Like the IronMan Finale early in the day, the Sprint Series Finale saw the focus turn to the overall podium and the Summer Sub-Championship; the overall was between Ariel Rubio and Vince Burke, both locked into the hardware, just the order still undecided. The Summer title was where the big excitement was to be sure; Alyssa Yauney, Sean Fite, and Matt Hart were separated by just 25 points, with must win scenarios, and a little help needed making what ensued a nail biter to be sure.
Needing to be perfect on the day was plenty of motivation for Matt Hart in qualifying, scoring his first pole position of the season, and with it the starting spot he needed to keep in heat A. Also putting up impressive numbers in qualifying was Alex Bermudez, an up and coming talent running sporadic races between his Porsche Club races. Bermudez’s second overall performance would see him lead the field away for heat B.
The first of the two heats had Hart rocket off at the start, pulling out to a small lead over ‘2 Race’ driver Jose da Silva looking for more seat time prior to the Super Series, and Sean Fite, one of Hart’s Summer rivals. The lead would be quickly eaten up however, and Hart received regular pressure for the duration of the race, with Fite actually losing touch with the top two in the second half of the race. Now a one-on-one fight, the lead duo picked up the pace, but although da Silva had fastest lap it wasn’t enough to find a way past Hart who brought home the win. Hart was half way there…
Heat two saw relative rookie Bermudez lead the field away, but would come under attack almost immediately from some of the series’ best, including Ariel Rubio and Alyssa Yauney, with up and coming talent Marcin Balazy joining the fray early. Rubio would find a hole on lap four, and with the help of Yauney and Balazy, would freight train the former leader, with Bermudez falling back into 4th. The quartet would stay in line for the most part until the final complex on the last lap, where Balazy made a decisive move on Yauney, dropping the Summer leader to 3rd; and more importantly costing her 10 points total instead of just five to Hart…
The final B-Main of the season looked like it was just a run-away affair, with former series winner Vladimir Orlov blasting out to a large lead right out of the gate. Steve Frame would assume the second spot in short order, followed by Greg Reinhardt, both drivers’ former winners of the B-Main. Behind the lead trio however were battles aplenty, as drivers worked hard to move towards the sharp end, especially from the Wordens; both Brice and Jacob made strong inroads to the front. For his part, Brice would actually make it up to the 4th position on the back of the fastest lap of the race, but would get bumped up to 3rd once the drivers made it through scales. Although a runaway victory, Orlov would be just .2 pounds light at the post race weigh in, promoting Steve Frame from second to the transfer spot.
At the drop of the green for the final A-Main of the year all eyes were on the Summer Championship, and more specifically, the gap between Matt Hart and Alyssa Yauney. Hart would lead them off the line from the standing start, while Yauney would head off from the sixth position, needing to finish 5th or better to clinch the title regardless of what Matt did.
Much like the first heat race, Hart led a lead pack that seemed more interested in working together, then battling for position, at least for the first half of the 10 lap race. When they did start battling, it was the Overall Champ making the moves, as Fite worked his way through some of the best on offer to get to the back bumper of Hart with the white flag in the air. Further back yauney struggled to not only take the fight to the top five, but to hold off the charge from behind, and stay with the front pack, slipping away from the top 5 and her summer title.
As the Sprint Series started its final lap of the season, Hart worked to hold off RNA Teammate and fellow Summer title contender Fite at bay, while da Silva, Rubio and Balazy all stayed ready to pounce on any ill move. That move never came however, and Hart came across to do exactly what he needed to do: Be Perfect. Fite would come across second, while Rubio held off da Silva to bring home the final step of the podium, sealing the deal on second overall in the standings from Burke. And although throwing out the day, Yauney’s 7th place finish would see her lose the Summer title via a tie breaker, it going down to her and Hart’s total points; Hart winning the tie breaker by just 5 points.
It was an exciting finish to the inaugural season of the Sprint Series, and one that kicks of the new championships history in a great way. For Matt Hart, it was the perfect ending to a season he started late in, making the transition from Competition Karting to Sport Karting full time this year:
“I honestly entered the final race with few expectations. I saw the pre-race report that said I needed to have a perfect day and then would still need some help in the points”, commented Hart. “Alyssa has been so consistent all summer that I didn’t think there was a realistic chance of clinching the summer title. After qualifying on pole I started to think there was a chance, but I knew I would need some help from my T4/RNA teammates. Thankfully, they all knew what was at stake and pushed me to both the heat win and the main.
Matt continued, “After the race I thought that I had won it, but I didn’t realize the tiebreaker went to total points first, as I thought it was number of wins. As it was announced the winner was based off of total number of points I truly thought I had lost. Fortunately the points ended up being in my favor. Lastly, I just want to say thank you to Jose da Silva, Sean Fite, Ariel Rubio, and all of my teammates for helping me clinch this title. Hopefully we can carry this momentum over to next year.”
Official 2015 Final Overall Championship Standings
Official 2015 Summer Sub-Championship Standings