Exciting opening round at CalSpeed Karting Center as new championship chases begin
FONTANA, CA (February 27,
2017) – The 2017 Los Angeles Karting Championship is officially underway
following the completion of the opening round at the CalSpeed Karting Center in
Fontana, California. In total, over 150 drivers in 21 divisions began their
championship chase during the February 19 event. Among them were a handful of
new classes, focused on building entry-level participation back into the LAKC
program for all engine categories. The weather was questionable throughout the
day, with nearly all the on-track sessions run on dry track with the exception
of a slight drizzle of precipitation during a couple races. Overall,
competitors were eager to start the new racing season and return back to the
The largest class of the event was the Mini Swift division, welcoming 22
drivers for the opening round of 2017. The class was the first group to hit the
track for each session, as Cole Morgan opened up as the first top qualifier of
2017, posting a 49.014-lap to beat out Chance Gibson and Steven Grafton. Morgan
established a solid gap over the rest of the field in the Prefinal to lead all
10 laps with Daniel Inzunza coming up to finish second. Both Inzunza and Gibson
were able to stay with Morgan early on, putting on a fight during the second
half of the 18-lap main event. Inzunza was able to record the fast lap of the
race, taking over the lead briefly and once again on lap 16. Morgan retook the
position as they reached the white flag with Gibson running in second. It came
down to a photo finish after a wild last lap, as Gibson reached the checkered
flag first by 31 thousandths of a second for the victory over Morgan. Inzunza
was a close third to complete the podium with Kasey Gillis advancing 18
positions to fourth and Christian Mauthe in fifth.
Next on the docket was the Micro Swift, that saw Austin Manka score the opening
round victory. Dane Idelson was quickest of the 14 drivers in qualifying,
producing a 50.620-lap. Manka came up from the third spot to lead on the
Prefinal opening lap, leading all 10 laps for the win. Fast laps of the race
put Manka well out in front in the Final, going wire-to-wire for a 12-second
advantage. Al Zarcone came away with the second spot with Enzo Deligny coming
up from the back to finish third. Idelson overcame a DQ in the heat race to
place fourth with Tucker Horne rounding out the top-five.
The X30 Pro division opened the year with 12 drivers, led by Christian Brooks. The
2015 California ProKart Challenge champion was able to lead the Prefinal and
Final sessions to begin the year with a victory. Colby Dubato nipped Brooks for
the fast time in qualifying by just three thousandths of a second with a
44.102-second lap. Brooks took the lead from Dubato on lap two of the heat
race, leading the rest of the way for the win and never relinquished the top
position in the 18-lap main event. Cody Kelleher drove to the second spot with
Worawong Komarakul completing the podium. Jesse Gutierrez drove to fourth with
Dubato dropping to fifth.
Brenden Delorto swept the action in the X30 Intermediate category, which was
added to the LAKC program with the creation of the Pro division. Delorto set
fast time in qualifying (44.779) before leading all the laps of the Prefinal.
Eric Slivoff demoted Delorto to second at the start of the main event, only to
lose the spot on lap five. From there, Delorto led the rest of the way to earn
the victory as Slivoff settled for second. Brendon Cramer was a close third.
Making up the rest of the top-five was Gregory DiMaggio and Kyle Babida.
