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February 07, 2013 News
EKN Trackside: Rotax Challenge of the Americas - PKRA Preview

The 2013 Rotax Challenge of the Americas is at the halfway point of its sixth season, as the international Rotax Max Challenge travels to Glendale, Ariz., on February 8-10. The Phoenix Kart Racing Association facility will host the premier winter karting series on the left coast with over 110 drivers from the United States and Canada contesting rounds three and four of the six-race championship series. The opening weekend in Tucson, Ariz., at the Musselman Honda Circuit shaped up the seven championship chases, with the three days of competition in Phoenix to single out the contenders from the pretenders, as four tickets to the Rotax Grand Finals are on the line in DD2, Senior, DD2 Masters and Junior, with Grand Nationals spots up for Masters, Mini Max and Micro Max.

PKRA Formula K Raceway has a vast history in the sport of karting, hosting a Challenge weekend for the fifth straight year. The 3/4-mile, 12-turn ‘Full Course’ provides a great challenge for the competitors, featuring technical corners and one long straight that will test driver and machine. Friday will host a full day of practice, with two independent rounds on Saturday and Sunday featuring qualifying, prefinal and final runs. Each on track session will be important toward the series championship, with five points going toward top qualifier, up to 10 points in the prefinal, another five for fast lap in the main event, and 100 points for the victory.

Senior may go down to the wire, much like most title chases do at The Challenge, as four drivers enter the Phoenix round separated by just 10 points. Round 1 winner Parker McKean (Rolison Performance Group/Kosmic) leads by just one point over Round 2 winner Phillip Arscott (Rolison Performance Group/Kosmic) and former Junior Max champ Louie Pagano (Birel).

Both McKean and Arscott finished outside the top-five in their other feature races, while Pagano was podium finisher in both main events. Pagano has more experience at the PKRA circuit, standing on the podium a year ago, but former US Grand Nationals champion Arscott can adapt to nearly any circuit he visits. McKean won at the series finale last year, and will carry a two win streak into Phoenix this weekend. Will Owen (Full Throttle Karting/Arrow) was impressive in Tucson, driving his way to second behind Arscott on Sunday and is just 10 points back of McKean.

Two Canadians will be part of the mix in Senior, with Adam Dowler and Bradley rolling on-course. Dowler (Buddy Rice Karting/Energy) enjoyed a solid out in race with a 15th place finish, but will be looking to put race 2's early retirement behind him this time out. Dezall (Overdrive Motorsports/Tony Kart) is seeking his first points after an early retirement in race 1 and and unrepresentative 26th in race 2.

Last year’s event was dominated by Aussie David Sera, as he visited the series for a one-weekend tour. The 2012 Challenge of the Americas champion Phil DeLaO elected to not defend his crown this year, but is rumored to compete this weekend in Phoenix for a one-off event.

Defending DD2 champ Fritz Leesmann (PSL Atlantic/CRG) was perfect in 2012, and began 2013 in similar fashion. A perfect score in Tucson puts him out front in the title chase with series rookies Andrew Evans (Rolison Performance Group/Kosmic) and Sean Owens (Dallas Karting Complex/Sodi Kart) giving chase this year. Veteran Alan Rudolph (Team WRS/CRG) made his first Challenge start last month in Tucson, winning the Round 2 feature race to lead the DD2 Masters championship standings. Round 1 winner Mike Jones (Dallas Karting Complex/Sodi Kart) sits second, back by 20 points with defending champion John Crow (Billet Performance/Arrow) back in third. The class provided one of the most exciting races of the weekend in their Sunday Prefinal ( http://youtu.be/2o9O4uHihH8 ).

Daryle Redlin (True-North Zanardi) is lone 'Canuck' in the class. Redlin will be seeking to build on sixth and fifth place runs in the Tucson doubleheader.

Junior sees last year’s vice champion Luke Selliken (Rolison Performance Group/Kosmic) leading the way in the points standings after the first two rounds. Selliken won the opening round in Tucson and finished second to Blaine Rocha (Rolison Performance Group/Kosmic) on Sunday. Rocha currently is second in the chase, 17 points behind his new teammate.

Aside from Selliken, youngster Noah Grey (Phil Giebler Racing/FA Kart) was the only other driver to podium both days and enters the Phoenix weekend third with Utah driver Austin Versteeg (CRG-USA/CRG) fourth. Selliken won both feature races a year ago, and you can watch Sunday’s run at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs6Dd2K97kU , while Versteeg stood on the podium both days behind Selliken. Local driver Jim McKinney (Overdrive Motorsports/KGB) was quick in Tucson and could be a wild card in Phoenix.

