The seventh round of the Sprint Series would be a sort of redemption for its eventual winner, with Adam Nagao bringing home the victory after being extremely good on the Tecnico layout all day. Nagao marks the seventh winner in as many races in the series, and is only the second non series regular to find victory lane.
For the second round in a row the ten minute qualifying sessions would see the same two drivers battling it out for Pole, as Alyssa Yauney scored her second top time in a row, with Matt Hart again bringing it home second quick. Each would have pole position in a heat race, bolstering their chances of scoring good points in the Summer Sub Championship each is contending for.
By virtue of her top time in qualifying, Yauney led the field into the esses for the second month in a row, but unlike last round, she would not pull out to a big lead. Instead she would have to contest with the Overall point leader Sean Fite for all 8 laps, Fite looking to wrap up the title early this round. Yauney would hold off Fite however, the duo enjoying a second or so lead from Ben Blank in third, who himself cruised along with decent gap to the rest of the field.
The second heat of the day saw Matt Hart in familiar territory, but even though he would lead the first lap, he would be under immediate pressure from Adam Nagao, front runner in the IronMan run earlier that day. Slotting into second, Hart would stay with Nagao to the end, but would have his hands full with Vince Burke for the duration. Burke would in fact capitalize on having the fast lap of the race, reeling in the short gap to Hart before sticking the pass for second on the final lap, the lead trio coming across the line separated by just .088.
John Perry would take command from the drop of the green flag in the B-Main, looking to hold on to the one and only transfer spot to the A-Main. Relative newcomer to the series Lenin Webber would keep the pressure on initially, with paddock favorite Greg Reinhardt hot on their heels in third. Lenin would slip slightly in the battle for the top spot, with Reinhardt moving up to second, bringing Joey Hallock and Steve Frame along. Frame would move past Hallock to take over third a couple laps later, and as the laps waned, you could see the pressure building on the leader. Reinhardt would stick the pass for the lead on lap 8, and with two laps to go, Perry split his time between trying to keep Frame behind him, and finding a way back to the front. He would have to settle for th elater however, as Reinhardt woul gain off the infighting behind, scoring a popular B-Main win.
Eyes would not only be on the fight for the lead, but for the battle for the overall championship in the A-Main; advantage would be Fite’s here, his 3rd place starting spot making it difficult on Ariel Rubio starting back in 15th. Right from the get go it became obvious that while Yauney led the field of 31 at the green, Nagao was going to be the one to beat. Nagao immediately took the point on lap one, but still had the best of the day in tow with Yauney, Fite, Hart, and Burke across the line in quick succession. Nothing would separate this group, the pack of 5 breaking away from the rest of the pack. Hart worked his way into 3rd ahead of Fite by the halfway point, and immediately started putting the pressure on Yauney for second. The move would come in the final complex as they approached the white flag, Hart getting alongside, but would lose time with a trip over the curb as they came onto the straight. This not only dropped him back, but it helped Nagao to pull away, all but sealing the deal on his win. It wasn’t over in the battle for the podium however, as Vince Burke took advantage of the infighting to steal away the final podium spot from Fite and Hart as they came to the stripe for the final time.
After being just missing victory in the season opener at this track, and losing a win in the IronMan earlier that day, it was sweet redemption for Adam Nagao to finally get that elusive Tecnico win under his belt:
“I was very happy with the Sprint Series” commented Nagao. “In qualifying I was able to show that I could take a not amazing kart and still put it in the top five. Both the heat and the main played out how I wanted; I took control of the race and dictated what the others would do.” Nagao continued, “It’s an indication to myself that I haven’t stopped improving. This past weekend’s field was stronger than the January field, and I was able to not just think about the upcoming corners, but even the last laps, and decide the outcome.”
For Sean Fite, the podium once again slipped away at the end, but this time he could end the day knowing he was the new 2015 Sprint Series Champion:
“I would have like to clinch the championship on the podium but Adam Nagao and Alyssa Yauney have a ton of talent and are hard to beat. Going into the A Main I knew I had to beat Ariel Rubio by 2 spots and I had to be close enough to watch Vince Burke cross line. I wasn’t worried about watching Vince until about ten feet from the checkered flag. Matt Hart and I were racing for third and Vince took advantage with a huge run coming out of the Bus Stop Bypass. Congrats to Vince he earned that one.” Fite continued, “It took a lot of work winning this championship. It takes a lot of practice laps and a lot of help from other drivers to find out how to go quick around the CalSpeed Tracks. The Clinics and Fast Friday practices have helped me enormously; and my teammates especially Jon Kimbrell and the RNA gang have helped me become a better driver.”
Top Ten in Overall Points after Round #6
Top Ten in the Summer Sub-Championship