2017 Machismo Event Preview

The Machismo 12-Hour Endurance Karting Event is this weekend, running both Friday and Saturday December 1-2. The 10th annual event sees a record number of teams entered, taking to the track for optional practice during Friday, before setting the grid for the race itself via the 1-hour “under the lights” qualifying session that night. Saturday will see the green flag on the now decade-old tradition, releasing the drivers on their le-mans styled running start to their karts. Catch the class and track previews here on the calspeedkarting.com website over the next couple of days, and be sure to follow all the event coverage throughout the event on our official Facebook page!

Now in it’s tenth year, “The Machismo” has grown from a 500 lap/mile affair with just a single class, to a 12-hour contest across three classes and two types of machines. It started in Vegas and stayed there for it’s first five years before coming home to CalSpeed Karting in Fontana, CA where it has lived since 2013. It has welcomed drivers from all over the world, and with backgrounds from your local indoor track, to the 24 hours of Daytona, to the Baja 1000, to the top talent found anywhere in a go kart. Ahead of this weekend’s event, let’s take a look at some of that history, highlighting memorable moments and drivers along the way…

Originally dubbed the ‘Machismo 500’, the first couple of years were ran overnight and in conjunction with the biggest sprint karting event in the world, the SKUSA Supernationals in Las Vegas. In 2008 and 2009 the stage was the Rio, taking to the exact same circuit once SKUSA’s operations were done for the day, hosting both drivers from sport karting as well as those competing in the SuperNats in the field. The first year would see the likes of Alex Tagliani, Joey Hand, and Jim Russell Jr in the driver lineup, but in the end it would be a team led by karting’s Robby Mott bringing home that first Machismo win, after Tagliani’s fuel tank ran dry in the final ten minutes.

The second edition of the event would see the expansion to a two class format, as the faster Stratos karts were introduced as the new ‘Pro Class’, and again saw some big names on the entry list including Raphael Matos, Craig Stanton and Tanner Foust. The new class would prove favorable for Jim Russell Jr and Chuck Gafrarar however, becoming the first two-driver effort to come away with a Machismo win. In the Sport Class it would be the Rob Howden backed IKN-All Stars team coming away with the win, with Howden enlisting sport karting drivers from all over the country to compete at the event.

The third year was again an overnight affair -albeit spent with another one off karting race- this time at the Mandalay Bay casino, a tough event that saw all entered battle against a very demanding layout. After that event it was decided to no longer run with another organization, and not just have an in-house designed and built course, but to expand it to 12 hours. The host venue for this new venture would be ‘The Bullring’ at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, bringing the 2011 and 2012 events to it’s high banks. Now twelve hours, this was also the beginning of the day-into-night transitions for the Machismo competitors, again across the Pro and Sport Classes. The ‘roval’ layout that went in and out of the 3/8 mile circle track is still looked back on as one of the best in Machismo history, and is a driver favorite.

The 2011 event would see the first defense of a win, with both Efrain Olivares and Mike Kai winning in the top division two years in a row, joined by Clement Ng, Kerry Lynch, and Byron Bishop. In the Sport class it was a a fantastically exciting affair on track, but the results would be finalized after the checkers had fallen. Team SPV Sport would claim the victory after the rivals were disqualified for a ‘drive time’ rule infraction, the winning squad boasting some of the best names in sport karting: Patrick Britain, Miles Calvin, Logan Calvin, Darren Mercer, and Andrew Brown.

2012 would be the final year in Vegas, but it would still bring some of the best in sport karting to the fray, including drivers from as far away as North Carolina. It would in fact be the squad hailing form Charlotte and Victory Lane Karting center that would come away victorious, as the Fred Ogrim led band of drivers claimed a convincing overall win in the Pro Class, with Ryan Curtin and Bryan Armbrust joining him on the top step. In the Sport class it would be the first victory for the T4 Autosport team, a group that is still known to put some of the best endurance karting teams together today. On this occasion it was the lineup of Dave Messimer, Steve Hansen, Steve Jasinski, and Paul Ciralli that would claim the top spot, the latter duo also running in this weekends affair.

2013 would see the event move from temporary courses in Las Vegas to a special ‘Machismo layout’ at CalSpeed, the track configuration only run during the once a year contest. The first event at the Fontana, CA based track featured a few never before seen corners, with everything from the Silk hairpin to the run through the center Hairpin being new to CalSpeed regulars. It would be another set of repeat winners claiming the top step for the first ever event at the venue, with Logan Calvin, Miles Calvin, Jerott King, Jon Kimbrell, and Adam Kellerman claiming a dominant win for team Slipstreem Aerodynamics in Pro. In Sport it would be the Tony Severson led Pink Shoelaces Racing squad of KC Cook, Derek Esquibel, and Andrew Lemons taking the first class win on CalSpeed soil, besting a pair of T4 Autosport teams to round out the podium.

