Grandsport Speedway hosted its first ever regional karting event as the growing Texas ProKart Challenge (TPKC) presented by 3G Kart Racing/Burger King™/Fernelius Alvarez Attorneys visited the facility on June 1-3. The open 1.3-mile course in Hitchcock, Texas provided a very fast course for the series to contend rounds three and four of the six event championship program. The weekend was co-promoted by 3G and Gulf Coast Karters, who moved most of their barriers, PA system, and timing and scoring equipment across town to properly host the event. Over 80 entries contested the three-day event under the Superkarts! USA and United States Rotax Max Challenge regional banners, providing some exciting racing that kept people on the pit wall throughout the day.
The weekend saw over 30 shifterkart drivers compete on the very fast circuit with the S2 Semi-Pro division, sponsored Miller & Brown LLP, hosting 17 entries. Ryan Kinnear and Garrett Boone split the feature wins on the weekend. Kinnear swept the action for round three on Saturday, leading the class through qualifying, both heat races and the feature. He led point leader Connor Wagner and Jordon Musser across the stripe. Stopping Kinnear from a perfect score on the day, Miguel Lopez stole the fast lap of the race in a 10th place effort. Sunday saw Boone qualifying in P1 position with Kinnear coming through for the win in heat one. Boone struck back to win heat two and drove away to lead all 12 laps of the main event for to earn his second feature victory of the season. Kinnear ran second for his third straight podium finish while Connor Iseli earned his first by placing third.
The second largest group of the weekend was the S4 Master Stock Moto class, sponsored by LCG Discovery Experts, with 11 drivers suiting up. Championship leader Chris Jennings earned his third and fourth feature wins of the season in convincing fashion. Steve McCaffery stole the pole position to open up round three with Jennings in second. Jennings then went on to win both heat races and feature while recording the fast lap honors as the only driver in the 57-second bracket. McCaffery and Mark Reid completed the podium. First-time TPKC driver Coy Dayton edged out Jennings for the pole position on Sunday. Once racing began, Jennings returned to the front and swept the remaining sessions to extend his championship lead. Dayton kept it close, finishing just 0.053 seconds behind at the line. Reid capped off a solid weekend with another third place performance. Taylor Bertram (KZ2) and Todd Krueger (G1) rounded out the local option shifter groups.
(Photo: Shofner Films)
With the large size of the course, all the TaG and Rotax classes for Junior, Senior and Masters ran at the same time. Of the five classes, only one driver posted double wins, Gill Lipton. The CT Customs TaG Senior championship leader won his third and fourth features of the year. Lipton swept Saturday’s action over Cody Freeman. On Sunday, Freeman edged out Lipton for the pole position by just 13-thousandths of a second. Lipton then went on to win both heat races and the feature with Freeman trailing and Manuel Gutierrez joining in to place third. The Gulf Coast Karters TaG Master category had Patrick Roth and Robby Mott each score a feature win. Mott had Saturday’s action nearly wrapped up as he led the field all day until a mechanical issue forced him to retire while leading the feature. That paved the way for Roth to score the win over Paul Jones and Scott Boone. Mott returned to the front in Sunday qualifying but Boone earned the win in heat one. Mott came back in heat two and drove away to victory in the feature for his third of the season. Jones and Boone completed the podium.
The J&T Racing Rotax Junior class was the third largest of the weekend and provided some exciting racing. Jesse Woodyard led the field to begin round three. Qualifying P1, he won each heat race under some heavy pressure. Woodyard and Patricio O’Ward battled for the victory in the feature with O’Ward taking the checkered flag by two-tenths over Woodyard. Austin Wilkins earned the third step on the podium. Sunday brought championship leader into the mix as Michael Ilavia started the day as the leader in qualifying and heat one. O’Ward came through to win heat two but in the main, Woodyard came out on top for his second feature win of the season. Colin Russell was second with Ilavia in third. CJ Cramm nearly pulled a weekend sweep, missing out on the feature win Sunday where Sheridan Odom stole the victory. Cramm was perfect on Saturday, leading all proceedings to a maximum point day over Odom and Blane Toce Jr. Cramm led things Sunday until a spin while fighting for position in the feature dropped him down the order. This gave Odom a clear run to the checkered flag with Cramm advancing back to second and Toce third. In the North Texas Karters Rotax Masters division, Adam Kelly swept the Saturday action while point leader David Pergande scored the victory on Sunday. Kelly drove to a 13-second win in his Texas PKC debut for round three action over Pergande and Steve Clark. Pergande led for most of Sunday, with Kelly stealing the win in heat one, only to finish second at the final checkered flag by just two-tenths behind Pergande. Clark capped off the top-three.
(Photo: High Velocity Productions)
Patricio O’Ward won three features on the weekend, earning two in the competitive Turbo Lube Motul S5 Junior Stock Moto division. Leading the points heading into the weekend, O’Ward was near perfect on Saturday as he won over Andretta Young and Joshua Hargett. Patricio came back the next day with the same type of performance to win by over 10 seconds. Young won the battle for second over Hargett with two-time heat winner Allyn Hewitt in fourth. The Margison Graphics S3 Novice Stock Moto class was split between Matt Stephenson and point leader Andres Rodriguez. Stephenson swept Saturday’s action for his first victory of the season while Rodriguez came back to score the feature win on Sunday.
Derek Scott Jr. put himself back in the title chase for the Aquajet Mini Max division with a double win weekend. After David Ilavia won the pole position to begin Saturday’s round three, Scott took over command and went on to win the feature over point leader Max Hewitt and Michael D’Herde. Sunday was more of a battle as Ilavia and Ryan C. Lewis fought for the top spot. In the feature, Scott was able to escape with the lead and went on to the top step of the podium with Hewitt and Lewis alongside. Maxwell Waithman and Landen Wilkins split the action in Micro Max, sponsored by Rollo Insurance. Waithman swept Saturday as Wilkins did on Sunday. Riley Dickinson made his Texas ProKart Challenge debut with a perfect score in Saturday’s events for the Iron Rock Motorsports TaG Cadet class. Dickinson drove away from Hewitt and Cade McKee to win the feature by over six seconds. Hewitt won the battle on Sunday as he edged out Ryan P. Lewis by just 79-thousandths of a second for the feature win with Dickinson trailing in third. Rounding out the class lineup for the event, Mathew Souza and Roger Kelly won the local option classes of Yamaha KT100 and Chonda.
(Photo: High Velocity Productions)
High Velocity Productions was on hand to film a short viral highlight reel for the Texas ProKart Challenge. You can view the video at the following link (https://vimeo.com/43374786). Special thanks goes to Honda/HPD for providing the Saturday pole position drivers in S2 and S4 (Ryan Kinnear and Steve MCaffery) with free top end kits.
The series will be back at the track on June 29-July 1 for the series finale as rounds five and six will be contested at the North Texas Kartway in Denton, Texas. Be sure to visit http://www.texasprokartchallenge.com or http://www.superkartsusa.com/regional/texas-pkc.html for more information on the TPKC and also add them to your Facebook pages by searching texaspkc.