A solid group of shifterkart drivers showed up for the opening weekend for the
LAKC, including nine in the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Honda division and 10 in the S3
Novice Stock Honda category. Garrett McKelvie appeared to be the driver to beat
in S2 after capturing the fast time in qualifying and leading all 10 laps of
the Prefinal. Josh Early and Robert Heck Jr. were there to challenge in the
main event. Early took the lead on the opening circuit and held the top spot
until lap 15 with Heck taking over the spot. Working to third place overall in
the S1/S2/S3 race group, Heck drove away for the victory. Early held on to the
second spot with last year’s S3 champion Royal McKee standing on the podium in
third. Gianfranco Casadei dropped McKelvie to the fifth position on the final
Jacob Pope is the early contender for the S3 title with his sweep of the
opening round. Pope laid down the fast lap in qualifying and never relinquished
the top spot in the class. Pope led all 10 laps in the Prefinal and 18 circuits
in the main event for the victory. Evan Jonker and Indy Sandoval completed the
Fifteen months, two surgeries and many days of physical therapy after an
accident, Kalvin Chen returned where he left off in the seat of a kart. Chen
swept the S4 Super Master Stock Moto division on the day to complete the long
journey back behind the wheel, driving to a 14-second advantage in the main
event. Warren Kindberg was the runner-up with Chris Curtis placing third. Open
125 Shifter defending champion Slava Prikhodko began where he left off in 2016,
earning a sweep to begin 2017. Prikhodko went wire-to-wire over Tyler Coffman
with Brennon Viera making up the podium.
One of the newest categories is the X30 Junior Expert division, moving those
with the experience and talent into their own class to allow others to progress
within the race group. Joseph Daniele came away as the inaugural winner. Alex
Siragusa held the advantage after qualifying, posting a 44.458-lap to secure
fast time by eight thousandths over Daniele. At the drop of the green for the
Prefinal, Daniele got the jump and led all 10 laps for the race win with
Siragusa in second. Siragusa was involved in an opening lap wreck, taking him
out of the main event and allowed Daniele to run away with the victory. Leading
all 18 circuits, Daniele pulled away to a 3.1-second advantage over Trey Brown.
Bryce Stevens completed the podium ahead of last year’s LAKC champion Ryan Schartau
and Colin Queen.
Stephen Bruckner took the inaugural honors in the new X30 Junior Novice
division. Bruckner was able to advance his way to the class lead in the main
event, scoring the win by just under a second over Lanie Benjamin with top
qualifier and Prefinal winner Dakota Tate placing third.
Junior 1 Comer has always been a competitive category at the LAKC with eight
drivers taking part at the season opener. Cooper Hicks was able to capitalize
and score the Round One victory. Troy Hageman was the top qualifier with Hicks
as the lead challenger. The two went back and forth to begin the Prefinal
before Hageman retired early. That gave Hicks the clear run to the Prefinal win
and drove away to a green-to-checkered run in the Final. Hageman advanced his
way back up to second from the tail of the field, 12 seconds back. AJ Matheson
rounded out the podium.
Gary Lennon was another driver to score a sweep at the opening event of 2017,
landing the victory in the X30 Master category but not without a challenge.
Lennon secured fast time in qualifying (45.554) before leading all 10 laps in
the heat race. Vatche Tatikian was the quickest driver, coming from seventh to
second to set up a race for the win in the Final. Tatikian took the lead from
Lennon on lap two, and set the pace throughout the race. On the final circuit,
Lennon was able to complete a pass for the lead and edged out Tatikian at the
checkered flag by 76 thousandths of a second. Bryan Lampe rounded out the
New for the LAKC is the introduction of the Briggs & Stratton 206 engine
package to the class lineup, featuring Senior, Masters and Novice divisions.
The Senior class had eight drivers take part with Henry Morse as the victor. He
led wire-to-wire in the main event to score the victory by over three-seconds
ahead of top qualifier Matt Johnson and Jonathan Kimbrell.
John Antonino was perfect on the day to sweep the Honda Kid Kart class.
Antonino was the top driver in every session to beat out the other seven
competitors for a perfect score, including fast lap in the main event. Truly
Adams and Brayden Welter joined him on the podium.
Other winners on the day include:
Matias Podboj: S1 Pro Stock Honda
John Crow: S4 Master Stock Honda
Derek Matarangas: X30 Novice
Logan Ainsworth: Junior 1 Comer Novice
Billy Musgrave: X175 Pro
Richard Hensley: Briggs 206 Masters
Jared Caylor: Briggs 206 Novice