Championship Chases More Defined for California ProKart Challenge Following Monterey Event
Musgrave and Daniele win headline divisions for Superkarts! USA flagship regional program penultimate round
The penultimate round of the California ProKart Challenge was contested over the Labor Day weekend at the Monterey Bay Karters facility in Marina, California. The flagship regional program for Superkarts! USA saw racers brave the challenging circuit at the Marina Airport Kart Track under cool temperatures. The championships in the 12 IAME and Honda categories are more defined as the series looks toward the finale at the end of September in Lancaster. A handful of titles appear to be locked in while others have tightened up, with one more round of racing left for 2018.
The perfect score remains intact for Billy Musgrave in the Mad Old Nut S1 Pro Stock Honda class. Musgrave locked up his fifth series championship in category with a fifth flawless round of racing. The Monterey event was just as the other four, with Musgrave scoring fast time in qualifying before winning the heat races and main event. Musgrave led all 22 laps of the Final over Hunter Pickett, with Hunter Kelly completing the podium. The challenging Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix and the deep field expected is all that remains for a perfect 2018 at the California ProKart Challenge for Musgrave.
Joseph Daniele improved his championship lead in the Phil Giebler Racing X30 Senior title chase with his first victory of 2018. Everyone was chasing Edward Portz throughout the day, but it was Daniele who improved his position each session to end up on the top step of the podium. Portz set fast time in qualifying before leading wire-to-wire in both heat races. Daniele was seventh in qualifying and worked up to third and second in the heats. Portz was shuffled back at the start of the main, with Sonny Cervelli mixing it up for the lead. Daniele took over the point on lap eight, going on to lead the rest of the way for his first victory of the season. Cervelli and Colby DuBato were fighting for second until contact took both out of contention, thus promoting Nick Ramirez to second and Jacob Gulick to third. Michael Avansino and Jenson Altzman completed the top-five.
The Swiss-Micron S2 Semi-Pro Stock Honda championship chase has changed shape following the events in Monterey, where the fifth different winner of the season took home the checkered flag. Zach Pettinicchi grabbed his first fastest time in qualifying on the season, only to have an issue at the start of Heat 1. That allowed championship leader Keawn Tandon to drive to the win. Pettinicchi bounced back to win Heat #2, but then trouble struck him early in the Final, taking him to the sidelines. Tandon assumed the lead until Worawong Komarakul ran him down, taking over the top spot and going on to earn his first series victory in the category. Tandon settled for second, boosting his point lead over third place finisher Prescott Campbell.
It was a near second-straight sweep in the Ace High Designs S3 Novice Stock Honda division for Emon Fazlollahi. The championship contender was the driver to beat all day, setting fast time in qualifying and going wire-to-wire in the heat races. Championship leader Eddie Tafoya grabbed the holeshot and never looked back, leading all 20 laps for his third victory of the season. Fazlollahi was able to hold off Dustin Kudela for the runner-up spot. Rob Logan is building momentum into his favorite event of the season. Logan dominated the weekend in the Doran Motorsports Group S4 Master Stock Honda division in Monterey for his third victory of the season. Vivek Tandon and Nick George kept it close, placing second and third. For John Crow, it’s four straight perfect scores in the Musgrave Racing Company S4 Super Master Stock Honda class. His fourth victory of the season locked up the championship going into Lancaster, with Ken Schilling and Jonathon Allen joining Crow on the podium.
Another driver adding to his win total for 2018 was Nick de Graaf in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Master category, where de Graaf earned a perfect score on the round, besting Steve Martin. Jon Persing recorded his first win in the Empire Karts X30 Super Master class. Round Four victor Tony Rossetti led the way through qualifying and the two heat races. Persing was right there, turning up the pace in the Final to grab the lead and the victory. Rossetti settled for second, with Jared Booher in third.
Jace Denmark-Gessel stood on top of the Nash Motorsportz X30 Junior podium for the first time on the season following the action in Monterey. ‘JDG’ swept the round, earning maximum points and highlighted the day with a three-second advantage in the Final. Josh Pierson recorded his first podium finish of the season with runner-up, while Round One victor Alan Tang finished third. Championship leader Cole Morgan and Maximilian Opalski rounded out the top-five. It was back and forth all day in the Mike Manning Karting S5 Junior Stock Honda class. Defending champion Jacopo Pizzinato and Cash Baxley swapped the top spot all day long. Pizzinato was the top qualifier before Baxley won Heat #1. Jacopo came back to win Heat #2 to earn the pole position, and led the main until an issue on lap 16. This gave Baxley the clear path to earn his third victory of the season. Logan Meyer was a close second, with Ansel Baldovin in third.
Ryan Perry Motorsport Mini Swift championship leader Logan Toke extended his point lead with his third victory of the season. Toke was in the hunt all day, trailing behind Carson Morgan and Kai Sorensen. Morgan set fast time and won the opening heat until two-time winner Sorensen won Heat #2. In the Final, Morgan led the first 14 laps until Toke took over the lead, going on to a 1.3-second advantage by the checkered flag. Mathias Coito slipped up to second for his first podium finish of the season. Morgan crossed the line in third, but was moved to sixth in the order for avoidable contact. That promoted AJ Zarcone to the podium, with Enzo Deligny and Kai Sorensen completing the top-five. The PKS Kart Supplies Micro Swift championship leader Graham Trammell earned his fourth victory of the season at Monterey. Trammell earned a perfect score on the day, beating Logan Chambers and John Antonino.
Pre-Registration is already open for the California ProKart Challenge season finale – the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix. Many top drivers from all over the U.S. will make their way to the valley north of downtown Los Angeles for the two-day street race and festival on September 29-30. This year’s event will include all of the California PKC categories, along with KA100 Senior, Master and Junior as part of the Triple Crown Challenge. Pit spot reservations and other event details are available on the California PKC Event Page.
Competitors and supporters are also encouraged to SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 California ProKart Challenge Championship Awards Banquet to be held Saturday night, October 27 at a new location in Anaheim, CA, just minutes away from the Disneyland Resort. More details to be posted soon. For more information on anything related to Superkarts! USA, please visit the website – www.superkartsusa.com and be sure to follow the Superkarts! USA Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts.