Coming into the final Sprint Series weekend of the year, things would look a bit awkward as round #10 would precede the make-up date of round #9 on Sunday, making it an exciting double header weekend. Tecnico would be in place for Saturdays round #10 event, and one of the biggest storylines was who was absent from the event; absences that influenced who had a shot at season-ending hardware. The SE category looked all but wrapped up, as did the final step on the overall podium, but all eyes were on the Overall and Summer Series sub-championship, which also had the same protagonists in each…
Qualifying and Heat Races…
Qualifying would see a new face atop the charts as David Thibodeau raised eyebrows by clocking fast time, nipping regular front runner Jacob Abrams by just .015 to score hist first career pole position. Ken Hackman would put down the third best time, the trio each earning the first starting spot for their respective heat races. Once those heat races were underway however, it would be the title contenders coming away with two of the wins, with Emerson Thieman claiming the victory in heat 1a, while point leader Ivan Martinez bounced back from a tough qualy run to claim the win in heat 1c. In heat 1b it was another new name out front, as GP Series standout Rodney Bryant Jr claimed the W in his heat to start outside row 1 next to Thieman in the A-main.
In the C-Main it would be another GP Series alum finding the front, as Nick Rajeski rebounded from issues in his heat race, making the most of his P2 starting spot to claim a commanding win. Also a standout in the SE category in 2022, Rajewski mo0ved in the lead from the drop of the green, and never looked back, going flag to flag and showing why he is not typically in the C-Main. Giovanni Pucci was the de-facto #2 guy as well, holding down the spot from the drop of the green while a spirited battle for third saw Edgar Machuca claim P3 for the C-Main.
The B-Main would have another driver typically in a higher main on leading things off, as hardware contender Jack McNeel led the field into the esses for the first time. Another driver where issues befell him in the heat race, McNeel was able to jump out to an early lead, but then would start to get reeled in by Michael Pavlinec and Brandon Boone. By the halfway point they were on his bumper, and it was Boone first making the move on Pavlinec to move up into second, before setting his sights on McNeel for the lead. It would only take him one lap to do it, and while McNeel was able to keep the pressure on, he could not mount a challenge; he would later realize that he was carrying an extra 30lbs in his kart adding to his challenge. But for Boone, it would be a B-Main victory, and a breakout run in what was his Sprint Series debut, having previously won the GP Series Finale.
The A-Main would see the title contenders right at the sharp end, with Emerson Thieman on pole, and Ivan Martinez directly astern in third, while Rodney Bryant sat outside row one with SE point leader Lee Povey with his best starting spot of the year in 4th. The driver making the moves however would be Tecnico ace James Lieser, working his way up from the 6th starting spot to claim the lead early. Lieser would get out to a strong lead in a hurry, with eyes drifting back to the fight for 2nd, where both title contenders were able to dispatch Bryant Jr. Crucially, Martinez would also find his way past his championship rival, slowly pulling away from him, while reeling in Lieser out front. It would be too little too late for a race win however, with James Lieser holding on to score his first twin in 4 years -the last time also being on Tecnico- with Martinez scoring second over Thieman, and with it a valuable 5 extra points…
Sprint Series Round #10 A-Main Top 10
- James Lieser
- Ivan Martinez
- Emerson Thieman
- Jacob Abrams
- Chris Fox
- Lee Povey [SE]
- Mike Chen
- Derek Borunda
- Rodney Bryant Jr
- Frank Chen