|March 23, 2009 News
|eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month - Jacob Neal - February 2009
| Jacob Neal earned two wins in Willow Springs, besting both the S1 and S3 divisions|
(Photo: Joey Barros - NEIPhoto.com)
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
California was the birth place of karting back in the late 1950s and since has produced numerous legends and stars within the sport. Many have gone on to bigger and brighter things while others continue to show the way each weekend out on the kart track. The eKartingNews.com February Driver of the Month - Jacob Neal - is honing his skills to be successful no matter which direction his motorsports career will take him.
Neal scored two victories at the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South Willow Springs Raceway event back on February 28. Neal made it look easy in the S1 category, as he swept the day’s on-track sessions. With a full year in the ICC division now under his belt, Neal put his experience on display as he led all of the green flag laps in both heat races and the feature. In contrast to what happened at the CalSpeed round, where an injury put Neal on the sidelines for the S1 feature after he showed the way earlier in the day, this outing was picture-perfect.
Doing the double duty stint once again, Neal was right in the middle of the S3 battle, although it was no easy task with a number of championship contenders in attendance. Neal was second in Qualifying and with a great start, lead early on in the opening heat race but would end up second. Another great start put Neal at the point of the second heat race however settled for second behind Jimmy McNeil once again. Going three for three at the drop of the green, Neal grabbed the hole shot once again. This time however Neal would go on to lead flag-to-flag for his second victory of the weekend with McNeil settling for second.
Randy Neal, Jacob’s father, found karting at all places, a sand sail convention. Current karter Taylor Miinch had a kart on display there and found out more about the sport for his young son. Jacob got his first kart in 2002, a Haase cadet, and began racing at the Apex Karting Center in Perris, California, just north of their hometown. After just one year into the sport, Neal went to battle at the big events on the west coast, including the big IKF events and the Stars of Karting Cadet division. Neal went on to win the Western Division title and tied for the national championship but would lose in the tie breaker scenario.
In 2004, Neal moved up to the Junior division and contested the Junior Intercontinental A (JICA) category placing a respectable ninth in the Western standings. The following year would be his breakout season on the national scene. Three wins on the year, including a big win at the Stars National Finals in Austin, Texas put Neal third in the overall championship after placing second in the Western standings. Carrying the #3 plate in 2006, Neal went winless in Stars competition but was consistently near the front to place second in the standings for his final year in the Junior category.
Moving up to the Intercontinental A (ICA) in 2007, Neal went through a learning curve as the competition got tougher. He ended the season eighth in the standings with a couple podium runs on the year. Last year, Neal moved to the Intercontinental C (ICC) division, the top level in North American karting. Two goals Neal set out to achieve on the year were a pole position and a podium finish. Neal earned the latter at the Eastern Division finale as he finished third in Wisconsin while taking top qualifying honors at the Western Division closer in Seattle. The season ended with Neal ninth in the Stars standings and tenth in the eKartingNews.com ICC Driver Rankings in addition to a third in the S1 category at the SKUSA SuperNationals XII in Las Vegas.
| Jacob Neal - EKN Driver of the Month - February 2009|
(Photo: Superkarts! USA)
February 2009 EKN Driver of the Month - Jacob Neal
Date of Birth: May 2, 1991
Hometown: Wildomar, CA
Parents: Randy and Dianne Neal
Siblings: Jessica Neal
Height/Weight: 6'2" / 155lbs.
Education: Calvery Chapel Murrieta (Class of 2009)
Job: Dont have one, I work for my Dad sometimes and work as a mechanic for other drivers sometimes
Chassis: CRG Road Rebel
Engine/Engine Builder: Maxter/SwedeTech
Sponsors: CRG, Maxter, PCH, Douglas Wheels, SwedeTech
Series You Compete In: ProKart North and South, usually Stars of Karting but not this year
Years Karting: 7
How did you get started in karting? My Dad got me into karting after seeing Taylor Miinch's kart at a sand sail convention! (small world)
What has been the high point in your racing career? I don’t believe I have been at my highest point yet, I get better every time I race but the point that really jump started my racing career was the win at the Stars of Karting Final in JICA at Austin, Texas - 2005.
What are your goals in racing? To do the best I can with what I’m given, from there I will go where the doors open
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? Smooth and conservative
Funniest moment at the race track? I ghost rode my Formula Y kart across the Buttonwillow track and totaled it at the IKF Grand Nationals
Favorite Track: All time favorite is the old Moran Raceway, currently Infineon Raceway
Favorite form of professional motorsports: Le Mans
Favorite karting driver: Gary Carlton
Favorite professional driver: Kimi Raikkonen
Favorite website: eKartingNews.com
Favorite movie: Tommy Boy
Favorite actor/actress: Don’t have one
Favorite music/group: All music except country music
Favorite vacation/activity spot: Hanging with Mattia Madami (CRG mechanic) in Italy
Favorite food: Seafood/fish/pasta & seafood combined
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? Paintball, Kick Boxing, Krav Maga, School work, and hang with friends
What are your goals outside of karting? Get a Masters in both Mechanical and Computer Engineering
What type of street car do you drive? The Family Truck
What type of street car would you like to drive? Realistically, Mazda Speed3 or tricked out Mini Cooper
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Continually being nagged
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? Helping out the new karters at the local tracks when testing, giving them some driving tips or knowledge about the kart can go a long way.
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? Easy to get into, you can learn all aspects of driving skills at your own time and money. It's like open wheel racing (close racing and true handling) but you can still bump and hit people on the track with out paying for a new $5,000 front wing every time.
February Driver of the Month - Honorable Mention:
- Taylor Miinch: IKF Region 7 CalSpeed - Three-time winner
- Fabio Orsolon: Florida Winter Tour - Two-time Rotax Senior winner
- Alex Speed: Florida Winter Tour - Three-time winner (KF2 and ProShifter)