|August 06, 2006 News
|IKF 2-Cycle Grand Nationals - Sunday Report
|Article by: Shift Communications Group
|For photos on the event, visit the Photo Gallery by Sean Buur - GoRacing Magazine
After the second day of IKF Grand National competition at California Speedway, when a number of the karts in attendance had logged some airtime, there was some trepidation in the paddock that more of the same could be expected on Sunday. For many competitors, this would be their final chance to win a Duffy, and an all-or-nothing mindset could easily lead to more wasted chassis and ejected drivers. Thankfully, this proved not to be the case – for the most part.
Twenty-two karts strong was the TAG class, which saw Travis Motley on pole, a mere two-hundredths of a second ahead of Clayton Snow, who had a tenth on Grand Hebner.
The race finally got underway after three straight wave-offs, but perhaps it wasn’t enough, as five karts tripped up on each other in the left-handed turn two, sending three spinning through the infield. The leaders fell into order and remained that way until the fifth lap, when Clayton Snow abruptly pulled his kart off course, apparently the victim of a mechanical gremlin.
Kyle Longmore had moved into the lead at that point, and had put a small gap over the pole-sitting Motley, Chris Scribner, and Brady Halbach, who was doing all he could to not go airborne on this particular day. (He had done so twice Saturday). The positions held until the end of the race, save for Carl Freese’s last lap pass of Grant Hebner into turn one for the fifth spot. There was more drama further back, when Ralph Bush looped his kart in the Carousel and was given a mighty wallop by John Stroup, who had no where to go.
The whole race-starting thing proved one again to be problematic for TAG, as three further wave-offs were needed. When they finally Longmore assumed his lead with Scribner running second, Motley in third, “Air” Halbach in fourth and Grant Hebner fifth. Things got interesting when several karts came together in the Cornikurva, which sent Jim Fergeson’s kart up on the barrier, bringing out the red flag. Luckily, Fergeson’s kart didn’t flip and he was alright.
After the restart, Halbach passed Motley for third and went to work on Scribner for second, several times taking a look at him into turn one, but not getting enough of a draft down the front straightaway to get the job done. The pressure must have gotten to Scribner for he turned up the wick on Longmore for the lead, hitting his rear bumper square as they negotiated the right hander before the Hairpin. He couldn’t get it done there but drew even with Longmore down the back straight, taking the lead in the Contino Carousel. Insult was added to injury when Halbach swiftly moved past Longmore into turn one on the next lap.
Longmore had none of it, however, and retook the position only three laps later, determined to get the lead back from Scribner. He did so on the eleventh lap, drafting past on the front straightaway into turn one. It built up for one exciting last lap.
Scribner had his shot at Longmore in the hairpin, sliding across the front of him in what was a clean pass. Longmore however made contact with Scribner, sending the front of his kart over the rear axle of Longmore’s. Both karts were slowed, which let Halbach by into the lead, with Hebner second and Cory Pollock, who started the race back in eighth, into third. Strung out as they were after that, no one else would mount a challenge, and Halbach took a Duffy, no doubt relieved that he would be traveling home with something for his efforts. Hebner crossed in second and Pollock in third.
Twenty-eight karts led to what would be a typically hard fought Junior race in Junior Sportsman. Timmy Bachman grabbed the pole, ahead of Jimmy Greco and Brendan Phinny. The first eighteen karts qualified within less than one second of the polesitter.
After a waved-off start, Jimmy Greco snatched the lead from Bachman, and was followed by Donny St. Ours. Phinny fell to fourth. Miraculously, only two karts didn’t make it through the first complex, and both kept going.
By the third lap, Bachman was back at the front, and with Greco in second and Phinny third, the three began to move away from the rest of the field. Infighting between those three mean that they had been caught by the rest of the field just two laps later, and Joey Licata Jr. took the opportunity to pass Phinny for third on the track’s downhill section. A lap later, he repeated the same trick to pass Greco for second.
Literally pushing Bachman at times, Licata began to put a gap on Phinny and the rest of the field. He might have been a touch over exuberant with his bump-drafting – although Licata signaled him to do it every lap down the back straightaway – and was given a rolled black flag for his efforts. Having enough of that, he passed Bachman for the lead as the duo exited the track’s turn three. Time lost from that battle, however, allowed the field to catch back up.