2014 and 2015 events would see the inclusion of a third class to the event, as the ‘Super Sport’ designation made its debut, simultaneously making the Sport Class more of a ‘gentleman’s class’ for for the less experienced drivers. The ’14 event would set a record for entries at 34, and again it would be a repeat group on the top step in Pro, with Fred Ogrim’s squad from Victory Lane Karting taking the win via the talents of himself, Hans Soneson, and Jordan Pembleton. In the newly named Super Sport class it would be a 1-2 for the Arkham team tent, as Scuderia Arkham led Arkham Motorsports across the line for the win, the spoils going to the former; drivers Mark Connell, Jordan Wallace, Login Calvin, Andrew Lemons, and Michael Wojdat. With the new regulations governing the Sport Class, it was team All-In racing claiming the top step; with Duane Lawson, Kelly Bastian, Chris Lorentzen, and Mark Connell narrowly winning over T4 Autosport in the closest margin of victory in history at just 32 seconds. Connell would make history as well as the only driver to win in multiple classes in the same event.

The very next year would see a repeat winner in the Sport class, with the All-in Racing team becoming just the second back to back winners in Machismo history, the 2015 squad swapping out the graduated Connell for John Perry. In Super Sport it would be just the second time a two-driver team scored a win, and the first time in the 12 Hour format, as Taylor Hays and Adam Nagao claimed the win for T4 Autosport. And it was once again an ‘away’ team the took the factory overall in pro, as Arizona based karters Josh Sarchet, Phil De La O, and Micah Hendriks came across the line first after rebounding from early issues.

2016 would see the retirement of the 13hp Honda-powered Stratos chassis’ after their 7 year run as the kart of choice in the Pro Class, replaced by brand new Briggs & Stratton powered VLR chassis. The new package proved to be all virtually flawless, and it would come down to teams doing the same to come out on top; doing exactly that and scoring that debut win for package in the Pro Class would be Team Asylum’s Mark Connell, Jon Kimbrell, Bill Kreig, Wes Dent, Charles Eichlin. Super Sport would prove to be one of the most exciting battles of the event, equaling the closest margin of victory from 2014 in the Sport category of just 32 seconds, this time with team The New Day coming away victorious: Sean Fite, Login Calvin, and Mark Connell. It would be two in a row for both Calvin and Connell in class, but it was extra special for Connell, who not only won in two classes in the same year for the second time, but became the first driver to have won in all three categories, having won in Sport with All-In Racing in 2014. Also making some history was the T4 Autosport Powered by TEG squad that came away with the Sport Class win, as Tom Zevin, Caden Thure, TJ Blackledge, Andrew Brown joined their teammate Paul Ciralli on the top step, with the latter becoming a three-time Machismo winner in the process.

New for the 10th annual Machismo 12 hour is the inclusion of kart owners to the entry list, with three such teams bringing their own VLR 206 packages to the event this weekend. With both owner and arrive and drive teams now competing with each other in the Pro Class for the overall win, this year’s race brings an exciting new element to the event. The Track itself has seen the first changes to its configuration since the 2014 contest, with the pit lane also getting a big overhaul. The 2017 edition has also brought some very big names from across motorsports, including sports car veterans, off road races, Global Rally Cross competitors, as well as some NASCAR standouts, never mind some very stout talent from within regular karting circles.

This year’s event welcomes 35 teams across three categories -totaling 130+ drivers- each getting ready to do battle for 12 hours and around almost 700 laps. The event will start on Friday with open practice for the 206 owner teams, followed by a Race Clinic for the drivers astride the Sodi 270cc sport karts, as well as option practice sessions for all classes in the afternoon. The day will cap off with the 1-hour “under the lights” practice/qualifying session -the first official session of the weekend- one that will set the grid for the 10th running of the Machismo on Saturday. Green flag for the 12-hour race will be around 9:30am, with the podium celebration happening about 10pm. Aside from this and the following previews for each class, as well as the track itself on the calspeedkarting.com website, event coverage will be available on the official event page on Facebook that will including regular updates on the hour, FB Live broadcasts, driver interviews, as well as live timing throughout the event.

Below is a general schedule of events, and be sure to keep the Machismo Facebook page open to follow the event. Bring on Machismo!

General Event Schedule

8:30a: Gates Open
9a-6p: Driver Registration
9a-12p: Open Practice (Pro Class Owners only)
12:00p: Race Clinic Begins
3:00p: Clinic Ends;
1p-6p: Optional Practice Sessions
5:00p: Team Weigh-ins
6:15p: Qualifying Briefing
7:00p: 1 Hour “Under The Lights” Qualifying

7:30a: Gates Open
8:15a: Drivers Meeting
9:30a: Race Start
9:30p: Race Finish
10:00p: Podium Presentation

Past Champions of the Machismo