Huge Entry Numbers Boost Second Los Angeles Karting Championship Weekend
Huge Entry Numbers Boost Second Los Angeles Karting Championship Weekend
Membership and competition level grows for round two at CalSpeed Karting Center
Large fields continue to fill the track in nearly all LAKC classes (Photo: LAKC.org)
The Los Angeles Karting Championship held its second round of competition for the 2014 season on March 16, as one of the largest and most successful karting programs in the United States visited the CalSpeed Karting Center. The high temperatures in the Fontana, California area were challenged only by the even hotter racing action that took place on the course, as an incredibly impressive 181 entries filled the paddock. The LAKC, thanks to good leadership, supportive sponsors, and a great community of racers, welcomed fence lines full of spectators taking in the racing at the track on Sunday, and an equally impressive number of viewers took in the live broadcast of the race thanks to Kart Racer TV.
“Round two was another awesome weekend, and it went smoothly, as we welcomed 181 drivers for Sunday’s racing,” LAKC President Chris LaTorre commented. “The racing was incredible, with some of the best action we have had in some time. And the best part is that the race day went off without any major incidents. All together, it was one of the LAKC’s best weekends and I am grateful to all the teams and racers who made it that way.”
The largest class of the weekend for the second race in a row was the Mack Motorsports PRD Junior 2 field. This weekend, a different driver was the top dog in each on-track session. Dylan Cartier was the only driver to dip below the 50-second mark to earn the pole in qualifying. Round One winner Chance Skaufel stepped up to win the Prefinal, as he came from fourth to beat Aaron Aguirre, who followed him through from fifth on the grid. Skaufel led the opening lap of the main event before slowly slipping down the leaderboard to fifth. Aguirre improved on his P2 starting spot, taking the lead on lap two en route to his first win of the season. Andrew Murowatz was close behind in second, as Skaufel rebounded to finish in third to complete the podium.
Scoring the win in a packed PRD Junior 2 field Sunday was Aaron Aguirre (Photo: LAKC.org)
With only one entry less than the PRD Junior 2 field, the Pure Karting Honda Kid Karts featured a full grid of 17 drivers at the second round of the season. Scoring his first win with the LAKC was Dane Idelson, son of long-time karter Howie Idelson. The day started off on a sour note for the young Idelson, however, after he ran what would have been the third fastest lap in qualifying only to get disqualified for a fuel issue in tech. Idelson rebounded well in the eight-lap Prefinal, as he was able fight his way to a second place finish behind round one winner Cooper Hicks. The main event saw Hicks fall from the top-10 on the opening lap, leaving the door open for Idelson to assume the lead. He and Nick Curry fought it out for the race win, with Idelson finding his way around for the lead and the victory on the final lap. Chance Gibson and Carson Morgan finished second and third, while Zang O’Shaughnessy and Skyler Geczi completed the top-five.
Running on the track together were the Junior 1 and Junior 1 Comer Pilot classes. At the front of the group all weekend was Jagger Jones, as he scored the win in the Fleming Racing Engines Junior 1 Comer class. Myles Farhan kicked things off by scoring the pole position in qualifying as he edged out Jones by three tenths of a second. The pairing of Farhan and Jones stayed the same order during the Prefinal, despite Jagger leading five of the last six laps. Making the most of his front row starting spot, Jones stole the lead on lap one of the Final from Farhan and never looked back. Jones led every lap, doing everything that he could to keep Farhan behind. Finishing third was Daniel Inzunza, as he completed the podium. Cole Keith Cotham repeated as the winner in the Empire Karts Junior 1 Comer Pilot class. Cotham was once again the driver all others were chasing after qualifying second to Dominic Gorden. The Round One winner went on to beat Cole Morgan by just over two seconds for the Prefinal win, and followed it up with a seven-second margin of victory in the Final. Morgan finished in second with Kasey Gillis in the third position.
