North Texas Kartway
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Texas ProKart Challenge Wraps up 2012 Program in Denton
by Tom Kutscher
DENTON, Texas -- The Texas ProKart Challenge (TPKC) presented by 3G Kart Racing/Burger King™/Fernelius Alvarez Attorneys completed its inaugural season with the third and final stop of the 2012 calendar at the North Texas Kartway in Denton, Texas. Over the June 29-July 1 weekend, the six-round championship series completed with the final two rounds of competition held at the challenging 1/2-mile course. Championships for the United States Rotax Max Challenge / Superkarts! USA regional classes were on the line with a number of titles going down to the wire. Some of the big winners on the weekend were Jordon Musser, Chris Jennings, Patricio O’Ward, Jesse Woodyard, and Ryan C. Lewis.
The S2 Semi-Pro division sponsored Miller & Brown LLP never disappointed over the three weekends with the Denton finale weekend ending the season fight for the championship. Hometown driver Jordon Musser led things to begin round one as he broke the track record in qualifying with a 34.724-second lap. Miguel Lopez was second with Connor Wagner in third. Musser was pushed hard in heat one by the lone S1 driver Jake French and drove to a three-second win over Wagner and Lopez. Wagner grabbed the holeshot in heat two and led to the checkered flag, only to be penalized one position for jumping the start. The win went to Lopez with Musser in third. French would break free from the field to take the overall win, allowing the S2 drivers to battle each other for the class win. The battle however turned into a wire-to-wire win with Wagner bouncing back to score his second victory of the year. Musser ran a close second as Lopez earned his second podium finish of the season in third.
The track record only stood for roughly 24 hours as Sunday saw Miguel Lopez lay down a blistering 34.470-second lap to secure the new track record and pole position, ahead of Musser and point leader Ryan Kinnear. Lopez led all 10 laps in heat one for the win over Musser and Wagner. Musser continued moving forward, working up to take the win in heat two over Wagner with Kinnear jumping back to third. Wagner pulled out the holeshot to begin the final feature race with Lopez, Musser and Kinnear fighting for second early. Once Musser retook the position on lap six, he ran down Wagner and slid into the lead on lap nine. From there, Musser drove away to a 2.5-second advantage for his first series victory. Kinnear finished second with Wagner in third for his fifth podium in six feature races. French once again won the overall victory as the lone S1 driver on the weekend.
On-track at the same time was the S4 Master Stock Moto category, sponsored by LCG Discovery Experts. Chris Jennings was the story heading into the weekend, as he posted a perfect four-for-four in the main events heading into Denton. The former SuperNationals winner did not disappoint and came through with two victories on the weekend to score a perfect six-for-six and secure the series championship, but not without a fight. Jennings qualified on pole for the class to begin round five but trailed veteran Mike Jones - making his first season start - at the checkered flag for heat one. Jennings came back to win in heat two but was slow off the line to begin the feature race, dropping to third behind Roy Montgomery and Jones. Jennings ran third until the final stage of the race when he moved by Jones for second and then Montgomery on lap 13 to secure the lead. He would take the checkered flag by a half-second with Montgomery and Jones completing the podium. Round six began with Jennings on the pole position once again, only to lose the opening heat to Jones. Jennings came back on the final lap of heat two and stole the race win to start pole position for the final main event. With a clean start, Jennings led wire-to-wire, crossing the line nearly three seconds ahead of Jones and Montgomery.
The S5 Junior Stock Moto class, sponsored by Turbo Lube Motul, witnessed the largest field of the season and only its second different winner. Championship leader Patricio O’Ward paced the field in qualifying and the opening heat race. O’Ward crossed the line first in heat two, but was penalized one position for jumping the start, giving the win to Jacob Loomis. At the start of the feature, O’Ward fell to the tail of the field after he stalled on the grid. Loomis would lead until Allyn “Bucky” Hewitt took over the position and drove off to the victory. Loomis ran to second with O’Ward able to drive back up to third. Sunday was all O’Ward as he clinched the championship with a sweep. O’Ward completed the day with a six-second victory in the main event as Loomis and Hewitt rounded out the podium.
