CalSpeed Grand Prix Series Round 3 Preview

The third installment of the new Grand Prix Series takes to the track tonight at 5pm, with the fastest of the CalSpeed layouts on offer; Nuotivo. The track will look mostly familiar to the the return 32 drivers from last month, as only a single complex is swapped out from round #2’s track, Sportivo. Speaking of last month, Nick Rajewski made it two podiums in a row by scoring his first career win, while Tiange Li also brought home his second piece of hardware with another 2nd place. New to the box was Rodney Bryant Jr, backing up his pole position in qualifying with a third in the Main.

Of the 32 returning drivers that have already cut laps in the GP Series, 18 of the top 25 in points are returning, and we are now starting to get a pretty clear look at who some of the upcoming talent is here at CalSpeed. Todays preview will not only look at top 5 in the standings after two events, but also take a closer look at the track for round #3, as well as a full entry list for tonights event…

The Track…

·      Turns – 13

·      Overall length – .657 miles

·      Front Straight – 550 feet

·      Back Straight (Nuovo to Monaco) – 630 feet

·      Braking Zones – Kimbrell, Turn 4, Monaco, Long Beach

·      Primary Passing Zones – Kimbrell (Draft) Turn 4, Monaco, Long Beach

·      Track Record- 6.896, Sam Hunt, Super Series Round #1 2021

The Drivers…

Qualy Group 1      

  1. Nick Rajewski
  2. Tiange Li
  3. Rodney Bryant Jr
  4. Josef Nalezny
  5. Yingkai Zhao
  6. Brandon Boone
  7. Ryan Ray
  8. Revin Easley
  9. Matthew Pinto
  10. David Ballantine
  11. Matthew Slama
  12. Fabricio Curtis
  13. Jayden Martinez
  14. Nathan Olin
  15. Marcus Guerrero
  16. Cuauhtemoc Arana Bravo
  17. Eric Dulaney
  18. Ethan Broitman
  19. Aaron Geoulla
  20. Brandon Schmidt
  21. Andrew Mekhail
  22. Ryan Detweiler
  23. Nolan Platefield
  24. Allen Person
  25. Daniel Parisi

Qualy Group 2

  1. Charlie Ibarra
  2. Zachary Abrahim
  3. Craig Vasquez
  4. Shady Ahmad
  5. Adam Ahmad
  6. Korey Givens
  7. JD Lebrilla
  8. Brian Palencia
  9. Chris Knutsen
  10. Cole Duncan
  11. Conor King-Goldman
  12. Evan Garner
  13. Gabriel Banuelos
  14. George Reyes
  15. Jim Givens
  16. John Michael Dunnigan
  17. Jorge Esquivel
  18. Robert Easley
  19. Scott Macadam
  20. Summer Givens
  21. Antonio Rodriguez
  22. Da Hang
  23. Erin Pae
  24. Brian Escobar
  25. Madigan Escobar

Championship Top 5 –

#1 Nick Rajewski – Backing up a third at the opener, Nick Rajewski’s win at round #2 sees him bump up to the overall point lead, and is fresh off his second best finish of the year over in the Sprint Series. That should bode well for him with it being the same track, but there are several others entered that have also been getting extra seat time of late, and will pose a challenge.

#2 Steven Dekeyser – However round #1 winner Steven Dekeyser will not be one of them, as he will be forced to miss this weekend due to a prior commitment. This means he will be resting on his 5th place finish last month, and will be dropping this round from his tally. Question will be, how will he fair upon his return at the finale?

#3 Tiange Li – The best way to give yourself the best chance to do well in the single-race format that is the GP Series is to qualify well, and Tiange Li has been carrying the torch there. A pole position at the opener and a P2 in qualy last month sees him with a pair of 2nds to his name in the races, and actually just picked up a B-main win over in the Sprint series last weekend…

#4 Rodney Bryant – Son of a former champ, Rodney Bryant Jr backed up what many thought he could do coming into this new series, bouncing back at the opener for a solid 7th, and then scoring a podium last month after top time in qualy. He is very much in the title conversation, and one has to wonder if he has been getting any pointers from dear ole dad…

#5 Josef Nalezny – Like Bryant, last month was a bit of a rebound for Josef Nalezy, who did not have the series opening race he wanted at all. His 4th last month showed what he could do however, and will be looking to show it was no fluke tonight. He’s had success in the Machismo 12 Hour endurance race before, and is now showing he can make things happen in a sprint event as well…

After the first two events we are starting to see who the players are, not only the top 5 above, but there are a few further back that have also showed steady improvement. Will round #3 see more of the same usual suspects from rounds #1 and #2, or could we see a breakout performance from someone new?

See you all tonight at 5pm!