Despite the beautiful spring weather (which in a city known for its rain, people take advantage of) and a seemingly insurmountable gap in points between second and first place, we still had several enthusiastic competitors show up for the penultimate round of the 2009 K1 Speed Seattle Challenge GP season! Not surprisingly, our current points leader Sean Naslund started the race from Pole Position and ran away from the competition at the start, easily taking home the checkered flag on the top of the podium. Randy Olivarez put up a good fight after initially dropping back to 3rd place at the beginning of the race, and was able to pass Javier Cantu-Lucero to finish in 2nd place. Unfortunately, Randy faces an impossible task ahead with only one race left in the season, as Sean now has a commanding lead of 13 points. Like Michael Schumacher before him, it appears that Sean may be crowned Champion before the season even finishes!
In the B Main race, there was a heated battle amongst the top three competitors, with the drivers relentlessly going back and forth trying to make a pass for the coveted first place position. As the checkered flag was waved however, it was Faisal Qaisi who was able to bring home the gold against two hard charging competitors. K1 Speed Irvine regular Kirk Meese, who tends to make an appearance at every Irvine Challenge GP, was in place to finish 2nd, but opted to sacrifice his position to Stephen Robertson, who he felt truly deserved the position after a questionable pass that left Stephen in the barrier. With stellar sportsmanship and great racing, the B Main did not disappoint!
In comparison to the B Main, the A Main was a fast paced, yet clean race that was pretty much free of incident. Taylor Hays qualified on the Pole, and was able to put distance between his kart and the competition with a great hole shot at the start of the race. John Tanaka was running a strong race in 2nd place, but could not catch up to Taylor, who ended up winning the race with a margin of nearly 3 seconds. Jared Buccola was able to pressure John throughout the race, often times right on his bumper, but could not make a clean pass to take over the position and ended up rounding out the podium with a 3rd place finish. Toby Rodriguez, who was our top finisher last season, could only manage a 6th place finish against some tough competition. With only one race left in the K1 Speed Irvine Reverse Challenge GP season, we can’t help but think that the season is going to finish with a bang, as John Tanaka, Toby Rodriguez and Taylor Hays are neck-and-neck in the points! Visit K1 Speed Irvine on June 14th to watch the deciding race in person!
Some new faces showed up for the 5th round of the 2009 Carlsbad Challenge GP series, and they put on quite an impressive show! Kirk Westerfield, who is a regular but has never entered a GP event, came out of the qualifying sessions with some fantastic lap times under his belt, as did Anson Gentry, another regular competitor who was lured in by the idea of racing head-to-head against some of the very best K1 Speed drivers. Anson and Kirk definitely did their part to mix up the grid in the final race, and we look forward to having them in future events.
The final race had well-known competitors Jared Buccola, John Tanaka, Paul Ciralli, David Messimer and Kirk Meese leading the pack, though nearly every racer in the field was lapping in the mid to low-29 second range! John Tanaka was comfortably on the podium until he slowed his pace unexpectedly on the last lap and allowed several racers get by him. We later learned that he thought he had seen the white flag waved – indicating that there was one lap left – a lap earlier than it actually was. Unfortunately, that mistake relegated John to a 5th place finish off of the podium. Rounding out the Top Four were Kirk Meese in 4th, David Messimer finishing in 3rd, taking the final place on the podium, Paul Ciralli in 2nd, and Jared Buccola in 1st. Jared and Paul also tied for the Fast Lap of the race, with duplicate 29.22 second laps, though new competitor Anson Gentry, who finished in 7th, managed a 29.26! With one event left, we expect the racing to be intense, as John Tanaka, Jared Buccola and Paul Cirrali are all within Championship contention!
Mostly regulars – and a few newcomers – came out for the fourth round of the Ontario Challenge GP on Sunday, April 26, and the competitors put on a great show for the spectators in the building. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night though was a young newcomer by the name of Braidyn Danelik, who is only 14 years old and has already achieved an astounding XP Score of 1,268! Not only can he hold his own out on the track, but he went out and actually competed for the win in his first Challenge GP appearance! Not bad for someone who can’t even drive a real car!
The B Main race went pretty smoothly with no major incidents, as the man starting on the pole position, Michael Arnold, won in dominating fashion. Second place went to Michael Chen and third to Frank Hsu.
