The 2015 CalSpeed Oval Showdown will be remembered as the best five kart battle for the win in recent memory.
Early on, the race was controlled by Aaron Downs, who earlier in the day continued his streak of being undefeated in oval heat races. Behind Downs, however, there was a train of teammates forming from the T4 and RNA camps. Chris Huerta, Adam Nagao and Cameron Rose were all breathing down the neck of Downs when pit stops got underway.
On back-to-back-to-back laps, the top drivers all made their mandatory trip down pit lane. Once the order shuffled back into position, it was Huerta who had assumed the lead over Nagao, Downs and Ian Enz who had pit early in the race to try and leap frog drivers by using clean track.
Enz had a very busy day to this point, so it was incredible to see him in with a shot at victory. Enz was DQ’d out of qualifying for being just a half pound light on the scales, this required him to start last in his first heat race. Enz drove up into the top 10 in that race and followed that up with another strong finish in his second heat. It wasn’t enough to lock him into the A Main, however, and he had to win the B Main to secure his spot in the back of the A.
As the A Main clicked down to the final few laps, the top 5 remained in order, turning faster and faster laps each time by the stripe. Huerta was the leader with Nagao in 2nd, Enz had moved into third, Downs 4th and Rose in 5th. All were nose to tail, and all were looking for a way around the kart in front.
With just a couple of laps to go, the lead pack caught traffic.
There was a sense that this was all going according to Huerta’s plan from the time he captured the lead, as he began to use the lapped cars as a defense tool, placing them in the path of the trailing drivers, not allowing them to make a run on him for the lead. As this happened, Downs had a slight bobble into turn 1 and Rose made a run down the inside, things looked good until the exit of turn 2 when Rose ran just a bit wide and pushed Downs into the tires. This would result in a drive through penalty for Rose, and ended his chances at a podium finish.
As the leaders took the white flag, Huerta was back under heavy attack from Nagao and Enz. Huerta would be forced to make a move on the lapped kart of Luis Calderon which slowed his momentum just slightly out of turn 4. Nagao made a move to the inside, and Enz made a move even more to the inside. Both Nagao and Enz would fall just a bit short and it was Chris Huerta holding on to the win.
Huerta rolled into the R@ndom Manufacturing Victory Lane and seemed to almost be in a bit of shock at the outcome. During his post race interview, he expressed how important this race was to him and his team and that the feeling of winning the Oval Showdown is unmatched.