Dane Idelson had an up and down day in Honda Kid Kart that saw him leave with an impressive main event win (Photo: LAKC.org)
Racing on the track together at the second round of competition in Fontana were the Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior and PSL SoCal.com TaG Masters classes. Eric Molinatti and Erik Jackson each picked up their second wins of the season after winning at round one in February. Molinatti ran inside the TaG Senior top-two all day, although Carlee Taylor opened things up as the top qualifier, clearing the eventual winner by two tenths. Molinatti took the lead from Taylor at the start of the Prefinal, but Taylor fought back throughout the race until Eric reclaimed the lead for the win. The battle did not continue, as Molinatti led all 20 laps in the Final, driving away to a three-second win ahead of Tyler Coffman and Taylor. In the Masters class, Jackson picked up back-to-back wins. Ty Matta and Tony Rossetti led the way in qualifying, while Jackson ran the fourth quickest lap of the session. Jackson improved his position in the Prefinal, working his way up to the lead by lap five. Matta and Jackson fought back and forth with Matta earning the Prefinal win. Jackson jumped to the lead at the start of the main event, and led every lap to a 1.5-second victory over Matta with Rossetti in third.
Eric Molinatti scored the win in TaG Senior after running at the front all day (Photo: LAKC.org)
Round one winner Luis Perez had another great weekend in the Mike Manning Karting PRD Senior Pilot class this past weekend. Perez began the day by edging out Andrew Lemmons for the pole position by a scant two hundredths of a second. The Prefinal saw a battle early on between Perez and Michel Manning, with Perez coming out on top before KC Cook slid up into the second spot. Perez was on his way to a perfect score on the day until the final lap of the main event when Cook stole the top spot. Cook held on to score the victory with Perez settling in second ahead of Jacob Pope.
Myles Farhan added his name to the list of drivers scoring their second win in as many races at the LAKC this season, claiming the Ryan Perry Motorsports TaG Cadet victory. Farhan opened up the day third in qualifying, but came back with a terrific Prefinal as he took the lead before the start of lap four and led the remaining laps to cross the finish line first. Unfortunately for Farhan, he and his kart came across the scales underweight, removing him from the win. Dante Yu inherited Farhan’s vacated grid position and started the main event from the pole position. Farhan was not done, as he bounced back from the tail of the field to climb his way into the lead by lap six. He went on to lead the remainder of the race for his second victory of the season. Close behind Farhan in second and third were the Jones brothers, with Jagger and Jace coming home in that order.
Augie Lerch emerged as the victor in the 7G S1 Pro Stock Moto category, becoming the second different winner in the division’s first season at LAKC. Round one winner Billy Musgrave began where he left things after Race 31, grabbing the pole position in qualifying by nearly a full second over Matias Podboj as Lerch was third in the timed session. The Prefinal saw Podboj jump out to take an early lead, which he would hold solidly ahead of Lerch. Podboj paced the field until the final lap when Lerch found his way around for the lead and the win. Musgrave suffered a flat tire, and was forced to start from the tail of the combined S1, S2, and Open shifterkart group that was on-course. Lerch, starting on the front row, was solid as a rock in the main event as he led all 17 laps to pick up his first S1 main event victory, getting out quickly and away from his competition. Musgrave fought hard all race, and came back from a spin to finish second in class. Podboj rounded out the podium.
The 2Wild Karting S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto class was won, and swept, for the second time this season by Kolton Griffin. Beating Chandler Campbell by just over a tenth of a second for the pole position, Griffin went on to lead every lap of the Prefinal. Griffin raced for the overall lead while checking out on the rest of the S2 field, hanging with the Open shifter class leader. Gianfranco Casadei finished over four seconds behind Griffin in second place. Griffin lost none of his edge in the break between the Prefinal and the Final. The top dog in S2 brought the fight once again to the overall race leader competing in the Open shifter class. In the end, Griffin outlasted the competition as he went on to score the overall win, as well as his second clean sweep of the S2 category. Pete Yerkovich Jr. and Alejandro Fernandez stood next to Griffin on the podium.
