Le Mans, Daytona. Sebring. To the average onlooker, these are simply motor racing events. To those most intimate with their nuances, they transcend time and evoke a passion bordering on obsession. Whether standing atop the podium in 1923 or 2014, to earn victory here is a championship in and of itself. To win is vindication, a tangible acknowledgement of greatness, and an open invitation into the most exclusive of company. To come close and fall short is heartbreak, agony, and utter despair.
While the Machismo 12 Hour Race isn’t (yet) a part of motor racing’s “Triple Crown,” there is a definite aura surrounding the race that draws a similar passion from those looking to conquer it. In it’s brief but storied existence, the race has drawn teams from several continents, speaking several languages, all seeking a single win… but only a select few have found what they came looking for.
In 2001 Rob Niles would turn his passion for team endurance kart racing into a career by purchasing a fleet of karts and promoting a pinnacle level racing experience to the general public under the ‘Karting Ventures Inc.’ banner. Based primarily out of Southern California, Niles had a vision of hosting an annual team endurance event adjacent the glow of the Las Vegas strip. While the early years featured an 8-hour event running at the now defunct X-Plex karting facility just outside of Las Vegas, the annual race immediately began attracting karting enthusiasts and professional drivers alike, ensuring that the foundation for a premier level event had been laid.
2008 would be a huge year for the evolution of the event as former Dromo One General Manager Brad Packard joined Rob Niles and Karting Ventures with sights set on taking the event to a National level. Packard, the innovator of the original 12 Hours of Dromo, would bring a renewed sense of passion to the event after a multi-year hiatus for the program. It would be in a passing conversation about the branding of the event that Niles would offhandedly suggest it be coined “The Machismo”, a nod to the Spanish word referencing “a prominent exhibition of excessive masculinity.” Nothing else seemed more appropriate, and from that passing comment the ‘Machismo 500’ would officially be born.
2021: Action A-Plenty in year 14 of the event…
The 2021 Machismo 12 Hour Endurance race marked the 14th edition of the annual once-around-the-clock, with 38 teams across three classes doing battle for the trophy, bragging rights, and prestige of winning the longest running endurance race in America. The event moved back a couple weeks to the month of November, and was greeted with warm temps, and perfect weather for both the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday, and the race itself on Saturday. With the event selling out the arrive and drive entries and at half capacity for the Pro class, it was a very busy track all weekend, with the high level of talent on display across all three categories.
That talent was put on display first during the customary ‘under-the-lights’ 1 Hour qualifying session on Friday night, with all three classes proving to be hotly contested, a precursor to what would end up being a very exciting race. Right out of the gate, 33 teams hit the track including all but two of the arrive and drive classes, making for a very crowded track to kick things off.
Based around being a ‘gentleman driver’ type of category, the S2 (Sport) class sees a cap on the experience level for its competitors, and with a rule set that sees them make more driver changes, they are not typically in running for the overall win. They are however in the hunt for the overall pole position in the arrive and drive field, as the are also set to average weight of 200lbs, allowing for some lighter drivers to hit the track. And that is exactly what happened, with the top time being set by Terlingua Racing’s Ian Odermatt, clocking just over a quarter second advantage in class over Red Mist Mulholland, setting the stage for what would be a race-long battle.
In the more experienced class of S1 (Super Sport), we typically see longer runs as the class requires fewer pit stops, and with each driver required to cross the scales at 200lbs, not necessarily quite as quick of times in qualifying. For the 2021 edition, that would be the case, but while the top time would be good for 3rd overall for the sport kart categories, the battle for the top qualifying honors was even closer. Making things a little more interesting is the fact the S1 teams start the race on whatever fuel is left after the 1 Hour qualifying session, so we sometimes see teams clock a time, and then park it to save fuel. That is exactly what the Stage Two Racing team elected to do, setting the early time to beat before calling it enough after just under a quarter of the session had elapsed. Their time would end up being good enough for P2 in the session, as team APR SS Racing’s Sean Fite would find a little more time over the next several laps, scoring a lap just under one tenth faster by the halfway mark, a time that would hold up for their S1 pole position honors for this year.
In the Pro Class, teams bring their own Briggs 206 powered competition karts to the event, and the 2021 edition was a 50/50 mix of first time entrants, and endurance veterans looking to find the podium. Also set up as an average weight class, drivers still have to meet a minimum of 160lbs, but it is not unusual to still see some larger margins in qualifying. That wasn;t the case in 2021 however, as we saw one of the closest ever margins in the 1 hour session, with each team trying to come to grips -pun intended- with their harder Prime set of tires that they are required to qualify, and start the race on. Making their Machismo 12 Hour debut, Stag Racing out of the Pacific Northwest set the early bar just 5 minutes in on their Redspeed machine, before pulling into the pits to sit on the time for the next 30 or so minutes. Then just passed the halfway mark on the session, BBi Autosports Race Liberante found a little more out of their Race Factory ride, nipping the time by just over a tenth. Stag would head back out to try and steal back the top spot, but would eventually settle for second, just .064 astern in the end…
Terlingua Racing may have scored pole position in S2, but it would be Red Mist Mulholland crossing the line first, as the S2 squad linked up with S1 leaders APR SS racing to clock fast laps out of the gate, before eventually taking the overall sport kart lead. Terlingua would slowly catch back up however, eating up a near 3 second deficit to get to their back bumper by lap 24, before being the first to head down pit road for one of their 35 stint changes. This would be the theme in class, as these two teams would never be far from each other, whether that be on course, or in strategy. In the end, both Mulholand and Terlingua would be on the same lap, the latter circulating about 45 seconds astern, but gaining, clocking their fastest lap of the race just two from the end. They would have to settle for second, while Red Mist Mulholland brought home a first time win for the Red Mist team, having been a part of the Machismo for many years.
Outside of the top two it was a battle for the final podium spot, with team Full Send and sister squad to the eventual winners -Red Mist Activated- trading the third spot back and forth with Pinhead racing not too far off. Full Send would lead the trio in the early going, before a difference in strategy saw Red Mist take over the 3rd spot for a multitude of laps. In the end, that strategy difference would again play a part, with the latter having to make a couple extra stops to get drive time right, bump them off the podium run, with Full Send bringing home the final set of hardware.
The SE (Sport Experience) sub-category, which is a part of the S2 class as a whole, and was created last year to give the one-off attendees and those with little to no time at CalSpeed or the event a chance to battle for their own piece of hardware. Following the same rules as the rest of the S2 class, only the top SE team gets the honors, awarded a bronze wreath trophy at the end for their efforts. Ironically, the SE category would have the closest race of any of the classes, with two teams emerging as the ones battling for the hardware in the end. Raising eyebrows with a P4 in the S2 class in qualifying, team Too Fast to Crash were the early favorites, and led their SE compatriots for the first third of the race. A slightly rocky start turned into superior lap times and more importantly, quick and mistake-free pit stops for team Live Laugh Kart, and they would take over the lead on lap 192, with the two teams nearly even in required stops.
