Race ROUNDUP: KARTING CHALLENGE RD 1
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 6th, 2020) - It was a long two and a half months for the Karting Challenge drivers, and they came out in droves to kick off the new season for Opening Weekend 2020.
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Leo Hassan topped the boards in qualifying for the opening round of the X30 Junior division. Artie Flores and Miguel Costa ended the hot lap session within two tenths of Hassan, and the trio put on a heck of a showing in the Pre Final.
Unfortunately, each of the three got a unique curveball thrown at them. Hassan and Flores got stuck together with three turns remaining, dropping them down the order and handing the unofficial Pre Final win to Costa. Costa then received a technical infraction penalty that forced him to the rear of the grid for the Final, giving the top starting spot to Kevin Raventos.
Raventos led early in the main, but he began to fade after a few laps in comparison to Hassan and Flores. This time, no contact was made and the two went on to finish 1-2 -- a Karting Challenge personal best for each driver. Costa showed great determination as well, cutting his way through the grid to end on the podium in third.
With a number of top drivers advancing to the LO206 Senior class, there was a lot of uncertainty as to what the front end of the field would look like in LO206 Junior.
Collin Lloyd struck first in the class by qualifying on the pole and winning the Pre Final. His teammate, Luis Colimodio, put in an impressive run to start his weekend with a pair of seconds in the same sessions. Lloyd was able to roll that success straight into a one-sided victory in the Final, but the same good luck was not with Colimodio. He and Jordan Hernandez got involved in a racing incident in the closing laps that sent them both tumbling down the running order.
Gregory Pelea made the most of the misfortune in the lead group by advancing to finish in second. Faith Parkinson snagged the third spot, her first career podium in the Karting Challenge.
iame ka100 junior
Collin Lloyd may not have a lot of starts in the KA100 Junior division, but he put in a lot of testing over the off season. That testing paid off when he took the provisional pole in qualifying over his teammate EJ Tamayo. In the Pre Final, the pair pulled away from the field, ending in the same order. However, Lloyd was sent to the rear of the grid for the Final due to being too wide in the rear end.
This put Tamayo on the front row alongside Luke Welcome. The pair dueled early, which allowed Lloyd to catch up to them after just a handful of laps. The duo turned trio continued battling all the way to the checkers, but in the end, it was Lloyd who came out on top. Tamayo settled for second with Welcome right behind in third.
The LO206 Heavy class had an uncharacteristically chaotic start to their 2020 season. Rohan Ramsaroop scored the pole in qualifying over teammate and defending champion Dan Breitenstein. However, first lap carnage would send Breitenstein deep in the pack with Aaron Parkinson moving up to take his spot in second. Parkinson rolled that momentum into a pass for the lead a few laps later, which he held to the finish to take the Pre Final win.
In the Final, Parkinson seemed to be missing that extra bit of pace he had earlier in the day. He led the first few laps but was eventually passed up for the top spot. Breitenstein was the first driver to get by, rebounding from his rough start to the Pre Final. Next up was Ricky Diaz, who had been silently lurking outside the lead group all day. Finally, Ramsaroop found a way past with a handful of laps remaining, taking away the final podium spot. They finished in that order, with Dan Breitenstein kicking off his 2020 championship campaign with a victory. Diaz scored his first LO206 Heavy podium in second, and Ramsaroop added another top-3 to his stats with a third.
With defending champ Alan Isambard sitting on the sidelines, the Shifter class odds were nearly equal amongst the contenders. Sebastian Montoya set the tone early, taking fast time in qualifying and the Pre Final win with ease. However, problems for Montoya halfway through the Main Event forced him to retire.
This set up a fantastic battle between former INDY Lights driver Victor Franzoni and local Shifter pilot Sebastian Hazbun. The two dueled for the remaining laps and finished side-by-side in the battle for the win, with the advantage going to Hazbun by just 0.067 seconds. Tim Hannen completed the top three by finishing in third.
