Just looking at the entry list for Round 3 of the 2015 Sprint Series shows exactly what makes this series special. Names that are not typically at the sharp end of the Super Series A Man fill the grid for the Sprint Series, meaning, a first time winner and all of the excitement that go with it, is likely to happen tomorrow.
The way the Sprint Series was designed is to give drivers that haven’t quite been able to reach the uppermost tier in the Super Series a chance to lead laps, win races and contend for a championship. And in Round 1 we saw just that. Multiple drivers took to the new Tecnico circuit extremely quickly and put themselves in position for top 5 finishes or even contend for wins. Many of these drivers don’t typically find themselves in these positions in the Super Series or IronMan events. The even better part of the whole equation is that many of those drivers gained that vital experience and were able to translate their Sprint Series momentum into career best finishes in the Super Series.
Round 1 Rewind
Last months top 3, Kevin Taylor, Adam Nagao and Riley Dugan are all drivers that are part time competitors in the Sprint Series, and as a result, none of them are on the entry list for Round 2.
Behind those top 3 however were several drivers that are expected to contest the entire season. Sean Fite is the top driver so far of those that are full season eligible, but hot on his heels are Ariel Rubio and Hasller Ortega. Fite came out of the blocks with a huge day, showing that his IronMan form of late will indeed transfer over to sprint style racing. While Fite did have the best day of the championship contending drivers, he will certainly be looking to move up the order and contend for a podium outright. Other drivers contesting the entire season to keep an eye on include Steve Jasinski and Vince Burke. Both drivers have a wealth of experience and have been in top form lately.
Drivers To Watch
The biggest name to watch for in Round 2 is definitely Bruce Allen. Allen has been on the IronMan podium in the past and is a consistent “top half” driver in the Super Series A Main. Bruce will be able to run just two Sprint Series races this season, so he will need to make this one count.
Right alongside Bruce Allen in the “drivers to watch” category is Dennis Kimbrell. Dennis had one of his career best races in last weekend’s Super Series event, and will be entering tomorrow’s Sprint Series race knowing it is his last of the season. Kimbrell will likely be willing to leave it all on the table to get a win.
Fresh off her first race in a competition kart, Alyssa Yauney makes her Sprint Series debut this Saturday. Yauney has shown herself to be a contender in every race she has entered in 2015, including last weekend’s CalSpeed Kart Club race and last month’s Super Series. Yauney always does well on Sportivo and as we have often seen in the past, once a driver gets their first win, more seem to follow in quick succession. The question isn’t a matter of if, but when Alyssa gets that first win.
The current points leader in the Sprint Series, Sean Fite, is a guy that has been putting up consistent improvement over the past few months and is on the verge of a major breakthrough. Fite is a contender to run up front in the IronMan events each month and is marching through the order in the Super Series as well. Though he has plenty of challengers, Fite is currently the benchmark in the Sprint Series.
This month the Sprint Series moves from the tricky Tecnico circuit to the fast and sweeping Sportivo layout. Sportivo is commonly acknowledged as a racers favorite, with many drivers choosing Sportivo as the layout that provides the best mix of driving skill and race craft. Sportivo is treacherous however, with the off camber downhill left hander catching many top drivers out in previous races.
Sportivo made its debut in the first Sport Kart Grand Nationals back in 2012 and was immediately a driver favorite. The series of corners beginning in the Monaco hairpin, through the horseshoe, in and out of Long Beach and onto the front straightaway lends to incredible racing that gives drivers multiple options on lines and often leads to “drag race” finishes. It is very common to see races decided on Sportivo by less than a tenth of a second. If Tecnico was a drivers track, Sportivo is racers track.
Now is the time for drivers to make a case for themselves if they want to be considered a contender for the overall Sprint Series championship as a bad round here will be extremely difficult to make up, especially if that driver didn’t have the season opener they were looking for. At Round 3, drivers will already be racing with points in the back of their head as the 8 race season will already be 25% of the way completed.
Round 3 of the Sprint Series kicks off at 1pm on Saturday, immediately following the IronMan. Spots are still available and can be purchased on at http://calspeed.mycustomevent.com/