A pleasant sunny day helped make for a great day with some great racing at the Red Line Oil Karting Championship Race #5. Several of the Prokart racers drove most of the night from Buttonwillow to take in the nice weather (it was 105 degrees at Buttonwillow) and to take on the tight Sprint track layout as a $1000 cash purse was up for graps. The GoPro featured race was the Rotax Mini-Max class.
Featured Race: Sanzaru Games Rotax Mini-Max
The field may have been lean with 5 karts, but it was 5 of the strongest karts that have run the RLOKC series this year. In Qualify, Toni Breidinger put her kart on the pole ahead of sister Annie and points leader Michael Michoff. But on the warm up lap of Heat #1, Toni had to pit to tighten the gas cap allowing Annie to take over pole with Michoff alongside. On the start, Michoff won the drag race to turn one and was never challenged winning by 6 seconds over Annie with Horatio Fitz-Simon in 3rd. In the second heat, Toni lead the field into turn one and was leading the field at the end on lap one. But Toni went too hard into turn one and had to take to the dirt and fell back to 5th. Annie and Michoff then battled for the remaining 7 laps with Annie leading most of the way. But going into the last turn of the white flag lap, Michoff tried an inside pass that was too late to avoid center punching Annie. Annie had to settle for 2nd but was awarded the win based on the call of the race director. Michoff was 2nd and Horatio 3rd. In the Main, the front row was Annie on pole and Michoff alongside. On the start, Annie took the lead out of turn one and lead the first 14 laps. But Michoff pushed hard in the later laps and got to Annie's rear bumper and with 4 turns to go in the race he made his move at the hairpin where he dove to the inside. Some hard rubbing occurred and with Michoff coming out in the lead with Annie right behind. Michoff went on for a narrow margin victory, Annie Breidinger took 2nd and Horatio Fitz-Simon holding off the challenges from Toni Breidinger to take 3rd. With the win, Michoff took home the GoPro HD hero mini camera and $50 cash from Sanzaru games, Annie took home $30 cash and Horatio $20.
125 Shifter - S2 and S4
With $1000 on the line, the largest field of the year in the 125 Shifters catergory, 15 karts, took to the track. In Qualify, the first 5 positions on the grid were S2 karts led by Brett Buckwalter, Jason Toft and Daniel Langon. The top S4 was David Arstein in 6th overall followed by Jim Inglebright in 7th and Brad Shaffer in 8th. Toft took the lead from the drop of the green followed by Buckwalter and Langon. Arnstein was a clear winner in S4 followed by Inglebright and Shaffer. In Heat #2, Buckwakter took the initial lead but Toft out broke Brett at the end of the rear straight to take control of the race and win the pole for the Main. Brett came home 2nd with Langon taking another 3rd. The S4 battle heated up with Brad Shaffer working his way past both Inglebright and Arnstein to take the S4 class win, Arnstein 2nd and Inglebright 3rd. The Main got off to a bad start as 5 karts tangled in turn one with one kart partially on top of Arnstein. A red flag was brought out due to the blocked track. The end result was the elimination of Cory Milne and Arnstein having to repair his kart and starting from the rear of the grid on the restart. On the restart, Toft took the lead with Buckwalter right behind and Langon sitting in the wings waiting for the leaders to tangle. Cameron Pringle moved up from his 11th starting spot and into 4th place by lap 6, but he pulled off on lap 7 to end his challenge. In the S4 class, Inglebright lead Shaffer, Jim Kidd with Arnstein working his way through the field from his 14th starting position. Buckwatler could not come close enough to make a challenge and in the end Toft took the win less than a second ahead of Buckwalter with Langon in 3rd. The next eight positions were S4 karts with Jim Inglebright taking the win ahead of Shaffter, Kidd and Arnstein now up to 7th place. For the S2 win, Toft took home $600 cash, Inglebright took home the $200 S4 cash with David Arnstein taking home $200 cash for the Hard Charger award.
All TaGs - Senior TaG, IAME TaG and Junior TaG
13 karts took to the track to continue the string of 10 plus kart fields. In Qualify, the top 3 drivers came in from the Prokart race with David Harwin taking pole ahead of Larry Fraser and Kevin Tanaka. 4th went to the lone Junior TaG of Maxx Marian with the next nine karts being IAME TaG karts led by Ben Schreiner, points leader Don Rocci and Josh Buttafoco. In Heat #1, Larry Fraser got by Harwin early in the race and drove home for a slim win followed by Harwin, Tanaka, Marian, Schreiner, Rocci and Buttafoco. In Heat #2, Harwin took the lead out of turn one and drove to a 3 second win ahead of Fraser with the 3rd through 7th being the same as Heat #1. In the 15 lap Main, Harwin took the early lead and never looked back wtih Larry Fraser bringing it home in 2nd. Attrition took out the next two in the field with Marian pulling off on lap 11 and Tanaka pulling off on the 14 lap. Schreiner controlled the IAME TaG class and came home 3rd overall with a 5 second lead over his closest IAME competitor. The best battle of the race was for 2nd in the IAME class. Josh Buttafoco put lots of pressure on Rocci with Josh getting by near the end to take 4th overall and 2nd in IAME TaG.