The real turning point would be in the strategy; at the end of the race it would be drive time that would play a factor, with Too Fast to Crash making two extra pit stops than required, handing the advantage to Live Laugh Kart. It would be an advantage that they would maintain, but only just – winning by just under 4.5 seconds after 12 hours…
In the Super Sport category it was class pole sitters APR SS Racing getting to the front at the start, working with the aforementioned S2 class team of Red Mist Mulholland in the early laps, before running station in second overall and with the class lead over Dark Horse Domination by about a second. Little by little it would be the latter reeling in the gap, and by lap 11 there would be a new leader in class, and one that would establish themselves as a team to beat. In fact, they would keep the lead through the opening hour and 45 minutes, before sister team DH Third Wheelin reeled them in and took over the top spot. Domination would emerge as the clear leader from that point on, while the back and forth between the next two would be constant throughout the race, each needing to overcome obstacles thrown at them, but none losing touch with a podium spot. Domination would have issues of their own, but they too would not lose their position, holding on to the top spot and eventually claiming the S1 win by nearly a full lap, while DH Third Wheelin claimed the second spot by less than a lap over third place APR SS racing.
Of all the classes, the Pro Class would have the most leaders and lead changes, with BBi Autosport leading away from the start over Stag Racing, Nash Motorsportz, HRT, and Dark Horse Pro. At 7+ seconds a lap faster than their sport kart compatriots, traffic became a thing very quickly, and would stay that way for the duration of the 12 Hours. Slicing through said traffic like Prototypes through GT’s, the Pro Class drivers have to balance their speed with the delicate nature of their karts, plus the strategy of Tire Management all at the same time.
For BBi, their time at the front came to a brief end after ten laps, as Dark Horse worked through the traffic a bit more efficiently to climb up from the 5th spot to take the lead on lap 11. There they would stay for the next 40 or so laps, before BBi -on a different fuel strategy- would take back over the lead when Dark Horse pit on lap 53. When they came in for fuel on lap 74 however, it would be the last time they would be out front, handing the top spot over to NASH Motorsportz. For the next 7 hours, NASH and Dark Horse would trade off the lead during fuel or pit stops, with the latter emerging with the advantage between the two at about the halfway point.
Then at about the ⅔ distance mark, reigning champs of the event HRT entered back into the conversation, taking over the lead after having been inside the top 3 nearly the entire race. Veterans of the event, HRT found speed when it mattered, and not only held onto the lead, but kept the pressure on Dark Horse from then to the finish, both teams swapping the front via altering strategies. Behind them, NASH Motorsportz settled into a solid third, a little off the top two, but well in front of the rest of the pack, who each had issues at some point over the 12 hours. In the end, the strategy would see Dark Horse hold on to their lead from a charging HRT camp reeling them in, crossing the line one spot better from the year prior, the margin of victory just a little over one lap…
2020: Graced with Sports Car and Indycar Stars once again…
The annual Machismo 12 Hour Endurance race took place this past weekend at CalSpeed Karting; the 2020 edition marking the 13th installment of the once-around the clock contest. While some years have seen dodgy weather hit the event, 2020 saw something go right as perfect conditions welcomed the 38 teams across three classes over the two days. Morning practice for the Pro Class saw every team out in force in, before joining in with the sport karts in the afternoon once the Race clinic was in the books. As usual, optional practice filled the track as the natural light ran out on the day, replaced with artificial light as things continued into the night. The first official session of the day would be qualifying at 7pm…
The customary 1 hour ‘under the lights’ qualifying session got under way with all 30 sport karts across both the Sport and Super Sport classes taking to the track at once, with all of the Pro Class teams staying in the pits, making final preparations while waiting for the traffic to die down. One of the caveats to qualifying for the P1 and S1 classes is that they start on what ever fuel is left in the tank when they are done, so we typically see very few laps out of them, while the S2 category is free to cut as many laps as they want, as they start with a full tank the next day.
This was the case for eventual S2 pole sitter Diego Alvarado and Team Rona Racers, cutting 48 total laps, and scoring the fastest time for not just their class, but the Super Sport class as well. For their part, team Red Mist Dark Horse scored the pole position and P2 of the sport karts after just 8 laps in qualifying via their driver Sheng Wu, while the Pro Class saw a familiar face at the sharp end, perennial front runner in qualifying, KC Cook.
Sport class / SE
Alvarado and the Rona Racers would lead the other sport karts through the first couple of laps, and while they would slip from the overall lead to an S1 class team on lap 3, their advantage on the rest of their class held fast. In fact, they would stay linked up with then-leader Moon Bear Racing until a little over 20 minutes in, when difficulty in traffic saw both teams slip down the order. Still, that wasn’t the turning point for the team, as they would actually build up enough of a lead to come back out of the pits after their first stint right in front of then P2 in class, Dark Horse Sport.
No, the turning point would come right at the halfway point, when a mistake during a double stint would see a broken tie-rod, and with that, a loss of over 5 laps. This setback would pass the torch to their closest rivals at the time, Wicked Loose and Dark Horse Sport, the latter of which had been a fellow front runner since the drop of the green.
It was the former, however, that would be the team to come out ahead, having bounced back from a mechanical issue at their first fuel stop, team Wicked Loose clocked consistent laps, and coupled with a solid pit strategy and zero mistakes, would find themselves leading in the closing stages of the event. For their part, Dark Horse Sport also put together a solid strategy, but a couple penalties and the only team of the top three to run drivers over the 200lbs mark saw them finish third, albeit with the second-fast time in the class. Two laps up the road at the end would be the Rona Racers, bouncing back from their lost time to finish just one lap behind the eventual winners, having made up all but one of the laps lost with fastest lap in class.
In the end it would be the Wicked Loose team, with Kyle Odermatt bringing home the checkered in the end for the 5-driver squad, joined by his teammates Jeremy Aldridge, Chris Millar, Devins Baker, and his son, Ian Odermatt in victory lane. Proving once again that in endurance racing, staying mistake-free is always a foundation for a great result.
And new for the 2020 event, the Sport Experience subcategory honored the top team of less experienced racers, those that had very little time at CalSpeed or karts prior to the event, which was team Shadow Realm Blue; Evan Garvy, James Lawrence, Joe Smith, Josef Nalezny, Matt Pinto, and Steven Dekeyser.
It was Sheng Wu setting pole time for Red Mist/Dark Horse in qualifying, but unfortunately the team would not make it into turn one as lead-off driver Doug Yauney would break his tie rod right from the launch, and they immediately fee several laps down with repairs. This is where Moon Bear Racing came in with Lukas Dzimidok at the helm, leading for the opening 20 or so minutes, before issues in traffic saw Alyssa Yauney with team T4 Last Ride take over the lead, having worked up from the 6th spot in class, and 13th on the grid overall. In fact, it was this team that led most of the race in class, switching out from Yauney after the first two hours to teammate Michael Hazlewood, who then clocked his own full tank of fuel before handing over to the third and final member of the team, Chris Huerta. Huerta would do several double stints before handing things over once again, and as the race wore on, it would become clear who they were racing for the win: team Mahkra.
