The Pagano - Craig Battle we Have Been Waiting for
Throughout the beginning of the season we had hoped to see two of the west coast’s finest talents dual it out, but it just didn’t happen as both drivers struggled to get up to speed in their new rides in Rotax Competition. This weekend was different as both drivers were at the top of their games, especially Pagano (2Wild Karting/Tony Kart) who looked to be the class of the field. On Saturday he pulled a small gap early in the final over Craig (RaceLab/Formula K) and the duo matched fast lap after fast lap, but Craig was unable to put a dent in the .5 second lead. The two truly drove mistake free races. Behind them the battles were as intense as we have come to expect in TaG Senior. Brandon Jarsocrak set fast lap of the race while coming from 15th to finish 9th. Roger Ralston Jr. rounded out the podium in third aboard his Arrow.
On Sunday we were once again primed for a Pagano – Craig battle. At the start of the final Jake Craig ran up on Louie Pagano breaking his exhaust mount and this where things got interesting. The start was waved off and the contact was made while the double yellow flags were waving. At the restart Craig jumped out to the lead as Pagano fell back as his exaust became dislodge and so far that it even swung next to him on the side pod. Some how he was able to get it back in place (yes you are hearing this right) as he fell back to around 20th position and worked his way up to a 12 place finish. At the front Craig and Finlayson (Koene USA/Tony Kart) built up a small gap and Oliver Askew fell back to 7th position. Once his tires came in Askew was on a mission and started picking drivers off one-by-one until he reach Finlayson with a few laps to go. Knowing this could possibly be for the win he was able to make the pass for second position.
Craig crossed the line in first and as the drivers hit the scales you could just feel the tension. Craig was handed a yellow penalty slip, which gave the win to Askew. When we asked Craig what the penalty for his responded:
Askew got the win followed by Elliott Finlyason and Mason Marotta (Ryan Perry Motorsports/Tony Kart).
Cleaning up the Starts
A big gripe at SKUSA events and really most of karting the last few years has been the amount of contact and incidents in turn one at the start of races. Kudos to SKUSA for taking some real action this weekend and implementing a zero tolerance rule for contact before the start and through turn one. Nearly every official was out watching the starts and for the most part the starts were much cleaner. Now with that being said there is the old saying, “you can’t fix stupid,” and this still exists once the drivers make it through the first two turns.
A lot of penalties were handed out for contact at the starts and there were a lot of unhappy drivers, but something needed to be done. The next step is to have the starts recorded so that any mistakes by the human eye can be corrected post race, but this was a good first step in the right direction.
Lemke is 3 for 4 in TaG Junior so far This Year
TaG Junior was a hotly contested battle all weekend with three drivers showing they are the class of the field. Brandon Lemke (Franklin Motorsports/Merlin), David Malukas (Top Kart USA), and Anthony Gangi Jr. (GT7/Tony Kart) are three of the most experienced junior drivers in the category and it showed this past weekend. On Saturday the three were always at the front, but in heat two Lemke and Gangi came together while battling in the lead group. This forced Lemke to retire and Gangi finished in 16th.
In the final Lemke was involved in a lap one incident and Gangi started to work his way through the field. Back at the front Malukas slowly stretched out a three second victory over Nicky Hays (Phil Giebler Racing/FA), and an impressive run by local driver Zoey Edenhold (Snow Racing/Kosmic) in third. Gangi was able to recover and finish in the fourth position.
On Sunday the junior drivers cleaned it up a bit at the front and there were great battles at the front, but once again it was Lemke, Malukas, and Gangi at the front. In the final Lemke led every lap and inched out a 1.2 second lead over Gangi who also was able to pull a gap on Malukas. Behind the three there was a great battle for the final top five positions between Sebastian Alvarez (PSL Karting/BirelART), Trey Brown (Ryan Perry Motorsports/Tony Kart), and David Ilavia (COMPKART) with the three of them coming home in that order.
PSL Karting Still Undefeated in S1
Different chassis, different driver, no problem for PSL Karting in the S1 category. After BirelART and Jordon Lennox-Lamb decided to compete in the KF European Championship, Rick Dreezen was drafted in to compete in the S1 category. This was his first time racing the Stock Honda package and he adapted quite quickly. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Dreezen as he continued to have trouble getting off the line smoothly and would consistently fall back a spot or two. Both Billy Musgrave (MRC/Praga) and Fritz Leesmann (Diede Racing/CRG) gave him a fight in the early stages of the races, but Dreezen was just too strong in the long run. Leesmann was able to come out in 2nd both days and keeps within reach as they head to New Castle.
Carter Williams Doubles in S2
The S2 category saw multiple drivers at the front including Brandon Frank (Leading Edge Motorsports/Praga), Andrew Bujdoso (Checkered Motorsports/PCR), Kyle Kalish (Franklin Motorsports/Merlin), Fernando Casillas Jr. (GP Kart), but the days belonged to Marco Eakins (Black Flag Racing/Formula K) and Carter Williams (Phil Giebler Racing/FA Kart).
On Saturday the two battled it out for the win in one of the best races of the weekend. Eakins was able to take the win over Williams, but was penalised after the race for a jump start and put back to second. On Sunday it was all Carter Williams as he swept the day and winning the final by 6.478 seconds over Casillas and de la Calle.
Crawford and Welage Start off with Wins in TaG Cadet
Saturday was all Nash Motorsportz’s Jak Crawford as he swept the day aboard his Energy chassis. Behind him Benik had a strong showing with Wesley Mason, Diego LaRoque. Anthony Willis rounding out the top four. Oliver Calvo (PKS/Tony Kart) rounded out the top five.
On Sunday Crawford was once again at the front along with Lachlan Defrancesco (Benik), but a carb problem in Heat 1 forced him to retire. In the final Ryan Schartau and Defrancesco broke away from the field and crossed the line 1-2 ahead of Top Kart’s Jason Welage, but both drivers received penalties giving the win to Welage. Schartau and Defrancesco would be relegated back to second and third. After Crawford’s problems he was able to get back up to sixth position in the final while setting the fastest lap.
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