The 2013 CalSpeed Super Series, the largest competitive Sport Karting program in the country, kicked off this past Saturday much like the 2012 campaign ended… with a Calvin atop the podium once the dust settled. This time however, it was the older Miles Calvin edging his younger championship defending brother Logan for the top spot on the box after a wildly close A-Main finish. A record turnout was also notched at Round 1 as 104 pilots took to the grid looking for the win, topping previous event sell outs of 100 drivers max.
Following the conclusion of morning practice, drivers would gear up for the newly reformatted qualifying session which was cut from 5 laps last season, to just a green-white-checkered 2-lap session this season. The shortened qualifying session definitely upped the drama as no time could be wasted waiting and jockeying for a preferred drafting partner. Once released from pit lane, all drivers were in go mode, and none more so than two-time series Champion Jon Kimbrell. Kimbrell would lead the time charts after his first flying lap and looked to have the first pole position of 2013 well in hand. Unfortunately for him, Matt Widner, winner of last season’s final round, had other ideas in mind as he edged Kimbrell for the pole by just 0.033 seconds on his second and final lap. Aaron Downs would round out the top three, as each would collect their share of the championship bonus points up for grabs in quali.
The day would then transition to the first round of heat racing action… and qualifying would be the least of the close finishes seen on the day. Group A would feature a tight three-way battle as Jay Schreiber and Taylor Hays hounded Widner from the drop of the green. The session would conclude with the closest finish in Super Series history as Widner and Hays crossed the stripe side by side. The timing display would show a difference of 0.000s between the two, however Widner would claim the win as the system internally scores out to six decimal places yet only displays out to three. With the first tie in Super Series history narrowly averted, Group B would be up next and would continue the trend of photo finishes.
Defending series champ Logan Calvin would make his way to the point while David Kelmenson, 2012 Rookie of the Year KC Cook, and former Star Mazda pilot Nick Haye attempted to keep him within their sights. Kelmenson would make his move coming out of the final corner, but his run would not be enough as Calvin beat him to the checkers by just 0.015 seconds. Cook and Haye would be right there as well, and would finish P3 and P4 respectively. Group C would be up next, and would feature the third session in a row to be decided by less than a tenth of a second as Downs and Darren Mercer would do battle. Downs would not be denied as he would out sprint Mercer out of the final corner for a 0.093s win in his first heat race of the season. Heat Round 1 would be rounded out by Group D featuring defending Masters Champion Sergio Bravo locking horns with championship hopeful Miles Calvin. Bravo would stalk Calvin in the waning laps, waiting for the slightest of bobbles to pounce on, however that bobble would not come from the veteran Calvin and he would claim victory by just under half a second.
With the first round of heats completed, the groups would be reshuffled for the second round of heats, and the drivers would gear up for their final run before heading into the day’s mains. Group A would see Jon Kimbrell bounce back from a tough heat 1 finish to claim the win over Jay Schreiber, both drivers clinching a spot on the A-Main grid with their combined H1 / H2 performances. Group B would feature Downs and Mercer again doing battle, as it would be Mercer this time getting the better of Downs by a slight margin when all was said and done. Another ridiculously close finish would be seen in Group C as Miles Calvin and Sergio Bravo found themselves running bumper to bumper yet again. The two would exit the final ‘Long Beach’ corner side by side, with Rene Hourian just behind. Hourian would tuck behind Calvin, nudging Miles to a 0.002s victory, his second of the day. Group D, featuring Logan Calvin, Dave Messimer, and Mike Kai would bring on yet another finish to remember. The trio would come across the stripe three wide, just 0.039s separating a win from a P3 result. It would be Logan pulling it out, with Messimer and Kai settling for P2 and P3 respectively, making Logan two-for-two on the day as well.
With the heat racing rounds now in the books, it would be the D-Main first to take the grid for the final round of sessions. With the green flag in the air, it would quickly turn into a three-man battle between a trio of Rookie contenders. Aaron Scott would quickly jump out in front of Justin Tolman at the point. Lenny Nielson would also make his presence felt as he pressured both from P3 early in the run. Each driver would spend time at the point, as the lead would change hands multiple times in the session. Nielson would bring the group to the white flag as Tolman sat just off his rear bumper. Tolman would make his move down the back stretch as he would get a nice run, catch some draft, and dive to the inside heading into the right hand hairpin. Just a bit too much lockup would allow Nielson the chance to hold the outside line and Tolman would not have another chance. Nielson would claim the D-Main win and transfer to join the C-Main up next.
