|April 23, 2005 News
|EKN Trackside - Stars of Karting Moran - Saturday Report
|After a wet ending to Friday’s practice sessions, blue skies greeted the drivers of the Stars of Karting championship when they arrived at Moran Raceway for the second round of the Western Division schedule. A light wind blew across the facility throughout the day and despite the fact that dark clouds threatened early in the afternoon, the day remained dry and the action was fantastic. What transpired was a split in excitement with a few incredible races being tempered by a pair of walk-away wins. The ICC final was undoubtedly one of the greatest single races in the history of American shifterkart racing. Alex Speed, Darren Elliott and Jason Bowles put on an amazing show while the performances of Alan Rudolph and John Zartarian coming from the tail of the field was stuff of legend.
| The ICC Final featured nose to tail action between Jason Bowles (11) Alex Speed (1) and Darren Elliott|
CompCor’s Bowles (Tony Kart) came out of the box strong in ICC qualifying, posting a 1:02.399 to hold the early lead. Bowles would go on to flip-flop the provisional pole with fellow Tony Kart driver Ryan Yop, who looks very good this weekend. Bowles dropped the quick time further to a 1:01.996 yet after waiting for a few minutes to go out, Elliott then rolled his DDR TM-powered CRG and on his first flyer stole the provisional pole with a 1:01.650. RBI’s Alan Rudolph set the fourth quickest time of the group on his out-lap and then jumped to P3 with an eventual 1:01.986.
Through the middle of the session, many of the fast drivers fully leveraged the length of the extended 15-minute limit by heading to the hot pit lane midway through the run to make set-up adjustments. When the checkers flew on the “A” Group, Elliott was on top followed by Rudolph and Bowles. Yop and Speed rounded out the provisional top five. Tad Funakoshi (Topkart), reunited with mechanical Enzo Chiovitti Jr., ended the session back in sixth.
The second group rolled with Italian Motors’ David Jurca (Italkart) first on the track. Headlining the B list were Trackmagic factory shoe Gary Carlton, Jurca and ICC rookie Ryan Phinny (Birel). Carlton led the group early with a 1:02.05, putting him sixth on the grid. Phinny moved to P5 with a 1:02.101 on his first flying lap, guaranteeing a better grid position than his teammate Alex Speed. As the clock ticked, Phinny dropped the hammer to move his Birel into the second spot, just 0.218-seconds off of Elliott’s pole lap. The end of the session saw Elliott retain the inside of the front row with Phinny to his left. Bowles, Rudolph and Yop completed the fast five.
The Prefinal got off to a messy start with drivers bouncing off each other at the drop of green start. Funakoshi had stalled his machine on the grid and the resulting contact with a charging Fritz Leesman (GP) collected Zartarian (KRT) in the process. Heading into turn one, Bowles assumed the lead with a great attack into the opening corner, getting past Elliott as Phinny did not get off the line well. Rudolph slid into third to get the 14-lap sprint underway. In the short chute between three and four, Rudolph continued his advance by putting his nose to Elliott’s bumper, and moved into second. Further back, Speed settled in and began moving forward while his rookie teammate Phinny slotted into fifth.
Trackmagic’s Gary Carlton ran well early but began losing spots at the midpoint of the race. Jurca was moving up quickly but then stalled his march forward on the rear bumper of Phinny. At that point, Phinny began to march forward and Jurca found himself falling back into Carlton’s grasp.
With the laps clicking off, Rudolph closed the gap on Bowles and looked to be able to challenge for the win until with three to go, he ran right off the track at the ninth turn when a kingpin bolt failed. Speed moved to second as a result. Phinny was solidly in third with Elliott and Jurca in fourth fifth.
When the green dropped for the Final, Bowles got the holeshot and took the early lead with Speed and Elliott close behind. The leaders got aggressive from the get-go. On lap two, Elliott took a hard look inside Speed in Montreal (turn eight) but just couldn’t complete the pass and stacked everyone behind him. Later that same lap, Speed got a great run off the final corner heading down the front chute and made a bid for the lead but Bowles went even deeper on in the brakes to defend his position, too deep as it turned out as he dropped a wheel off the track, allowing Speed and Elliott to slip through.
