|October 18, 2007 News
|EKN Trackside: Stars of Karting National Finals - ICC Preview
The Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series will wrap up its 2007 championship season with the Desert MINI of Las Vegas National Finals event October 19-21 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event will crown all five national champions along with handing out over $110,000 in cash, scholarships, and prizes throughout the weekend including recognizing the East and West Champions.
Over the last few days leading up to the event, EKN has look at the championship race in four divisions along with highlights on drivers who will be in the fight for the National Finals victory. Today, the final class preview will look at the Intercontinental C (ICC) division.
| 2006 Stars of Karting ICC National Champion Gary Carlton|
It has been a near perfect year for defending ICC national champion Gary Carlton. The 2006 season was filled with emotion, the loss of a boss/friend, a team change, fierce competition, and the thrill of victory. 2007 has been like a train on rails, cruising to double victories in the first three events of the year before the train was derailed in Shawano for a brief stop before jumping back on line at Moran.
The PCH Motorsports/CRG driver started the year with six straight wins, including two at the Mazda Race of the Americas opening event. He followed that with two wins at the New Castle Motorsports Park, his first visit to the facility. Heading back West for the Miller Motorsports Park round, he stretched his win streak to five then six with another double victory weekend.
Attempting to clinch the Eastern Division championship, the series went traveled to Shawano where Carlton’s streak would come to an end. Unable to find the speed and contact with another in Saturday’s Final gave him a sixth place finish, enough to clinch the East title. Contact while running up front Sunday put him on the sidelines for the first time since ’06 Race of the Americas.
Returning back to Cali for the Western finale at Moran, Carlton jumped back on his winning ways, taking home two victories, the Western Division championship, and a perfect score heading to the National Finals. The last time he was in Vegas, Carlton earned $10k for winning the SuperPro division at the SuperNationals on a temp circuit. This time however he will be without team manager Mike Speed, who announced his departure from the PCH squad following the Moran event. Without Speed in his corner, it will be up to Carlton to step up to the new challenge.
On Carlton’s bumper all year long on the West has been Wunder-Bar Racing’s Fritz Leesmann. After debuting aboard a CRG with two runner-up performances at the Mazda Race of the Americas, Leesmann continued his fast pace the rest of the year, always stalking the defending champion. A total of five podium finishes add up Leesmann’s point total heading into Vegas, trailing Carlton by 60 points. The NorCal driver will have to win both finals with Carlton finishing worse than sixth twice, something that will be tough to do, but it’s Vegas baby, anything is possible.
| Alex Speed will return to Birel after a one year 'retirement'|
Speaking of Vegas, Team Top Kart USA driver Matt Jaskol is one of very few karters who calls sin city home. The home track advantage, other than knowing where to gamble and win, he’ll be able to rest comfortably in his own pad. Jaskol nearly has a track record at every Stars course over the past two years, unfortunately, still looking for his first win with Top Kart. Recording six top five finishes in the East, he’ll enter the finale third overall, 20 points behind Leesmann.
The only two drivers to score wins on the year in ICC other than Carlton were Michael Vincec and Jordy Vorrath. Vincec - the 2006 EKN Rising Star award winner - and Vorrath - who lead all drivers in the Stars win column in ’06 - were held winless until an outstanding weekend in Shawano. Vorrath earned the win on Saturday with Vincec taking the spot on Sunday. Both also had outstanding drives from the tail of the field to the front on the days they did not win, producing some of the best racing seen in the class all year long.
Three other drivers still remain mathematically in the chase for the title - Nick Halen, David Jurca, and Jan Velez-Walter. Jurca returned back with the Italian Motors squad near the end of last year and has been consistent all year long. Velez made the switch to Champion Racing/Intrepid mid-way through the year and quickly got up to speed earning two podium finishes in Shawano in only his second weekend aboard the chassis. Halen recently announced his departure from PCH Motorsports as well, joining Mike Speed at MRP-Birel America, and will be adjusting to a new machine throughout the weekend.
Joining Halen at MRP-Birel America will be two-time ICC national champion Alex Speed. Running a few events in 2006 after announcing his retirement following his championship season in ’05, Speed announced his return to Birel for the Stars National Finals just weeks ago. Joining his father, Mike, its expected to see the Team Speed machine up front immediately. With the championship provisional in the Stars rules, Speed will not be assessed the 15 position penalty for not competing in a minimum three Stars Finals on the year.
