The racing went deep into the night on Friday, finally ending around 8:45pm. A culmination of water barriers leaking and drivers crashing resulted in a schedule that was a few hours behind. We saw 18 (!) bumper penalties in the opening X30 Senior heat race alone. Nonetheless, the drivers and staff here worked all the way through to the final checkered flag despite the conditions.
The two KZ heats were extraordinary to watch on a few different levels. The storyline that came out of the opening heat was the DNF of three time SuperNationals champion Paolo De Conto (CRG). The Italian tried to take advantage of a bobble by Marijn Kremers (Birel ART) into the turn 1 hairpin, but did not recognize Kremers defensive line quick enough and launched over the top of the Birel ART and backed into the barriers. Swede Noah Milell (Tony Kart) would drive easily to win Heat 1.
In heat two, the drivers behaved themselves as they stacked up behind Kremers who grabbed the holeshot. The Dutchman recognized his lack of pace and drove a defensive line for the majority of the 12-lap heat. Neither De Conto nor Milell could by, but they had a hell of a race themselves for second, ultimately with De Conto taking the second place spot ahead of Milell.
Those three truly stood out among the rest, but I should recognize Mathias Ramirez (GFC) for driving the new GFC machine to two fourth place finishes, which has him third in the standings with one heat to go. Jake French (Sodi Kart) also has my attention with the fast lap by quite a bit in heat two. However, the Texan could only muster a pair of ho-hum results in 7th and 10th. French clearly has the speed but will need to move forward in Heat 3.
The early front runner in the most competitive class this week is Christian Brooks (Nash / FA Kart). The Californian has run two impeccable heat races thus far and is the only driver with two wins, both in convincing fashion. Reigning World Champion, Lorenzo Travisanutto (KartSport NA / Kart Republic) opened the heats with a win, but fell a bit to far back in his second heat before recovering to second. The Italian is tied in the standings with Canadian Cedrik Lupien (RPG / Kosmic). The category polesitter finished right behind Travisanutto in the best race we've seen so far this week, X30 Heat A vs D, where we saw a train of 7-8 karts swapping positions until the very end. Cedrik's brother, Samuel, sits alone in fourth after a 4-2 record in the heats. It was a Lupien 1-2 finish in Heat A vs C.
The driver on the move is CRG's pilot Pedro Hiltbrand. The Italian starts from the seventh row in each of his heats and has now made it to third and fifth, which is a combined 22 karts passed thus far. It would appear to me that he has dialed in that CRG/X30 combination after never running the engine package nor a temporary parking lot circuit before this weekend.
Ben Cooper (RPG / Kosmic), Brandon Jarsocrak (KartSport NA / Kart Republic), and Marco Maestranzi (Top Kart USA) have a three-way tie for sixth at the moment with nine points each.
The two heat races have not been walkaways, but Californian Rob Logan has walked out of Friday untouched in Shifter Master. Jordan Musser and Jason Faint have tied for second in the standings thus far, both accumulated six points. Bonnier Moulton and John crow round out the top five with 11 and 13 points respectively.
Ryan Kinnear has had to start from seventh in each of his heats after a penalty in qualifying dropped him down the order. The Texan did pick up the fast lap of the race in Heat 1, but it came after he had falled well down the standings after contact in the race. Kinnear was second fastest in heat two when he finished second, showing both heats to be faster than the leaders. He needs a solid score in heat 3 to set himself up for a hard charge on Sunday.
Kip Foster (KartSport NA / KF Kart) finds himself in familiar territory in X30 Master, a category he's won in before. Two opening heat race wins has the Austalian at the top unmatched. Californian Matt Johnson (Nash / FA Kart) is nipping at his heals with just two points. We'll see those two go head to head in their heat race later today which may decide who sits on pole for SuperSunday.
Eric Molinatti (CKR USA) is who I believe sits unofficially in third with eight points. A second place finish in his final heat has him moving in the right direction into Saturday.
Leonardo Neinkotter has been a man on a mission, having missed qualifying with an engine that would not start. In total, he's passed 48 karts in 24 laps through his two heat races, setting fast lap in each. He's going to need to match those stats today to get himself close enough on Sunday to potentially make a charge.
A jump start penalty for Luca Mars in KA100 Junior Heat 1 was the Pennsylvanian's only blemish, but it was a big one. That penalty docked Mars five positions to sixth and promoted James Wharton to thea win. With a second place finish in his second heat, Wharton sits at the top of the early standings with just two points. Dylan Christie, with two third place runs, is tied with Mars for second with six points.
After issues in qualifying Connor Zilisch has made his was past 16 karts in each of his two heats to finish fifth both times. With fast lap in both heats, Zilisch is on the move and, should he progress the same on Saturday, will be a real threat on Sunday.
Nationa #1 driver, Max Garcia (KartSport NA / Kart Republic), has picked up right where he left off on the Pro Tour, turning in the best scorecard on Friday in Micro Swift. With a win in his second heat, he now has two points which leads Jay Urwin (Benik) who sits alone in second with four points. Ethan Ayers (Russell / Parolin) and Ben Maier (Nitro Kart) have both climbed up the order in each of their two opening heats, scoring seven and nine points respectively to sit third and fourth in the order. Cameron Brinkman (Franklin / Merlin) and Tristan Young (Nitro Kart) have taken different paths to their twelve point total, but are tied for fifth.