LAKC Plays Host to Record Numbers for 2013 Opener
March 18, 2013
After battling unexpectedly violent weather during its planned opening day in February, the Los Angeles Karting Championship (LAKC) finally got the new season into gear this past weekend at the CalSpeed Karting complex in Fontana, CA. High winds forced the event organizers to postpone Round #1 until this past weekend, but the late start had no affect on entry numbers or the intense quality of the racing. An incredible 216 entries were confirmed on Sunday morning to kick off the season, as the event was easiest the largest LAKC race in over a decade. The chase for the championship’s extensive prize package got off in style, as tight racing was the order of the day.
Action got started mid-morning on Sunday with qualifying for all 19 race groups. First on the racetrack were the OTK USA TaG Cadet drivers. Jonathan Shone out-ran Jagger Jones for the pole by five tenths of a second to secure in the inside of the front row for the Prefinal. Shone would drive to an uncontested win, while Ryan Schartau came home in second. Jones was left to fight off Joseph Daniele for third place. The main event saw Shone’s reign on the day come to an end as he dropped from the field after only two laps. Myles Farhan inherited the lead and drove away with the victory. Daniele held off charges from Trey Brown to finish second in the final tally. Brown finished the main event on the podium in third. Jones did remain in the top-five, securing a fourth place finish after running all day at the front of a 17-kart field. Gary Lyles rounded out the top-five.
The Empire Karts KPV 2 class was second on the track on Sunday. Andrew Murowatz had a perfect day as he went P1 in Qualifying, the Prefinal and the Main Event. Murowatz kept Anthony Sawyer behind him in each and every session, as Sawyer claimed a second place finish in the main, eight seconds behind Murowatz at the stripe. Rounding out the KPV 2 podium was Jonathan Eshom, who qualified fourth earlier in the day. The rest of the KPV 2 top-five saw Bryce Murphy pick up fourth while Josh Early came home fifth.
The youngest categories offered by the LAKC were on the track next, as Chance Gibson dominated the Pure Karting Kid Kart class. Rylee Martinez finished second ahead of Aden Dodge. Cole Keith and Jake Daniele completed the top-five. In the new HPD Honda Kid Kart class, the LAKC drew a solid nine entries. Jaden Goetz was the victor over Kasey Gillis and Maxi Saga. The final positions in the top-five were taken by Skyler Geczi and Ian Dodge.
The fourth class on track - RLV / PRD USA Senior - would see the third sweep of the day, as Paul Bonilla held the lead all day long. Bonilla paced Lloyd Mack to the green flag in the Prefinal, and they would race hard during the opening laps. Robby Stanovich worked his way up from fifth place on the grid to finish the Prefinal in second place behind Bonilla. In the main, it was all Bonilla for the full 16-lap distance. Mack swapped second with Stanovich twice on the way to the checkers. In the end, it was Mack beating Stanovich for the position, leaving Robby third at the line. Brandon Reed and Maya Gutierrez rounded out the top-five.
Chance Gibson scored the victory in the Kid Kart division.
(Photo: Joe Stalker - LAKC)
A packed DR Racing Kart USA Junior 1 Comer field of 23 karts came to CalSpeed to kick off their 2013 season. Joseph Daniele was racing his second class of the day and was looking to improve on his second place finish in the TaG Cadet main. Daniele got off to a great start, securing the pole by two tenths of a second off fellow double duty racer Trey Brown. Daniele held off Colin Queen and Ryan Schartau to win the Prefinal to set the grid for the final. In the main, Daniele would fall short for the second time in as many races. Schartau passed Daniele for the lead on lap nine and never looked back. Schartau won the main event with Daniele coming home in second. Brown got the last step on the podium, while Tanner Hudspeth outran Queen to round out the top-five.
The series of perfect weekends continued in to the Mack Motorsports PRD Junior 2 thanks to the stellar efforts by Josh Kurtz. Kurtz bested all challengers in the class to take the early season point lead. Nick Ramirez came from fifth spot on the grid to finish second in the final tally, while Hanna Grisham drove from a seventh place start to finish third.