Back in the field, Rudolph was making a monster run, coming from 23rd as he began picking off driver two at a time. He a veteran for certain, but Rudolph may be at his very best right now. This guy is on it.
On the eighth circuit, Bowles started his run back to the point, closing up on Elliott down the frontstraight before taking him deep on the brakes into turn two.
| Waiting for the podium ceremony, Alex Speed and tuner Mike Speed plan strategy for Sunday|
At the halfway point, Speed led Bowles and Elliott with Funakoshi in fourth and Carlton in fifth. Despite starting 28th after his Prefinal start-line wreck, Zartarian played the lead blocker for Rudolph through the first ¾ of the race, clearing a pathway through the field. As Rudolph slipped by en route to an eighth place finish, ‘Johnny Z’ entered the top ten with eight laps to go and set the race’s fastest lap in the process.
Back up front, Bowles kept the pressure on Speed through the middle section of the race. Speed was fast enough through the Full Wood Sweeper and the important Bus Stop complex to keep Bowles’ Tony Kart at bay down the straight. With turn one ruled out as an option, Bowles then made a surprise move on Speed heading into the turn nine hairpin to steal the lead with just seven laps to go. It looked like Bowles might build enough of a gap to carry him to the win, but Speed stayed in the hunt and got a great run off the final turn and drove past Bowels in turn one with just two to go. Following the Birel through was Elliott, dropping Bowles to third and ending any challenge for Speed.
At the checker, Speed took the impressive win with Elliott and Bowles completing the podium. Funakoshi and Carlton fought aggressively for the final spots in the top five, with Funakoshi taking Carlton down to the dirt on the inside of the track heading to the flag.
| Italian Giacomo Patrono held off Joel Miller to win the ICA Final|
The return of Philip Giebler to the national karting scene was completed in today’s ICA qualifying as the Oxnard, CA pilot posted the session’s quickest time in his Intrepid. Giebler smoked the field with a 1:02.994-second lap as the only driver to break the 1:03 barrier. PCH Motorsport’s Grant Hebner looked good in his run to second with a 1:03.064 while David Jurca impressed in his return to the ICA category, timing in third after two years away from the formula. Jurca is running both ICA and ICC this weekend, so it remains to be seen whether or not he will have the stamina to run at 100% at all times. Newly-released #1 ranked ICA driver Helmut Sanden (Mach 1) waited until midway through the session to take to the track and would eventually slot in fourth, taking seven laps to post his best time. Matt Johnson (KRT) completed the top five.
A sloppy start for the Prefinal saw polesitter Giebler fall to Hebner, who proceeded to built a solid early lead. There was a lot of action early as Joel Miller (Birel) and Joshua Harris (Vankart) fought for the fourth position. Slight contact by Miller sent Harris into a slow, lazy spin in the middle of the Carousel.
In the end, Hebner would pull to a tight win over Giebler with Sanden and Miller within one second. Patrono was fifth and would start the Prefinal from the inside of the third row.
Leading the field to the green, rookie Grant Hebner spun on the exit of the first turn and fell to the back of the field. Taking over the lead was Sanden with Patrono second. Patrono took over the lead with Sanden in second, Giebler third and Miller fourth. Making the big move early was Jurca who retired from the Prefinal with a stuck motor. With five laps in the books, he was sixth, after starting 15th.
Joshua Harris and Kevin Glover had a good scrap going with Glover taking over the fifth. Meanwhile Miller began putting pressure on Sanden. Coming down the long straight to turn one, he looked to the inside, tucked back in then jumped Sanden heading into the second turn.
At the halfway mark, Miller was slowly closing on the leader, cutting the gap by .1 seconds per lap. Coming around to complete lap 13, Miller had erased the gap and was allover the rear bumper of Patrono. But a bad exit off the final corner eliminated the opportunity to make a run for the lead.