Another front running squad, it was little surprise to see these two teams going at it, as both have been at the sharp end before; Huerta and Alyssa finished 2nd last year, while Mahkra lost it on the final lap back in 2018 after being hunted down in the final stint. This time around, it was Mahkra doing the hunting, with a bit of irony gracing team driver Jerott King, as he was the one behind the wheel for Mahkra for that final stint in ‘18. It was differing strategies that saw Mahkra trail T4 for much of the race, but right at the end it became apparent just how even the two teams were…
With about an hour and a half to play, Hazlewood exited the pits for the final time, right in front of King; it would be a man-e-mano fight to the end, as the pair enjoyed 5 laps over the rest of the class. It just became a 1.5 hour sprint race, with the pair in the seat for the final 3 hours or so. They would swap the lead several teams, some from traffic, and others almost as a show of strength, and with about 40 minutes to go, King made his final move. Hazlewood would keep the pressure on, clocking their fastest lap of the race in the process, but little by little, King would pull away as he worked the traffic. When the checkers finally fell, the gap would be a just over 11 seconds; 12 hours, and just 11 seconds the Margin. For King, and Mahkra teammates Wes Dent, Charles Eichlin, and Andrew Wood, it was redemption after being so close and having it stolen away in 2018, and having finished third last year, just 2 seconds behind T4…
And last but not least, the headline category: the 206 powered Pro Class, which for the first time this year, was open to any chassis brand after being VLR exclusive over the last few editions. More than any other class, reliability is a key to finding success in this category, while ingenuity, strategy, and sheer speed can help you find an edge.
Project 505 put their lightest driver in for qualifying on Friday night to snag pole position with KC Cook, but the team turned to multi-time Machismo winner and LeMans start ace Logan Calvin to start their 12 hour battle on Saturday. Calvin would indeed lead into turn #1 by a solid margin, but would slip back to 4th in the order by the end of lap 1 behind a trio of of 2Wild team karts, lead by Jake Drew in the #3 ride. But Jake wasn’t the only hotshoe to grace the 2Wild camp; after lap 8, Road to Indy driver Neil Alberico took the #2 machine to the front and paced the race in front of Drew up until pitting at about the 2 hour mark for fuel, only to spend even more time in pit lane for an exhaust issue. This would bump them down the order by several laps, eventually returning back to the circuit 17 laps astern from the lead…
Unfortunately, the mechanical gremlins for the 2Wild camp was not isolated to the #2 entry, as even the #1 entry helmed by return Pro Class standout Antonio Aranda, as well as Le Mans winner Gustavo Menezes and Indycar star Colton Herta would succumb to issues, eventually retiring just past the halfway point. Even the aforementioned #3 team would see hiccups along the way that would keep them off the podium, showing that even though they certainly have some of the best prepared karts, and certainly the fastest pit stops in the category, luck still plays a part in endurance racing.
And speaking of the podium, another star-studded team that entered would finish just outside of the hardware, as the BBi Autosport entry of Betim Berisha, Bucky Lasek, Steve Wetterau, Patrick long -and Race Liberante filling in for an injured Tanner Faust- would need to bounce back from adversity. BBi would eventually finish 4th in their first run in the Machismo, which brings us to the fight for the win, which saw another brand new entry as one of the teams to beat as the event went on: Dark Horse DHM. With Father and son duo of Max and Ayrton Demoss, Sam Hunt, Tri-C Karters 206 champ Pietro Moro, and overall karting ace Dante Yu, the Dark Horse team got to the front via superb reliability, nevermind their sheer pace. When issues befell the 2Wild contingent in front of them, they slotted in to the 2nd spot behind Project 505, who at the time were about 3 laps ahead after putting Cook back in on the option tires. This was a little past the ¼ distance mark, and things stayed that way right up until Project 505 had mechanical issues of their own about 3 hours later, dropping them back to third, with another protagonist entering the fray: HRT.
The HRT team would wake to some tough news, finding out that teammate Jon Silva would had a death in the family, and would not be able to run. They would make the decision to bring on a familiar face to the team, Jetson Lieser, who -along with Drew Zeller- had been with the winning squad the past two years, bolstering the already stout lineup that also included Team lead and 2018 winner of the event Kyle Hayner, as well as reigning Super Series champ Diego Morales and perennial front runner Bill Kreig. The roster change however meant adjustments had to happen to the kart, and the team would have to start from pit lane…
Fast forward to hour 7 and the issues that had hit their competition, and HRT moves up into the 2nd spot behind Dark Horse, having quietly edged into the advantage of those in front of them. Once again, reliability is key, and on the back of virtually no mistakes or mechanical issues, HRT would emerge as the ones in the attack position against Dark Horse once the final stops were made with about 2 hours to play. In the attack position, but 2 laps down…
From there it was about sheer pace; cutting laps that were typically 2+ seconds a lap faster, Diego Morales picked up where Kyle Hayner left off -proving why Hayner had clocked the fastest lap of the race in his stint- as he would pick off 2+ seconds off the deficit most laps. This win was done purely on the course via sheer speed, and no mistakes. With about 30 minutes to go, the pass for the lead would happen, as Morales would take the #8 to the checkers, completing the pit lane to top step journey for HRT…
2019: Second Time’s a Charm
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.
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.
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.
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.
2018: Welcoming the Largest Field in the History of the 12 Hour
This past weekend, the Machismo 12 Hour endurance karting race held its 11th annual event, continuing as the longest running endurance kart race in the United States, hosting 40 teams across three classes. The first endurance karting event in the states to utilize the 206 engine, the Machismo again saw the VLR 206 package as the kart of choice Pro Class for the third time, while the Super Sport and Sport categories competed in CalSpeed’s Honda-powered sport karts. Drivers from all walks of life, and from all different types of motorsports backgrounds, descended on the once around the clock contest from across the country. It was a mix of pace, patience, and perseverance that would be on display across the 12 hours, with many of the results decided in the final moments of the race…
The Pro Class would see teams fielded by both kart owners and a trio of local So-Cal teams, as 2Wild Karting, Josh Huff Motorsports, and Troy Adams Coaching partnered up with the annual endurance event. In Friday’s ‘Under the Lights’ Qualifying, it was one of the privateer teams claiming the top spot, as T4 Autosport’s Taylor Hays put their #54 on pole to lead the field in the Le Mans style start. Turn 1 would belong to Destiny Racing’s KC Cook, however, taking the #53 to the front, and eventually a 45+ second lead before the first driver changes began about two hours in.
Over the next 10 hours or so, multiple teams showed they had the speed to win, not only proving their depth in talent throughout the team on course, but also in the paddock via strategy and mechanical prowess. Not only did each team need to be fast on course, but they also had to fulfill a couple of rule requirements under their mechanical tent; each team had to switch to and from the softer ‘option’ tires, as well as change their oil at some point during the event. On top of these planned changes, every single team would have to tackle adversity at some point, either from mistakes on course, or mechanical gremlins that would pop up. And it was these type of dramas that molded the finish…
The de-facto team to beat nearly all race, Destiny Racing would close in on the final hour with nearly a seven-lap lead; but then their exhaust began to get louder and louder. Brought in by the officials to address the issue, the team simultaneously broke a throttle cable as they entered the mechanical area. After nearly 11 hours without issue, the team feverishly attacked both the issues at hand, as well as finished their final required tire change. Unfortunately, the 10 minutes to do so would see their lead evaporate, and then some, losing the top spot in the pits, and eventually settling for second overall. This opened the door for team HRT/S Squared, who had battled and overcome brake issues throughout the race, to be in the right position to inherit the lead with an hour remaining.
