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|California ProKart Challenge Begins Second Half of Season at Buttonwillow|
|Thursday, 14 June 2012 08:41|
The California ProKart Challenge has reached the halfway point of the 2012 season, as it readies for the fourth round of the six-race championship series. Returning to where it all began this year, competitors will again take on the Buttonwillow Raceway Park kart track in Buttonwillow, California, where the $65,000 prize package for this season is still up for grabs. The facility will be the same, but the circuit will be changed slightly from the opening weekend back in February. The conditions will be much warmer, with sunshine expected for the entire weekend, and the 7/10-mile course will be a tad quicker with the removal of the kink, making the longest straightaway nearly 1000 feet. Racers and their machines will have to be at peak performance the entire weekend as the championship fights heat up for the second half of the season.
Familiar faces are at the top of the championship standings in the headline categories. The Leading Edge Motorsports TaG Senior division has #3 SKUSA plate holder Matt Johnson leading the title chase, thanks to his opening two feature wins on the season. Defending series champion Travis Lowe has been quick as of late, standing on the second step of the podium in the last two weekends to move into the second place, just 151 points back of Johnson. Round three winner Devin Lindsey is now in third, but will need another strong weekend to close the gap currently held by the top two. The S1 Pro Stock Moto category, sponsored by Extreme Karting, has seen three different winners in the first three events. Round two winner Jimmy McNeil currently holds the top spot in the standings over rookie Nicky Freytag, who earned his first S1 victory at Adams. Round one winner Brad Dunford sits third ahead of former series champ Clinton Schoombee, as the top four are separated by just 84 points.
The chase for the title in the Buddy Rice Karting TaG Master class may come down to the wire. Glenn McKinnon currently leads the standings by just 34 points over Paul Grey. Sitting third is Billy Cleavelin, a two-time feature winner after missing the opening weekend. Matias Podboj saw his win streak in the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto division, sponsored by Phil Giebler Racing, come to an end at round three, but continues to lead the championship comfortably. He holds a sizable lead over Michael Leib and Jessica Sollberger, but will need to keep consistent podium runs to maintain his championship position. With three top-three finishes thus far, PP Mastro could be on his way to another ProKart Challenge crown. A former multi-time G1 title winner, Mastro leads the Pure Karting-sponsored S4 Master Stock Moto class over 2011 vice-champion Robert Marks, with Phil Dunford in third. Todd Wilson now leads the S3 Novice Stock Moto championship, sponsored by Select Shifter/DR Racing, with two-time winner Steve Ryckebosch disqualified at round three for being too wide in the tech barn. They will resume their battle in Buttonwillow, as Wilson searches for his first feature win and Ryckebosch looks to rebound.
Defending TaG Junior champion Carter Williams holds the same position after the first three rounds in the books for the Russell Karting Specialties-sponsored division. He currently has a 95 point advantage over former two-time TaG Cadet champ Colton Herta, with Curtis Paul sitting third. Williams also leads in the S5 Junior Stock Moto rankings, with Micah Hendricks in second. Anthony Sawyer is the driver to beat heading into Buttonwillow, as he enters the weekend with two straight feature wins and sits atop the Sunshine Daydream Creations TaG Cadet standings. Hunter Kelly has three podium finishes to his credit to stand second in the chase, with two-time runner-up Jack von Quilich in third. In the S4 Magnum class, Luke Bianco is leading the championship chase over Ken Manning.
Round four is set to begin Friday, June 22 with a full day of practice beginning at 9:00 am and running until 5:00 pm in the counter-clockwise direction. Saturday, June 23 will be race day and features the challenging format of practice, qualifying, two heat races and a main event. A SKUSA membership/racing license is required to compete, along with all kart specifications under the 2012 SKUSA rulebook. SKUSA is offering the same great price to pre-enter ($295, tax included) by Wednesday, June 20 at midnight, and this rate includes race entry and race tires. Sign up now at http://www.skusastore.com. All event details, including lodging, camping, gate hours and other information, can be found at the PKC Event Page (http://www.superkartsusa.com/regional/california-pkc/event-calendar/round-4-2012.html).
Racers are encouraged to participate as a warm-up for the upcoming SKUSA Pro Tour SummerNationals, set for July 20-22 at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. It is also the last chance for all drivers along the west coast who have yet to race at a Superkarts! USA-sanctioned event in 2012 to enter into the SKUSA SuperNationals ‘Preferred Entry Program’ – where racers are guaranteed an opportunity to register for the November 14-18 spectacular anytime between July 1 and August 31.
Superkarts! USA and the California PKC would also like to remind competitors that the fifth round of the series is confirmed for the Santa Maria Kart Track in Santa Maria, California on the August 17-18 weekend. Be sure to visit http://www.superkartsusa.com for updates on the California ProKart Challenge and all things having to do with Superkarts! USA. Click the ‘Live’ link to follow the live timing during the proceedings taking place at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on June 23.