EKN Trackside: 2015 Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix – Preview
Downtown Lancaster opens up for seventh annual event in Southern California
The seventh annual Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix is set to break the maximum speed on the BLVD by three times the legal limit. A slue of spectators are expected to take in the sights, sounds, and smell of karts buzzing around the southern California city roughly an hour north of Los Angeles. The event, co-hosted by the City of Lancaster and Superkarts! USA, will welcome the California ProKart Challenge as it wraps up the 2015 championship season. Racers throughout the west coast converge on the two-day festival, serving as a warm-up event for the upcoming SKUSA SuperNationals XIX in November.
eKartingNews.com will be in Lancaster, providing the EKN Live program on Saturday and Sunday. Live audio featuring the voice of EKN’s Rob Howden is available through eKartingNews.com/live page, beginning with qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Tune in for Heat 1 round of racing Saturday, along with Heat 2 racing Sunday morning. The main events are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The headline category is the combined S1 Pro / S2 Semi-Pro race group. Each and every year, the top pilots shine, putting on an amazing show for the fans. Last year was a monumental victory for Jarred Campbell, as the then S2 driver beat out the S1 field for the overall victory, going on to win the SuperNationals S2 main event in Las Vegas. That momentum has carried over into 2015, as Campbell (Praga) leads the California PKC S1 championship chase as a rookie. Among the drivers Campbell beat is two-time defending California PKC champion Billy Musgrave (Praga). Musgrave has yet to win at the Streets, and is back to earn his first. Ron White (CRG) was the S1 Pro victor last year, finishing second to Campbell overall. He along with former winner Frtiz Leesmann (CRG) are among the favorites. Last year’s VIP two-seater driver Jacob Neal enjoyed his time in Lancaster so much, Neal is competing in the S1 division. Carter Williams will be wrapping up the S2 Semi-Pro title, coming back to Lancaster after being named the 2013 SOLGP Scholarship winner. Williams (FA Kart) will contend for the overall and S2 win. Will Preston (Aluminos) is the only driver to beat Williams in the five feature races this season, gunning for his first SOLGP win.
The TaG Senior division also puts on a show, and this year includes a championship battle. Senior rookie Christian Brooks (Energy) leads the championship chase over 2014 Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix Scholarship winner Austin Elliott. The NorCal driver has represented the SOLGP event throughout 2015, and the fans along the fence line will be cheering on Elliott throughout the weekend. Veterans Matt Johnson (Tony Kart) and Wesley Boswell are among the contenders, along with the ‘Lancaster Kid’ Brenden Baker (Tony Kart). Baker, who now resides in Texas, is making the trek to continue supporting the event that cheers him on throughout the year.
Rob Logan and Darren Elliott were the class of the S4 field at last year’s SOLGP. The two return, fighting for the California PKC title in the process. A win is critical for Logan (CRG) to challenge Elliott (CRG) for the championship, needing to defend his victory from last year. A host of challengers will be on the grid, including 2013 winner Willy Musgrave (Praga), former Fikse Wheels Pro Tour champion Fernando Diaz (Aluminos), Robert Marks (CRG), Mirko Mizzoni (Italcorse), and Justin Bennett (Aluminos). In the same group is the new S4 Super Masters class with another tight point battle. Ken Schilling (Vemme) leads the championship, and returns to Lancaster after wrecking hard last year. Kalvin Chen (Praga) and Darrell Tunnell (CRG) are the challengers, all looking to be the first class winner at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix. Among them is former SOLGP winner Jim Kidd (Aluminos).
Aaron Schmitt leads the S3 Novice Stock Moto championship heading into Lancaster. The Praga driver has four wins on the year, looking to add a SOLGP to his resume. The field is at 10 drivers, and continues to grow year after year. Callum Smith has the same record in the S5 Junior Stock Moto category, gunning for his first Lancaster victory as well.
This year’s TaG Master field is stacked with 18 drivers set to do battle. Pro Tour champions Ethan Wilson (FA Kart) and Scott Falcone (Tony Kart) are among the drivers entered. California PKC championship contenders Vatche Tatikian (FA Kart) and Brian Phillipsen (Tony Kart) are just nine points away from each other. Nicky Hays (Ricciardo) and Trey Brown (Tony Kart) are only separated by 29 points going into Lancaster in the TaG Junior division, with 13 other drivers set to battle for the win.
Anthony Willis continues to lead in the TaG Cadet championship chase, winning the opening round and the fourth round. Oliver Calvo trails by just 164 points going into Lancaster with a host of drivers looking to gain the race win. Three drivers are at the top of the TaG Cadet Rookie standings, led by Aiden Kempf, George Diakoumopoulos and Bryce Stevens. Just 120 points separate all three, with the streets to decide the title winner.