The longest running endurance karting race in North America held its 12th annual event this past weekend, with 30 teams descending on CalSpeed Karting for the 2019 edition of the Machismo 12 Hour. Postponed a weekend due to weather, Mother Nature again threw a curveball at the event with a heavy mist and eventual light rain that postponed activities on the first day. Thankfully, the track was able to be dried just enough before dark, and the full practice program would fit in, including the Race Clinic. Qualifying, however, would be pushed off to the next day, with a shortened session taking place just before the full 12 Hour event kicked off at about 10am.
Pro Class (P1)
Nearly every team originally scheduled from the previous weekend would be able to attend the re-schedule, and 7 teams would contest the 2019 event, including both of the primary contenders from last year. 2018 champs HRT/S2 (S-Squared) would strike first, claiming pole position with Drew Zeller behind the wheel. Zeller would back up that pace in the race, claiming the Fastest Lap honors during one of his stints. Along with Zeller, Jetson Lieser, Logan Calvin, and team owner Steve Jasinski would take turns behind the wheel, while Machismo veteran Miles Calvin ran strategy. Crucially, the HRT/S2 team would be the only one of the entrants not to suffer a mechanical issue or bad luck on track, and once in the lead, would command the final 2/3 of the event to claim their second win in a row.
For their part, Destiny Racing would once again rocket away at the start with veteran racer KC Cook at the helm, claiming the holeshot at the start from the P2 qualifying session. Like it was a year ago, Destiny looked to again be in prime position to win, with Team Owner Duane Lawson bringing back Darren Mercer, and enlisting newcomer Zach Anderson to helm his ride for the 12-hour contest. Originally on the roster for the event, Machismo veteran Mark Connell bowed out at the last second due to injury but would handle the communications and strategy for the team. Unfortunately for the second year in a row, bad luck would befall the Destiny squad, and a pair of unscheduled mechanical stops for an errant rear bumper would cost them the shot at the win in 2019.
And while they also had a bit of bad luck with a mechanical, team T4 Pro would fare much better this year than they did in the 2018 affair. Pole-sitters in qualifying a year ago, the T4 outfit would see its lineup of Adam Nagao, Jose da Silva, Alexander Bermudez, and Ryan Curtin begin their 2019 campaign from the 3rd spot, but not with the entire team present…
The re-schedule would make things challenging for the group, with Nagao starting the race, but then being forced to leave until the last 1/3 or so, and Curtin not arriving from the airport until just a little before sunset. Still, the team performed admirably, and with only a single mechanical, would claim the third and final step on the podium to claim some hardware.
Super Sport Class (S1)
Unlike the other two classes, the S1 category actually grew after the reschedule, with 11 teams claiming a starting position at the drop of the green. That said, they would all be chasing the defending champs at the start, as 2018 winners Last Lap FTW would return with their team intact, and claim the pole position in qualifying. But unlike last year, this time around they would not be coming from behind to win, but instead be a controlling interest in the event, as Diego Morales, Bill Kreig, and Andres Prieto performed flawlessly. As the final laps clicked off, they would hold a comfortable lead, running the final 50+ laps uncontested and over a lap ahead to be back to back Machismo Champs.
Behind the top squad, however, was a battle royal for the podium, with three teams all vying for the final two spots on the podium. Early on, team T4 Frenemies would challenge for the overall spot, and even lead for a time with 2018 Super Series champ Alyssa Yauney behind the wheel. Joined by current and reigning champ Sean Fite, and perennial front runner Chris Huerta, and the ‘Frenemies’ pushed through some of their own adversity to keep the pressure on the top step. Late in the race, however, they found themselves digging to earn a podium, and with Huerta at the helm, would cut fast lap after fast lap to go from just out of the hardware in 4th, to claim the second step on the podium.
Probably the most eventful race in the Super Sport category may have come from the Mahkra squad, as the 2018 runner-ups saw their chances get a lot tougher on lap one. Running at 2/3 strength after Andrew Wood was unable to make the reschedule, drivers Charles Eichlin and Jerott King would immediately have to dig out of a hole after the former was collected in an incident right away. Working their way up from last place on lap one, they miraculously would enter the podium conversation as the race wound down. With veteran Machismo strategist Justin Tolman in their ears, the now two-driver squad would score the third spot in the end, a strong feat considering how the event started for them.
Sport Class (S2)
The class that took the biggest hit from Mother Nature and the postponement would be the S2 category, with just 12 of the originally slated 20 teams able to participate this past weekend. Still, the class would host a multitude of solid entries, with many up and coming drivers at CalSpeed vying to claim the spotlight by the on-track exploits. After a P2 qualifying effort in class, team Dark Horse Sport would stay inside the top 3 at the start, battling not only their own class but the several Super Sport entries they had out-qualified in the process. The turning point would come shortly after the sun went down and the lights came on, as the differing strategies started to come to fruition. There is always an ebb and flow to the sport class running order given the number of required stints, but it became apparent that DHP drivers Evan Lawrence, James Suggs, Justin Altman, and Max Demoss Jr had a leg up on the competition. In the end, they would cross the line out front, with team leader and manager Lawrence behind the wheel for their first Machismo win.
Strategy is always a big part of endurance racing, and the Machismo 12 Hour is no different. For the Del Turbo Racing quad, strong strategy played a big part in their drive to the front, overcoming misfortune in qualifying that saw them line up 8th in class and 26th overall. Steadily marching towards the front, the team lineup of Chase Nickells, Matt Steele, Bryan Schubert, and John Rice ran ‘under the radar’ so to speak, slowly climbing the ranks as the hours ticked off. In the final third or so of the race, they legitimately threatened the top step, even trading the class lead a few times along the way. While eventually settling for the 2nd spot, they put up some of the most consistent times of the race and showed how to bounce back over the course of 12 hours.
CowSpeed Racing would qualify third in class, but immediately would take the fight to the front, snagging the holeshot in class and lead lap 1. From then on they would be a threat for the class victory, as Sprint Series standouts Jacob Abrams, Chris Millar, Michael Hottinga, and Jeremy Aldridge would see newcomer Kyle Odermatt keep the pressure on from the start. In the end, consistency through the 12 hours kept them in front of their challengers from arrears, and saw them trade spots with a top two via sheer speed and strategy. The third spot on the podium was well deserving for a squad that has pushed over the years to improve, locking in hardware here in 2019.
The staff at CalSpeed Karting would like to thank everyone for not only coming out to race in the 12th Annual Machismo 12 Hour, but also for their patience through all of the issues thrown at the event from Mother Nature. The level of driving during this year’s event was arguably some of the best ever, and many times under very challenging conditions! Once again, thank you to everyone for come out, congrats to the winners and podium finishers, and we look forward to seeing you in 2020!
Link to event results: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1753625
Link to photo Gallery: https://www.facebook.com/pg/machismo12hr/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2744460889110515
Pro Class Results
|6)||Dark Horse Pro||-75|
Super Sport Results
|1)||Last Lap FTW||578 laps|
|4)||Red Mist Wu Tang Gang||-1|
|7)||Dark Horse Super Sport||-4|
|9)||T4 Autosport 2||-7|
|11)||Moon Bear Racing||-9|
Sport Class Results
|1)||Dark Horse Sport||567 laps|
|2)||Del Turbo Racing||-1|
|4)||Naked Brothers Band||-4|
|5)||Dude Wheres My Kart?||-5|
|10)||25 Hour Rejects||-18|
|12)||Shadow Realm Racing||-25|