On a day where the number of drivers, as well as the ambient temperature, both eclipsed the triple digit mark, it was former shifter kart pilot Jonathan Vitolo finding the top step of the podium for the first time to date in the CalSpeed Super Series. The win would be redemption of sorts as he bounced back from a tough post race weight DQ just a few weeks prior in the Ironman Series finale, leaving no doubt that he is in the middle of a hot streak as summer has finally peaked here in Fontana. Also sizzling in recent months is veteran wheelman Sergio Bravo, who with his podium finish this past weekend now finds himself leading not only the coveted Masters category, but in the drivers seat of the Overall Championship as well with just three rounds remaining.
Round 8 would begin with the standard morning warmup for all 101 drivers in attendance, immediately followed by the pressure packed green-white-checkered qualifying format put in place for the 2013 season. With the available points scoring opportunities starting to dwindle, a renewed focus on a strong quali result is starting to be seen by those still in the title hunt due to the bonus points associated with a top three effort. One driver in need of said points would be Jay Schreiber, as he looks to keep the Masters title within striking distance. Jay would come out strong in the final quali group, posting quick time of the session and besting the likes of Patrick Britain and Logan Calvin by a massive four-tenths of a second to claim his first pole position of the year and the 15 bonus points associated with it.
QUALIFYING TOP 5:
|1.||Jay Schreiber -||58.171|
|2.||Patrick Britain –||58.526|
|3.||Logan Calvin –||58.605|
|4.||Sergio Bravo –||58.648|
|5.||Chris Huerta –||58.992|
HEAT RACING HIGHLIGHTS:
With close finishes aplenty in Super Series history, Round 8 would throw a couple more nailbiters into the books as the first round of heat action saw KC Cook edge Patrick Britain by just 0.076s at the line as Britain looked to play spoiler on the day having not run the full campaign here in 2013. The second round of heat action would see that margin topped as Taylor Hays, currently looking to keep himself in the thick of the title hunt, would pip former series champ Jon Kimbrell by only 0.075s at the stripe for the closest heat finish of the day. In that same session, Schreiber and Britain would battle hard for P3 with the timing system actually displaying a dead tie between the two, however Schreiber would be awarded the position as the software internally scores out to 9 decimal places, showing him as having bested Britain by one of the narrowest margins to date. While the close finishes garnered the majority of the attention from the onlookers on hand, Sergio Bravo would quietly walk away from the day’s heat racing rounds as the only driver to score a win in each of his two sessions, landing him on the inside front row of the Round 8 A-Main grid.
HEAT RACE WINNERS:
Group 1A Jay Schreiber +0.379s
Group 1B KC Cook +0.076s
Group 1C Logan Calvin +0.138s
Group 1D Sergio Bravo +0.118s
Group 2A Taylor Hays +0.075s
Group 2B Chris Huerta +1.270s
Group 2C Sergio Bravo +3.307s
Group 2D Jonathan Vitolo +0.113s
A Super Series D-Main, while not the ultimate aspiration of any CalSpeed racer, is the ultimate breeding ground for the next generation of hotshoe talent in the series. This past weekend’s D-Main gave us a glimpse at a few different drivers that may be poised to make strides into the 2014 season. Alyssa Yauney, in just her first Super Series appearance, jumped out to an early lead once the green flag was in the air. The young teen would not pull away however as fellow Rookies Josh Krauss and Darwin Felix trailed closely. Also getting herself into contention for the lone transfer spot into the C-Main would be Paige Kaufman as she looked to rebound from some tough luck in her earlier heats. The four would steadily pull away from the rest of the field, opening up a gap in excess of ten seconds back to Freddie Sullivan and company in P5 and beyond. Yauney would start to feel real pressure with just a couple laps remaining, but would benefit greatly from a tangle between Krauss and Felix off her back bumper. Krauss would hold P2 after the scrum, and force Felix to go on the defense against a charging Kaufman, but the gap now ceded to Yauney out front would give her just the breathing room she needed. Krauss would pull back to within two-tenths of Yauney around the final bend, but would run out of time as the young rookie would claim the D-Main win in her series debut, as well as a transfer appearance into the C-Main.
D-MAIN TOP 5:
1. Alyssa Yauney + 0.206s
2. Josh Krauss
3. Darwin Felix
4. Paige Kaufman
5. Freddie Sullivan
The C-Main would have the look in the early going as an absolute runaway victory for series veteran Rene Moreno, making his 2013 debut having returned stateside earlier this month from an extended overseas deployment courtesy of the United States Government. Moreno would build a significant gap on the field as a number of drivers including F100 series pilot John Shepherd, as well as series rookies Michael Dozier, Ben Marquart, Adam, Nagao, and George Mabbut all battled for control of P2 well behind.
Midway thru the 12-lap affair the group would settle in and being making forward progress on Moreno, taking chunks of time out of his advantage, and ultimately catch him with just two laps remaining. With the white flag in the air, what was once a set-sail victory was now a desperate five-kart affair. Moreno would look to hold off the charge thru the final couple of corners leading to an aggressive move by Marquart into the final ‘Long Beach’ hairpin. The move would lead to some contact and a mad scramble onto the front stretch. The biggest beneficiary would in fact be Moreno, easily beating the rest to the stripe in the wake of the kerfuffle. While the final order would be shuffled by several penalties stemming from the final corner incident, as well as post race scales, Moreno would advance to take the final spot in the B-Main in his first race of the 2013 year.