Phil Giebler had his hands around the first place trophy in the TM Racing Open 125 Shifter class, that is, until the final laps when a loose neck protector and a black flag ended his day. Giebler began the day edging out Slava Prikhodko for the pole position in qualifying. Giebler looked sharp in the Prefinal as he led every circuit and scored the class and overall race win. Fending off challenges from S2 leader Kolton Griffin, Giebler fought with a severely blistered right rear tire. His bid for the win came to a close, just laps from the checkered as he was removed from the course. This handed the victory to Prikhodko, while Chris Curtis and Jesse Romer flanked him at the awards celebration after coming home in second and third, respectively.
Erik Jackson managed to score a big win in the S4 Master Stock Moto Final (Photo: LAKC.org)
Reigning class champion Willy Musgrave also fell just laps short of sweeping the second round of competition and picking up his first win of the season in the Musgrave Racing Company S4 Masters Stock Moto division. Willy began the day posting the fast lap of qualifying, edging out Alex King for the pole position. Musgrave was perfect in the Prefinal as he led all 10 laps ahead Jason Chott at the checkers. Musgrave continued to lead the field in the Final, until lap seven when he relinquished the spot to a hard charging Erik Jackson, coming up from third on the grid. Jackson never looked back, crossing the finish line two seconds ahead of Musgrave with Rob Logan behind in third.
Steve Donia narrowly missed out on sweeping the weekend in Acceleration Kart RacingS4 Magnum at round one in February. The opening day winner made sure to secure the sweep early this time, grabbing the pole position by nearly a half-second over Jack Nielson. Donia went on to lead every lap of the Prefinal, and the main event was more of the same as Donia led the way to a five-second advantage ahead of John Reikes and Nielson. Nicky Hays followed up his win in Round One with a strong day at Round Two in theNash Motorsportz S5 Junior Stock Moto class. After grabbing the pole position, Hays went on to win the main event. Anthony Sawyer and Hannah Grisham completed the podium.
The action in the D Power Racing PRD Senior class was terrific last month, and the incredible quality of competition was showcased in qualifying early Sunday afternoon as Paul Bonilla beat Nathan Seegrist by just seven thousandths of a second for the pole position. Bonilla led the opening two laps of the Prefinal before Matt Johnson would take his turn at the front. With four laps to go, Travis Lowe made his debut at the front of the field, making it a great battle to the end. Johnson eventually reclaimed the lead and went on to score the win. The main event featured the same great racing and even a few surprises. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the race was Derek Zimmerman. Starting in the sixth position, Zimmerman worked his way to the lead and drove to the main event win over Johnson and Lowe, two of the sport’s top single-speed karters in the country.
The PhilGieblerRacing.com PRD Masters class was up and down all day, with a number of drivers in contention. Kalvin Chen secured the top spot in qualifying, followed up by point leader John Bush and Mike Johnson. Bush, Brian Phillipsen and Paul Bonilla made up the lead trio in the Prefinal, and all took their turn at the lead in the opening seven laps. The final two circuits though belonged to Johnson, who fought his way past all three to score the race win. Johnson led the first 14 of the scheduled 16 laps in the main event until Bonilla came knocking. Driving all the way from dead last after a DQ in the Prefinal, Bonilla took the lead over in the final two laps and crossed the finish line in first place. Another post-race infraction was handed to Bonilla and gave the victory to Johnson, who was joined on the podium by Phillipsen and Steve Hansen.
The Los Angeles Karting Championship returns next month, set to host the third round of the season on April 27 at the CalSpeed facility. With racing getting closer and closer each weekend, point battles will take a clearer form, with every round of competition so crucially important moving forward. The LAKC would once again like to thank all of its incredible class and series sponsors for their support to making 2014 a fantastic season. For more about the Los Angeles Karting Championship, please visit LAKC.org and Like them on Facebook.
