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SKUSA Pro Tour

EKN Trackside: SKUSA Pro Tour Mothers® SummerNationals - Saturday Report
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Saturday, 16 July 2011 23:00
The first day of action went into the books for Superkarts! USA Pro Tour Mothers® SummerNationals. The Grand Junction Motor Speedway in Colorado was the back drop for what was another exciting day of racing in the eight categories on hand. The weather challenged the competitors all day long, beginning with cloudy skies early on before the weather cranked up throughout the day while the occasional gust of wind dusted the track surface and tested the tents throughout the paddock. While each category had its own hero of the day, NorCal’s Brett Felkins left the day extending his point lead in the TaG Senior Pro Tour standings with win number two of the season as SoCal’s Brad Dunford earned his first national victory in S1 Pro Stock Moto.

TaG Senior
The headline class for day one of action was the TaG Senior division as they began their day with an open pit 12-minute session for qualifying. British native and recent IndyCar Series signee Martin Plowman (Zanardi/Leopard) set the early mark in his first three laps, on the border to break the 53-second mark. Lap three was the best Plowman could do during his first stint, posting a 54.107-lap with 14-year old Dakota Dickerson (Arrow/Rotax) back by just 0.048-seconds on his fourth lap. They would all drop down the order when veteran Eric Jones (Arrow/Rotax) posted his fifth lap of the session, just three-thousandths of a second quicker than Plowman’s time. Late in the session, point leader Brett Felkins (Intrepid/Leopard) made a charge into the top three, just 15-thousandths off Jones’ mark. Jones rejoined the track with less than two minutes in the session after a carburetion change on his KartSport North American Rotax powerplant but pulled off before completing a timed lap. His best time stood through to the checkered flag with Plowman second, Felkins third and Dickerson fourth - all separated by just 51-thousandths of a second. Matt Johnson (Tony Kart/Vortex) finished off the fast-five, two-tenths off the best lap.

Clean through the opening corners to begin heat one, Jones held the top spot through the first lap with Felkins and Devin Lindsey (Tony Kart/Vortex) able to advance forward as Plowman and Dickerson dropped out of the top five with Johnson and Will Owen (Arrow/Rotax) also advancing. Jones and Felkins showed the way through the halfway mark with Jones holding the lead by half a second. Behind them, Lindsey and Johnson continued to lead the second group as Owen, Plowman and Dickerson jostled for position. Felkins, in his Leading Edge Motorsports entry, kept pace with the veteran lap after lap, turning his fast lap of the race on lap seven to cut the gap by one-tenth of a second. Even faster on lap eight, the gap was down to under three tenths of a second. With a great run down the back straight, Felkins moved around Jones for the lead in turn five. Taking the white flag, Felkins recorded his fourth straight fast lap of the race, pulling out by three-tenths over Jones for the final circuit. At the stripe, Felkins took the win over Jones with Johnson able to work by Lindsey for the third spot on the final lap with Plowman up to fifth over Dickerson, Mason Marotta (Tony Kart/Vortex) and Owen.

After a botched start to begin heat two, the field was regrouped for a second attempt at a start. Once the green flag waved, they were able to get through the first few corners clean. Felkins held the lead but Johnson took it over as they exited turn five. Jones was shuffled back to sixth. As they crossed the line for the first time, Johnson led Plowman with Marotta, Adrian Starrantino (Tony Kart/Vortex), Felkins, Jones and Lindsey. Plowman took over the lead with a deep move down into turn nine. Johnson held off Marotta, but Felkins broke that Tony Kart West duo up with a deep move into turn five as they worked lap three. Jones went through as well, getting by Marotta to move up to fourth. He and Felkins then worked together to work by Johnson on lap four as they were the two quickest drivers on the track. Plowman turned to look behind and saw Felkins and Jones closing in with Johnson and Marotta trailing. The fireworks increased more on lap six as Felkins worked around Plowman at turn five. As they exited the esses into turn nine, Plowman dove to the inside of Felkins while Jones made the same move on Plowman - making it three wide. At the exit, Jones went from third to first. Jones continued to show the way until two laps to go when he and Plowman exchanged the lead spot. This brought Felkins back into the mix and he brought Johnson with him, getting around Plowman before the final lap. Still charging, Felkins got a great run up the back straight, drafting by Jones for the lead at turn five. Jones returned the favor in turn nine, with Plowman making the same move on Johnson for third. At the checkered, Jones scored the heat win over Felkins with Plowman and Johnson third and fourth. Marotta ran fifth with Travis Lowe (Kosmic/Vortex) up to sixth after starting 21st with a heat one DNF.

The 20-lap main event closed out the day’s action with all the drivers introduced on the front straight grid one by one as the headline class for the day. Once the green flag waved, Jones kept his position at the point with Plowman, Felkins Johnson and Marotta slotting in behind. The battle began quickly as Johnson made the first advancement, up to third around Felkins. Jones and Plowman then swapped the lead on lap two at two different spots on the track - turn five and turn nine. Despite the shuffling, the top-five were able to pull away from the rest of the pack early. The group continued to shuffle through lap four and by the start of lap five, nine drivers were within striking distance out front. Halfway, Felkins, Plowman and Jones proved to be the top challenges and stepped up their pace despite shuffling positions. Behind them, a battle for fourth raged on with Lowe moving up to the position by lap 13. In the closing laps, Felkins continued to show the way, posting the fast lap of the race on lap 15. Plowman struck back while trailing, posting his own fast lap as the two pulled out a gap over Jones. On lap 18, Plowman was able to get a great run down the front straight, drafting around Felkins for the lead. On lap 19, Felkins came back with his own sling-shot move into turn five to retake the lead. Felkins stamped his name on the trophy with the best lap of the race, pulling out to a two-tenths advantage on the final circuit to score the second victory of the season and add to his point lead. Plowman crossed the line second, however, came across the scales just 1mm too wide on the rear width and was removed from the results. This put Jones on the second step of the podium and Lowe, who crossed in fourth, up to third. Johnson ended up fourth with Marotta fifth.

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