With multi-time Machismo winner Logan Calvin at the helm, the team held on to score the 2018 Pro Class victory by one lap over team Destiny Racing. For their part, team 2Wild Karting surpassed all via their speed under the mechanical tent, and while they too incurred an issue in the late stages of the race, were able to get back on track to secure a well deserved 3rd place overall and in class.
Known as the ‘pro’ sport kart category, the Super Sport Class hosted one of the most deeply talented fields in its history, and in the end, saw its race eventually come down to the very last lap…
It would all start with team Keep Pushing 303 locking up the pole position for the class with Lukas Dziemidok behind the wheel, earning the spot just behind the Pro Class karts for the Le Mans style start. When the race did finally get off, they would lead the class unchallenged for the opening 25+ minutes before coming down pit lane for the first of their 17 required driver stints. This would see team T4 Stone Cold inherit the top spot, with team Mahkra in tow; a pair of teams with two starkly different futures in the race. T4 Stone Cold would show to be one of the contenders from the get-go, but just after the two-hour mark would get collected in an incident out of the Sunset hairpin, breaking a tie rod that saw them go down 12 laps for repairs. On the other hand, team Mahkra would inherit the mantle as the team to beat, going on to lead much of the race, both on track and on the stint chart.
Mahkra continued to carry the torch as the race wore on, occasionally swapping the lead with team The Masters Champs with differing pit strategies, but always maintaining a front-running position. As the race neared the final hour, however, things started to stabilize, and it became obvious it was going to be a two-horse race for the win. With about fifty minutes to play, The Masters Champs had made their final stop with driver Andres Prieto, and aimed to reel in Jerott King of team Mahkra, who had already finished their stops. The gap: about 20 Seconds. With 30 minutes remaining it was down to ten seconds; then four seconds with just ten minutes remaining.
Needing to working traffic quickly yet efficiently, Prieto slowly worked his way closer and closer to his goal, and on the white flag lap he was just a few kart lengths astern. With a last-lap lunge in the Center Hairpin the move was made, and with King sliding through the marbles on the outside of the corner, the lead was secured. After 12 hours of racing, team The Masters Champs would win the 2018 Super Sport Class via a last lap pass, with team Mahkra settling for second after an impressive run at the front all day. Pole sitters from the day before, team Keep Pushing 303 would emerge as the third place squad, finishing two laps back after also being a contender most of the day.
The entry-level category for the Machismo 12 Hour, the Sport Class sees a mix of less experienced albeit still very quick drivers enter the event, and many times some of the most unexpected results ensue. They also see some of the lighter drivers mix things up with the Super Sport category, which is exactly what we saw in Friday’s qualifying session, as team Moon Bear Racing’s Seth Willits snagged the pole -and 2nd overall for the sport karts- by just .075 seconds. When the green flag flew on the event Saturday, it was actually Moon Bear Racing that would lead all other sport karts across the line, eventually settling in with the front running S1 drivers.
The Sport Class would see a handful of teams control the sharp end throughout the event, with Moon Bear being joined by team Heel & Toe Watch Company, team Red Mist Activated, Dark Horse Sport, and FTR Platinum in the top five all race long. Of the five, however, two teams would emerge as the ones to beat, as Red Mist Activated and Heel & Toe managed to eek out a lead on the rest, both via speed and strategy. In fact, as the race neared the final hour, it was Red Mist who had taken over the lead from Heel Toe and looked to have the advantage, only to have disaster strike.
After pounding the curbs over the previous 11 or so hours, the right front spindle would break on their machine, forcing them in for repairs for the crash damage. This gave the lead to Heel & Toe without challenge, and they would go on to score the 2018 Sport Class victory by over three laps.
While the top two held a pair of laps over the rest of the class most of the event, the battle for the third and final podium spot was an intense one that came right down to the end. For much of the event, FTR Platinum was the team in third, hounded by pole sitters Moon Bear Racing and Dark Horse Sport who kept things very close. The final hour would come down to strategy, and while Dark Horse had finished all of their stops and clicked off their best laps of the event via driver Tyler Hicks, both Moon Bear and FTR had to stop two and three more times respectively. When the dust finally settled, Dark Horse would be able to leapfrog their way from 5th to 2nd, with FTR holding on to the final podium spot by less than a lap…
2017: The 10th Annual Machismo 12 Hour Race
The 10th annual Machismo 12 Hour Endurance race proved to not only be the biggest in the size of the field, but also the most talented, and in the end, it also had the closest ever finish. 35 teams across three classes, 683 laps filled with traffic, passing, strategy, and sometimes the fight to just go on, never mind against the track or your fellow competitors. It was by far the best Machismo event to date, and a fitting way to celebrate a decade’s worth of these events. CalSpeed Karting would like to thank everyone for coming out, and we look forward to what next year will bring. Here is a quick look at how the podiums shook out after 12 hours of racing at the 2017 Machismo 12 Hour Endurance Karting Event…
Utilizing the VLR 206 package, the Pro Class is the fastest of the three classes, and not only goes for the class win, but the overall victory as well. Here in 2017 we saw teams owning their own kart allowed to enter for the first time, and it would be one of these owner teams putting it on pole for the 10th annual Machismo during Friday night’s qualifying session.
Team All In Too would come away with the top time in qualifying via their driver Jake Hood, their #53 and vibrant all-blue livery leading the way for the field of 35 on Saturday. The hole shot however would go to Racers For Christ’s Pro entry, as Global Rally Cross and veteran kart racer Christian Brooks would get away from the start first, proceeding to click off fast laps. Brooks would go unchallenged for his stint, eventually lapping the field before handing off to his teammates for their required stints.
With Brooks relieved, their challengers began to reel in the the lead squad, with team SPV-505 eventually taking over the top spot, becoming the team everyone else chased to the end. Other teams came close and applied pressure throughout the event, but coming down to the final laps it was still SPV-505 out front. Their lead was strong enough that eyes drifted backward to the battle for the final podium spots, while Wu Tang Gang Pro’s advantage over the charging Christian Brooks was dwindling. ‘The Gang’ had been consistent, mistake free, and without incident to have the second spot, but the sheer pace of Brooks was just too much in the end, and they would slip back to third at the flag.
In the end it would be SPV-505 bringing home the victory, with all three of the podium finishers finishing on the same lap, proving just how close the race was at the end. For the winning drivers -Logan Calvin, Miles Calvin, Patrick Britain, and birthday boy Alexander Bermudez- it was not a race without its own share of drama, as the team was able to bounce back from a mechanical issue in the dusk hours to bring home victory.
Unlike the other two classes, the Super Sport category would be controlled by a single team for the duration, Andlogical Logistics Racing. Scoring pole position on Friday via team leader Darren Mercer, they would back it up with the class hole shot into the first corner via KC Cook’s starting prowess, and essentially never look back.
Bolstered by teammate Cameron Jocelyn, the three-driver squad was fast, consistent, and mistake free for the entirety of the 12-hour contest, and essentially never relinquished the top spot. It was a dominant performance in a very competitive field, and a well earned victory by over two laps to the second place team, with a comfortable three laps to the final podium spot as well.