The final lap saw Bachman move past Licata down the back straightaway before the Contino Carousel. Licata was having none of that, and dove under Bachman in the last corner. The pass backed up the field and Cameron Jocelyn hit Dylan Albiani, sending him upwards for a moment. Licata edged Bachman at the line, with Greco slotting in third.
After a couple of false attempts, Bachman jumped into the lead, with Licata falling to second and Phinny to third. At the back, David Brant and Ryan Lee came together before the hairpin, sending both spinning. Licata momentarily retook the lead but Bachman took it right back on the approach to the Contino Carousel. After a few laps of no passing, the first six karts began to put a gap on a second group of six, with both groups running absolutely nose to tail.
Licata grew tired of the back of Bachman’s helmet, passing him on the exit of turn three. Bachman, however, took it right back into the hairpin. Four laps later, Licata took it back into turn one, and one lap later Bachman took it heading down the hill from turn three. It was a half-lap later that Licata again drafted past Bachman into turn one.
This great racing set up a mammoth last lap which had Bachman literally pushing Licata down every straight piece of CalSpeed’s Grande course. Heading into the last corner, Licata took a defensive line, slowing his exit speed and Bachman’s as well. Bachman swooped to the inside, but neither of them saw Cameron Jocelyn go around the outside of both, setting up a three-wide drag to the line. Visually, it appeared that Licata had just edged Bachman and Jocelyn for the win, but it was anyone’s guess who had actually finished second. The computer showed that Licata was the victor by three-hundredths of a second over Jocelyn, who was a mere one-hundredth ahead of Bachman.
Chris Guizar set the pace in qualifying for Senior Super Sportsman, heading Mike Botelho Jr. and Luis Martinez Jr. However, he was unable to convert it at the start of the heat when Bothelo muscled his way past in the first corner and Guizar was knocked off the circuit. The race was red flagged – luckily for Guizar – and restarted.
At the restart Guizar held his advantage over Bothelo and Martinez, with Joey Barros and Clayton Snow in tow. Further back, Chris Ennis and Chad Goldberg went spinning through the infield when they came together in turn one.
Guizar maintained the smallest of margins over Bothelo when Kyle Kuntze, coming up from his seventh-place starting spot, moved past Martinez into third spot in turn one. Snow’s chances at a top-five were ended when his kart gave up on the fourth lap, while Derek Zimmermann, who had moved into fourth spot, began to put pressure on Kuntze for third.
On the sixth tour Botelho had enough of following and took the lead from Guizar into turn one. A lap later, Zimmermann, who had now moved past Kuntze, got alongside Guizar on the downhill from the Contino Carousel and made the pass stick. On the final lap, Guizar took a page from Zimmermann’s book and pulled of the same pass heading down the hill. He then set his sights on Botelho, lining him up on a run out of the Carousel to dive under Botelho in the hatchpin. Zimmermann followed him through in an attempt to win the drag race to the line, but Guizar hung on by twenty-nine thousandths of a second. Botelho crossed in third.
The final would be a fraught affair, with Guizar taking the lead from Zimmermann and Botelho into the first complex of corners, while karts further back went spinning through the infield yet again. The top six ran nose to tail for a few laps until Botelho swooped past Zimmermann into turn one. Later that lap, the karts of Chad Goldberg, Jimmy Rickart, Josh Veloz and Chris Scribner got together in a big way in the hatchpin. None would continue.
By the eleventh lap, Todd Wallace, Jr., who was originally placed at the back of the field for avoidable contact but allowed to start from his heat race finishing position owing to a mistake by race control in alerting him of his penalty, was challenging for the lead as he had moved up to third. Guizar had been shuffled back, and the lead was assumed by Botelho with Zimmermann giving chase. Wallace moved past Zimmermann in turn one before getting a run alongside Botelho coming downhill from the Kornicurva to take the lead.
Kyle Longmore, who was sitting fifth, moved past Garrett Wright for third in the approach to the Contino Carousel. All this infighting meant that the top nine karts were now running in a high speed freight train heading into the last lap.
In the frantic last lap, it was Longmore diving past Wallace for the lead in the hairpin, which he was able to hold until the end. Wright also took a position from Wallace on the approach to the Contino Carousel, securing his second place finish. Wallace, for his efforts, ended up in third.
