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Texas ProKart Challenge
|Texas ProKart Challenge Kicks Off at Gulf Coast Kartways|
|Friday, 11 May 2012 11:16|
The inaugural Texas ProKart Challenge (TPKC) presented by 3G Kart Racing/Burger King™/Fernelius Alvarez Attorneys event went into the books over the weekend (May 4-6) at the Gulf Coast Kartways facility in Katy, Texas. The TPKC is a combination of Superkarts! USA (SKUSA) and United States Rotax Max Challenge (USRMC) programs, kicking off the year with rounds one and two around the 7/10-mile course. The Gulf Coast Karters helped to organize a great event with a ton of positive feedback throughout the weekend from a number of competitors.
“This was a great way to open up the Texas ProKart Challenge program. With the support of so many companies and a solid group of racers, the weekend went off perfectly,” stated TPKC director Dave Pauly. “We had a number of track records fall over the weekend, showing the talent that was here this weekend. The racing was great and the mixture of SKUSA and Rotax racers proved to be a great combination. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year.”
The big categories on the weekend were the S2 Semi-Pro and S4 Master Stock Moto divisions with 12 and eight drivers, respectively. S1 Pro driver Jake French led both groups as he ran uncontested on the weekend for maximum points in the Rollo Insurance sponsored class. A familiar name was at the front of the Miller & Brown LLP-sponsored S2 field to begin round one as Jordon Musser led the way in qualifying, edging out Garrett Boone by just two-hundredths for the quick lap. Boone got the jump on Musser to begin heat one, scoring the win after 10 laps. Heat two, Musser grabbed the holeshot trailed by Connor Wagner. On the final lap, Wagner maneuvered into the lead to score the win over Musser and Boone. Wagner kept the momentum going in the main event, challenging French early for the overall win before settling back and securing the inaugural Texas ProKart Challenge victory in S2. Boone was unable to start the main event while Musser suffered a mechanical while running second. This moved S2 rookies Miguel Lopez and Alex Tartaglia onto the podium. Boone returned on Sunday to score a sweep in Round #2. Leading the way in qualifying, Boone led all 20 laps in the two heat races as well as the 16-lap main event to record a perfect day. Ryan Kinnear drove to second with Wagner scoring a second podium of the weekend in third.
Former SKUSA SuperNationals S4 winner Chris Jennings battled his way to double victories in the LCG Discovery Experts-sponsored class. Steve McCaffery led the way to kick off the event, posting the fast lap in Round #1 qualifying. Jennings was second, striking first in heat one with the win. James Garvin got the best of both in heat two, coming forward from fourth to score the win, all running nose to tail. Jennings slowly worked his way to point in the main event, taking over the lead on lap five and driving away to a three-second victory over McCaffery and Garvin. Jennings started Round #2 on top, posting fast lap in qualifying by nearly five-tenths of a second. The field caught up in heat one with Garvin and McCaffery both working by for position. Jennings struck back in heat two after a hard battle, scoring the win in the final lap over McCaffery, who was disqualified for a driving infraction. With both Garvin and McCaffery retiring early in the feature, Jennings cruised to a 23-second victory with Milton Rivera and Lyndall Couch rounding out the podium.
The Motul-sponsored S5 Junior Stock Moto category welcomed a new driver to the class as 2010 SKUSA SuperNationals TaG Cadet winner Patricio O’Ward made his debut with a double win weekend. Andretta Young opened up the weekend as the top qualifier, edging out O’Ward by 33-thousandths of a second. O’Ward displayed his talent come race time, driving to the win in both heat races and scoring the feature win by over two seconds. Young finished second with Jacob Loomis finishing third. Sunday was a carbon-copy, this time with Allyn Hewitt posting the fast lap in qualifying as O’Ward settled for second. From there, O’Ward went perfect as he led all the laps in the heat races and main event. Young scored another runner-up finish with Hewitt standing on the podium in third. S3 Novice Stock Moto, sponsored by Margison Graphics, ran at the same time with Andres Rodriguez sweeping the weekend over Matt Stephenson.
