K1 Speed Carlsbad in north San Diego, hosted the first round of their Challenge GP race series to kick off the 2011 race season this past weekend. The reverse-run layout would prove to be a new challenge for everyone in attendance with a different driving line for everyone to learn, along with a full fleet of new kart chassis to even the playing field. The first two rounds of qualifying were smooth and straightforward. Johnny Miller surprised the group by posting a fast lap of 29.575 seconds to take the pole position for the main event over last years overall points champion Matt Merrill.
Closing out the night, the drivers would take a green flag on a rolling start led by pole sitter Johnny Miller and freight train down into turn one where Matt Merrill would duck underneath Johnny to take the lead. The rest of the group would follow each other around for 3 laps before any other position changes were made. Local resident Jon Simms would drop back a bit out of his 7th place starting position but eventually made his way back up through the field by the checkered flag to take 4th for the evening. Kirk Meese, who competed at CalSpeed Karting’s 4 hour enduro at Auto Club Raceway the day prior and took the 3rd place podium spot with his team on Saturday, would start in 4th for the K1 Speed Carlsbad Challenge GP and moved up into 3rd around Ivan Maric by the time the checkered flag dropped. Unfortunately for Ivan, he dropped back a few positions and was unable to recover. Matt and Johnny would battle back and forth but when it was time for the checkered flag it was Matt sitting in the right position to take the top spot on the podium and Johnny would have to settle for a 2nd place finish to round out the evening.
With the 1st round of the K1 Speed Carlsbad Challenge GP in the books the race for the chase to the overall points championship is well underway. The points battle looks to be tight all season as even the veteran drivers will have to learn a different track layout, and with everyone running tight qualifying times the rest of the season won’t be something to miss. Come out to the next race February 20th and see if you have what it takes to race with the best indoor kart racers in San Diego at K1 Speed in Carlsbad, California.
Check out the series schedule here
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