As much as the top spot was in hand, former Machismo champs T4 Red would also have a strong hold on the runner up position, as Taylor Hays and Adam Nagao did everything they could to pressure the top team. Bouncing back from qualifying woes that saw them start from 8th position, Hays showed why he was one of the best, scything through the field of sport kart teams to get to 2nd place in just 8 laps. They would close to within just a few kart lengths in that first stint, but aside from a brief stint out front during varied fuel strategy, they would stay in the runner up spot for near the entire run. They were definitively in control of that position though, while the fight for the final podium spot raged on behind them.
The final S1 Class podium spot would be decided in the final few minutes of the 10th Annual Machismo, playing out more like a sprint race than an enduro. T4 Black had the position, but was chased down by the 2016 champs and team leader Sean Fite, with Fite getting to the back bumper with about 15 minutes to go. They would exchange positions at least five times between then and the end of the race, fighting not only each other but traffic as well, with Fite bringing the final podium spot and fastest lap of the race home for the Glorious New Day.
Like in the Pro division, the Sport category had multiple teams show strength during the event, but with one team coming out a little stronger than the rest. Sport Class pole position would be scored by Hold My Beer Racing’s Diego Alvarado, who also took the opening stint duties, maintaining the top spot for the opening couple of hours even after a couple of driver changes.
There was one primary challenger for the team fastest in qualifying however, specifically Sofa Racing. They would work up into the second spot in the first 15 minutes after starting 3rd, and slowly but surely would begin to reel in the leader, with the top spot finally changing hands for the first time just after the pole sitters made a fuel stop about two and a quarter hours in. From there however Sofa Racing would never relinquish the lead, going 9+ hours out front, keeping the top spot via both strong and consistent pace, and smart strategy. The Team of Scott Milne, Tony Wika, Sean Wika, and Joe Sabella had put in a lot of practice leading up to the event, and it showed once it was time to shine for a well deserved win.
Behind them however it was a dogfight for the next two podium spots, and with some of the leading teams either having mistakes or misfortune, a pair of squads came from under the radar to snag 2nd and 3rd on the podium. After working from the depths of the charts in the opening few laps of the race, both Baguette Racing and Enterprising Spider Racing picked away at their competition, slowly moving up the ranks until they were in position to capitalize at the end. Baguette Racing -the fastest of the leaders and also 2nd fastest in the class- saw themselves in a battle with not only the Enterprising Spider entry, but also the Make America Race Again team. While all three were on the same lap, Baguette was able to keep a decent cushion on their spot, while it came down to the wire for third. In the final fifteen or so minutes, ‘Race Again’ was able to reel in an almost 20 second gap to be within two seconds on the white flag lap, and coming out of the final corner it was a drag race… With Enterprising Spider Racing holding on to third in class after 12 hours by just .087 seconds.
2016: Enter the LO206 Pro Class
The biggest endurance karting event on the west coast hosted its 9th annual event this past weekend, as 24 teams across three classes battled it out in this year’s Machismo 12 Hour Event at CalSpeed Karting. Utilizing CalSpeed’s Sodi sport karts in both the Sport and Super Sport classes, this year saw the debut of the VLR lo206 package as the kart of choice for the first time in the Pro Class. And unlike the past couple of editions weather would not be an issue, as the two-day event enjoyed absolute perfect weather for racing, hosting practice and qualifying on Friday, and the full 12 Hours of racing on Saturday.
While qualifying for a long endurance race is not a requirement to win the race, starting at the sharp end of your class and ahead of as many other teams as possible for the Le Mans-styled running start certainly doesn’t hurt. Bringing home the pole position in the Pro Class would be the Logan Calvin-led “Logan’s Heroes” team, “The New Day” brought home the top time in Super Sport with Calvin also behind the wheel, while T4 Autosport Powered by TEG would taking top qualifying honors in the Sport Class. When the green did fly on Saturday morning however, we’d see a different team lead into turn #1…
Starting from the second spot on the grid, Mark Connell would be the quickest getting into his #4 ride for Team Asylum in the Pro Class, and lead all teams not only through the first corner, but for the first hour before eventually being past by Steve Jasinksi for “The Heroes”. Connell would take back the lead after a handful of laps, and once Jasinksi pit for fuel a few laps later the immediate pressure was off of the lead team. They would lose the lead just one other time through the pit stop cycle, regaining it after misfortune around lap 258…
The start for the Super Sport class saw Logan Calvin shot out of a cannon for The New Day, almost being the first driver into the first corner, an advantage he built on and held throughput his first stint. Behind him a pair of T4 Autosport teams would give chase in T4/CS and T4 Autosport Powered by PBR, eventually becoming their primary challengers to the top spot, albeit hard pressed to make in-roads on track. Working different strategies amongst the three teams, The New Day would only relinquish the point when they worked through their pit cycle, returning to the lead when the T4 duo did the same.
In the Sport Class drama would happen right out of the gate for one of the top contenders, as two time and back to back defending Sport Class champs All-In Racing had to head into the pits right from the get go with a mechanical issue. After the kart swap and time returned to them, they were back on pace and in the fight for the win, albeit perhaps with a stress along the way. They would give chase to the two primary contenders for the win, pole sitter and leading squad T4 Autosport Powered by TEG, and team Red Mist Activated. In this class it would be a story of balancing speed and strategy all the way to the end, with T4 holding the advantage most of the way.
Back in the Pro Class, the aforementioned misfortune came with contact in two separate incidents; one with a curb, and another with lapped traffic that saw the leading Logan’s Heroes team sidelined for multiple laps. This essentially took them out of the running, and handed not only the lead, but a hefty margin to Team Asylum, who was running a clean race from the start. With mistakes sidelining every other team in the Pro field, the Pro Class would see Team Asylum win by 11 laps over T4.1/Race Academy, having recovered from starting from pit lane and early damage to score 2nd place. Rounding out the podium would be team No Eye Deer, once in the hunt for second spot before a damaged steering shaft saw them lose precious time.
In Super Sport it would be The New Day at the front for most of the race, relinquishing the lead during pit cycles to last year’s class winners, the two-man effort T4 Autosport Powered by PBR with Taylor Hays and Adam Nagao. Staying on the same lap as the leaders even when in second, they would eventually settle for runner up, just 32 seconds astern of the win. Rounding out the podium just 1 lap behind would be T4/CS, they themselves keeping the pressure on to the end, eventually missing the top two steps via fuel strategy.
Sport Class would see three teams with differing stint strategies from the get go, with Red Mist Activated leading in the early stages, both on track and in stints. Halfway through the race however the tides turned to T4, becoming the de-facto team to beat on the back of their superior speed. From the mid point on they would not let go of the top spot, bringing home the win by 3 laps over All-In Racing, who held on to a 1 lap advantage over Red Mist Activated at the end.
