, Gino Sandoval 3rd, Owen 4th and Calista Randolph in 5th.
ZERO Motorsports EVO Electrics and Rotax DD2
The EVO electrics and DD2 took to the track with a championship on the line. Richard Hilleman took the pole ahead of Matt Cresci and Kenyon Kluge. In the heat race, Kluge came on strong at the end to take the win ahead of Hilleman with Cresci 3rd and Marco Ramirez 4th. In the Main, Cresci and Kluge led in the early laps but the steady pace of Hilleman took hold in the later laps and Hilleman passed one kart at a time until he took over the front and drove on to the win, Kluge 2nd, Cresci 3rd, Christopher Hilleman 4th and Ramirez 5th. Normally very fast, Colombini had kart troubles all day and was never on pace. In the point’s battle, Richard Hilleman overtook Ramirez in the championship chase to take the class crown, Ramirez 2nd and Matt Cresci 3rd. Colombini was secure in the DD2 Championship.
Standout driver Donald Durbin took the pole ahead of Bob Olson, John Breidinger and Kelly Heil. In the Heat race, Olson took the early lead with Heil moving up to 2nd followed by Durbin and Breidinger. The group of four was exiting turn one early on in the race when Heil and Olson were battling, Durbin got into the rear of Olson and spun him out forcing him back to 7th. Heil held the point to take the win. Durbin finished 2nd but was penalized for the contact with Olson and put back to 5th. Thus Breidinger took 2nd, Scott Ripslinger 3rd, Olson 4th. In the Main, Heil took the early lead with Breidinger, Olson and Durbin all battling for 2nd. Durbin was able to work up to second and then shadowed Heil with Breidinger all over Durbin’s rear bumper looking for a way by. In the end, Heil was able to hang on for the win, Durbin 2nd, Breidinger 3rd, Olson 4th and Ripslinger 5th. Durbin choose to waive tech though and was reclassified with a DQ. Thus, the final order was Heil, Breidinger, Olson, Ripslinger and Rene Bine III in 5th. In the Championship, Ripslinger took the class crown, his third in a row, Breidinger 2nd and Heil 3rd.
Stock Honda Masters
The Stock Honda Masters class was on the Hoosier tires only since a close battle for the championship was still in progress. Rene Martinelli came into this race with just a ten point lead over David Arnstein. Martinelli took the pole with Arnstein lining up second when the Honda 4 stroke kart was put to the back of the grid after qualifying. In the Heat race, Arnstein took the lead into turn one when Martinelli get off the line slowly. Arnstein held the lead the entire 10 laps and did not make one mistake, thus not allowing Martinelli an opening to make a pass. Now the points were tied. In the Main, again Arnstein took the lead at the start and midway through the race pulled out a three kart length lead. Arnstein then slipped coming off a corner allowing Martinelli close up on Arnstein’s back bumper. Arnstein then slid wide on another corner and Martinelli was by and in the lead. Martinelli quickly opened up a bit of lead and Arnstein was not able to close the gap. At the checkered flag, Martinelli took the win and the championship with Arnstein 2nd in both the race and the championship. Mitch Kennedy came home 3rd in class with Nick Major taking 3rd in the championship.
One of Southern California’s top karters, Jake Craig, came up to run with the Red Line Senior Rotax group. In Qualifying, Zach Pettinicchi took the pole with Harrison Mills 2nd, Jake Craig 3rd and Pablo Carballedo 4th. In the first heat, Mills took the lead out of turn one, but his lead did not last long as Zach was in front by lap two. Zach pulled away from the pack and drove on to a 3 second win. Behind Zach was a four kart battle where Mills came out in 2nd, Craig 3rd, Jarrett Lile 4th and Pablo 5th. In the Main, things got really exciting with lots of side by side racing in the first couple of laps. Eventually Zach was able to pull out a small lead on the rest of the pack, with Craig holding down 2nd and Mills sliding backwards as four drivers got by him. Lile then made a pass on Pablo, there was some rubbing and Pablo had to drive off course and lost some ground. Lile was then chasing down Craig when disaster hit the SoCal driver on lap 13. Craig lost his brakes and had to slow and pull off. Lile was now 5 seconds back of Zach, too much ground to make up in only 3 laps. At the checkered flag, Zach took the win, Lile in 2nd, Pablo 3rd and Jared Higham 4th in his best finish of the year. Lile then was penalized one position for the passing incident with Pablo, then he had trouble in tech and ended the day with a DQ. Thus, Zach took the win, Pablo 2nd, Jared 3rd, Davin Foster 4th and Mills in 5th. In the Championship run, Zach took the class crown, Pablo 2nd and Davin Foster 3rd.
ZERO Motorsports Evo “Championships Shoot Out”
After the last RLOKC series race, 5 EVO electric karts were brought out and four Senior class champions and one Senior class runner up got a quick orientation on driving an electric kart. The field was made up of Senior Rotax champ Zach Pettinicchi, EVO champ Richard Hilleman, Rotax Masters champ Scott Ripslinger, Pro Stock Honda champ Daniel De La Calle and Stock Honda Master runner up David Arnstein. Zach and Daniel lead the field into turn one, but Zach spun, the field scrambled to avoid him and Arnstein darted through to take a good lead. Arnstein keep the hammer down and no one was able to get up to speed soon enough to reel in Arnstein. After the 5 lap dash, Arnstein took the win, De La Calle 2nd, and Hilleman 3rd. For his win, Arnstein took home some redemption and the prestige that he had beaten four RLOKC champions.
You can see all the results at mylaps.com and see the final points at www.redlinoilkarting.com in the results section.