On Saturday, August 16th 2009, the first-ever celebrity Elite kart race was held at the M4SX SideXSide Stadium Series Nationals in Perris, California, and many race shops throughout Southern California were working through the night to prepare for the event. The race brought together celebrity and professional racecar drivers to compete head-to-head in 250cc 4-stroke Elite karts which are capable of speeds of 50mph over uneven terrain, and was for many spectators the highlight of the day!
Phil “PJ” Wenzel, the driver of the K1 Speed Elite kart, put in a call to X-Games medalist and “Metal Mulisha” founder Brian Deegan upon hearing of the event to see if he would be interested in competing, as Brian has proven to be quite adept behind the controls of both motorcycles and automobiles. Amazingly, it only took a minute or two to convince Deegan to suit up for the K1 Speed / Alba ActionSports / Metal Mulisha / RockStar Energy / Makita team, as Brian was sold on the concept from the start! Though Deegan has driven off-road trucks, rally cars and Moto-X bikes, the Elite kart was new to him, so he and the team spent the entire Thursday before the event at the Lake Elsinore track so that Brian could get used to driving something a little smaller than his Pro-Lite Ford. After about 50 laps of testing, Deegan was ready to compete and declared that it was “game on!”
In true race gremlin fashion though, Deegan and the team experienced brake problems from the moment the kart was unloaded for tech inspection on race day. As it was, Brian was still able to qualify in the 3rd position heading into the main event. With a new set of Maxxis tires and a quick re-bleeding of the brakes, Deegan battled back and forth with Casey Currie, Kyle LeDuc, and the relatively unknown newcomer Shawn Howard for the top position. It was apparent that LeDuc had did his homework before the event and had his kart completely dialed in, but the 2nd spot on the podium was still up for grabs, and Curry, Deegan, and Howard were all vying for the position. There were multiple passes on nearly every lap but Curry was able to put a small gab between him and the other 2 racers as the white flag dropped for the last lap. With just 2 corners remaining, Deegan was able to introduce Howard to the Big Leagues by “gently” tapping his kart in the back, turning him around in the process, and take the 3rd place position to finish on the podium. The finishing order of the race saw Kyle LeDuc take the top spot on the podium ahead of Casey Currie in 2nd place and our own Brian Deegan in 3rd place! Needless to say, we are extremely satisfied with the results, especially considering the brake problems that the team dealt with throughout the day.
Everyone at K1 Speed would like to thank Brian Deegan, Phil Wenzel and the entire team of the K1 Speed Elite kart for a fantastic performance, and we wish them the best of luck in the future! If you would like to meet the team, fans can chat with the crew at the premier of “Dezert People Lucky 7″ this Sunday, August 30th at K1 Speed Carlsbad from noon till 8pm.
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