IAME MIcro SWIFT
Salvador della Vecchia showed solid progress throughout the 2019 season, and the young driver showed up in top form for Opening Weekend. He took top honors in qualifying, but to make things a challenge, he opted to start at the rear of the grid in both the Pre Final and the Final.
Della Vecchia made it look easy cutting his way through the pack in each session, ending the day on top of the podium with his first win in the Micro Swift division. Zachery Hitchcock and Alessandro Truchot were his closest competitors, but Truchot was sidelined early in the Final after having a hub failure. That promoted Benja Fernandez into the top 3, and he held onto Hitchcock's tail to finish there.
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2019 Mini Swift champion Max Garcia wasted no time getting down to business at Round 1 of the new season, taking the pole in qualifying over a very quick Matias Orjuela. He carried that into a commanding rest of the day that included flag-to-flag victories in the Pre Final and Final.
Behind Garcia, Orjuela was shuffled backwards at the start of both races. He lost a little bit less ground at the beginning of the Final, as at the end of the first lap he was only back to third. By the midway point, he was able to return to second -- overtaking Salim Hanna in the infield. He held that spot to end the day runner-up, with Hanna remaining close behind to end third.
It was a rookie invasion in the LO206 Senior class for Opening Weekend. 2019 LO206 Junior champion Vance Devine had been itching to go toe-to-toe with the Seniors throughout his entire championship campaign last season, and he lit up the scorecharts on Sunday by qualifying on pole in his debut outing.
In the Pre Final, it was a mad scramble for second place. On the fourth turn of the opening lap, a number of contenders were involved in a melee that knocked back fellow rookie Alejandro Ramirez, Bobby Ross, Zack Skolnick, and Michel Garrido. The following lap, more chaos ensued as Miguel Rivera and Gerardo Aguirre came together at turn 3.
The carnage gave Devine a gift of a Pre Final win, but he was determined to earn his stripes. He backed up the Pre Final by putting on a dominating performance in the main event, with Ramirez rebounding to end in second and Garrido crossing the line third. Unfortunately, a penalty docked Garrido one place in the final standings, giving the last spot on the podium to 4th place finisher Bobby Ross.
It was a record turnout in the 206 Cadet division, and defending champ Mateo Pena had his work cut out for him. Naomi Garcia and Alessandro Truchot both kept Pena honest, and Naomi even took the pole award honors in qualifying.
A good start in the Pre Final saw Pena take the lead early, though, and he never looked back. He went on to claim the main event win with relative ease, while Garcia and Truchot dueled for second. In the end, Truchot was able to hold off Naomi to take P2 with Garcia settling for a solid podium result in third.
Samuel Benner and Greg Campos topped the charts in timed qualifying for the TAG Senior division. Benner led the way early in the day and took the pole award in qualifying, but he lost the lead after the midway mark in the Pre Final to Campos.
Campos took the Pre Final win only to be sent to the rear of the starting grid for the Final due to a tech infraction. This opened the door for Benner to build a lead early in the 15 lap main event, a lead too big for Campos to fully break down. Benner ended as the winner with Campos in second and Daniel Costa in third.
IAME KA100 SENIOR
The debut of the KA100 Senior class had the paddock buzzing by the time official sessions got underway. The division was packed to the brim with talent that included the likes of 2019 Karting Challenge 206 Senior champion Frankie Barroso, 2018 CKNA LO206 Junior National Champion Alexander Searle, and 2019 SSKC Vice Champion Brandon Simeone -- to name a few.
However, the driver who rose above the rest in timed qualifying was actually Joshua Wright. The RYSA Racing driver rolled that pace directly into a Pre Final win, with Barroso and Simeone remaining close in toe.
In the Final, Searle stole the show by charging from 6th on the grid to the lead pack. He worked his way by Barroso with a handful of laps remaining and applied an immense amount of pressure on Wright, but in the end, Joshua was able to hold on and snag the inaugural KA100 Senior race victory. Searle settled for second while Barroso completed the podium in third.
Up next is Round 2 of the Karting Challenge presented by MG Tires on Sunday, April 19th.
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