For the Pro Class, it would be redemption for Team Asylum (Mark Connell, Wes Dent, Charles Eichlin, Jon Kimbrell, Bill Kreig) after coming very close to the win in the previous year, while it was also history making, with Mark Connell becoming the first driver to win in all three classes on offer. He is still the only driver to win in two classes in the same year, now doing it twice as he was also on the Super Sport class winning entry of The New Day (Connell, Logan Calvin, Sean Fite). For Calvin it was a repeat of 2015 when he won with Connell, and for Fite it was a capitalization on a goal he has had for some time. For the Sport Class winners T4 Autosport Powered by TEG (Tom Zevin, Caden Thure, TJ Blackledge, Paul Ciralli, Andrew Brown) it was a win that had eluded them for the past two years, having been the bridesmaid twice, and now finally brought home the win.
All in all, it was another great Machismo 12 Hour Karting Race event, and also the foundation for many years to come with the new VLR lo206 packages which ran beautifully, and mistake free all event long. With nine years down and a special 10-year anniversary event coming in 2017, it can only get bigger and better from here!
2015: Swan Song for the Stratus Karts
As is customary for ‘The Machismo’ the race would start via a Le Mans styled start, with the starting driver for each of the 26 teams across three classes running to their kart at the drop of the green. Former winner of the race Jon Kimbrell (Friends & Family Racing) would lead the way from pole position in the P1 (Pro) category , piloting the faster, albeit more fragile Stratos Club Kart, while the drivers of the Sodi Sport karts in the S1 (Super Sport) and S2 (Sport) classes followed suit behind. Everyone would get off to a clean start, with several drivers linking up for what would end up being some long stints ahead. Drivers experienced in endurance racing knew being mistake free was as, if not more important as being fast, with the new entrants getting the hint as well.
Throughout the first half of the race, varying strategies in regards to fuel and driver changes would see things shake up at the top of each respective class, but there were still a few teams that would show they would be the ones to beat. In S2 it was defending race winners All-In Racing leading the way from the get go, maintaining a healthy margin on the others in the class, while S1 would shuffle between Scuderia Arkham and T4 Autosport at the sharp end. In the P1 category issues would befall the aforementioned Team Friends and Family racing, and it would be Arkham Pro and Team Cavalos de Fuerza showing the way before night fell.
Starting at 9:40am, the race would see nearly half of the race finish under the lights, with sunset coming at about 4:45pm, arguably one of the toughest times to race given the challenges in visibility. Making things even tougher was the buildup of marbles and debris off line, which made hitting your marks all the more important. One team that seemed to shine during the night was Sports Car Drivers Boris Said and Eric Curran among others on team BMW Murrieta, the group putting up strong numbers just one step off of the podium most of the race.
As the race neared the end, it was the teams that stayed mistake free that found their way to the sharp end; surpassing some that had shown better pace but were unable to reach the end without some kind of slip up. S2 was basically on lock down from the word go, as team All-In Racing’s Duane Lawson, Kelly Bastian, Chris Lorentzen and John Perry who would win for the second year in a row, with ‘T4 AutoSport’ coming home second, and ‘Arkham Coast to Coast’ in third; each of which with a solid lead over the other. In S1 it was the two-man squad of Taylor Hays and Adam Nagao for T4 AutoSport that brought home the win by stablemate T4/R@ndom Manufacturing in second, with 2014 winners Arkham 3:16 rounding out the podium just a half lap back in third.
In P1 things would go down to the final hour between three teams, as Arkham Pro would hold on to the lead over Cavolos de Fuerza, while a couple familiar faces from the competition karting ranks sat in third via the Mach 5 Motorsports entry of Josh Sarchet, Phil De La O, and Micah Hendricks. Issues entering pit lane and contact with a barrier would relieve Arkham Pro of the lead, while the de Fuerza team would lose time with repairs after a crash that resulted from working through slower traffic. While both teams would score a podium finish in 2nd and 3rd respectively, it would be Arizona’s Mach 5 Motorsports with the come from behind win in the closing minutes.
2014: Bigger & Better Than Ever
The 2014 running of the Machismo 12 Hour event, saw the race expanded to new heights with a record breaking 34 teams across three classes taking the green flag. Never before did the Machismo have such a high level of talent, all gunning for the top spot in their respective class.
The new class added for 2014 was called the Super Sport class, which opened up the rules for higher level Sport teams to make less pit stops and have strategy that was more open to interpretation. No minimum number of driver stints, no minimum number of kart changes and no maximum driver time allowed these teams to create their own race plan.
Qualifying was rained out on Friday night, so teams had to arrive even earlier on Saturday so that they could get a shortened qualifying session in before the race began. Victory Lane Karting found themselves on pole for the top level Pro Class, with team “Vladimir Putin” close behind. In Super Sport, Arkham Motorsports took the top two spots, and in Sport it was Arkham Motorsports again taking the top spot, but with arch rivals T4 Autosport in a close second. After qualifying, it was already clear that this was going to be the most competitive and closest Machismo in history.
The race began, and the pressure cooker situation of the rain delay plus very tight competition levels proved to be a lot for some drivers to handle. Multiple early race spins in treacherous, still drying conditions, put many teams on their back foot before the race even got to the 1 hour mark.
Up front, Victory Lane Karting continued to lead over the chasing pack that included SPV and Vladimir Putin, among others. But as the race neared the 25% mark, disaster struck for SPV. Lapped traffic committed a cardinal sin and tried to get out of the way for the oncoming SPV driver, and in doing so, put themselves right in the path that their driver, Aaron Downs, had already committed to in order to pass. The incident damaged the kart of the SPV team to the extent that they needed to be towed back to the garage area and undergo major repairs.
As the race continued, Victory Lane Karting continued to dominate, never putting a wheel wrong. While others suffered from either driver error or bad luck, VLK simply kept putting in laps. In endurance racing, this is what it takes to win. After 12 hours and 653 laps, VLK would do just that, and take the win in the 2014 Machismo 12 Hour.
Behind them, Scuderia BAMF made a late race charge and took 2nd. And rounding out the podium was the 2 driver effort of Darren Mercer and Bryan Armbrust in 3rd for T4 / R@ndom Manufacturing.
Over in Super Sport, the battle raged on between Arkham Motorsports and T4 Autosport for the entirety of the event. These two organizations would sweep the top four positions, but it was Arkham Motorsports grabbing the ultimate bragging rights by taking a 1-2 sweep in Super Sport. T4 would round out the podium in 3rd.
In Sport, All-In Racing took the win after an incredibly smooth and mistake free race. Notably, the win for All-In in Sport, and the win for Arkham in Super Sport meant that for the first time in event history, one driver would take the win in two classes in the same event. Mark Connell made history with that feat, and there are now eyes on the 2015 event to see if anyone can match him. Behind All-In Racing in the Sport Class would be T4 Autosport (the only organization to be on the podium in all three classes) and LMK 2 took the final podium spot after an unfortunate DQ for Hot Seat Racing saw them excluded from the event due to falling one short on their minimum required stops.
The podium celebration saw the introduction of the new transparent Machismo trophies, as well as the customary champagne spray. For Victory Lane Karting, Arkham Motorsports and All-In Racing, the celebration would be that much sweeter as they were all winners of the 2014 Machismo 12 Hour Race.