The A Main didn’t go as smoothly! John Tanaka started on pole position, but was quickly under pressure as soon as the green flag dropped. The first two laps were fairly clean with very close racing; in fact, you could probably throw a blanket over the first 5 drivers everyone was so close! Once the third lap started however, the intensity began to heat up! Braidyn Danelik slipped by David Messimer and they went at it for a few turns until Braidyn got smashed hard into the barrier and ended up catching a little hang time. Despite the incident, Braidyn was able to recover for a top 5 finish. That one mishap though gave John Tanaka the breathing room that he needed to really focus and put down some solid laps to take the win. Paul Ciralli ended up finishing in second place, with Taylor Hays finishing in third, Braidyn Danelik in forth, and Ahmed Alasiri in fifth position.
As the season winds down, the battles keep getting closer and closer and the level of competition is stronger and stronger each Grand Prix weekend. We look forward to seeing new faces at the next Ontario Challenge GP on May 31!
The fourth round of the K1 Speed Seattle Challenge GP Series took place this past Sunday on April 26th, and despite the fact that some of our regular competitors were unable to make it out, the racing action was still intense! Sean Naslund, who was the Points Leader heading into this race, was able to solidify his lead by taking the victory, and he was able to set a blistering lap time of 18.80 seconds in the process. Javier Cantu-Lucero wasn’t far off of the pace, lapping our indoor go kart track in 19.25 seconds, and he ended up finishing the race in second place. David Frieboth rounded out the Top 3 and took home the bronze medal. If you live in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle or Redmond, and are interested in racing against the best of the best, join us May 31st for the next round of our Challenge GP Series!
With 4 of 6 rounds complete, the competition is heating up in our Irvine Challenge GP series as drivers vie for the coveted championship. John Tanaka’s points lead was eroded away this weekend as Taylor Hays finished the A Main in first place in a drama-free event. Taylor finished a good 1 or 2 seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher Jared Buccola, who is somewhat of a new face at our Irvine facility. Having raced at our other Southern California karting centers in the past, Jared Buccola decided to see if he could make his mark in Irvine, and finishing on the podium with the Silver medal, the results seem pretty conclusive! The caliber of racing this weekend was such that Tody Rodriguez, no stranger to 1st place finishes, was bumped back to the 3rd place position. Despite not finishing on top of the podium, Toby gladly accepted his 3rd place finish. All in all, there was great racing in our main event.
In the B Main, Eric Wang – a longtime competitor and impressive racer – finished in 1st place ahead of Steven Robertson and Brad Drew, who finished in 2nd and 3rd place. There were also some new faces in our B Main event, including Jorge and Javier Rivera. We look forward to seeing them compete in the future! Our next K1 Speed Irvine Challenge GP event is May 17th – come on out and race against the best of the best!
John Tanaka was able to maintain his position as Points Leader of the Carlsbad Challenge GP series this past weekend, and with only two rounds remaining, is in very good shape to walk away with the championship. Not only did John lead the entire race and walk away with a decisive victory, but he also set a new track record for our reverse course layout in the process, with a blistering lap time of 29.02 seconds. Having made a name for himself, John is now doing a very fine job of defending it!
Bill Groves and Curt Chapin battled it out for the second place position, with Bill eventually finishing the race in 2nd, ahead of Curt. Despite not being able to finish in 2nd, Curt Chapin (returning for the second time this season after a long absence from Challenge GP competition) was able to move up one position from 4th to finish on the podium. Paul Ciralli unfortunately did not make the podium, finishing 4th place after a hard-fought battle. The racing action was intense, as usual, and it was great seeing familiar faces. Stay tuned for results from Round 5 of the Carlsbad Challenge GP series, scheduled for May 3rd!
On Sunday night, March 29th, racers flocked to K1 Speed Ontario for the monthly running of the Super Track Challenge GP. This was the third round of the 2009 Challenge GP season, marking the half-way point, and the competitors couldn’t wait to get on the track. As always, many of our regular K1 Speed competitors showed up to defend their positions, but we were pleased to see that almost one-third of the field were newcomers.
