Maybe the drivers forgot to eat their Wheaties this morning, but the day started about as rough as it could get. There were three red flags situations before 10am, sending us well behind schedule. Pro Shifter had what could be their third or fourth red flag this week, which is starting to feel less and less of a coincidence the more it happens. However, everything began to settle down as the heat races progressed and now we've got a partially painted picture of how things are shaking out.
After changing teams in the last month, I was skeptical of the performance we would see from AJ Myers (Mad Old Nut / Mad Croc) this week. I've been proved dead wrong in the early going after Myers has turned in the best performance thus far in Pro Shifter, a second and first. He's clearly gotten comfortable in the Mad Croc and he looks as strong as anyone in the class right now.
Billy Musgrave went wire to wire in the first heat from his pole position, but the second heat didn't go as smoothly. Musgrave got into the back of Myers, accidentally, that sent them both off line. Myers was able to hang on better than his counterpart, keeping the lead and eventually pulling a healthy gap on the field. Musgrave went well off his line after the hiccup and eventually falling to fifth at the final tally.
Jason Pettit (Aluminos) has shown up impressively so far, turning in a fourth and second, sitting third in the standings to this point. My pick to win, Jeremy Iglesias, appeared to have an engine let go in his second heat after a third in the earlier heat. He's going to need another top-flight result tomorrow morning, but either way he's got a tremendous amount of work looming now for Sunday.
Kyle Wick (CRG) and Matt Hamilton (Aluminos) look to be sitting in fourth and fifth right now with two solid runs. With another solid run in the morning, its likely we'll see both of them in the first two rows to start SuperSunday.
Everyone still has their eye on Danny Formal (Leading Edge / Formula K), who has had to come from 23rd on the grid in each of the two heats. So far, he's successfully passed 24 karts which has given him an 11-11 result. The track does not lend itself to many passing zones, which has hindered his and many others ability to move even further up.
Three drivers have made a slight separation from the rest of the field in X30 Junior after each driver had two sets of heats this morning. Tyler Gonzalez (Benik / FA Kart), Jak Crawford (Kosmic Kart), and Luca Mars (Speed Concepts Racing / Tony Kart) each have identical resumes with one win and one third place finish.
The other winner this morning was Jeremy Fairbairn (Speed Concepts Racing / Tony Kart). I spoke with his father, Marcel, last night in the hotel and he was excited about their potential today. He said Jeremy would be into first by lap three from his fifth place starting spot and sure enough he was right. However, his second heat race did not go as smoothly, dropping to 25th in the that one after some contact.
John Burke (Iron Rock / Tony Kart), so far, appears to be the surprise driver in the Junior category. He was not a driver on my radar last week but he's quickly shown me to be wrong there. The Texan has turned in a fourth and second, which puts him right behind Conor Zilisch so far. Zilisch has looked comfortable up front, having turned a second and third place result this morning.
My top two to start the week were Thomas Nepveu (PSL / Birel ART) and Sebastian Montoya (Montoya / Tony Kart). Although both have turned in fast laps in one of their heats, neither has a stellar record. Both drivers missed the mark in qualifying, setting them up for tough starting spots in the heats. Nepveu wrecked out in turn one of his first heat, but brought it back to second with fast lap in his second heat. Montoya has recorded a 14th and a fourth, after starting 12th in both.
Standing alone at the top of Mini Swift is Orsolon Racing's Jack Jeffers (Benik). The only driver in any of the morning sessions to win both of his heats, has come as a bit of a surprise. The San Antonio resident made easy work of his second heat, Heat A vs C, winning by nearly 2-seconds over polesitter Carson Morgan (RPM / Kart Republic). Morgan and Kai Sorensen (SuperTune USA / Tony Kart) are deadlocked for the second best effort in the early going, each scoring 3-2 results.
Alex Powell has two provisional wins himself, but a jumped start infraction in his opening heat dropped him to tenth after a five-second penalty. In a class this tight at the top, those could become crucial points he did not want to accumulate. A second win tomorrow could go a long way in getting him into the first two rows on Sunday morning.
William MacIntyre (Benik), an unknown to myself from Great Britain, picked up 10 spots in his opening heat to take the win after the penalty to Powell. A sixth place finish in his second heat has him tied for fourth with Floridian Nikita Johnson (AKT / Energy).
Mathias Coito (Mad Old Nut / Mad Croc) has quietly put in some solid work to put himself in fifth after day one of heat racing.
The best head to head competition in the morning would have arguably been Josh Hotz (Franklin / Merlin) and Dakota Pesek (Top Kart USA) in KA100 Senior. Each driver picked up the same scorecard, earning a win and second place finish. Combined, their difference at the finish line is less than a half-second, which was highlighted by a last corner move by Hotz in the opening heat.
Off-pole qualifier Scott Foster (KartSport North America) has dropped a bit of time in the heats back to fourth and fifth, but still sits in tied for third after day 1 with fellow Aussie Oscar Priest.
Polesitter Colton Ramsey (Innovative Performance / Exprit) had a bit of a roller coast morning, finishing 10th in his first heat, but coming back for a third place to end his day. The Midwesterner currently sits fifth in the tally.