K1 Speed in San Diego kicked off its second half of the Challenge GP race series for 2010 this past Sunday. With an all new track layout, and all the points reset to 0 for every driver this was going to be good. Plenty of new faces were in the mix of many returning Challenge GP racers made for a great qualifying session. With qualifying karts picked via a lottery system giving everyone as equal of an opportunity as possible – Matt Merrill showed his track day racing experiences with his full size car, would be difficult to match posting a 28.185 second lap time to take the overall pole position. Johnny Miller would qualify second overall posting 28.194 second lap time. Justin Tolman would wind up qualifying 3rd posting a 28.237 second lap time. The rest of the drivers all qualified within a full second of Matt, which pushed drivers to the edge trying to find a way to shave off tenths of a second from their qualifying times trying to make the A Main.
The B Main drivers would kick off the main event action for the night with Stephen Robertson sitting on pole. He was followed by Olivia Ma, and sitting in third was Stephen’s son Jordan who is very good at protecting his line. Also in the mix was Kirk Messe, and Ivan Maric along with a number of others all trying to make a run at Stephen for the top spot. On the green flag rolling start, Stephen kept the group at bay and started to take a slight lead over the rest of the pack. Unfortunately Olivia was unable to keep pace and some how dropped back to the rear of the group 2 laps into the race. At the half-way point, Stephen was working to keep the hard charging Ivan Maric and Kirk Messe from getting past him with Jordan right in the middle. Heading into the last chicane before the final turn there just wasn’t enough room, and Jordan collected the wall and the rest of the group pulled away. The group would get slowed down, and Jordan was allowed to catch back up to rear of the pack and the race was re-started. Unfortunately 2 laps after the restart, Kirk was victim to the same chicane and got sideways, and he had to wait till everyone drove past him before he could turn around. Jordan somehow worked his way back up front within 3 laps. With just one lap to go, Stephen bobbled a bit in turn 2 and Jordan took the opening and ran with it coming out with the win. Stephen was able to hold onto second place and Justin Finegan had worked his way up into third.
A Main race action would close out the night with Matt Merrill bringing the group around for the rolling start, and it was a freight train of karts heading into turn one. The pack would get away clean for a couple of turns but in the back of the field Jon Simms would end up going into the new key-hole corner and getting spun out. Mean while Matt would run away from the field and was basically out for a Sunday drive as his smooth driving helped him gain a comfortable lead over the rest of the field. Johnny Miller would also maintain a distance over the rest of the group to remain in second, but was unable to catch up with Matt who was over a half second in front of him. The real battle was going on for third, fourth, fifth and sixth as Alex Rodrigues, Justin Tolman, Orlando Rodrigues, and Thomas Litton would go back and forth with each other trying to find a way to best one another. Taylor Wynne was in the mix as well as he and Jon Simms had caught back up to the group and worked to try to find a way around the other drivers. Alex was able to hold everyone off and take the third podium spot but it didn’t come easy as the other drivers were all working to find ways to catch and pass him. Fortunately for Alex the checked flag came out, and the other drivers ran out of time.
This was a great event and the drivers that attended really created some great racing performances on the track. The new track layout offers new challenges for drivers as they are still looking to find the fast way around the week old track design.
Don’t miss out on our next Challenge GP event in Carlsbad on August 22nd. This event is open to anyone and all are welcome to come out and give this new fast technical course a try.
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