Johnny Johnson

Stars and Stripes Trophy: Qualifying and heat racing in the books in Utah

Morning dampness gave way to sunshine and intensified racing in the afternoon.

Ryan Norberg leads Dante Yu in Senior MAX Heat 3. Photo: Johnny Johnson / Kart360

Overnight rains gave Rotax MAX Stars and Stripes competitors a damp track to start the day on Saturday. Qualifying took place entirely on the MOJO W3 rain tires and that brought some mixed results in the standings with new names entering the fold. However, the track would return to dry conditions for the remainder of the day as drivers were back on the D2 and D5 compounds for heat racing. 

Senior MAX

Jacob Gullick (RPG / Kosmic) started the day off with the surprise run of the day, holding pole position for the majority of the session in Senior MAX. The Northwest was well represented on the front row when Spencer Kunz had a lap time identical to Gullick, but with Gullick having posted it first it was his tiebreaker. Ethan Ho (Ho Racing / Redspeed) and Joseph Brienza (RPG / Kosmic) held down row two, followed by Jensen Altzman (Ruthless / Exprit) and Luke Selliken (RPG / Kosmic). The top six were all within one-tenth of a second when it was all said and done.

A notable absence from the top six in Senior MAX qualifying was Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic). His absence from the front did not last long as the Floridian quickly ascended to the top after the heats with a 2-0-0 score. Norberg leads a quintet of Rolison Performance Group drivers into Sunday. Yes, the entire top five is comprised of the blue and pink machines, with Luke Selliken, Gullick, Joseph Brienza, and Hannah Greenemeier. The first kart not under the RPG banner sits in sixth with Dante Yu (Compkart), who finally found pace in the final heat race when he put the pressure on Norberg at the front.

Junior MAX

Josh Pierson (RPG / Kosmic) and John Burke (Supertune / Tony Kart) traded blows on Saturday, each earning a heat race win. It was Pierson's performance in the third heat that gives him the advantage heading into Saturday when he picked up the win in a fierce battle with the Texan. Cole Schroeder (Ruthless Karting / Exprit) will begin his Sunday from inside row two with Frankie Mossman (Formula Works / Compkart) alongside. Hallie Schroder (Ruthless Karting / Exprit) fell two spots from qualifying to fifth place in the standings.

Master MAX

The two favorites, Christophe Adams (Ruthless / Exprit) and Billy Cleavelin (RPG / Kosmic), have kept up their end of the bargain and put on three great shows on Saturday, hinting at the fireworks that could come on Sunday. The Belgian picked up two heat race wins over Cleavelin's one, giving him the edge to begin the pre-final as the pre-race favorites make up row one. Chris Mann (OTK), Rob Koskowski (Ruthless / Exprit), and Sean Mann (OTK) make up third through fifth place and have had some great fights of their own.

Mini/Micro MAX

Enzo Deligny (Supertune / Tony Kart) has had a firm grasp in Mini MAX ahead of teammate Xander Reed (Supertune / Tony Kart). In Micro MAX, Kaden Dossman (Forward Direction / Compkart) edged out Colin Ruess (OTK) in the final heat that gave the former the top spot and the latter will have to start his work from the outside of row two. Graham Trammel (RPG / Kosmc) will roll out third in the category behind the two front runners.

DD2

DD2 has had no shortage of close racing despite its shallow depth. David Greco (PSL Karting / Birel ART) has swept the activity thus far in the two-speed category, but it hasn't been easy. Kyle Appuzo (Compkart) has put the pressure on the Canadian and led laps of his own as he'll look to take advantage of the longer racing sessions on Sunday. Nathan Martin (Compkart) too has led a few laps and lurks behind in third with a great opportunity to play spoiler.

Sunday

As we look ahead to the main events on Sunday, the weather may very well play a big part in the outcome. For now, the odds are good that we'll see some precipitation, however, the mountain ranges here make for interesting weather patterns in which the rains may miss the Utah Motorsports Complex. Pre-finals will begin around 9:30am Mountain Time, followed by finals action in the late morning and early afternoon. 


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