Updated 22 Mar 2014 12:33
Number of Firsts for Opening Round of Los Angeles Karting Championship
Number of firsts for opening round of Los Angeles Karting Championship
Racing underway in 2014 for organization with opening round contested at CalSpeed Karting Center
LAKC kicked off its 2014 season with cool temps and large fields (Photo: LAKC.org)
FONTANA, CALIFORNIA (February 14, 2014) - The 2014 season began for the Los Angeles Karting Championship on February 9, hosting the opening round of their nine-race championship series. Over 200 entries gathered at the CalSpeed Karting Center under less than perfect skies as crew and family members came to the grid to watch the races in hoodies and hats. Despite the cooler weather, LAKC racers enjoyed themselves and put on the high level of racing LAKC is accustomed to. Along with great entry numbers in all classes at round one, there was an excitement in the air as LAKC introduced four new classes to the club's competition schedule. The opening weekend featured plenty of great racing, with new faces in new places kicking off what is going to be another great year of racing for the LAKC.
Huge fields turned out in the PRD classes with 18 drivers a piece in PRD 2 and PRD Senior, with 13 drivers in the PRD Senior Pilot class. Chance Skaufel scored the win in PRD Junior 2 presented by Mack Motorsports. Skaufel put on an impressive show through the first round of action after qualifying 10th. A daunting task ahead of him, Chance drove well in the heat race advancing up to fourth. Skaufel then got a terrific start at the drop of the green flag in the main, vaulting him to the lead by the completion of lap one. From there, it was clear sailing for Skaufel as he led every lap and drove to the victory. Jordan Turner drove from sixth on the grid to lay down the fastest lap of the main event, just inches away from Skaufel at the line. Anthony Sawyer finished a close third with top qualifier Gary Lyles and prefinal winner Dylan Cartier involved in a wreck on lap eight.
It was a solid day for Paul Bonilla as he ran near the front all weekend and scored the win in the D Power PRD Senior class. Bonilla would have to contend with a host of talented drivers. First it was Jordan Robertson picking up the pole in qualifying ahead of Bonilla and Matt Johnson. The heat race was a tight one as Robertson and Johnson danced at the front of the pack. Johnson put the moves on leader Robertson on the final lap and scored the heat race win. The main event saw three different drivers hold the point at separate times during the race. Johnson made good on his prefinal win as he led the opening three circuits before being challenged by Nathan Seegrist, who led four laps. The two battled over the next three circuits as Bonilla was working his way back up from the fifth position. Johnson would cross the line first with Bonilla trailing and Robertson third. In post race deliberations, Johnson was penalized four positions for contact made with Bonilla earlier in the race. That moved Bonilla to the top of the podium, bumping Robertson to second and put Robby Stanovich on the podium.
PRD Senior victory was awarded to Paul Bonilla (Photo: LAKC.org)
Luis Perez swept the opening round of MMK PRD Senior Pilot class this past weekend scoring a perfect three for three. After scoring the pole in qualifying Perez lost the lead to Michel Manning at the start of the prefinal. Perez would take the lead back at halfway and drive to the win. The main event was nearly a perfect replica of the heat race with Manning taking the lead for the first six laps. After racing with Jacob Pope for the second position, Perez got around Manning with nine laps remaining en route to the victory. Perez drove to a near one-second win over Manning and Pope.
Over the off-season, the LAKC strengthened their relationship with Superkarts! USA, adding the S1 Pro Stock Moto, S5 Junior Stock Moto and TaG Master divisions. A fourth category – Junior One Comer Pilot – was also brought onto the LAKC class roster to help develop the young talent that competes in the area every month.
In the first weekend for the highly competitive 7th Gear S1 Pro Stock Moto category, Billy Musgrave made history as the first S1 winner of the LAKC. After torching his competition in S2 last year, Musgrave is expected to lead the way in the S1 ranks this year. Musgrave was joined in S1 category by series regulars Lloyd Mack and Matias Podboj, along with other talented drivers planning to compete in LAKC races this season. Podboj earned the first ever pole position in the newly appointed S1 class after he laid down a 45.462-second lap in qualifying. Podboj went backwards at the start of the heat race and fell several positions in the race group that included S2 and Open 125. Musgrave took over the S1 lead and took the win with Podboj recovering to be a close second. Musgrave ran at the point the entire main event, pulling out to a 10-second advantage over Podboj with Mack disqualified for rough driving and misconduct following contact with an Open driver.
