The Classico Grand Prix has been heralded as the crown jewel event on the CalSpeed Super Series calendar for many years, harkening back to the original layout, and first laps ever turned at the Fontana, CA facility. Making the 11th event on the Classico circuit event more special, this past weekend marked the 100th Super Series in CalSpeed’s history, and the first time the event was a part of the “Classico Grand Prix Weekend”. There was plenty of hype around the event, with one of the most talented fields ever assembled, and the racing on track would not disappoint…
The green-white-checkered qualifying session would see a familiar face at the top once again, as young Sam Hunt scored his 3rd pole of the season, and 6th top 3 qualy effort in 8 events so far. Ayrton DeMoss also scored a breakthrough qualy performance for 2nd place, while overall point leader Sean Fite picked up the final bonus point with a third overall. With four run groups for this special event, Chris Huerta picked up the final pole position for a heat race with his 4th overall in qualifying. When the heat races started, it was Classico ace Charles Eichlin that would emerge as the driver to beat, sweep both his heats to score the pole position for the A-Main. Joining him in the win column for the heat races would be the aforementioned Sam Hunt, Miles and Logan Calvin, Sean Fite, Andres Prieto and first-time heat winner, Doug Yauney.
For the first time in several years, the Super Series would see four mains instead of just three, and this meant that the first Main to run would be the D-Main. James Suggs would lead the field away for the start of the 12 lap contest and would lead the whole first half of the race with Jeff Latimer in tow. Behind the lead duo was a driver on the move, however, as Evan Lawrence worked his way up from the 7th starting position. Lawrence made quick work of the first four drivers he encountered, and by the end of lap 7 would be on the doorstep of the leaders. He would have to wait long for an opportunity either, stealing away the top step with a brilliant move to go from 3rd to 1st, which he would hold onto all the way to the finish.
With such a talented group of drivers on the entry list, there was bound to be a few big names further down the charts, and this time even the C-Main saw a few. Having been out of the sport karting seat for a while, Mark Connell returned to the Super Series with quite a bit of rust but returned to form towards the end of the day. The C-Main would see Connell line up third, but then move into second by the end of the first lap. Slotting in behind Grand Masters champ Tony Wika, his move for the lead would form up on lap four, with Wika losing one more spot to Matt Steele in the process. Steele would keep the pressure on for the rest of the race, but Connell would not be denied a piece of Classico hardware and sealed the deal on the win and the B-Main transfer.
While the two mains before it were essentially controlled at the front by a single driver in the end, the B-Main would see a lot more excitement in the closing laps. Current Sportsman point leader Spencer Russell would lead the field away at the start, and would immediately find fellow Sportsman standout Michael Hazelwood and veteran Bill Kreig right on his heels. This trio would pull away from the non-stop infighting behind them, making it a three-horse race as the 15 lap contest neared its end. Russell would lead the opening 11 laps, but on lap 12 Hazelwood made the move to steal away the lead. Russell would fight back two laps later, leading the trio as they started the final lap. Hazelwood countered, however, getting to the inside through the Contino carousel to steal away the B-Main win, and the final spot on the A-Main grid.
The 100th Super Series A-Main would see some very big names fill the 25 driver roster, all led by Classico ace Charles Eichlin for the two-by-two rolling start, with up and coming talent Sam Hunt alongside. This 20 lap affair saw Eichlin jump out to a commanding lead as the rest of the field jostled for position behind him, enjoying an almost 2-second advantage after the opening pair of circuits. Coming out ahead through the infighting would be one of the best in the business on Classico, Miles Calvin, and the veteran immediately went to work reeling in Charles. Clicking off a couple of tenths a lap faster per lap, Calvin caught him at about the 1/3 mark, and immediately made his move for the lead. The duo would immediately lock in step, pushing to keep things a two-horse race -but there was a third driver that had other plans.
Starting in seventh, east coast fly-in driver Andrew Wood made steady progress through the first few drivers he faced, eventually catching and dispatching Sam Hunt for 3rd on lap six, just about one second back from the top two. When Calvin made his move for the lead, Wood would gain enough to slot into the draft, and the top two wouldn’t be able to drop him. Instead what ensued was one of the best chess matches we have seen in a Super Series event, culminating in one of -if not the- best finish in its 100 race history. Wood would find himself in the lead on the final lap, but would come under fire from Calvin in the open set of corners, stealing away the top spot in turn 4, with Eichlin following through as well. The decisive maneuver would come in the final complex however, as Eichlin made the move stick to the inside of Calvin in the Contino Carousel, the duo going side by side into and out of the Esses.
Coming off the final corner and on the front straight it was a drag race between Miles Calvin and Charles Eichlin… AND Andrew Wood. Timing his move perfectly, Wood undercut the fighting duo, and carried enough speed to make it three-wide coming to the line… scoring the Classico Grand Prix win by just .133 at the line over Eichlin, with Calvin settling for third just .033 behind him. It was a fitting finish to the biggest Super Series race of the year, capping off 100 races in the 10 season history of the championship.
Super Series A-Main Top 10-
- Andrew Wood
- Charles Eichlin
- Miles Calvin
- Sam Hunt
- Michael Hazelwood
- Diego Morales [M]
- Jon Kimbrell
- Patrick Britain
- Taylor Hays
- Alyssa Yauney
Point Standings after 2 Drops (Best Drop)
|5)||Jose da Silva [M]||2127||(309)|