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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Racing S4 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 the Nash 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.