Erik Jackson doubled up in the win column, including S4 Master Stock Moto (Photo: LAKC.org)
Along with S1 and S5, the PSL So-Cal TaG Masters was added to the LAKC completing the club’s SKUSA class list. Erik Jackson swept the weekend as he went three for three, grabbing the pole, prefinal win and main event victory. Jackson drove a great main event that took him into the top-10 racing amongst the lighter and younger TaG Senior drivers. Behind Jackson in the finishing order was Guy Hepner and Roy Steele.
The fourth class added in 2014 was the Empire Karts Junior 1 Comer Pilot class, dominated by Cole Keith Cotham. The tone was set in qualifying as Cotham secured the pole position over Maxi Saga in qualifying before proceeding to beat Ryan McElwee by over 14 seconds in the prefinal. The theme continued into the main event where Cotham checked out to an astonishing 17-second victory. Coming home in second was Ethan Ho followed by Kasey Gillis, who drove from seventh on the grid to podium.
Erik Jackson added a second win on the day, as last year’s vice champion in the Musgrave Racing Company S4 Masters Stock Moto swept the opening round. After narrowly beating out Rob Logan by two hundredths of a second for the pole position, Jackson went on to lead every lap in the prefinal. Behind Jackson in the heat race was John Crow and Brad Dhesi. When the flag dropped on the main, Crow nailed the start and got around Jackson to lead the opening lap. By lap two, Jackson reclaimed the lead and stayed there for the remainder of the race as he drove to a 1.3-second win over Crow. Behind the leaders though was Musgrave making up lost ground from a DNF in the heat race. The defending champion improved his position every lap to reach the top-five. By lap 11, Musgrave was third on the board and held it to the checkered flag. Steve Donia nearly swept the weekend in S4 Magnum – presented by Acceleration Kart Racing – after he missed qualifying and proceeded to win the prefinal and final. Top qualifier Sal Menudiado was second in the prefinal, but Gary Delcoure and Jeff Krogstad pushed him back to complete the podium in the S4 Magnum final.
TaG Senior winner Eric Molinatti (Photo: LAKC.org)
S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto presented by 2Wild Karting took on a new complexion in 2014 with the departure of the several drivers to the S1 ranks, most notably last year’s champ Billy Musgrave. The day was swept easily by Kolton Griffin, as he and a host of S2 drivers began their bid for the class championship. After finishing in the fifth position in last year’s standings, Griffin is poised to make a run for the championship and Sunday proved that. The Arizona driver grabbed the pole position over Alejandro Fernandez by nearly a half second while Cameron Jocelyn, Taylor Monning and Cris Araujo filled out the top five. After leading every lap of the prefinal and scoring the overall win, Griffin continued the pace into the main event. The 16-lap feature was one of Griffin’s best, quickly pulling away from Gianfranco Casadei and Fernandez while pacing with the S1 pilots. When the checkered fell and the dust settled, Griffin scored the victory by nearly 12 seconds over Fernandez with Casadei third. Griffin was also credited with the fast lap of the entire race group.
The TM Racing USA Open 125 Shifter class has always been a popular category and the trend looks to continue in 2014. Making a special guest appearance in the category on the opening weekend was former IndyCar driver Phil Giebler. Defending Open 125 champion and class favorite Alex King had left the class to compete in the S2 field this season changing the complexion of the wildly competitive class. Giebler got things rolling in qualifying as he edged out Slava Prikhodko for the pole position. Giebler would hold the lead the length of the race in the prefinal, going wire-to-wire for the win with Prikhodko not far behind. For the first time all race day, Giebler was relegated out of the lead as Prikhodko launched strong off the grid and took the top spot from Giebler. Slava would hold the position for the entire distance, securing the first main event victory of the 2014 season. Giebler settled for second with Chris Curtis completing the Open 125 shifter class podium.
