Round #3 took to the Tecnico course, and once again saw a familiar face on top of the box, as Adam Nagao won his third Tecnico race in a row, albeit the first win of the season for the point leader. After being in contention for the win all race long, a lapped car on the penultimate lap balked any chance Jose da Silva had of going for the win, and had to settle for second, while a spirited battle for the final spot ended with one-off driver Cameron Jocelyn taking home the spoils.
Tomorrow’s fourth race in the championship will see the IronMan field take to the Grande clockwise layout for first time this season, and with it, a return to the ‘forward’ direction of the first two rounds. We may see a championship decided as well, with Adam Nagao having a shot to clinch the Winter Sub-Championship one round early. The stage will have a different look as well, with three sections of the CalSpeed Karting facility newly paved just a week or so ago, providing a new challenge to even the veterans of the series. Now let’s take a closer look at the track, and who we may see at the sharp end in tomorrow’s race!
Round #4; Grande…
The Grande clockwise layout is the longest of the standard direction tracks, and combines both high and low speed sections along with plenty of passing opportunities to be one of the favorites on the calendar. We’ll be heading back up the hill through the Bus Stop section and into Kornakurva (turn #4) once again, this time forgoing the long triple right hander down the hill for a straight shot towards the tricky braking zone at Scandi. There are numerous ways to take this downhill braking corner, but they all have the same thing in common-get set up for Grande Hairpin. With the Hairpin immediately following this quick left-right combo, and a long straight following it, this complex is arguably the most important on the track.
What follows is the first of the repaved sections; typically a smooth right hander leading to the back straight section, Silk now has a lot of ‘character’ to it and will be the first of new challenges these drivers will face on Saturday. Contino Carousel follows after building to the fastest part of the track, its left-right braking zone mimicking the Scandi corner, albeit much smoother in its transition and at a higher speed. After that double-apex corner you have the short run the the next repave-Horseshoe. Grip is higher in this section, but it is still a single line to be fast and not lose positions, and getting out of the corner with a strong position is important for a shot at passing in the final corner. Long Beach is the final re-paved section on the tack, and arguably the toughest to get through. Tighter on entry than on the exit, the new surface has a lot more grip than it used to, and is not as easy to rotate through with these sport karts. It is still an important corner though, as it is not only a good passing zone, but leads onto the front straight, and the run to the finish line…
Veterans of CalSpeed will still have a leg up on the competition, but these new sections will certainly throw a curve ball at them, making this event a unique one in that regard. Two-time IronMan winner on Grande-including this event last year-Diego Morales leads all in the experience category, and it will be interesting to see how his knowledge of the circuit applies this weekend. Fellow winner on this layout Taylor Hays is the only other Grande winner in the field this weekend, but there are a couple of podium finishers entered; Steve Spring and Andres Prieto. For the most part however, track knowledge or at least success on this configuration looks to be a fairly even playing field this weekend.
One driver we will certainly be keeping an eye on is defending overall champion and current point leader Adam Nagao. Nagao was nipped in the points for the Winter sub-championship last year by Sean Fite, but actually has a shot to clinch the title one round early with a strong finish tomorrow. With a worst finish of third right now, he is coming off his first win of the year last month, and is carrying some strong momentum into the event. It won’t be an easy task for him however, as 17 of the top 19 in points will be in attendance, plus a couple of strong one-off entries. Between the track, championship implications, and a stout field, this event is certainly not one to miss!
Current Top 10 Standings After 1 Drop (Drop)
|5)||Jose da Silva||169||(42)|
Round #4 Provisional Starting Grid
|15)||Jose da Silva|