Phil Giebler Racing’s Nicky Hays Becomes Youngest Winner at Age 14 in SKUSA Senior Division
Phil Giebler Racing’s Nicky Hays, a 14-year-old from Huntington Beach, Calif., became the youngest Senior division feature winner in Superkarts! USA history at Sonoma Raceway’s California ProKart Challenge on June 4 on the .7-mile Simraceway Performance Karting Center.
Hays’ triumph was in X30, one of SKUSA’s most competitive divisions with many veteran drivers. The 14-lap feature had 23 starters.
“Nicky has really impressed me this year with his growth as a driver on and off the track,” team owner Phil Giebler said. “He is one of the youngest drivers in the field and to win against so many experienced drivers is really remarkable. He is showing a lot of maturity and always looking to improve.”
Hays was the ProKart TaG Junior—renamed X30 Junior for 2016—champion last year and the ProKart champion in S5 Junior Stock Moto in 2014. Simraceway was the fourth of six rounds in 2016. Hays has finished 10th at Buttonwillow, seventh at Willow Springs and fifth at Monterey Bay in the previous features and is second in the championship, trailing Billy Musgrave of Corona, Calif., 1,042-964.
“Nicky’s confidence in himself and his Ricciardo Kart are very high and I am looking forward to see what he can do the rest of the season,” Giebler said.
Phil Giebler Racing’s 15-year-old Ethan Barrett of Laguna Niguel, Calif., is also a standout in X30 Senior. He’s seventh in the ProKart points despite finishing 16th, his worst of the season, at Simraceway. Barrett was ninth at Buttonwillow, 10th at Willow Springs and fourth at Monterey Bay.
“Ethan is doing tremendously well in his first season in a Senior division,” Giebler said.
PGR had seven entrants in X30 Senior at Simraceway. Junron Chen of Beijing, China, finished 15th, Dallas Hollins of Fontana, Calif., was 17th, Siyu Chen of Beijing, China, was 19th, Antonio De Lis of Huntington Beach, Calif., was 21st and Jess Peterson of Sparks, Nev., was 22nd.
Vatche Tatikian, the 2015 California ProKart champion in TaG Master—finished eighth in the renamed X30 Master at Simraceway for PGR. He’s eighth in the championship.
“Vatche ran extremely well all weekend and was never passed on the track,” Giebler said. “Unfortunately, he slid off the track while running in second place in the first heat and it really compromised his weekend.”
Ethan Wilson of Campbell, Calif., had a potential podium run in X30 Senior ended on the 10th lap by contact with another competitor. He’s a former two-time champion in both the SKUSA Pro Tour and ProKart and is racing a limited schedule in karting this season.
“Ethan looked really good for a podium spot in the final, but he had some bad luck with another competitor getting into him and ending his race,” Giebler said. “He’s racing in the Ferrari Challenge this year and hasn’t raced karts much. He knocked the rust off and was on pace (fifth and sixth in the heats) right away.”
Anthony Honeywell of Tulsa, Okla., was 14th in the X30 Master feature.
“Anthony was a last-minute addition and he did a good job adapting to the new Ricciardo Kart,” Giebler said. “I think with more testing time he would’ve had a shot for the podium.”
Rod Streed of Carlsbad, Calif., finished third in S4 SuperMaster and ninth overall in the 14-lap feature run with S4 in his debut with PGR. Streed is fifth in the class points.
Jalen Mack of Los Angeles was ninth in Mini-Swift. Mack ranks seventh in the championship.
The next round for SKUSA’s California ProKart Challenge is Aug. 26-27 at Santa Maria.
Feature results, SuperKarts USA! California ProKart Challenge, Simraceway Performance Karting Center, June 4: X30 Senior–1. Nicky Hays, Huntington Beach, Calif., 15. Junron Chen, Beijing, China, 16. Ethan Barrett, Laguna Niguel, Calif., 17. Dallas Hollins, Fontana, Calif., 19. Siyu Chen, Beijing, China, 21. DNF Antonio De Lis, Huntington Beach, Calif., 22, DNF Jess Peterson, Sparks, Nev.; X30 Master—8. Vatche Tatikian, Altadena, Calif., 14. Anthony Honeywell, Tulsa, Okla., 25. DNF Ethan Wilson, Campbell, Calif.; S4 SuperMaster—3. Rod Streed, Carlsbad, Calif.; Mini-Swift—9. Jalen Mack, Los Angeles.
Owned by the 2007 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, Phil Giebler Racing is based in Anaheim, Calif., and competes nationally at the highest level of karting in the United States. Giebler is a resident of Huntington Beach, Calif. The team is the Western distributor of the Daniel Ricciardo Kart and Freeline Kart parts, also uses Fernando Alonso and Tony Karts and is a major dealer of OTK brands FA Kart, Tony Kart, Kosmic and Exprit.
For more information, go to www.philgieblerracing.com