Nicky Hays made history as the first S5 Junior Stock Moto winner (Photo: LAKC.org)
The front of the field was musical chairs throughout the day in the Fleming Racing Engines Junior 1 Comer class. First in qualifying was last year’s championship runner-up Joseph Daniele, beating out George Diakoumopoulos for the pole position. Daniele led the prefinal past the halfway point until Jagger Jones had worked his way up the order from fifth. The two raced and traded the lead over the next four laps, with Jones ultimately coming out with the win. Jones led the opening lap of the main event before he was challenged again by top qualifier Daniele, who led the next five laps. After finishing fifth in the prefinal, Ryan Schartau found more speed and was able to challenge for the lead by the seventh circuit. Jones, who fell back after contact early on, fought his way back toward the point and pushed back Schartau to retake the lead. Daniel Inzunza made his way forward doing the battle, and found himself among the leaders. On the final lap, the leaders were working around lap traffic when contact was made, including Daniele. Thankfully, everyone walked away however the checkered flag came out early and the race was scored by the previous lap. Inzunza and Jones were leading at that time with Daniele in third, making up the provisional top-three. Unfortunately, the top-two would be penalized for contact with each other earlier in the race, and Daniele was removed from the results for causing the incident. That promoted Schartau to the top step of the podium with Dakota Tate moved up to second. Jones was penalized two positions, which placed him third with Inzunza down to fifth in the final order.
The opening round was exciting in the FA Racing PRD Masters class as John Bush left with the class victory. Matt Magilke beat out Ron Rossetti for the pole position in qualifying with Mike Johnson and Bush in third and fourth. Paul Bonilla came from nowhere to take the lead in the prefinal as Magilke and Johnson slipped at the start. Bonilla went on to lead every lap of the heat as he drove to the win ahead Johnson and Bush. Bush made the most of his third place starting spot in the feature race as he took the lead on the opening circuit, going on to lead every lap to the victory. Brian Phillipsen drove up to second as Rossetti completed the podium.
Kid Kart Honda winner Copper Hicks in action at CalSpeed (Photo: LAKC.org)
One of the feel good stories of the weekend was seeing the return of Dakota Dickerson to the seat of a race kart after shattering his wrist and arm in an accident last September. Like a fish to water, Dakota went right back to work as he secured the pole position in the Buddy Rice Karting TaG Senior, posting a 47.271-second lap. Dakota led the opening circuit of the heat race before the 2013 PRD Senior champion Eric Molinatti took over the lead on lap two. Molinatti stayed at the point till the end with Dickerson finishing second. The main event belonged to Molinatti as he led all 16 circuits. Dickerson had a very successful return to racing with a solid second place finish with Tyler Coffman rounding out the TaG Senior podium.
Myles Farhan was added to the list of sweeps on the day, as he led the way in the RPM TaG Cadet class. Farhan kicked things off by grabbing the pole position ahead of double duty racer Joseph Daniele. Anthony Willis, Johnny Dressler and Ryan Schartau completed the top five in qualifying. The prefinal saw Willis jump up on the opening lap to take the lead from Farhan before relinquishing it on the second lap around. After regaining the lead, Farhan drove to a half-second win over Schartau, with Willis in third. Farhan was perfect in the main event, leading every lap while Schartau, Willis and the Jones brothers – Jagger and Jace – raced closely behind. In the end, Jagger Jones drove to a second place finish with Willis behind in third place. Daniele and Jace Jones completed the top-five.
In the Hyper Engines PRD Junior 1 class, lone entry Justin Hodge had a perfect weekend. Cooper Hicks made a strong showing in the season opener in the Pure Karting Honda Kid Kart class as he swept the day. Looking solid in qualifying, Hicks beat out Chance Gibson for the pole position. The two would run 1-2 again in both the prefinal and the main event as Hicks racked up the win in both races. Gibson recorded a solid second place finish while Camden Goetz, Ian Dodge and Austin Manka completed the top-five. HPD claimed the winning engine to help ensure the integrity of the program, with Hicks receiving a replacement this week.
The welcome back weekend of the LAKC went off without a hitch keeping with the theme of terrific racing that members of the series have come to expect and enjoy. With the opening weekend of 2014 in the books, the Los Angeles Karting Championship racers will prepare for their second round of competition coming up in a little over a month when they return to CalSpeedKartingCenter on March 16. For more about the Los Angeles Karting Championship, please visit LAKC.org and Like them on Facebook.