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Next ProKart Challenge Event


Round 1 - Buttonwillow March 23-24, 2024
Buttonwillow Raceway Park
24551 Lerdo Highway
Buttonwillow, CA 93206
(661) 764-5333
Website // Google Maps

California ProKart Challenge

Saunders and Schoombee Light Up Streets of Willow for Wins at PKC South
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 08:04
With a wide open course and over 100 mph speeds, anything can and will happen. The fourth round of the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South program saw just that as they visited the popular Streets of Willow course in Rosamond, California, co-hosting with a US Rotax Max Challenge program – the Gatorz Karting Cup series. Considered by many as a sprint course on steroids, the 1.8-mile course at the Willow Springs International Motorsports Park provides the feel of road racing while still providing the short-track mentality.

Drafting is a key element contesting the Streets course – with the ability to get through the corners the quickest still a crucial part to putting together the right package. Working together was another factor – both on and off the track. Drivers worked together to produce the fast laps, while SKUSA and Gatorz Karting Cup operations joined forces to put on the event, welcoming over 100 drivers total. The union was the first for the two separate entities, and with the experiment a great success, cooperation between the two is expected to be seen in the future for the two Southern California-based operations. “It was a great time working with the Gatorz crew and seeing so many karts on track – we’re definitely planning on doing it again,” stated SKUSA’s Tom Kutscher.

The largest group of the weekend was the TaG Senior field, led early by championship contender and SKUSA SpringNationals double winner Phil Giebler. Posting a 1:21.433-lap, Giebler edged out Devin Lindsey for the pole position by just six-thousandths of a second. The two led the field to the green flag for the first 10-lap heat race, with the lead group becoming four with the addition of PKC newcomers Nick Johnston and Scott Saunders. The four took turns at the point until Giebler assumed the lead and went on for the win ahead of Lindsey, Saunders and Johnston. The second round was much the same, this time joined by Shawn Cricca to make it a five-way battle for the win. By the halfway mark, Saunders established himself as the lead man, cruising to victory only to have it taken away in the tech barn with improper fuel being used. This gave the win to Lindsey with Cricca, Giebler and Johnston following. Starting from the back in the feature, Saunders used the track to his advantage, knifing his way forward early to reach the top-five by the fifth lap of the 16-lap main event. With the front group not working together, Saunders was able to join the battle for the victory. Taking the lead on lap eight, Saunders proved to be unstoppable as he led the remaining laps to score the win by 4.362 seconds. Lindsey broke off to finish alone in second as Giebler held off Cricca for the final podium step.

In the S1 category, it was all Clinton Schoombee as the SKUSA SpringNationals round 2 winner swept the action on the day. As the quickest kart in qualifying, Schoombee posted a 1:17.389-lap as the only Stock Moto kart below the 1:18-mark. Point leader Tommy Thompson was second, with fellow championship contender Brad Dunford in third. The order remained unchanged through both heat races as Schoombee led all 20 laps in front of Thompson and Dunford. Quiet through the day, Peter Abba got a great jump on the field, going from well back to lead the class across the stripe for the first time. Thompson also jumped Schoombee to run second behind Abba before taking over the lead on the second lap. Schoombee would also relegate Abba back to third, leaving the top duo to battle it out for the win. The two swapped the lead until lap 12, when Schoombee secured the spot for good – going on to take the victory by two seconds and overtaking the point lead in the championship. Abba held on to third as Dunford lost ground early on and would not be able to recover.

Thus far, the S4 category has produced some of the best and most competitive races in the series. With three different feature winners in as many races, the fourth round did not disappoint – as Jonathon Allen scored his first ever ProKart Challenge victory. The event began with teammates sitting 1-2-3 after qualifying with Wayne Mello, Jeff Littrell and Doug Hayashi pacing the field. Mello and Littrell were separated by just 0.067-second for their fast laps, while point leader Willy Musgrave and Allen capped off the fast-five. Mello would lead all but one lap of the first heat race as Littrell slipped by on the final circuit to claim the win – while Hayashi held off Phil Dunford and Allen for third. In the second heat, Mello fell back to sixth at one point but was able to work his way to the front to cross the line just ahead of Littrell. Musgrave battled back to third, with Allen and Dunford close behind. The 16-lap feature looked to be a carbon-copy of the heat races with Mello and Littrell out front. The complexion of the race changed with six laps to go, as Musgrave made it a three-kart lead group. As they exchanged positions, this allowed others to join the fun. With Musgrave leading at the two-to-go mark, he would loose control of his machine through the tight and bumpy right hand corner. With nowhere to go, he collected a charging Rob Whitley, who was running a borrowed kart after his chassis broke during Friday practice and had worked himself up to second at that point. Whitley would find his race come to an end, while Musgrave would continue on – but out of the hunt. This gave Littrell the lead with Allen and Peter Workum in the challenger positions. Through the final circuit, both Allen and Workum maneuvered around Littrell as the teammates crossed the line 1-2. Littrell capped off the podium, with Mello and Dunford completing the top-five.

Schoombee was not the lone driver to score a sweep on the event. In G1, Nick Firestone returned to the series to upset the nine-kart field. One of the fastest karts on track, Firestone was unchallenged throughout the day. The only driver in the field to post a sub-1:18 lap in qualifying, Firestone led all 20 laps in the heat races and the 16 laps for the main event victory. Robert Marks was a solid second throughout the day, gaining valuable points on championship leader PP Mastro, who stood on the third step of the podium. Ron Rossetti extended his point lead in the TaG Master category with a sweep of his own. Scoring maximum points, Rossetti stood on top of the podium for the second time on the season, with Jeff Bobbitt and Steve Wiener ending up second and third. Making his second start of the season, Vivek Tandon showed the way in the S2 division. Taking top honors in qualifying, Tandon scored both heat wins and the feature victory by 11 seconds. Behind him was a great battle for second with five drivers among the fight. At the line, Ryon Beachner edged out point leader Billy Musgrave for the second step on the podium. In TaG Junior, Andrew Wiener ran unchallenged to the victory on the day.

The S3 Novice Stock Moto division saw a great battle for the win throughout the event. Jason Attwood had the advantage in qualifying, edging out Tristen Orear. In the first heat, Orear had the advantage at the line, with Attwood striking back in the second heat for the win. The two continued to exchange the lead throughout the 16-lap feature, with Attwood crossing the line just a few tenths in front to score win number three on the season. Jessica Sollberger scored her first podium of the season, placing third behind the top two. Luke Bianco extended his point lead in the S4 Magnum category with his third straight feature win. Showing the way through qualifying and the first heat, Bianco retired early in the second heat after racing contact with an S4 driver, allowing PKC newbie Chuck Clendenen to score the win. Bouncing back in the feature, Bianco drove forward to score the victory over Clendenen and Larry Metter. The S5 Junior Stock Moto battle came down to the top two in the championship chase – Matias Podboj and Scott Phillips. After Podboj scored the fast lap honor in qualifying, the two split the heat wins. At the start of the feature, Podboj showed the way – until Phillips took over on lap 10. From there, Phillips held on to score win three on the season, with Podboj crossing the line just half a second back. Micah Hendricks scored podium number two of the year, outrunning Al Simpson for the third spot.

The fifth round of the ProKart Challenge South program will send the teams and drivers to the Buttonwillow Raceway kart track on June 25-26, with ProKart Challenge North doing battle prior to that on June 11-12 at the Jim Russell International Karting Center at the Infineon Raceway facility. Both events will lead into the second round of the SKUSA North American Pro Tour on July 16-18 for the SKUSA SummerNationals at the USA International Raceway in Shawano, Wisconsin.