The second combined class of the day rolled to the grid next - TM Racing USA Open Shifter and Acceleration Karting S4 Magnum. Reigning S4 Magnum champion Rick McAllister started the 2013 season where he left off last year’s campaign. McAllister captured the pole in the Heavy shifter class over Steve Donia. McAllister ran a perfect Prefinal, keeping all the Magnum challengers behind him. However, McAllister’s seemingly perfect weekend was over before the main event was even two laps old. McAllister fell from the running order and recorded a DNF in the first main event of the season. The checkered flag thus went to Donia, the man who had ran second to McAllister all day. Donia came across the line first with Sal Menudiado picking up a solid second place finish. Kevin Gilroy stood third on the podium when the dust settled. Marc Segal and Jeff Johnson completed the top five. In the Open Shifter battle, no one had anything for Brian Shafer. Shafer completed a perfect weekend when he beat Alex King to the checker in the final. King ran in the top three all day, and took the second rung on the podium, where he and Shafer were joined by Chris Curtis, who crossed the line in third place. Tim Wyatt held off Matt Romer for fourth place.
In the 2WildKarting S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto and the MRC S4 Master Stock Moto classes, it was ‘all-Musgrave all-day’. Coming fresh off an incredible 2012 season, Billy Musgrave kept the ball rolling by recording a clean sweep in S2. Musgrave nearest challenger was Bobby Legate, who is returning to shifterkart action after a two-year absence. Utah racer Keenan Schmitke made a trip to race in the California sun, earning a third place finish for his efforts. Kolton Griffin and Sergio Ponce De Leon rounded out the S2 top-five. In S4, Willy Musgrave matched his son’s performance while doing his best to hang with the younger S2 crowd. The senior Musgrave recorded his first of what could be multiple perfect weekends in 2013. Four seconds back from Willy was Chott, who came home second. Troy Butts, Erik Jackson and Antonio Cianciardo capped the top-five in S4.
Carlee Taylor was part of the list of drivers who had a perfect weekend during the LAKC opener. The young driver beat out Alejandro Hernandez for the main event win in the Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior class. John Wallace III, Cory Davison and Jonathan Gih rounded out the top-five in the 10-kart field. The perfection ran throughout the race as Andrew Wilson beat Casey Neuman for the clean sweep in Rotax Senior.
In the Fleming Motorsports KPV 1 and Hyper Racing Engines PRD 1 races, both Dante Yu (KPV), and Johnny Dressler (PRD) were on track for perfect weekends. Yu and Dressler had both earned the pole position in qualifying and won their respective heat races, but the mains were different stories, however. By the end of the day, triple-duty driver Ryan Schartau had stolen the show from Yu in KPV 1, holding off the dominant Yu for the opening main event win. Hayden Wagner beat double duty driver Jagger Jones to the line for third, with Dakota Tate finishing in fifth. In PRD 1, the role reversal was between the dominant Dressler, and main event winner Myles Farhan. Gary Lyles capped off the PRD 1 podium. Justin Hodge, and Mark Polunin finished their main event in fourth and fifth, respectively.
The second to last race group of the day featured the FA Racing PRD Grand Masters class, which was swept by Paul Bonilla, and Bridgestone Rotax Grand Masters. Doing his best to keep up with Bonilla was second place finisher Ron Rossetti coming under the checkers nearly seven seconds behind Bonilla. John and Ralph Bush finished third and fourth, while Gary Howard wrapped up fifth place. While Bonilla was busy dominating the PRD races, there was a different number one each time the Rotax Grand Masters drivers hit the track. In qualifying, it was Roy Steele beating out Mike Middleton for the pole by just a tenth of a second. The Prefinal saw Steele fall to second at the hands of Brian Phillipsen and then, in the main event, second fastest qualifier Mike Middleton rose up to take the checkers in front of Steele. Prefinal winner Brian Phillipsen came home third with Michael Boyer in fourth and Kanji Tajagi in fifth.
The last race group of the day hosted the MMK PRD Senior Pilot and Valley Trophy Rotax Senior Pilot classes on the track. In the Rotax Senior Pilot class, Troy Hooker and Eric Navatel faced off for the win. In the Prefinal, Hooker best Navatel, but the positions would be reversed in the Final as Navatel picked up his first main event triumph of the season. In the PRD Senior Pilot class, Logan Calvin recorded the Prefinal win ahead of eventual main event victor Stephen Wetterau. Behind Wetterau in the main event was Karlee Polon in second. Jacob Pope stood on the third step of the podium, while Michael Monaghan and Connor Funk filled out the PRD Senior top-five.
The next LAKC race is in a little over a month, when drivers return to Fontana to race again on April 28. Another incredible turnout is expected as the season championships are now underway. For more information regarding the Los Angeles Karting Championship, head to http://www.lakc.org