CalSpeed Sprint Series 2022 Round #7 Preview

(With Race Director Mike Smith a little under the weather, the Event Preview for Round #7 of the 2022 Sprint Series goes old-school with the tried and true written preview instead of video…)

The seventh round of the CalSpeed Sprint Series takes to the Nuotivo circuit this weekend, and will double as the second event in the best 4 out of 5 Summer Series sub-championship. Last month it was overall point leader and Winter sub-champion Ivan Martinez striking first in the second half of the season, joined on the podium by up and coming talent Emerson Thieman, and veteran Jeremy Aldridge.

The Nuotivo Circuit was in place twice last year, kicking things off with the season opener, and round #7 also hosting the quickest of the CalSpeed layouts on the month of July. Most of the front runners from those events have moved on from the Sprint Series here in 2022, so we could see yet another new face atop the box come Saturday…

Track Spotlight: Nuotivo

Track Facts: Nuotivo

·      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 Nuotivo circuit is a blend of the fastest course at CalSpeed -Nuovo- and the track we just raced on last month, Sportivo. The key change is the downhill corner, as the hard braking and more than 90 degree Sportivo corner is swapped for the flat-out left hander of Nuovo. The full Nuovo circuit actually also includes the Contino Carousel as well, but the Monaco Hairpin is put into play on game day to help keep RPM’s down on these 9hp+ Honda engines. With the close similarities between the two circuits, it should be pretty quick for drivers to come up to speed, and with the higher speeds on the back straight, we’ll see even more action into the hairpin.

Overall Championship…

Everyone is chasing overall point leader Ivan Martinez

Ivan Martinez sits atop the standings with just over half the season in the books, and is fresh off win #2 on the season, and the fifth of his Sprint Series career. We now head to a Nuotivo circuit where he actually crossed the line first in this race last year, but was bumped back one spot after contact in the process. Momentum is certainly on the side of our point leader, and he also carries the best drop event of any driver at a 275. His closest rival in the standings is young Emerson Thieman, who marched through the field in last months event to score a P2, his third podium in his past 4 events. Sitting 28 points astern, Nuotivo is actually the first track he raced on, dating back to Super Series round #7 last year. Ironically last months podium is also the top three in the standings, as Jeremy Aldridge sits in third after his second piece of hardware on the season last round. He also owns the second best drop of any driver and has earned the second-most points of any drive thus far, but will be pushing to make inroads on the 40 points he needs to make up to the top step this weekend.

Speaking of making inroads, P4 man Brett Lopinsky’s 55 point gap to the lead will be on his mind heading to a Nuotivo that hasn’t been the best for him, with a 13th at the opener in 2021 as the high water mark. He’ll be one looking to hit a reset button with his last round being the worst thus far, as he still very much is in the title conversation. And rounding out our top 5 is Jack McNeel, who had his own reset button after round #4, and has been in top form since. A first career podium at round #5 and another Top 5 performance last month has him rolling on all cylinders, and could be one watch over the course of the final four events on the year…

SE Category…

Luca Zambello is the new man on top in SE

Luca Zambello actually took over the point lead in this winner-take-all sub category after missing last months event, all because of his class-leading consistency. With nearly every round in the 200+ point range, he was able to leapfrog his closest rival by using a stonger drop round. That rival is Lee Povey, who like the point leader, had his worst event at the opener, but has been hitting steady numbers nearly ever since, currently sitting just 4 points behind Zambello. With Luca missing last month, the better drop now belongs to Povey, so it will be interesting to see how this one goes in the final four rounds.

But looking to break up the two-driver hold on the title fight is third place Brian Vidales, who is coming off his second-best run of the season last month, and could be building a bit of momentum. He has a bit of work to do however at 93 points back, at will be needing a career best run this weekend to get the ball rolling.

Summer Series sub-championship…

A career best run at round #6 sees Derek Borunda put his name in the hat for the Summer Series

It was Ivan Martinez striking first in the first of this 5-round campaign, putting together the second sweep of his career by winning both the heat and the main. These forward direction tracks have been a boon to him since the beginning, and he has one of his best tracks coming up right after this weekend too: Classico. As was mentioned before, the cream certainly rose to the top last month, as the #2 and #3 drivers in the overall stood on the box with him, and one should expect both Emerson Thieman and Jeremy Aldridge to once again be a threat tomorrow. But a new face entered the fray and could be one to watch here in the second half of the season, as Derek Borunda put up a career best P4 last month, scoring his first heat win in the process as well. With 4 events to go, it could be Borunda, or another face outside the usual suspects that could surprise here in the second half of the season…


Adrian Comstock returns from back surgery after 6 months off

This months wildcard driver is making his return from back surgery, and will be looking to return to the form we saw at the season opener: Adrian Comstock. After putting in work in the off season, Comstock came out of the box hot with a P2 in his heat and a P5 in the pain at the opener, only to see a back injury derail a promising start to the season. Looking sharp in practice sessions put in over the last couple of weeks, and it will be interesting to see how quick he comes up to speed, and if he can play the spoiler against the series regulars…

The SOLD OUT CalSpeed Sprint Series takes to the track tomorrow just before noon, and you can follow along via live timing on the Race Hero app!