Sprint Series Round 6 Preview; Summer Sub-Championship Continues

The Sprint Series’ trend of different winners continued last month with it’s fifth in a row with Matt Hart crossing the line first on the Classico layout. Sean Fite took over the point lead with a second place finish, while Hassler Ortega moved up into the second spot in points via his run to the final step of the podium. That race was also the beginning of the Summer sub-championship, with Matt Hart leading the way in the standings with his win.

This weekend sees the Sprint Series move on to the Classico Counter Clockwise layout, a track vastly different from its clockwise cousin. While only a few of the drivers in this series have actually run on this configuration, this track is not as big a leap for them as the clockwise version. This is because they have already witnessed much of the track via some of the other layouts. Still, sections like the esses, the silk into hairpin complex, and the right hander that leads onto the main straight are still all strong challenges.



Round #6 Storylines…

With just three rounds to play in the 2015 season, the overall championship will certainly be the biggest storyline, as well as how things shake out in the Summer sub-championship. That said, there are also a few other things to keep an eye on tomorrow…

First of these is a driver making his final run out here at CalSpeed for awhile, making the transition to college life at Michigan, and that is Cameron Rose. Rose has shown quite a bit of speed and steady improvement over the last couple years, and will surely be at the sharp end come the green flag. Obviously not going for points, Rose will be looking to end the summer on a high note by finding the top step of the podium.

There is also a host of drivers steadily improving this year making a one-ff appearance this round which could certainly help them out for the rest of their Super Series seasons. Duane Lawson, Frank Hsu, Michael Chen, and Yuki Tanaka are all on the entry list, with only Tanaka not running a full season in any series. Of the group, Duane has shown some of the biggest flashes of brilliance in the Super Series, and could really show well tomorrow. Although not running the full calendar this year, Tanaka has really improved in the last couple of races he’s done, and could also surprise come the mains. In Hsu and Chen we have a pair of guys who’s steady improvement has been considerable, and could take things to the next level with this added seat time.

Lastly, there are a couple of new drivers in the mix that I have been working with lately, and both could make a splash in these final few races. John Cherniak and Brenden Delorto both looked very good in their coaching sessions this past week, and I will have an eye on both these guys to see how it applies come race day…


The Overall Championship: Three rounds to go; contenders established…

Sean Fite is the new man on top via his second podium in a row, with Hassler moving up into the second spot just 29 points astern. Bumped back to third, Winter sub-champ Ariel Rubio can’t be counted out however, and will surely mount a challenge this weekend.

Just outside the hardware positions is Vince Burke, Steve Jasinski, and Jake Hood; all of whom still in striking distance for the podium, if not more. Burke has been consistent all year, but just needs that little bit more to take the fight to the top three, while Jasinksi will be looking to bounce back from an unfortunate round #5. In fact, give Jasinksi the points back he lost, and he would actually be third; not lacking pace, or motivation, I expect big things from the two time Super Series Heavy class champ.

Probably the final driver in the ‘contender’ position is young Jake Hood, his steady improvement during his sophomore season is really coming to fruition here in the second half of the year. 107 points is a decent amount to make up, but he’s been in the top 10 all year when the checkered flies, evident by the second highest drop of the top six. If he can start the charge this weekend, we could be talking about Hood a lot more over the next few months…

Top 10 Overall Standings:

1 Sean Fite 1108 243
2 Hassler Ortega 1079 217
3 Ariel Rubio 1061 220
4 Vince Burke 1039 199
5 Steve Jasinski 1005 165
6 Jake Hood 1001 231
7 Ashley Arnott 968 208
8 Vladimir Orlov 948 0
9 Luis Calderon 904 214
10 Caylee Britain 799 144


The Sub-Championships: New faces join the regulars…

Sean Fite, Hassler Ortega, and Vince Burke are all names that have been synonymous with the Sprint Series since the start of the season, but they are joined in this sub-title fight by round #5 winner Matt Hart, and fellow front runner Alyssa Yauney (4th). And looking at how round one went, unless someone really goes off these next three rounds, the driver holding the cup in November will probably be one of these five.

Things clicked for Hart during his prep for the Sport Kart Grands, and has been a strong force at the front ever since, culminating in the win at the previous round. Not in the overall hunt, it is just about the next three races for the former competition karting pilot, as Hart will look to pad his lead tomorrow. Yauney has made similar strides this year, ironically gaining much more experience for the competition kart side of things. Both of these two have plenty of pace, and it is more a matter of if they put it all together, versus if they have the capability.

They’ll have to beat those three mainstay drivers to do it though, and Fite, Ortega, and Burke all have the Overall title as plenty of motivation to be at the front…

Top 10 Overall Standings:

1 Matt Hart 295
2 Sean Fite 290
3 Hassler Ortega 280
4 Alyssa Yauney 275
5 Vince Burke 270
6 Scott Kennedy [2R] 266
7 Jason Collins 265
8 Alex Bermudez 249
9 Ashley Arnott 247
10 Marcin Balazy 240