With nine drivers, the Rotax Masters class continues to have solid numbers all season long. Cameron Evans took the pole ahead of his main rival Jerry Pretti with Scott Ripslinger 3rd. In the first heat race, the first four karts finished as they qualified: Evans, Pretti, Ripslinger and John Breidinger. Heat #2 was a repeat of Heat #1 with the finish order being the same. In the Main, Evans took the early lead and went on to a 5 second win. Pretti had to battle back as Ripslinger got by on the start. In the end Pretti took 2nd, Ripslinger 3rd and Stephen Gaudreau came up to take the 4th spot.
6 karts took the track with Steve Peterson taking the pole over defending champ Tom Nelson with Geoff Provo 3rd. In the first heat race, Peterson proved his pole was no fluke by leading the entire 8 lap race with Nelson close behind and Provo 3rd. In Heat #2, Provo had a good start and went to the lead with Peterson close behind. Nelson was just making a move to come to the front when he slowed and finished 5th. In the end it was Provo, Peterson and Roger Cornwall in the top three spots. For the Main, Peterson was on pole with Provo next to him. At the drop of the green, Peterson had a bad start and went to the rear of the pack quickly. Provo took the lead ahead of Nelson with Steve Cameron moving into third early on. Nelson eventually worked his way past Provo with Cameron making the pass on Provo shortly after and getting to within a second but ran time ran out. Nelson took the win, Cameron 2nd and Provo 3rd.
Rotax DD2 and DD2 Masters
With 4 karts, Pole went to Andre Eriksen (Masters), off his fourth place finish at the Rotax Nationals, followed by Tim Salveson in the lighter DD2 then Dave Moody and Bob Olson. In the first heat, Eriksen took the win followed by Salveson and Moody. In the second heat, Eriksen was again leading when he lost his brakes and had to pit handing the win to Salveson followed by Moody and Olson. In the Main, Eriksen took the early lead and just pulled away to a convincing win followed by Salveson, Moody and Olson.
Senior Rotax and Rotax Masters Light
These two 365 lb Rotax classes were combined for the day. The first four qualify times went to the Senior Rotax karts of Carlos Calderon, Tazio Ottis Sean McDonald and Matt Meach with the 5th best time going to the fastest Masters Light kart of Andrea Delfanti. In Heat #1, Calderon took the early lead followed by McDonald and Meach. By mid race, McDonald made the pass for the lead and held the front spot all the way to the checkered flag followed by Calderon, and Meach. The top Masters Light was Delfant in 5th with Mary Beth Wilson in 7th. In the second heat, Calderon took the early lead and proceeded to lengthen it out to take a 3 second win over McDonald with Meach 3rd. Delfanti worked his kart by Tazio Ottis to take 4th overall, first in the Masters Lights class with Stephen Gaudreau taking 2nd in the Masters Light and 7th overall. In the Main, Calderon again took the early lead but now he had his kart dialed in and he did not see a challenge for the lead for the whole 15 laps. McDonald had his hands full with pressure from Meach all race long with Meach taking over 2nd briefly but in the end Sean took the 2nd spot. In the Lights battle, Delfanti was leading Wilson with Gaudreau just behind. The best battle was between Tazio and Jarrett Lile, the two Senior drivers going side by side for several corners until they touched side by side and the two tangled with Tazio taking the worst of it with an injury to his leg that brought the second red flag of the day. Tazio was OK after a check over from the ambulance crew, but the race was called complete since 12 laps of the Main was in the books. The win went to Calderon, McDonald 2nd, Meach 3rd, Lile 4th with the first Masters Light of Delfanti in 5th, Gaudreau took 2nd in Lights and Wilson 3rd.
Junior Rotax and KPV2
6 drivers took the green, 4 Jr Rotax and 2 KPV2s. In Qualify, Will Preston took yet another pole this year followed by Zack Dante and Maxx Marian, all three in Jr Rotax karts. Jaden Conwright was 4th in his KPV2 followed by Olivia Cornali (Rotax) and Tommy McCarthey (KPV2). In the first heat, Zack took the lead into turn one and held it for the entire 8 laps to take a slim win over Preston followed by Marian, Conwright and McCarthey. The second heat was a repeat of the first with Dante taking a slim win over Preston followed by Marian, Conwright and Cornali with McCarthy retiring with terminal engine problems. In the Main, Dante lead the field through turn one with Preston right on his rear bumper. The two leaders raced within inches of each other until Preston make a pass attempt that spun both karts and by the time they both got going and up to speed, Marian had passed them both and had a few second lead. Dante tried to reel in Marian, but Maxx had too much of a lead and went on to a 5 second win, Dante second and Jaden Conwright 3rd overall and 1st in KPV2 with Conali 4th overall and 3rd in Jr Rotax in her first ever race.
After 5 races, the race results tightened up the class championships in most of the classes. The next race will be September 11 at the Jim Russell Karting Center and will run on the Reverse National configuration. For more information about the RLOKC series, go to www.redlineoilkarting.com.