The IronMan Series kicked things off on the ‘Super Speedway’ of CalSpeed’s layouts last month, the first time the series had visited Nuovo in a couple years. After the customary round #1 qualifying to set the first grid of the year, it was Bill Myers taking the pole positon, with Henry Morse coming up second. Morse would go on to be the one to beat However, leading the most laps en-route to the win, while Sean Fite and Adam Nagao rounded out the podium, each also picking up bonus points for laps led.
Round #2 of the 2017 season sees the sold out show of 30 drivers take to Sportivo, the place of the season opener one year ago. In stark contrast to the flat out nature of Nuovo, the technicality and multiple passing zones of this track will see a lot more moves for position, and less working together.
But heading into this round the big question is “will it rain?” as Mother Nature once again threatens the Fontana, CA facility this weekend. There is a window to get it in, so we’ll take a closer look at who and what to watch for in tomorrow’s race…
Round #2; Sportivo…
Sportivo debuted in 2012 as the special track for the first ever Sport Kart Grand Nationals, and has been a driver favorite ever since. While it looks a bit like the previous track we ran on (Nuovo), it cuts out the Contino Carousel in favor of the Monaco Hairpin, and tightens up the down hill run after turns 5 and 6 for the corner that the track gets its name, Sportivo. Both of these corners can be tricky, especially in the winter when the grip level can be a bit lower. The off camber and tightening nature of Sportivo can catch drivers out that push too hard, while Monaco’s tight radius makes for a great passing opportunity.
Last year this was the track that opened the season, and last minute entry Diego Morales grabbed pole position, and went on to win, albeit pressured by former champ Taylor Hays for the duration. The duo will start 8th and 11th respectively for round #2 this season, and will certainly be a pair we’ll be keeping an eye on. And speaking of strong starting spots, Alyssa Yauney will roll off 5th on the grid and has been driving the best we’ve seen her, finish second in the Pro Class in the Super Series just two weeks ago.
A total of 15 drivers return that are eligible for the invert this round including 13 of the top 16 in the points, with a total of 20 returning drivers on the roster. The 10 drivers making their IronMan debut include some stout ones, namely that of former winner and reigning Super Series Masters champ Mark Connell and regular A-Main contender Jake Hood. These two will take the rolling start from very deep in the field-26th and 29th respectively-but I wouldn’t be surprise to see them work together and find their way inside the top 10 before the end, if not better. And one notable omission from the entry list is the guy fourth in the standings, Marcin Balazy. Balazy was in position to challenge for a podium in round #1, but a botched pit stop eliminated those hopes. A multi-time podium finisher, if Balazy does get in the show, he will line up 13th on the grid, and will be a certain threat for the front.
One last thing to point out is the impact traffic plays on everyone’s race; last month it provided several dicey moments as drivers tried to slice through less experienced traffic. This month the track isn’t quite as fast and flowing, so the opportunities for getting through traffic could be a bit easier. It will also be interesting to see if wait pit strategy drivers go for, as there is not a lot of recent data on this track, having only run it once last year…
Current Standings Top 10
|8)||Jose da Silva||69|
Round #2 Provisional Starting Grid
|9)||Jose da Silva|