2013: The Machismo Returns Home
The 2013 running of the Machismo 12 Hour Endurance Race was a tale of two entirely different battles in each class, as the Pro Class saw a run away victory by the team that many predicted to be the favorite, while the Sport Class saw a back and forth battle among several teams.
From the start of qualifying all the way until the checkered flag flew, it was clear that Slipstreem Aerodynamics was the team to beat in Pro. Miles Calvin would be the first driver to make note for the Slipstreem team, putting it on pole in qualifying by nearly 8 tenths of a second over Team Kimbrell and T4 Autosport. It was immediately clear that someone would need to dig deep in order to take the top spot from Slipstreem Aerodynamics. In Sport, it would be T4 Autosport taking the top spot by only 24 one thousandths of a second over Pink Shoelaces Racing with Arkham Motorsports in third. All said and done, there would be 6 teams within one second of the top spot in qualifying, this race was already set to be wide open.
As the race began in the Pro Class, Slipstreem jumped out to an early lead and simply put down fast lap after fast lap to build a lead throughout the beginning stages of the race. As the race neared halfway, T4 and Team LMK 1 positioned themselves for podium positions, but it was clear that P2 would be the realistic goal for both teams.
The Sport Class continued to be a back and forth battle, but it began to narrow down to a one on one show between Pink Shoelaces and T4. Each team swapped the top spot back and forth throughout the day and into night as they were on varying pit strategies. After 12 hours of hard fought, intense racing, it would be Pink Shoelaces taking the Sport Class win by just less than a lap over T4 in one of the closest finishes in Machismo history.
It was more of the same in Pro as Slipstreem Aerodynamics took the comfortable win by over 7 laps on T4 Autosport who would suffer a dramatic engine failure with just 3 minutes to go. While it didn’t impact the overall win, it did make for a tense couple of minutes as the team waited to see if Team LMK 1 would have enough time to complete enough laps to overtake T4 for P2. In the end, they would fall just short, completing the same number of laps and taking a well earned P3 in the process.
After 12 hours of changing conditions, day-to-night time racing, near misses in strategy and on track, it would be Slipstreem Aerodynamics and Pink Shoelaces Racing who brought home the gold.
2012: Battle at the Bullring – Round 2
The 2012 Machismo 12Hr returned to the famed Las Vegas Motor Speedway and its banked ‘Bullring’ facility for the fifth consecutive installment of the popular multiclass endurance kart racing program. Eighteen teams would make the trip to sin city for the 2012 edition with arguably the most talented and competitive field of drivers to date.
he 2012 Sport Class would ultimately be decided by pit lane strategy and strong on-track pace, as no team would find themselves in the mechanical repair area due to damage at any point during the 12 hours. Always in the hunt for a win would be the Phoenix based ‘Team Titanium’ group headed up by Steve Lattanzi and anchored by top indoor karter Chaz Baca Jr. The group suffered a brutal disqualification in 2011 for a minimum driver time error, thus wiping away the would-be class win. 2012 would bring the same speed [less the accounting error] as they aimed for redemption. They would have their hands full as several other strong teams emerged to challenge for the win, including Team Trunk Monkey, which suffered heartbreak of their own in 2011 as a crash with 10 minutes remaining would cost them a podium finish. This year they would successfully avoid damage, while simultaneously balancing the logistics of having two drivers on their roster, Tony Severson and Kirk Feldkamp, that would be performing double duty by driving for a Pro Class team as well. Meanwhile, the surprise squad of 2012 would be Team DRS Enabled. The group would feature Steve Wetterau and company, no strangers to the motorsports scene, as they contested their first major endurance kart race. After holding the lead near the halfway point, their strong run would continue as they would find the podium with a third place finish when all was said and done. Ultimately though, the T4 Autosport – Tanto group would not be denied. The core of Steve Jasinski, Steve Hansen, and Dave Messimer have enjoyed much endurance karting success in the CalSpeed program over the past couple years, but it would be a brilliant drive from former Machismo winner Paul Ciralli that would send them over the top for 2012 Sport Class win by a margin of just over two whole laps. Team Titanium would claim second place hardware [and get to keep it this year], while Team DRS Enabled drove their way onto the final podium position.
Back in the Pro Class, Team NightShift Racing, a perennial Machismo favorite, would be forced to stretch fuel economy late in the race as they tried to hold on for a podium finish, but an unscheduled earlier kart swap left them a few laps short of the checkers. The team’s final stint driver, Patrick Britain, would feel the kart sputter and die with minutes remaining, dropping them to a disappointing sixth place finish. Team Norcal’s Finest would edge its fellow bay area rival, Team LeMans Karting Uno after both squads suffered pit lane setbacks, while Chris Huerta put in a brilliant performance in the final hour for Team Over The Hill to lead them to a podium finish in third. Huerta would finish just two seconds back of T4 AutoSports Taylor Hays, as Hays pushed hard to hold off the charge in the waning minutes. In the end, it would be the group representing Victory Lane Karting that would be the first to see the checkers after twelve hours of competition, taking a well earned win as the entire podium was separated by just over a minute when the dust settled. In addition to the team victory, Fred Ogrim would be named ‘Most Valuable Driver’ for the squad after a flawless performance on the day. With the win, the VLK trio now join an elite list of drivers to have stood atop the Machismo podium, a title they will have to press hard to keep as the event looks towards its sixth annual running next year.
2011: Machismo Heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on IndyCar Weekend
The 2011 Edition of the “Super Bowl of Endurance Karting” has taken yet another leap forward as the Machismo is set to join the IZOD IndyCar finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this October. The race is set to run again on a temporary circuit, this time within the banks of the 3/8 mile Bullring facility which will feature a custom designed “Roval” configuration reminiscent of Daytona’s annual 24 Hour spectacle.
The Pro Class finish is one that will go down as one of the better in Machismo history as defending champions Team Gatorz / Shift Group battled back and forth with Team Le Mans Karting 1 out of the Northern California area in the final hours. With time running out, both squads found themselves on the same lap, separated by a mere 40 seconds. Gatorz / Shift Group pilot Efrain Olivares finished the final stint in conservative fashion, successfully keeping the nose clean to the checkers as a valiant charge and brilliant effort from the LMK boys came up just short at the midnight mark. With the win, team principals Efrain Olivares and Mike Kai returned to the top step for the second straight year, joined by newcomers Clement Ng, Kerry Lynch, and Byron Bishop as the group hoisted the trophies and showered in champagne.
The Sport Class results would not be so straightforward as quite a bit of shuffling in the finishing order would happen in the final minutes, not just with the Team Trunk Monkey shunt, but also after the checkered flag had been shown to the field. Timing and scoring had Team Titanium of Octane Raceway claiming victory over rivals SPV Sport by a full lap with a fantastic effort from the Arizona-based squad, however before the results could be made official, Race Directors found that the group had inadvertently violated the “drive time” rule outlined in the Official Event Rulebook. The rule instructs that no team driver can run more than an hour over any other team driver. A small miscalculation placed Team Titanium of Octane Raceway in violation of this rule by a mere 8 minutes, and a devastating disqualification would be forced upon them by race officials after a magnificent drive by the team. The DQ would elevate Team SPV Sport into the top position after playing brilliant pit strategy off of the multiple safety car deployments. Team Fluo Development went from a potential P4 finish up to a P2 when all was said and done, and Team Spectrum would make the odds-defying leap from a likely P5 finish right up to a third step on the Sport Class podium. Team SPV Sport would also have their champagne celebration as Sport Kart veterans Patrick Britain, Miles Calvin, and Logan Calvin joined team development drivers Darren Mercer and Andrew Brown, all claiming their first Machismo victory.