As the leaders encountered lapped traffic, Miller was slowed by the backmarker giving some breathing room to Patrono. The laps ran out on Miller who settle for second with Patrono taking the win, Sanden was third.
Giebler ran the majority of the race alone in fourth. Joey Collins was fifth while Kevin Glover held onto sixth.
Carlos Munoz (Birel) may have been the quickest driver in JICA qualifying, but a Parc Ferme violation pushed him three positions into the grid, elevating #2 qualifier Connor DePhilippi (CRG) to the inside of the front row for the main. Garrison Masters was elevated to second while Gustavo Yacaman (First Kart) sat third alongside Munoz.
The class kicked off the wheel-to-wheel action as the first Prefinal on schedule. After a couple of aborted starts, Munoz was able to capitalize to take over the lead, only to be shuffled back to fourth when Jacob Neal (CRG), Masters and DePhilippi. Neal would eventually take control of the race and would win to secure the pole position for the final.
In the main event, Neal was the driver to beat and would go on to score an impressive victory ahead of Masters and Munoz.
Fresh off his podium finish at the Race of the Americas in Norman to kick-off the season back in March, RC20/Team Topkart’s Levi Roberts showed the way in qualifying with a 1:04.057. Billy Goshen followed (Topkart), three tenths back.
Off the line in the Prefinal, Goshen got the holeshot with Roberts falling back with a poor launch. After a couple of laps, Roberts moved into the lead and would then check out. There was little action in the race as Roberts was on cruise control as Goshen powered himself clear in the second position
Roberts struggled off the line again to begin the final and slipped back to fifth heading into the turn two Carousel as Connor DePhilippi (CRG) assumed the lead. DePhilippi would proceed to pull away to a comfortable gap in the early going while Roberts began to charge to the front by facing Alex Doman, Goshen and Jahan Mongul. As DePhilippi pulled away, Roberts found himself closely on Mongul for second but contact in the opening corner of the Bus Stop complex sent him up and over Mongul with both drivers out of the race. Neither were injured in the shunt.
Back up front, Goshen began pressuring DePhilippi until he dropped a wheel on the exit of turn one too let Goshen and Christian Stover (Tony Kart) slip by. Goshen would go on to take the win.
With just seven karts in the field, Easykart didn’t provide much on track action. Last year’s Stars Champion Corey Pollack was the man to beat all day clocking the fast time in qualifying and steam rolling the field in the Prefinal and Final. Patrick Barrett’s bad luck continued. In the Prefinal, he was black flagged off the track having lost his airbox and was in the process of losing his chain guard. Starting the Final from the back, a missing nose ended his day after a single lap. Joining Pollack on the podium were Ian Harms in second and Sean Gilmartin in third.
Brendan Phinny (Birel) showed the way during qualifying in the stacked 31-kart Cadet field. Phinny took over the top spot midway through the session with a 1:12.951 and his time was unchallenged to the checker. Only three drivers were able to dip below the 1:13 mark as Raquel Martinez (Topkart) and Brandon Underwood (Topkart) sat second and third.
A six-kart train built a gap in the Prefinal and began seriously racing with four laps to go. Making the first big move was Martinez who went from third to first, pulling Phinny along with her. A lap later, it was Phinny moving to the point, as all the passes came in the first turn. Taking the white flag, Timmy Bachman (Topkart) dove down the inside to take the point. On the backside of the track, Phinny moved around to the lead and held off Bachman by 0.033 seconds. Martinez , Underwood and Oscar Tunjo Sanchez rounded out the top five.
In the main, Phinny was dominant, pulling away to an 8.806-second triumph over an exciting trio of cars that put on a great show. Bachman, Martinez and St. Ours were embroiled in a race-long fight for the runner-up position and after consistent changes within their pack, Bachman edged St. Ours at the line for the position by just 0.037 seconds. Martinez was right there at the stripe, taking fourth.
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