The first position race went very cleanly, with tight battles taking place throughout the entire field. The winner of that event went to a Super Track first-timer, Andrew Peterson, followed closely by Chris Baker and Michael Moody. The final position race and the main event was a showing of pure domination by the one and only John Tanaka. Not only did John start on the pole position, but he absolutely destroyed the Ontario Super Track lap record of 55.04 seconds, with a blistering lap of 54.46! Tanaka looked like he was on cruise control the entire race, and he ended up finishing the race with a 6.65 second margin over second place Taylor Hays. Third place went to Khalifa Alasiri, fourth place was taken by Paul Ciralli and Alton Arnold III ended up rounding out the Top 5. Needless to say, the racing action was intense, and we can’t way to see how the season pans out! Amazingly, after 3 of 6 races, John Tanaka and Taylor Hays are tied for the top position, and Alton Arnold III is only five points behind – stay tuned to see how it turns out!
The next Ontario Super Track Challenge GP event is April 26 at 7:00pm – come give it a try and race against the best of the best!
On March 29th, K1 Speed Seattle held its third race of the 2009 Challenge GP series, and the racing action was intense! There were a few new faces in the line-up on Sunday, including Angela Shur, the first female racer to compete in a Challenge GP event at our Seattle / Redmond indoor karting center, and some familiar faces showed up as well to defend their positions. Sean Naslund, the current points leader of the Seattle series, exclaimed, “This was the best racing we’ve had so far!” Needless to say, everyone came away from the event with a smile on their face, which is what we love to see at K1 Speed!
The race started with Sopurkh Khalsa in the pole position, followed by Randy Olivarez and Sean Naslund. At the drop of the green flag the battle begun, and there were position changes in the first lap! Sean Naslund took advantage of the inside line at the start and managed to overtake Randy in the first turn. The fight for second was fiercely competitive, with Sean playing defense against an aggressive and very fast Randy Olivarez! The second and third-place contenders slowly started to gain ground on Sopurkh in the midst of their battle, and it wasn’t long before the three were racing around the track nose to tail, only inches between them.
Going into the Turn 3 hairpin in lap 5, the mounting excitement reached a crescendo! Sean was maintaining a very close second-place position to Sopurkh as the pack approached turns 1 and 2. Through the large sweeper, Sean was able to keep his momentum up and take the line from Sopurkh along the back stretch. Diving into the hairpin at Turn 3, Sean held the line and nudged his way past Sopurkh to take over first place.
Sean was able to lead for the remainder of the race, utilizing brilliant defensive driving against the second and third-place drivers. As the pack leaders started running into the back field, Sean’s defensive strategy became a bit more complicated, but in the end, he was able to hold off the advancing competition. Sean Naslund ended up maintaining his winning streak for the 2009 K1 Speed Seattle / Redmond Challenge GP series, taking first place in the final event ahead of Sopurkh in 2nd and Randy in 3rd! With his 3rd place finish, Randy Olivarez ended up moving up into the second spot for cumulative points! At this point, the series is still up for grabs, and we look forward to the next Challenge GP race in Seattle, which takes place on April 26th – if you think you have what it takes, we invite you to come in and race!
Our competitors converged on our Carlsbad location on March 1st for the 3rd round of the 2009 Challenge GP season. Among those competing were seasoned veterans and old friends. Curt Chapin, the man who held the honor of ProScore Leader for over three years, came to the event to compete in a Challenge GP race for the first time in over a year. It was a pleasure seeing Curt out on the track again, and it was evident that his absence hasn’t affected his ability!
John Tanaka, whose name needs no introduction around the K1 Speed offices, set the pole position during the qualifying heats and started the final race from the front row. At the drop of the green flag, John took off and never looked back, maintaining his position all the way to the checkered flag. Jared Buccola started from the second spot and it appeared that he would comfortably hold that position throughout the race, until the 10th lap, when he took a corner too wide and let Curt Chapin slip by. In the process, Jared unfortunately spun out and ended up losing four positions in the process. He would end up finishing the race in 6th. Curt Chapin, perhaps the most successful K1 Speed competitor ever, ended up finishing the race in 2nd in a dramatic comeback. We look forward to seeing Curt race at future events. Taylor Hays rounded out the Top 3, finishing 6.5 seconds back from John Tanaka, who he is currently competing with for the top ProScore.
John Tanaka is making quite a name for himself this season, and is certainly on track to be in championship contention at the conclusion of the six race series. With the season half over, the racing is heating up with new and veteran competitors showing up to challenge for the top spot. Needless to say, we’ll keep you updated on the latest news and results. The next Challenge GP event in Carlsbad is on April 5th, and we’ll have the results for you! If you think you have what it takes to make it to the podium, we invite you to attend the next event.