Jesse Woodyard was another double winner in the Junior ranks as he won both feature races in the J&T Racing sponsored Rotax Junior category. O’Ward had the edge as Saturday’s action kicked off, earning the pole position over Woodyard by just eight-thousandths. O’Ward then drove to solid wins in the heat races with Woodyard running second in both. They ran in the same positions to begin the feature but Woodyard saved the best for the end, working by O’Ward for the lead and scored the win by nearly nine-seconds. O’Ward finished second with Colin Russell in third. Sunday was nearly identical with O’Ward and Woodyard running 1-2 through qualifying and the two heat races. The two battled for the lead in the feature, first with O’Ward leading, then Woodyard. They went back and forth until lap seven when Woodyard secured the spot for good, driving away to three-second win. Colin Russell was able to work by O’Ward for second as well.
In three of the four TaG/Rotax divisions for Senior and Master competition, one driver doubled up in the win column. Local driver Chaz Nagel swept the entire weekend in Rotax Senior, sponsored by Crown Financial. On Saturday, Nagel drove to a 13-second victory over point leader CJ Cramm and Sterling Mullen. Nagel came back on Sunday to win by eight seconds with Cramm and Mullen once again joining him on the podium. Robby Mott wrapped up the TaG Master championship, sponsored by Gulf Coast Karters. The perfect weekend was completed with victories of four seconds and eight seconds. Oklahoma driver Anthony Honeywell made his first series start, placing second both days with Scott Boone in third. Making his first series start, John Mayes earned both feature wins in the Rotax Masters category, sponsored by North Texas Karters. Mayes went unchallenged on Saturday with Dean Boyd and Steve Clark on the podium. Sunday saw championship leader David Pergande at the point for much of the day until trouble struck with two laps remaining in the main event, handing the win to Mayes. Clark finished second with Pergande classified in third. Cody Freeman and Gil Lipton split the feature wins in the CT Customs-sponsored TaG Senior division. Freeman and Lipton battled for the win on Saturday with Freeman coming through with a 1.3-second victory. On Sunday, newcomer Arthur Isaac Olivedira, who traveled all the way from Brazil, led much of the day until Lipton stepped up at the end to score the victory. Olivedira was second with Freeman in third. Mike Wherley and Lance Lehrman both ran uncontested in the DD2 and DD2 Masters classes, both sponsored by North Texas Karters.
Ryan C. Lewis was the big winner of the weekend, picking up four feature wins between two classes. The young pilot swept the action in the competitive TaG Cadet division, sponsored by Iron Rock Motorsports. On Saturday, he drove to a near-three seconds win over Riley Dickinson and Ryan P. Lewis. He followed that with a 1.8-second victory on Sunday over Max Hewitt and Dickinson. Lewis swept the first day in the Aquajet-sponsored Mini Max category. He edged out Dickinson for the feature win with Michael d’Herde in third. On Sunday, d’Herde was the top dog early on, qualifying on pole and winning both heat races. Starting from sixth, Lewis was on a charge in the feature race and reached d’Herde on lap 10. Lap 11, Lewis took over the lead and went on to score the victory by just two tenths over d’Herde with Riley Cann placing third. Ethan Arndt was nearly unstoppable in the Rollo Insurance-sponsored Micro Max category. Arndt won both feature wins for his first two victories of the season. Arndt led all but the second heat race as Landen Wilkins stole the win. In the feature, Arndt drove to a three-second win over Wilkins with Jaramillo in third. Sunday was a complete sweep for Arndt, highlighted with an 11-second victory in the feature with Wilkins and Jaramillo rounding out the podium.
The series would like to thank all the sponsors, racers, families, and facilities for an exciting inaugural season. Plans for the 2013 season are already underway with the official announcement of the series champions coming in the next few days. Be sure to visit www.texasprokartchallenge.com or www.superkartsusa.com/regional/texas-pkc.html for more information on the TPKC and also add them to your Facebook pages by searching texaspkc.