Friday will be a full day of practice as the drivers will get accustom to the temporary circuit. Saturday will be qualifying and heat races to line up the field for Sunday’s main events. You can follow EKN’s Trackside Live coverage through the Event Page along with the Official Discussion Thread.
UNOFFICIAL ICC Point Standings
|8.||385||355||9||Jan Velez - Walter||East||17||30||7||65||8||60||9||55||3||85||2||90|
ICC Provisional Entry List
|9||Jan Velez-Walter||Champion Racing/Intrepid||Intrepid/Champion TM||Guaynabo, Puerto Rico|
|105||Michael Vincec||Cameron Motorsports||CRG/SwedeTech TM||Stouffville, ON|
|107||Nicholas Halen||MRP-Birel America||Birel/SwedeTech TM||Carson City, NV|
|108||Pier-luc Ouellette||ArrowUSA||Arrow/SRA TM||Terrebonne, QB|
|109||Jonathan Branham||Tony Kart USA||Tony Kart/Vortex||Florida|
|112||BJ Anderson||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin/Franklin Pavesi||Westfield, IN|
|117||Danilo Dirani||Tony Kart USA||Tony Kart/Vortex||Brazil|
|119||Ryan Yop||Sodi Racing USA/G-Phactory||Sodi Kart/SRA TM||Salinas, CA|
|121||Shane Terrel||Champion Racing/Intrepid||Intrepid/Champion TM||Oklahoma City, OK|
|122||David Carmendy||Cameron Motorsports||CRG/SwedeTech TM||Powell, OH|
|123||Jon Allen||KLS Racing||GP/TM||Burlingame, CA|
|125||Alan Rudolph||FirstKart.com||First Kart/SRA TM||Phoenix, AZ|
|127||Josh Schreiber||Champion Racing/Intrepid||Intrepid/SRA TM||Mount Joy, PA|
|131||Alex Manglass||Team OVRP||Maranello/DDR TM||Tomkins Cove, NY|
|138||Mike Beeny||Msquared||PTK/SwedeTech Maxter||Sandy, UT|
|139||Hayden Duerson||Italian Motors||Italkart/Italian Motors TM||St. Petersburg, FL|
|144||Kelly Baker||Italian Motors||Italkart/Italian Motors TM||Kirkland, WA|
|147||Jordy Vorrath||Champion Racing/Intrepid||Intrepid/Champion TM||South Surrey, BC|
|148||Richard Benitez||J3 Competition||Kosmic/Vortex||Carolina, Puerto Rico|
|150||Jess Peterson||Champion Racing/Intrepid||Intrepid/Champion TM||Sparks, NV|
|151||Gary Carlton||PCH Motorsports||CRG/SwedeTech Maxter||Marysville, CA|
|153||Giamondo Raimondo||Cameron Motorsports||CRG/SwedeTech TM||St. Catherines, ON|
|155||Matt Jaskol||Team Top Kart||Top Kart/DDR TM||Las Vegas, NV|
|161||Fritz Leesmann||Wunderbar Racing||CRG/SwedeTech TM||Elk Grove, CA|
|162||Antoine Lebrun||NA||Birel/TM||Fort Lauderdale, FL|
|170||Chance Terrel||Champion Racing/Intrepid||Intrepid/Champion TM||Oklahoma,City, OK|
|171||Don McGregor||Italian Motors||Italkart/Italian Motors TM||Langley, BC|
|185||Chris Miller||PSL Karting||CRG/PSL Maxter||Edina, MN|
|186||Kyle Wiegand||Team Top Kart||Top Kart/SwedeTech Maxter||Bargersville, IN|
|188||Ryan Kinnear||Champion Racing/Intrepid||Intrepid/Barks TM||Sugar Land, TX|
|192||David Jurca||Italian Motors||Italkart/Italian Motors TM||Federal Way, WA|
|193||Andrew Zimmer||Italian Motors||Italkart/Italian Motors TM||Spokane, Washington|
|197||Clayton Snow||Syar Motorsports||Energy/TM||San Jose, CA|
|198||Mitch Cobb||Italian Motors||Italkart/Italian Motors TM||Edwards, CO|
|1?||Alex Speed||MRP-Birel America||Birel/SwedeTech TM||Manteca, CA|