2010: Mandalay Bay & The Battle of Attrition
2010 would bring an interesting new challenge to the Machismo, venturing away from the Rio Hotel, it instead headed down Las Vegas Blvd to the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. The event would join the ‘Championship Karting International’ season finale on yet another challenging temporary circuit. The race would also be extended to run for 10 full hours this time around, and would include several mandatory kart swaps for the Pro Class, adding yet another twist of strategy for the third consecutive year.
The pole-sitting squad of ‘Night Shift Racing’ would have their hopes dashed just three hours in as pilot Anthony Razo would catch slower Sport Class traffic at an inopportune time, and contact would result in a damaged tie-rod for the more fragile Pro Kart. It would be a disappointing end to what looked to be a very promising night for the former endurance champions. ‘Team IronClad’ would find themselves in a similar situation heading into the 7th hour as contact with a Sport Class kart lead to a bent axle and significant time in pit lane for repairs for them as well.
For the second year in a row the Sport Class featured another runaway victory. This time it was the unlikely grouping of several individual entries labeled ‘Team B3RP’ putting several laps on the rest of the class. The group featured Brian Guevara, Bryan Armbrust, Brian Starr, Paul Ciralli, and Richard Griffin, all of which had been placed together by Karting Ventures in order to form a single team. A strong two team effort from the ‘Spectrum Racing’ camp would fill in the rest of the podium in 2010, however anything but a win leaves something to be desired at Machismo.
As the hours wound down and the sky began to illuminate with the rising of the sun in the distance, the overall Pro Class win would come down to two. The ‘Magnus / Lifeyo.com’ group comprised of Grand-Am Champ Craig Stanton, Efrain Olivares and Mike Kai had executed a very clean race, relying heavily on their work through traffic. Similarly, Jober Velasco’s ‘GoShootingToday.com’ squad featuring Southern California sport karting veterans Tayor Hays, Sam Brumley, and Dave Messimer had also put themselves in position for a run to the checkers. ‘Magnus / Lifeyo.com’ would trust the final stint to Mike Kai who would not disappoint, putting distance between himself and the trailing Sam Brumley.
The ‘Magnus / Lifeyo.com’ trio would claim victory by a full lap on their way to a breakfast of chilled champagne atop the podium. While Kai, Stanton, and Olivares have each collected their fair share of wins over the years at various levels, they will all attest that there is something special about a Machismo Trophy on the mantle.
2009: Michael Schumacher & The Introduction of the Multi-Class Format
Building upon the momentum gained the year prior, the 2009 Machismo would again return to the Rio Hotel alongside the SKUSA SuperNats, and would again look to take things up a notch. 2009 would see the introduction of the Le Mans inspired two-class format, changing the dynamic of the event for years to come. Teams would be given the option to compete for the win in either the quicker (but delicate) 390cc Pro Class, or the full-bodied 270cc Sport Class. The intriguing new format would draw a total of 19 teams to the grid including Pro’s like Rafa Matos, Craig Stanton, and Tanner Foust. The new format would instantly create a new dynamic to the race where smoothing overtaking of lap traffic would become more critical than flat out speed… patience and planning would quickly be proven key.
Adding to the buzz that year was news that Formula One superstar Michael Schumacher would be competing in the SuperNats. This meant that Machismo pilots would not only have a chance to meet the F1 legend in the paddock, but would also have the chance to watch ‘His Schu-ness’ compete on the very track that they would be taking to later that same weekend.
Evidence of the increased level of competition was evident as the 2008 championship effort from ‘Sonoma Valley Racing’ would be relegated to just a sixth place finish in 2009. The multi-class structure proved favorable for the returning two-man effort of Jim Russell Jr and Chuck Gafrarar, who had finished as runners up the year before. Running under the ‘Russell Dunlop Karting’ banner, they would not be denied for a second time, going on to take the win by a full lap over their closest rivals and securing their place in Machismo history.
The Sport Class victory would not be as close. IndoorKartingNews.com and Karting Ventures would put together a driver search that summer aimed at pulling together a handful of the best indoor karting pilots from around the country to form team ‘IKN All Stars’. A roster would be produced which featured former National Champion Mike Smith, Mid-West hot shoe Justin Kelley, Pennsylvania native Mike Bednar, and Floridian Jean Hoy. The group, joined for a stint by IKN honcho Rob Howden, would claim a convincing victory by a margin of over four laps. They would leave little doubt regarding the level of talent being fostered among the indoor ranks around the nation.
After nearly 8 hours of racing thru the night, both ‘Russell Dunlop Karting’ and the ‘IKN All Stars’ would pop the cork on the champagne and begin the celebrations as daylight broke over the Vegas Strip. Both squads had successfully navigated multi-class traffic, managed their fuel, and displayed brilliant speed on their way to Machismo immortality.
2008: The Inaugural ‘Machismo’ & The Final Ten Minutes
Niles and Packard would agree early on in their discussions that for the event to reach it’s potential, the selected venue would be of paramount importance to its success. Enter the 12th annual SKUSA SuperNationals and its temporary circuit at the Rio Hotel and Casino scheduled for late fall of that year. The ‘SuperNats’ had established itself not only as the biggest sprint karting event in North America, but one of the largest in the world, drawing international factory teams and drivers to compete. It seemed only logical that the Machismo, with aspirations of becoming the biggest endurance event in the country, be run in conjunction with the SKUSA juggernaut.
The inaugural edition would draw 12 teams from around the country to compete, boasting a roster chalk full of talent from around the motor sports world. Unlike the popular “two-class” format now common to the Machismo, 2008 would feature a single class of competition on track utilizing Karting Venture’s fleet of modified 270cc Sodi karts. That year drew some of the best in the business as Gatorz Eyewear President Kerry Lynch would enlist the services of Sports Car Champion Joey Hand and IndyCar pilot Alex Tagliani, while karting veteran Jim Russell Jr. would enter just a two man effort in his quest for victory. 2008 also saw Rob Howden and Dave Cole put down the microphones, and put on the driving suits as they would take to the track representing ‘Team Ekartingnews.com’ in an effort that would see them bested by a miniscule 13 laps for an 11th place finish.
The 2008 contest would conclude in legendary fashion as IndyCar star Alex Tagliani held the lead with just 10 minutes remaining. Running low on fuel, Tagliani would decide to go into conservation mode in hopes of avoiding a lengthy trip down pit lane. It would all be for naught as Tagliani ran the tank dry, resulting in the Canadian feverishly pushing his kart back to pit lane as the sun rose on over the strip. The beneficiary of that crucial misstep would be the ‘Sonoma Valley Racing’ squad comprised Ray Zanotto, Renn Ortenburger, and former karting champion Robby Mott. The trio would sail to a convincing victory that first year in truly amazing fashion, setting the bar high for exciting finishes in future years.