C-MAIN TOP 5:
1. Rene Moreno + 1.690s
2. John Shepherd
3. Michael Dozier
4. Adam Nagao
5. Tom Zevin
As usual, the Round 8 B-Main featured a number of drivers accustomed to making a rolling start in their final session of the day, but this month also featured a number of drivers moving further up the charts than they’ve seen to date. Rookie drivers Ashley Arnott, Keith LaFaver, Roman Alekseenkov, as well as Heavy class up and comer Greg Reinhardt all fit the bill as drivers making personal strides in Round 8. While there would be several notable runs in the session, up front it would quickly develop into a battle for the win between Rodney Bryant and Jose da Silva, both A-Main quality Masters drivers, as they locked horns at the point.
Meanwhile, young Cameron Rose and veteran Steve Frame would be battling for P3 just half a second back of the leaders. Bryant and da Silva would continue the chess match for the entire final lap, with both exiting the final corner side by side for the drag race to the checkers. They would meet at the stripe virtually side by side, neither exactly sure who had actually taken the win. Timing and Scoring would confirm that indeed Bryant had scored just a 0.005s advantage at the line, earning him the final spot on the Round 8 A-Main grid while da Silva could only smile and shake his head at the narrowest margin of the day as he returned to pit lane. Also grabbing an honorable mention in the session would be C-Main winner Rene Moreno, as he worked his way from 26th to 11thto finish out his day with a strong run.
B-MAIN TOP 5:
1. Rodney Bryant + 0.005s
2. Jose da Silva
3. Cameron Rose
4. Steve Frame
5. Roman Alekseenkov
With the number of 2013 championship contenders being narrowed with the finish of each and every session, a strong finish in the A-Main amongst your top rivals is becoming more and more vital to the title hopes of every driver still in contention. Sergio Bravo entered the A-Main tied in points with rival KC Cook courtesy of a pair of heat wins to Cook’s first and second finishes to even up the season tally. It would be a head to head matchup to determine who would be leaving Round 8 with the points lead in hand as Bravo brought the field to the green flag.
Disaster would strike early towards the front as Chris Huerta, who started on the outside front row alongside Bravo, would be challenged in the Monaco corner by perennial Masters frontrunner Jay Schreiber. Both going for the same piece of real estate at the apex, Huerta would end up aborting his effort to hold the outside line, center punching a tire stack on exit before rejoining near the rear of the field. Back up front, the standard pack racing program had turned into a game of pick your partner. Jonathan Vitolo made his way to Bravo’s back bumper, while Taylor Hays and Bill Kreig began working in tandem, followed by Cook and Britain pairing up.
This sort of mutually beneficial relationship appeared to be a foreign concept further back as both rookies and veterans alike traded paint, going three wide on several occasions into some of the most precarious corners on the circuit. The stark contrast in styles from the front to the back of the field was a clear indication that while pace is abundant amid the influx of rookie and sophomore talent in the series, craft is still a work in progress when contrasted with the experience of the old guard. With time running out, four drivers sat poised to claim only three available podium spots as Bravo sat patiently behind Vitolo at the point, and Kreig continued urging Hays forward. With one lap to go, Bravo would look to set Vitolo up for the all too common last corner pass, while Kreig realized time was running out and began sizing Hays up for his final move somewhere in the coming corners.
Heading into the final bend Vitolo would play his cards perfectly, refusing to crack under the pressure of the multi-time Masters champ. He would outrace Bravo to the checkers by just over two-tenths, while Kreig found success in his attempt on Hays to claim P3 on the day by less than a tenth.
A-MAIN TOP 5:
1. Jonathan Vitolo + 0.294
2. Sergio Bravo
3. Bill Kreig
4. Taylor Hays
5. KC Cook
A win for Bravo would have marked his third on the season, however the second place finish still moves him to the top of the points standings with just three rounds remaining in the 2013 campaign, while Cook walks away from a very solid day finishing P5 in the A-Main and still very much in the game. Also still within striking distance heading down the stretch is Taylor Hays with a P4 finish in Round 8 and defending champ Logan Calvin posting a P7 finish on the day. Not present for the second time this year, Miles Calvin still holds championship aspirations, but will need to be flawless over the final three rounds to give himself a shot at that elusive first title.
With the win, Vitolo climbs to the top step for the first time to date in the series, capping of a streak of strong runs over the past several months, while Bill Kreig’s podium finish has him sitting securely in the Top 10 overall. Battles continue to tighten across the variety of other championships being scored this year as Steve Jasinski put in yet another strong result at the right time in an effort to track down Mike Arnold in the Heavy category. Meanwhile, the talent in this year’s crop of Rookie drivers is seeing both Ian Enz and Justin Tolman steadily tracking down points leader Steve Spring.
Registration for Round 9 of the Super Series is currently underway and can be done via the CalSpeed Karting website. For information on the series, or questions on how to secure your spot on the grid, please contact Brad Packard at 951.241.3872, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OFFICIAL TIMING RESULTS: http://www.mylaps.com/en/events/951921
FULL POINTS STANDINGS: https://calspeedkarting.com/racing-programs/racing-series/super-series.html