The C-Main would feature a highly intense battle for the lead for almost all 12 laps of the session. Rookie Brian Tarroja, veterans Jeff Carson and Todd Bell, as well as Masters title contender Steve Hansen would all find themselves in the mix. Hansen, having suffered a contact-induced spin in his earlier heat race, found no solace in the black flag that was handed out to the aggressor and his subsequent poor result in that earlier session. He now found himself needing to race his way into the B-Main, but would encounter quite a bit of resistance from his fellow hopefuls. With two laps to go, Hansen would make his move, going up the inside of Bell into turn 4 for the lead. While the move would result in a bit of side to side contact, Hansen would exit the corner with the position. The very next lap, with the white flag waving, it would be Bell who would execute the exact same move back at Hansen in the exact same corner. This time it would be Bell leaving the corner with the advantage. After a rough start to the season, frustration would boil over for Hansen, as he would make intentional contact with Bell on the exit, and would then pull himself from the lead pack as officials had already called in the penalty. Bell would make his way to the checkers, earning a spot on the day’s B-Main grid to follow after the hotly contested affair.
Next up would be the day’s B-Main, which is always an action packed session as the winner grabs the lone transfer spot to join the coveted A-Main field. This race would feature another tight three kart battle at the front as 2011 Rookie of the Year Tyler Bryant would be joined by Northern California standout Jerott King, and Rookie contender Steve Spring. After a number of position changes throughout the race, the battle for the win would again come down to the final lap. King’s experience and race craft would shine as he would make a beautiful move on Bryant under breaking with the white flag in the air to take the lead. Bryant would counter with a brilliant move of his own out of the final corner and the two would drag-race it to the stripe. King would edge Bryant for the win and the transfer by just 0.100s, with Spring just another 0.059s back from the duo. King would be elated to make the ‘big show’… Round 1’s A-Main Feature.
With 27 drivers lined up two-by-two for the only rolling start of the day, there was a definite electricity in the air for the first A-Main of the 2013 Season. The front row would be locked out by the brothers Calvin, as both had claimed wins in both of their respective heat race sessions earlier in the day, signaling a renewal of their 2012 championship rivalry here in Round 1 of the 2013 campaign. With the green flag in the air, the duo would construct a small breakaway as both Aaron Downs and Bill Kreig joined while the rest of the field battled hard behind. Meanwhile Dave Messimer, last year’s Masters runner-up, would be putting in a hard charge to move up in the field and began reeling in the lead group.
A similar charge would be mounted by Taylor Hays, as he would have Bravo, Widner, and Kai all in tow. As the laps wound down, what had begun as a four kart runaway had been pulled back to a 10-kart affair as Oregon hot-shoe Adam Kellerman would also join the action. As the crowd took the white flag, each driver fought hard to pounce on any opening, while still cautiously defending from those just behind. As the group barreled down into the final corner, it would be Logan making the move on Miles as the two would exit on the front stretch in familiar side by side fashion. With Messimer just behind looking for any opening, both Calvin’s would go into full ‘aero-tuck’, seeking any advantage coming to the stripe. On this day, it would be the elder Miles edging the defending champ Logan by just 0.097s for the win, with Messimer, Kreig, and Downs rounding out the top five.
As the drivers made their way back into pit lane, the top five would high-five and congratulate one another as they entered the parc ferme area for this season’s new official post race weigh out. It would quickly become apparent that the day’s drama was not over as P3 podium finisher Dave Messimer would suffer heartbreak as officials found him to be under the 200lb competition weight upon inspection. The error would cost Messimer his podium result as the ensuing DQ would drop him to the bottom of the order, elevating Bill Kreig to the day’s podium instead. All others would successfully pass the tech inspection, earning Miles Calvin the championship points lead and top step of the Random Manufacturing sponsored podium in Round1.
Round 2 of the CalSpeed Super Series Championship is slated to return to CalSpeed on Saturday, March 2nd, as is tentatively slated to take on the tricky Grande Counter-Clockwise configuration. Driver registrations have already begun to pour in as the field is already nearly a quarter full with a month to go. For questions or information on the series, please contact CalSpeed’s Brad Packard at 951.241.3872, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.