The 2013 Super Series Championship is shaping up to be the closest and most competitive in series history, and Round 7 only brought that fight even closer as the Top 8 walked away sitting within an insanely-close 100 points of one another in the overall standings. Adding to that drama is the fact that no driver at the sharp end has been immune to a tough round so far, as well four of the top five in points having been forced to miss at least one round already this year. With all contenders sitting in a precarious ‘points drop’ position thru seven rounds of racing, the run to the championship will come down to one thing over the final four races: consistency.
Round 7 would get underway with the obligatory morning warmup sessions for all 93 drivers on hand. Once all practice sessions were complete, the field’s focus would turn towards maximizing their green-white-checkered qualifying opportunity on the fast and flowing Nuovo Configuration. It would be Group C highlighting quali action as Masters pilot Ben Blank would edge Bill Kreig by just 0.001s with only one group still to run. The final group to take to the track, comprised of the quickest drivers from morning practice, is generally expected to fight it out for pole position on any given Super Series day. This time however, only Miles Calvin would show pace enough to surpass Blank and Kreig, edging both by two-tenths on his way to the top of the time sheets.
QUALIFYING TOP 5:
1 Miles Calvin 1:02.548
2 Ben Blank 1:02.568
3 Bill Kreig 1:02.569
4 Jason Foreman 1:02.627
5 Dennis Kimbrell 1:02.702
HEAT RACING HIGHLIGHTS:
With two rounds of Heat Races scheduled for each driver, the battle would turn away from laptimes, as only finishing position counts towards your Main Event seeding. The Nuovo Congifuration would produce some tight battles, as predicted, with solid use of the draft being absolutely crucial for a quality finish. The closest finish of the day would come in Group 2-D as a four way battle between Jerott King, Rene Hourian, Derek Esquibel, and Andrew Lemons would have them separated at the stripe by a less than two-tenths margin, with King claiming the win by just 0.061s over Hourian in P2. On the other end of the spectrum, several drivers would not make it thru the heats unscathed, including Chris Huerta who found himself on the wrong end of a first turn incident in Group 2-A, as well as Jason Foreman, Ben Blank, and Dennis Kimbrell all struggling to turn their fantastic qualifying efforts into strong race results.
HEAT RACE WINNERS:
Group 1A Derrick Islas + 0.336s
Group 1B Jay Schreiber [M] + 0.104s
Group 1C Jon Kimbrell + 0.137s
Group 1D Taylor Hays + 0.126s
Group 2A Jonathan Vitolo + 0.170s
Group 2B Sergio Bravo [M] + 0.134s
Group 2C KC Cook + 0.430s
Group 2D Jerott King + 0.061s
With all Heat Race rounds complete, drivers would gear up for their final runs on the day as it was time for the Mains. As always, first to the grid would be the D-Main field where a win would not only secure you some hardware during the podium presentation, but would also earn you a chance to transfer up to join the C-Main field as well. With the green flag in the air, it would not be long until the race for the win turned into a two horse battle as series rookies Ed Lewis and Lucian Millar began extending a solid gap on first time racers John DeGeorge and Max Hilleret in P3 / P4 respectively. Millar would lead the bulk of the race having taken the lead from Lewis in the early going, but Lewis would not be shaken off so easily. Lewis would reel Millar in as the laps began winding down, and would move to the lead as the white flag came out. Millar would not have an opportunity to counter on the final lap and he would follow Lewis across the checkers after a great race for both wheelmen. Lewis would grab a trophy for his efforts, and would move on to join the C-Main grid up next.
D-MAIN TOP 5:
1. Ed Lewis [M][R] + 0.623s
2. Lucian Millar [R] 3. John DeGeorge [R] 4. Max Hilleret [R][H] 5. Mako Koiwai [M][R]
Over the past several rounds the C-Main has become known as the ‘redemption-session’ for guys having an uncharacteristically rough day. Back in Round 5 it was Ben Blank needing to race his way into the B-main, just last month it was Charles Eichlin needing to move up thru the field, and here in Round 7 it would be Chris Huerta looking to recover for the spin he suffered earlier in the day. Huerta would not waste much time getting it going once the green flag waived as he quickly made his way to the point, and he wouldn’t look back once he got there. Consistently lapping half a second quicker than the rest of the field, Huerta would leave Adam Nagao and Cody Calvin behind to battle for the consolation prize of P2, a battle which Nagao would narrowly claim when the dust settled. Huerta would score his redemption by a margin of just under 5.5 seconds… an eternity in Super Series racing.
C-MAIN TOP 5:
1. Christ Huerta + 5.496s
2. Adam Nagao [R] 3. Cody Calvin [R] 4. Jeremy Aldridge [R] 5. Paige Kaufman [R]
With 24 drivers lining up in the Round 7 B-Main, and only one transfer spot on the line for the session’s winner, it quickly becomes an ‘all or nothing’ proposition for a number of drivers taking the green. Four drivers would quickly separate themselves from the pack in the early going to get in the hunt including Ben Blank, Derek Esquibel, Henry Morse, and Alex Wardel. While that foursome jockeyed for the position at the point, much of the spectators focus would be on the C-Main transfer driver, Chris Huerta.
