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What We Learned: Challenge of the Americas Phoenix

Sting Ray Robb continues to be on a roll, a new standard at the front in senior and more

Sting Ray Robb Keeps the Ball Rolling

For the second round in a row it was once again the Robb and Brueckner show. On Saturday Brueckner took his Orsolon Racing prepped Tony Kart to the win over Robb. On Sunday the duo swapped positions as Robb and his BBR Karting crew got his Tony Kart dialed and won by nearly the same margin that Brueckner won with the day before. With both drivers now having two wins each it will be a close fight at Infineon. Surprisingly both Kellen Ritter and David Ilavia were not at the front like in Tucson. Instead first year junior driver Trey Brown has made some improvements since January and finished third in both finals.

Sting Ray Robb is getting closer to a ticket to the 2015 Grand Finals
Photo Credit: JFM Images

Baker Comes up Laps Short of a Repeat

On Saturday it looked like Brenden Baker had the race wrapped up around the half way mark. He had around a second lead. He and his teammate Christian Brooks were exchanging similar laps and no progress was really being made.  Around lap 18-19 that all changed as a few mistakes allowed Brooks to catch up and eventually take the lead on lap 20. In the final five laps Brooks made nearly no mistakes and won by just over three tenths. On Sunday Brooks had a solid run finishing in third.

Christian Brooks is impressing the whole paddock.
Photo Credit: Cody Schindel - CKN

The PSL Mini X2 Wins Again, but not in the hands of Alvarez

The PSL Mini X2 once again won, but this time it was in the hands of Marco Kacic. The PSL West driver won after and intense battle with Jack Crawford (Nash Motorsportz/Tony Kart) and Sebastian Alvarez (PSL West/PSL Mini X2). On Sunday Koene USA’s Payton Durant took the win aboard his Tony Kart followed by Jak Crawford and Austin Torgerson making it an all Tony Kart podium. This weekend has shown that in the right hands on any weekend both the OTK Karts and the PSL/CRG Mini X2 can win.

Payton Durant looked quick all weekend on his Koene USA Tony Kart
Photo Credit: Cody Schindel - CKN

A New Standard at the Front

Going into this season we fully expected to see Jake Craig and Louie Pagano as the two favorites in the Senior category, but after two round there are four drivers consistently at the front. We all knew Mason Marotta would be a contendor as he has been for years and of course Selliken in his second year of senior competition. One thing we did not expect is how quick Christian Brooks would take to the senior category and Brenden Baker who did not compete in much Rotax competition at all in 2014. This past weekend Pagano was just missing that outright speed. Maybe the Tony Kart just doesn’t fit his driving style? Craig on the other hand has found the race speed, but is still looking to be able to get the most out of the Formula K in qualifying. If he can find that one lap speed on new tires in Infineon he will be real contender.

Photo Credit: Cody Schindel - CKN

RPG Still Winless, Gaining Momentum

RPG is once again winless, but lead driver Luke Selliken is gaining momentum with his long time team. On Saturday Selliken finished 3rd and was one of the fastest karts on track throughout the race chasing down the leaders. If the race was two laps longer he may have had a chance at the win. On Sunday he continued this pace by taking pole position. In the final he was involved in a battle for the lead from the start, but fell to fourth just past mid race distance. He was able to battle back to second, but Marotta was able to pull out enough of a lead that Selliken could not make a real dent in. Don’t be surprised to see Selliken take a win at Infineon with the momentum growing.

Gustavo Menezes Hasn’t Lost it

Can we talk about Gustavo Menezes setting fast lap in Satuday’s final and finishing fourth in Sunday’s final! The 2Wild Karting driver hasn’t driven a kart more than once in the past year and bettered his teammate Louie Pagano nearly the whole weekend. Hopefully we will see him at Infineon before he heads back over to Europe to continue his car career.

Gustavo Menezes
Photo Credit: JFM Images