Arizona Racing News
Thursday, March 1, 2012
More Wins and Podiums for PSL Karting Pilots at Gatorz Phoenix Round
TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Quebec -- Already off to an impressive start to the 2012 karting season, Team PSL Karting drivers added more wins and podiums at the recent Gatorz Challenge of the Americas round. Taking to the challenging 3/4-mile Phoenix Kart Racing Association (PKRA) Formula K Raceway in Glendale, Arizona, six PSL branded drivers contested the midpoint of the six-race series. With two wins, courtesy of Fritz Leesmann in the Rotax DD2 category and two additional podiums from Rotax Junior rookie Austin Versteeg, PSL/CRGs were once again seen at the front of the pack during the international Rotax Max Challenge competition. Working in collaboration with CRG West and Danny Kacic, PSL drivers have taken the series by storm and are in contention to take class championship titles.
"As logistics make it impossible for our PSL Factory Team big rig to be at every race, it is important to express our gratitude to CRG West for running such a professional operation," noted PSL President Dominic Labrecque. "The joint effort between both entities is proving to be a real on-track threat."
After sweeping the DD2 category during his class debut at the Gatorz season opener last month in Tucson, Elk Grove, California's Fritz Leesmann was met with a challenge for the second round. Posting third quick in qualifying for Saturday's competition, 0.116 off pole time, Leesmann would battle for the lead during the 17-lap pre-main, eventually crossing the stripe in second. Breaking through later in the afternoon, Leesmann made his way back to the top, cruising to a six-second victory and his third DD2 feature race win in the series.
Looking to stay on top, Leesmann came back strong for Sunday's qualifying session, earning pole time by four-tenths. Disaster would strike for the PSL Atlantic driver in the prefinal, as an overheating Rotax powerplant ended his efforts on lap 14. Starting from the rear of the field for the day's final, Leesmann shot up to first place in only a few corners! Blasting the competition from there, Leesmann went on to a commanding nine-second victory, his fourth straight. Heading into the final round of Gatorz competition, Leesmann will be a favorite to take the overall Rotax DD2 title and corresponding ticket to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals (RMCGF).
"PSL Atlantic / PSL USA supported driver, Fritz Leesmann, being a west coast circuit veteran, has been able to provide feedback and offer direction to the junior drivers to put them further ahead in this ultra-competitive field. He has become a real asset to the PSL family this year," explained PSL Karting's US Sales Manager Andrew Campbell.
In contention for his own RMCGF berth, junior rookie Austin Versteeg was also impressive in Phoenix. After a podium finish on Sunday during the Tucson round, Versteeg has emerged as a top contender in the Rotax Junior field. Clocking third quick in qualifying to kick off Saturday's action, a scant 0.069 off pole time, Versteeg went on to finish fourth during the prefinal race. Battling in a pack of seven karts throughout the final, Versteeg momentarily held the point, but had to settle for second at the line after a racy 25-lap event.
Back on track for Sunday's event, Versteeg started his day off with a fifth place run in the morning qualifications. Moving up to fourth during the prefinal, the Sandy, Utah resident was able to edge out a fellow competitor for third at the checkered flag in the final, earning his second podium finish of the weekend and third straight in Gatorz action. With his solid results to date, Versteeg moves into the third place in the overall Rotax Junior standings, only 42 out of first with two races remaining.
"Austin, in his rookie Junior Max season, is showing improvement at every race meeting thus far. He's been so close to a win at both Gatorz events, you can see how hungry he is for that top podium step!" added Campbell.
Also contesting the large, 34-kart strong Rotax Junior field, CRG West pilots Jordan Redlin and Matthew Moniz posted some solid results during the Phoenix round. Redlin overcame a 22nd place qualifying position and similar prefinal run to post a 12th place finish in Saturday's final. Saturday saw a steady progression the BC resident, as a 14th place in qualifying led to an eighth place finish in the prefinal race. Improving even more in the final, Redlin went on to score an impressive fifth place result. After posting two DNFs in the opening round in Tucson, Moniz improved to earn two top-15 final finishes, a solid tenth on Saturday and 13th on Sunday.
CRG West's Marco Kacic also added some strong results to his Gatorz Micro Max debut season. Posting third quick during Saturday's qualifying, Kacic finished the day fourth in the prefinal and seventh in the feature race. Sunday saw Kacic match his qualifying effort from the day before, and maintain his place during the prefinal. A sixth place finish in the final completed two top-ten runs for this up-and-coming driver. PSL's Kevin King completed the driver line-up in Phoenix, with the Rotax Senior competitor taking tenth on Saturday, with an unfortunate DNF the result for the Trois-Rivières, Quebec resident on Sunday.
PSL Karting and CRG West will next continue their joint effort at the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas finale March 30-April 1. Heading over to the CalSpeed Karting Center in Fontana, California, PSL Karting branded drivers will continue to add race wins and podiums to the overall team tally, and vie for class championships in the competitive Gatorz series. PSL Karting will next be back on track at the third and final round of the Florida Winter Tour March 9-11 and March 16-18 at the Ocala Gran Prix.
Team PSL Karting will be trackside in 2012 at the Florida Winter Tour, Pan American Rotax Max Challenge, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, Quebec Cup, Le Monaco de Trois-Rivières, United States Grand Nationals, ASN Canada FIA Canadian National Karting Championships, Pan American Championship and SKUSA SuperNationals. Team PSL Karting is associated with CRG, Maxter Kart Engines, Rotax, Tillett Racing Seats, Sniper, Unipro, Douglas Wheels, Vega, MG Tires, Arai, Bell, ULV, Mir, Freem, Elf Fuels, Alfano, MaxJet Software, D.I.D. Racing Chains, KC and Power Mist.
To learn more about the World's #1 CRG distributor, sales & service, arrive & drive opportunities, PSL racing engines or dealer opportunities, please visit www.pslkarting.com or www.pslkartingusa.com.