Only one word comes to mind for the 4th round of the 2012 Challenge GP Series in Seattle…Epic! Qualifying was an all our brawl for the Pole Position as 7 of the 9 drivers laid down 17.1 or faster lap times. Although drivers Theo Mechain, Dave and Andrea Champlin, Patrick O’Leary, Calvin Chan and Alec Anderson may have been newcomers to the series, they were by no means new to going fast. These drivers were absolutely flying all night, with each of them taking turns setting fastest lap during qualifying.
Come race time though, it was once again Dana Glenn putting the hammer down and snagging the two extra bonus points for top qualifier with a time of 16.713 seconds. The field was still very close though, as even 6th place starter Calvin Chans’ qualifying time was less than half a second slower than the Dude. As the green flag flew it was Dana Glenn leading the field down the front stretch followed by the 8 kart freight train of RJ Napitupulu, Theo Mechain, Patrick O’Leary, Dave Champlin, Jayce Glenn, Calvin Chan, Andrea Champlin and Alec Anderson. As the drivers funneled in to turn one Napitupulu showed that he was here to de-throne The Dude’s run of dominance by diving to the inside and out braking him to take the lead early. Glenn, being calculated from years of driving sprint cars and coming from a family of racers, fought back immediately and took back the lead. Napitupulu was not done however and continued to pressure and battle with Dana in the coming laps. Behind the front two, young Theo Mechain was getting being pressured by the SCCA Touring Lites driver Patrick O’Leary who made several pass attempts with runs up the inside, but just couldn’t quite make them stick on Mechain who would respond every time and shut the door. Dave Champlin was wanting to move forward as well as he and Glenn’s younger brother Jayce were both attached to the rear bumper of O’Leary through the infield sections of the track for several laps.
An unlikely mistake by O’Leary mid-race and skills that no doubt come with being part of the Glenn family allowed younger brother Jayce Glenn to move by both him and Dave Champlin and move in to the number 4 slot where he would stay the remainder of the race. Calvin Chan moved in to the picture and now began to pressure Champlin, knowing the race was winding down he made his move on lap 14 and slipped into 6th, a solid drive for the newcomer. Champlin would fight back going in to turn one, but couldn’t make it happen. Instead he seemed to settle in at this point and take home a solid points finish. Smart, after the battles he had just been a part of for nearly the whole race. Up front The Dude had built a slight lead over RJ and was looking fast and smooth. Mechain however, was getting comfortable with the pace of the leaders and, in fact was now getting even faster as he began to close in on the back of RJ Napitupulu after nearly being 2 seconds adrift at one point. With just three laps to go, Mechain made his move on Napitupulu in the infield section of the track and moved into the 2nd spot.
At the drop of the checkered flag it was again Dana “The Dude” Glenn taking the win, followed by Theo Mechain in 2nd, and RJ Napitupulu in 3rd. 4th through 9th was as follows at the line: Jayce Glenn, Patrick O’leary, Calvin Chan, Dave Champlin, the impressive and very fast Andrea Champlin who definitely has the speed to run with the boys, and Alec Anderson. This round was by far the most intense and action packed to date. There were battles everywhere all race long, far too many to list in fact, and everyone was going for it from green to checkers. Dana extends his points lead over 2nd place RJ Napitupulu, and Jayce Glenn moves up in to 3rd by just one point over series regular Hans Malzar who unfortunately was forced to miss this round and now falls to 4th in the standings. With Hans returning at the next round, and several fast drivers turning up as of late, things are sure to get even more intense as the last two rounds of the season commence…Stay Tuned!