The CalSpeed Sprint Series would take on one of the most challenging layouts on the calendar for round #5, as Tecnico would play host to not only the halfway point match, but also the deciding event for the Winter Sub-Championship. 90 drivers entered the day with thoughts of the top step of the podium, while Five drivers entered with a mathematical shot at the first title of the year. By the end, a new face would grab a maiden win, and a new champion would be crowned…
The 8 minute group qualifying session would again see several of the usual suspects putting in fast times, but it would be a pair of the Winter Series protagonists showing the way with John Rice and Michael Martin pacing the field. Linked up, Martin would stay in Rice’s considerable draft, and nip his title rival with a first career pole position, with Rice settling for second. Scoring a solid third in the session and a pole for the third heat would be Carl Zhu, the only one of the three not in the hunt for the Winter championship…
The Heat Races…
The first Heat race would be a stacked one, with three title contenders all vying for the top with Evan Lawrence leading over Tommy hake and Michael Martin on the final lap. Martin would settle for third after qualifying on pole, and while Lawrence would cross the line first, he would be docked 1 spot behind Haake after a block in the final complex. This made it incredible 5 for 5 for Haake in heat wins so far.
Heat 1B would see runner-up in qualifying John Rice try and seal the deal on his second heat race win in a row, but he would have to stave of a challenge from Nate Smal and Leo Ovtcharov. . In the end it would be Rice scoring the win, while Leo would get bumped back from second to third behind Nate post-race for a 4-off in fraction and gain coming to the checkered.
The final heat race of the day would see a train of 7 karts all challenging for the top spot, which was controlled largely by Carl Zhu from pole. Carl would lose the lead for just a single lap but would strike back and score his first career heat race win.
After an incident in the heat race, up and coming Sprint Series talent Matthew Justmann found himself in the C-Main but would prove in the end why he is a driver on the rise. Starting outside of the top five, Matthew made solid moves ion the early laps to work his way up to the front, applying pressure on SE talent Evan Talley for the lead just before the halfway point. As the laps waned into the second half however, it was Justmann coming out on top with Talley in tow, the pair putting a solid gap on the rest of the field. For his part, Matthew made the most of his B-Main transfer, capitalizing on other’s mistakes, and just making strong moves to work all the way up to a P11 finishing position in the B-Main…
The B-Main would see SE driver David Ramirez shar the front row with long time CalSpeed racer and Super Series Grandmasters talent Jeff Latimer, but the pair race would go anything but smoothly. On lap two Latimer had moved to the lead, and while Frank Hsu looked to slide past for 2nd on Ramirez, contact into Latimer would cause a large pile up into turn #1, with all three drivers falling all the way down the order. Ramirez would retire early, while Hsu and Latimer would work back up the ranks a little, none would have a shot at the win. Instead it would be Arizona race Steve Lattanzi coming out of the kerfluffle with the lead, and it looked like he have had things wrapped up, if it wasn’t for first year Sprint Series driver Lucas Weisenberg. Bouncing back from a penalty in his heat, Lucas marched up from outside the top 10 to steal away the win from Lattanzi on the final lap.
The start of the A-Main would see John Rice lead the field away after having the top qualifying time of the heat race winners, and joined by Carl Zhu on his outside, while fellow sub-championship contender and heat race winner Tommy Haake lined up just behind him in third. While Rice lead the opening circuits, the driver on the move was current point leader Evan Lawrence, who made his bid for the lead on lap 3. Rice would slot in to 2nd with Zhu third and Michael Martin tagging along in fourth, but it soon became a three horse race as both Zhu and Martin found a way by, and Rice lost the draft. With about three to go Zhu made the move for the lead, taking over the top spot, but unable to shake Clarence or Martin. Evan would apply the pressure, but Zhu ran a strong defense, holding on for his first career win, while Lawrence settled for 2nd, but with it, the Winter Series championship. For Michael Martin it was his second podium of the year, and enough to hold down 2nd in the overall standings…
The CalSpeed Sprint Series kicks off the second half of the season, and the start of the Summer Sub-Championship in less than 3 week’s time, with the event already completely sold out!
Sprint Series Round #5 Top 10
- Carl Zhu
- Evan Lawrence
- Michael Martin
- John Rice
- Brett Lopinsky
- Jeremy Aldridge
- Tommy Haake
- Chris Fox
- Nathaniel Small
- Ivan Martinez
Overall Point Standings (2 drops)
Final Winter Standings Top 5
SE Sub-Championship Top 5