Gill Lipton and veteran Robby Mott showed the way in the TaG categories. Lipton doubled up in the CT Customs TaG Senior division as did Mott in the Gulf Coast Karters Inc. TaG Master class. Lipton went near perfect on Saturday, leading the way the entire day to score the victory. Cody Freeman placed second and stole the fast lap honors in the main event with Mark Steenland in third. Freeman stepped up on Sunday, topping the charts in qualifying and scoring the win in heat one. A DNF in heat two allowed Lipton to reassume his spot at the front, taking the win and going on to earn the feature victory by three-tenths over Freeman with Steenland completing the podium. Mott scored maximum points on the weekend, putting in a flawless performance. Mott drove to a three-second win on Saturday over Scott Boone and Paul Jones. Sunday, he increased his margin of victory to 10-seconds with Jones in second and Patrick Roth in third. In Rotax competition, CJ Cramm, David Pergande and DJ Ortiz were the double winners. Cramm was near perfect in Senior Max, sweeping Saturday’s action with a DNF in heat two on Sunday his only blemish on the weekend, out running Sheridan Odom. Pergande scored maximum points in Rotax Masters over Steve Clark while Ortiz went unchallenged in DD2 Master.
The J&T Racing Rotax Junior category witnessed some great racing throughout the weekend with Michael Ilavia and Jesse Woodyard earning the victories. Ilavia was the top dog in qualifying to begin Round #1, edging out Woodyard and Patricio O’Ward. Ilavia led early in heat one until Woodyard took over the spot and crossed the line first. He would be removed from the results however for a tech infraction, moving O’Ward to P1 with Ilavia placing third. O’Ward showed the way in heat two until Ilavia reassumed the point to score the win. Ilavia was the driver to beat in the feature until Woodyard completed his recovery from the heat one mishap, taking over the lead on lap 11. The fight for the win came down to the final lap with Ilavia securing the top spot and the victory over Woodyard with O’Ward back in third. Day two was nearly all Woodyard. Earning the pole position in qualifying by a slim 69-thousandth of a second over Ilavia, Woodyard scored the win in heat one. Ilavia was able to get the jump on Woodyard in heat two, leading the entire 10 laps to put the only blemish on Woodyard’s day. The two battled once again in the main event with Woodyard escaping to score the victory by just over two-seconds. Ilavia finished second with O’Ward once again in third.
Cadet racing on the weekend was thrilling each time the young drivers hit the track. With three categories racing, there was no shortage of excitement. Maxwell Waithman was the top winner in the category, scoring three feature wins on the weekend. Waithman swept the Rollo Insurance Micro Max category features. Saturday was a complete sweep, out-running Landen Wilkins and Ethan Arndt. Sunday was nearly the same, except for a mishap in heat two when Waithman was disqualified in the tech barn. He fought back in the feature to score the victory by 26-seconds. Waithman’s third victory of the weekend came on Sunday in the Iron Rock Motorsports TaG Cadet class. Maxwell nearly pulled off the sweep, but was edge out for the win in heat two by just 57 thousandths of a second. He came back to earn the win in the feature race over Parker Chase and Ryan C. Lewis. Chase was the other winner in TaG Cadet, scoring the Round #1 victory. The fight for the win began in qualifying with Waithman on top before Max Hewitt won the first heat. Waithman won the battle in heat two but Chase conquered the war, taking the feature win by four-tenths over Waithman with Hewitt in third. David Ilavia and Max Hewitt split the main event wins in the AquaJet Mini Max class. Ilavia was the driver to beat on Saturday, crossing the line first ahead of Michael D’Herde and Ryan C. Lewis. Sunday’s action came down to the end with Hewitt able to escape with the victory over David Scott Jr. and Lewis.
Next up for the Texas ProKart Challenge will be a trip to the Grandsport Speedway in Houston, Texas for the June 2-3 weekend. The six-round series will then come to an end at the North Texas Karters facility in Denton, Texas on June 30-July 1. Be sure to visit http://www.texasprokartchallenge.com or http://www.superkartsusa.com/regional/texas-pkc.html for more information on the TPKC and also add them to your Facebook pages by searching texaspkc.