Huerta, having started 24th on the grid, was picking off chunks of positions in the early going, and would move his way all the way up to P10 midway thru the race. He would cap a commendable run by making his way to P5 by the finish, having run out of laps to reel in the lead pack. That lead pack would see Blank and Esquibel score enough breathing room on the final lap to make it a mano-a-mano duel for the win. Esquibel would look to setup for a classic overtake up the inside heading toward the final ‘Long Beach’ corner, but Blank’s experience would see him defend brilliantly in anticipation of Esquibel’s move. Esquibel would be forced to abort his attempt, changing to a wide entry instead, but it would all be for naught. Blank would keep Esquibel off his back bumper en route to the win and the transfer into the A-Main.
B-MAIN TOP 5:
1. Ben Blank [M] + 0.263
2. Derek Esquibel
3. Henry Morse
4. Alex Wardel [R] 5. Chris Huerta
Featuring the only 2×2 rolling start of the day, a Super Series A-Main is generally about not getting hung out to dry in those opening few laps and simply to maintain your position once the dust settles. Round 7 saw both front row pilots, Jay Schreiber and Jerott King, caught out in the early going, only to be shuffled down the order by the ensuing freight train. Both would limit the damage nicely to hang onto the lead group, but control at the point would handed over to Taylor Hays, still in search of his first A-Main win in a series leading 100th race start.
He would not be unchallenged for long as two-time series champion Jon Kimbrell began reeling Hays in as the laps started to wind down. Also in tow, reigning Masters Champion Sergio Bravo looking to get himself in position for the win, as well as Miles Calvin, having worked himself up to P3 in the lead pack. Kimbrell, now well within striking distance to Hays, would not play the ‘wait and see’ game for long, as he would launch the attack and wrestle the lead away with a handful of laps remaining. Hays would also fall victim to the opportunistic Calvin, leaving him with his hands full in a battle with Bravo for the final podium position. With just 4 laps to go, lady luck would arrive just in time to break the hearts of Miles Calvin and Bill Kreig, as both would suffer mechanical issues resulting in early retirements. Both would be credited with points according to the rulebook, but a disappointment indeed.
On the other hand, it would be Kirk Feldkamp benefitting hugely as his strong run now had him up to P4, while up at the front Kimbrell would give the lead up to Bravo. Kimbrell would stalk Bravo closely in the closing laps, but the wiley veteran would not give the youngster an opening. Bravo would hold the lead all the way to the checkers, making him the first multi-event winner of 2013 having duplicated his Round 4 effort here in Round 7. Kimbrell would cross the stripe in a close second, while Hays held off a furious effort from Feldkamp to claim the final step of the R7 podium back in P3.
A-MAIN TOP 5:
1. Sergio Bravo [M] + .0198
2. Jon Kimbrell
3. Taylor Hays
4. Kirk Feldkamp
5. Jonathan Vitolo
With 7 of 11 Rounds of racing now complete, the 2013 Super Series Championship enters its home stretch over the next few months here at CalSpeed. Round 7 saw the conspicuous absence of Darren Mercer from the grid, as he becomes just the latest championship contender forced to miss a round of action. He now falls to P5 in the standings, while nearly every hopeful sits in a precarious ‘race drop’ situation heading down the stretch. Championship leader KC Cook is one of those hopefuls, as he sees his lead trimmed to just five points leaving Round 7, with Bravo now nipping at his heals in P2. Defending Champion Logan Calvin is the only driver, other than Bravo, in the Top 5 not to have a missed round dogging him in the standings, however he sits tied in P3 with older brother Miles thanks to a couple of tough results on the year, both just 25 back from Cook in a championship that looks like it will most definitely come down to the wire.
The Overall Championship is not the only title being hotly contested this year, as an intense Rookie Championship battle continues to rage. Steve Spring jumped out to an early lead in the category, but has had chunks taken out of his cushion by various rivals throughout the year. Michael Wodjat is his closet competition thru seven rounds, as he sits just 59 points adrift. Also looking to mount late season charges in the chase are Justin Tolman, Ian Enz, Cody Calvin, and Charles Eichlin, all putting in strong drives at various stages of the past several rounds.
The Heavy Class Championship also took a major turn in Round 7 as points leader Mike Arnold had it all but locked up over rival Steve Jasinski heading in. Jasinski, with a significant deficit to make up, came to life this past weekend clawing back nearly 170 points in a single day via his A-Main appearance. He now sits less than 100 points back in what was once considered in improbable championship. Finally, the coveted CalSpeed Masters Championship is beginning to show all the makings of a three-peat for Sergio Bravo as he could well stand atop the Overall Podium at season’s end to boot. Bravo’s amazing run is coming at the expense of 2013 Grand National Masters Champion, and teammate, Jay Schreiber. It could be argued that Schreiber’s run this season, which includes an event win of his own back in Round 3, could have been enough to put him in control of the Master’s category in any other season. With four rounds remaining however, none of these titles are anywhere near secure, which should turn the dial up on the tension, as well as the action, as we head into the fall.
Registration for Round 8 of the Super Series is currently underway, and can be done via the CalSpeed Karting website. For information on the series, or questions on how to secure your spot, please contact Brad Packard at 951.241.3872, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OFFICIAL TIMING RESULTS: http://www.mylaps.com/en/events/935986
FULL POINTS STANDINGS: https://calspeedkarting.com/racing-programs/racing-series/super-series.html