The day’s smallest class, Rookie Sportsman, began when Raquel Martinez bested Louie Pagano and Mason Marotta for the pole. She held her advantage into the first corner, with the rest of the front runners dropping into line. Pagano waited three laps before making his bid for the lead, passing Martinez into the first corner. Martinez was having none of that, and she retook the point by getting a better run down the back straightaway, into the Contino Carousel.
Pagano would wait four laps before he passed Martinez in the same spot of the track. Just behind them, Devin Jones moved past Marotta into turn one to take third place. Later that lap, Martinez passed Pagano in the carousel. Having lost momentum, Jones slipped past Pagano as well for the second position.
Pagano and Jones would go back and forth for the position, with the first group of karts growing to include six in total. Pagano would challenge Martinez for the lead on the last lap, taking it in turn one, while Jones made a slight mistake in the hairpin, costing him his chance to run at Martinez for second. Thus, Pagano won from Martinez, with Jones finishing third.
After the waved-off first attempt, Pagano led Martinez and the rest of the field through a clean first lap. Marotta made his move on Jones in the Contino Carousel, taking third, while Martinez made her way past Pagano into turn one. Four laps would go by until Pagano passed Martinez into the Contino Carousel, but Martinez waited just half a lap to take the lead back, drafting by Pagano on the front straightaway. Pagano sat on her bumper for six laps, taking the lead back into turn one – which was reversed when Martinez pulled the same move two laps later.
This really was great stuff.
Mid-pack battles were abundant, as Jacob Will somehow passed both Tyler Palmer and Koby Araki into the fast turn one. While this went on, Martinez was able to build a small gap into the white flag lap. Her cause was helped when Marotta got alongside Pagano on the approach to the Carousel, getting by for second. This ensured that Martinez would not be challenged as she took the victory, ahead of Marotta and Pagano, with Jones finishing in fourth.
A particularly close qualifying session saw Shawn Fladager take the pole position over Travis Motley and Matt Johnson. The phrase is overused, but you could quite literally throw a blanket over the field, as the first twenty-three competitors qualified within one second of Fladager’s pole-sitting time.
The field neatly made its way through the whole of the first lap without major contact, but Fladager’s run at the front would be short-lived as Motley moved past him in the hairpin on the second lap. Johnson than began to apply the pressure on Fladager, making an unsuccessful attempt in turn one but getting the job done in the hairpin. By this point, Johnson had stretched a lead, but with Fladager out of the way Motley set about chasing him down.
It took him until the ninth lap, but Motley caught and passed Johnson on the run down from the Kornicurva. Further back, a big crash in turn three eliminated Neil McCoy, Joshua Brander, Kyle Longmore and Michael Varela from the race. Almost unnoticed as a result was that Johnson moved back into the lead, which he held to the end. Billy Goshen ended the race in third, with polesitter Fladager in fourth.
Johnson and the rest of the leaders made it through the first three corners with no problem, but further back, Chad Goldberg got sideways and collected Robin Stonesifer and Neil Otto. Otto was sent in the air and landed on the barriers, but was unhurt.
The leaders ran closely together, holding station with Motley pushing Johnson down every straightaway. The order finally changed when Ty Matta first passed Goshen, then Fladager with a neat move in the Carousel. Goshen capitalized by passing Fladager under breaking in the hairpin.
In the end, Johnson was unchallenged by Motley, with Matta finishing third.
This class was a simple affair. Glen Mc Kinnon easily won the pole, ahead of John Bush and Craig Zimmermann. Mc Kinnon easily led the heat race from the start and was never headed. Behind him, Zimmermann moved ahead of Bush in the hairpin, but Bush retook the position under braking for the Hatchpin. The order would remain unchanged until the end.
The final was much the same; Mc Kinnon checked out and walked away from the field, amassing a gap of ten seconds over the next kart. Mike Burnett passed David Pankratz for third place in the Hatchpin. Burnett then pushed David Pankratz past Bush down the back straightaway to the Contino Carousel. He kept the pressure up, finally making his way past Pankratz into turn one.
Mc Kinnon amassed a ten-second gap by the end of the race, easily winning the Duffy. Zimmermann was second, and Burnett edged Pankratz to the line for third.