March 17, 2011 (Sonoma, Calif.) – Winding down the fourth season of the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas, the series will take to the Jim Russell International Karting Center’s course over the next three days.
The event will also serve as the first round of the Western Pan-Am championship for the 2011 season, giving the drivers another reason to be fighting for every last position. But with the series giving away three trips to the Rotax Grand Nationals, as well as three trips to the Rotax Grand Finals, it was always going to be a weekend full of competitive kart racing. Add in the prospect of rain throughout the weekend and the championship standings could be in for a real change in the next three days.
Apollo Motorsports Micromax
The championship for the Gatorz Challenge of the America’s smallest drivers is a close one with two races left. Griffin Dowler holds a slim eleven point lead over Cody Dempster, with each driver having won one race after four rounds. Conner Wick sits third in the championship but unless both drivers run into trouble is likely too far behind in the championship to contend.
Holeshot Racing Products MiniMax
Things are a little more spread out in Minimax, as Kyle Wick holds a 30 point lead over second-placed Royal McKee after four races. As large as the anticipated field will be in Sonoma, if Wick or McKee run into problems, Austin Versteeg, Kami Moreira-Laliberte, and Christian Brooks are all within striking distance of the leaders and could well end up winning the trip to the Rotax Grand Nationals that comes with the class championship. A wildcard in the mix will be Nicky Hays, who won the last round at California Speedway and could act as a spoiler in Sonoma.
One Racegear Rotax Masters
After four races there is another close championship battle in the Rotax Masters championship, as Arizona’s Bill Kann holds a slim lead over Colorado’s Scott Falcone. With one win apiece, Kann enjoyed a stronger weekend in Fontana than Falcone, putting him in the championship lead heading into the Infineon weekend. Behind them, the battle for third in the championship is an interesting one with Larry Hayashigawa, Ken Maxfield, and Brian Robson separated by 22 points.
Overdrive Karting Junior Max
Winning three of the four races run so far has put Canadian Parker Thompson in a commanding lead in the Junior Rotax points championship, as he leads Southern Californian Jake Craig by a commanding 86 points heading into Sonoma. The only other driver who has grabbed a win thus far, Matthew Moniz, sits even further back in third with only four points in hand over Parker McKean.
Rolison Performance Group DD-2 / Arrow Karts DD-2 Masters
Four wins in four races puts Nicholas Latifi way out front in DD-2, with 86 points in hand over Jim Busby, Jr. Busby, as well as third-placed Derek Wang, will need Latifi to run into serious trouble on both days in Sonoma to have a chance at grabbing the DD-2 class championship. In DD-2 Masters, January Grove is a virtual lock for the championship after finishing first in class at all four races thus far.
Tony Kart West Senior Rotax
Felipe Fraga has been a force to be reckoned with in the Senior Rotax class at all four Gatorz Challenge of the Americas races, but surprisingly has scored only one win. Still, his pace puts him solidly in the championship lead, with a 66 point advantage over former series champion Stepanova Nekeel, who sits second. Third through fifth is a close battle between Louie Pagano, Bobby Kelley, and Joey Wimsett, but in all likelihood Fraga will have to falter in both races for anyone else to take the championship. One driver likely to push Fraga will be David Sera, a two-time qualifier for the Rotax Grand Finals, who will be making his series debut this weekend in Sonoma.
The action in Sonoma will begin Friday morning with a full day’s worth of practice and two timed practice sessions in the afternoon. Live video, timing and scoring, and a live blog will be available on the Gatorz Trackside page at www.gatorzkarting.com.