California ProKart Challenge Champions of 2018 Decided
Awards ceremony to crown 12 champions and celebrate the 14th season of program
S4 Super Master Stock Honda champion John Crow receiving the 2019 Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix Scholarship (Photo: DromoPhotos.com)
At the end of September, the California ProKart Challenge closed out the 2018 championship chase with the 10th running of the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix. The largest street race on the western half of North America helped to decide the 12 champions for the flagship regional program of Superkarts! USA. Back in February, competitors began a six-event journey throughout California to compete against some of the best racers on the continent around six unique and challenging circuits. Now the 12 title winners of 2018, along with the rest of the competitors and supporters who raced with the California PKC program, are invited to the Championship Awards Banquet scheduled for the evening of October 27 in Anaheim, California.
Receiving awards at the banquet is nothing new to Billy Musgrave. The SoCal driver secured his fifth championship in six years, besting the field all season in the Mad Old Nut S1 Pro Stock Honda class. What makes 2018 unique is that Musgrave earned maximum points at all six events, sweeping the entire season. Matias Podboj finished the season in the vice-champion position, up one spot from 2017, while 2017 S2 champion Jason Pettit ended third in his rookie Pro season. While the season did not end on-track as hoped, Joseph Daniele left Lancaster as the 2018 champion in the Phil Giebler Racing X30 Senior class. The Senior rookie ended the SOLGP in the wall at the final corner due to a mechanical issue, but managed to walk away. Daniele will stand on the top step of the awards ceremony alongside Jake Drew and fellow Senior rookie Edward Portz.
The Swiss-Micron S2 Semi-Pro Stock Honda standings went down to the wire between three S3 graduates in the hunt – with Keawn Tandon earning the title. Tandon ripped off three runner-up finishes along with one victory in Santa Maria to earn the crown. Three podium finishes helped Prescott Campbell earn the second spot in the standings over last year’s S3 title winner Zach Pettinicchi. Unfortunately, a total sweep and victory at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix was not enough to move Pettinicchi up past the third spot in the standings. An even closer battle raged on to the end in the Ace High Designs S3 Novice Stock Honda division. Emon Fazlollahi and Eddie Tafoya were neck-and-neck entering Lancaster. Issues for Tafoya ended his run at the front on the weekend, opening the door for Fazlollahi – who went on to earn his third victory and the title by 40 points over Tafoya. Joining them on the championship podium in third is Kyle Loh, who finished third on the season three times.
A scant two points is all that separates two drivers in the Empire Karts X30 Super Master final standings after six rounds of racing. Robert Switzler and Stuart Hayner fought for the victory in Lancaster, with Hayner earning a sweep for the win – but Switzler edging out for the championship. Switzler had consistent results on the year with five top-five finishes. Hayner was on the podium in all four of his starts, including two victories, coming up just short for the title. Round One winner John Nielsen completes the championship podium, ending the year in third. Four victories on the season helped to give Nick de Graaf the title in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Master division. Finishing the season with four runner-up results, including one at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, was Carlos Calderon – set to take home the vice-champion trophy from the awards ceremony. Third in the standings is Steve Martin, who had a best finish of second at the Monterey event.
While he came up short of a fifth career victory at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, Rob Logan ended the 2018 season defending his series championship in the Doran Motorsports Group S4 Master Stock Honda division. Three wins and two runner-up results provided Logan with his second career title. Mike Mantel led the standings all season, dropping to second after the finale and drop race, placing inside the top-four five times on the year. Vivek Tandon had similar results, earning five top-five finishes to land third in the year-end standings. John Crow dominated the season in the Musgrave Racing Company S4 Super Master Stock Honda class, scoring victory in the last five rounds including four sweeps for the championship. Crow won the main event in Lancaster, and then left as the 2018 Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix Scholarship winner. This $15,000 prize package will pay for his entire 2019 racing season at the California ProKart Challenge and SKUSA Pro Tour, including the Supernationals. Jonathon Allen finished the season second in the championship, with Ken Schilling in third.
The future in shifterkart racing is strong in California with a great young crop of drivers in the Mike Manning Karting S5 Junior Stock Honda division. For a second-straight year, Jacopo Pizzinato finished as the series champion. Pizzinato capped off his championship run with a victory in Lancaster, his second of the year, to secure the title. Cash Baxley challenged on the year earning three victories, only to come up short by 50 points. Logan Meyer had six top-five results to finish the season third in the standings. Jace Denmark-Gessel is the newest name added to the list of champions in the Nash Motorsportz X30 Junior class. A runner-up finish at SOLGP secured the top position in the standings for 2018, surpassing Cole Morgan by 35 points. Round One winner Alan Tang was a close third, with the top three separated by just 45 points after six rounds of racing.
Three victories on the season helped to put Logan Toke at the top of the standings in the Ryan Perry Motorsport Mini Swift championship chase. Toke won Round One, Round Four and Round Five to finish the season 105 points ahead of two-time winner Kai Sorensen. AJ Zarcone stood on the podium three times in 2018, earning the third spot in the point standings. Graham Trammell won four times on the season to secure the top spot in the PKS Kart Supplies Micro Swift standings. His advantage was 90 points after six rounds of racing, with Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix winner John Antonino ending up vice-champion and Logan Chambers in third.
The 2018 California ProKart Challenge Awards Banquet is scheduled for October 27 at the Business Expo Center in Anaheim, California – just minutes from Disneyland, Anaheim Stadium and other local attractions. The top-three champs from each class will be honored during the ceremony, along with the 2018 California PKC Team of the Year. The evening will include appetizers, buffet dinner, and of course many raffle prizes for those in attendance. Tom Kutscher will also be making some first-time announcements at the banquet regarding SKUSA’s 2019 racing plans, schedules, and tracks. All attendees 12 and older pay just $25 for a ticket to the festivities; kids 5-11 are just $15, while children 4 and under are free. Tickets and more information can be obtained at the California PKC Award Banquet page on the SKUSA website, with the deadline for tickets set for Monday, October 22 at Noon PDT.