Canada will be well represented in Junior, with six drivers getting behind the wheel. Jordan Redlin (True-North Zanardi) is poised to lead the contingent after a strong top-10 run in race 2 last time out and a 12th place result in race 1. Ryan Martin (Ryan Perry Motorsports/Tony Kart) and Jeff Fulham (LH Kart) will be looking to build on their Tucson results, having run in tandem most of the weekend, and ended each with a pair of results inside the top-20. Coltin McCaughan (CRG West) likewise will be seeking to better his lone top-20 finish in race 1. Vincent Combret's (CRG West) goal will again to be gain valuable experience in his first Challenge of the Americas campaign, while Jessica Dezall (PCR) is making her 2013 debut during this weekend's doubleheader.

Diego Pelosi (FA Kart) was only the second driver to score two feature wins in Tucson, as he doubled up in the Masters Max category. He leads the title chase by 36 points over Donald Durbin Jr. (Cambrian Go Karts/Birel) with Utah’s Justin Peck (Rolison Performance Group/Tony Kart).

Sting Ray Robb and Horatio Fitz-Simon are the top two drivers in the Mini Max division, separated by seven points. Each won in Tucson, Fitz-Simon (CRG) from last to first in Saturday’s main event with Robb (Rolison Performance Group/Tony Kart) edging out the competition on Sunday.

Canadian's Griffin Dowler (Energy) and Christina Dezall (PCR) will be on-track as well in Mini Max. Dowler will be seeking to emulate or improve on his race 1 result of eight. Dezall will be contesting her first Challenge races of the season this time out. Phoenix last year saw two wild days of racing in Mini Max, and the same is expected this time around.

Micro Max was just that in Tucson, as there was no predicting what would happen, lap after lap. Liam Letzsch (KGB) left the weekend with the point lead as the only driver on the podium, including a win in Round 1, and leads the championship by 33 points over Round 2 winner Payton Durrant (Birel). Filip Niemkiewicz (Buddy Rice Karting/Energy) and Anthony Willis (DR Kart) are third and fourth, less than 50 points out.

Marco Kacic and Christian Newland are slated to be part of the second Arizona doubleheader. Kacic (CRG West) is part of the fight for series top honors, currently sitting fifth in the points chase via a third place in race 1 and eighth place run in race 2. Newland (Overdrive Motorsports/Italkart) is seeking to build on his strong 10th place finish in race 2.

Complete coverage can be found in the EKN Event Page, updates posted throughout the weekend on the EKN.com Official Discussion Thread and EKN.ca Official Discussion Thread with live coverage set for Saturday and Sunday at http://www.ekartingnews.com/live

Rotax Challenge of the Americas
Phoenix Pre-Entry List

300Joe CriscioneBlack Flag RacingEnergyWest LinnOR
302Augie LerchPure KartingTony KartTucsonAZ
305Parker McKeanRolison Performance GroupKosmicGig HarborWA
313Bailey MurphyAZ Kart WerxCRGPhoenixAZ
314Hailey GroffRolison Performance GroupKosmicRichlandWA
315Andrew WienerART GP AmericaART GPSpring ValleyCA
316Sean ConyersIntrepidPhoenixAZ
321Andrew PalmerJ3 CompetitionKosmicChicagoIL
323Will OwenFull Throttle KartingArrowCastle RockCO
324Bradley DezallOverdrive MotorsportsTony KartOkotoks AB
325Louie PaganoBirelSanta Rosa ValleyCA
326Alejandro FernandezBuddy Rice KartingEnergySan Bernadino CA
331Artie CarpenterTony KartOregon CityOR
332Michael IlaviaDallas Karting ComplexSodi KartHoustonTX
333Carlos CalderonAluminosCRGSan JoseCA
341Nick RivelliniTeam WRSCRGGreat FallsVA
345Tyler EdwardsBillet PerformanceArrowLittletonCO
347Mike HerdaEnergyLas VegasNV
352Jacob MaxfieldArrowBluffdaleUT
353Adam DowlerBuddy Rice KartingEnergySherwood ParkAB
354Mason MarottaRyan Perry MotorsportsFABakersfieldCA
355Ben SchermerhornSchermerhorn MotorsportsArrowHighlands RanchCO
357Phillip ArscottRolison Performance GroupKosmicPortlandOR
361Alex KeyesCRGFolsomCA
371Max MallinenCRGLiberty LakeWA
373Andrew ZimmerBuddy Rice KartingEnergyTigardOR
380Dakota DickersonPhil Giebler RacingFASan DiegoCA
382Carlee TaylorTony KartYucaipaCA
386Kol BaileyIntrepidPeoria AZ

DD2/DD2 Masters
413Bill KannZanardiScottsdaleAZ
419Sean OwensDallas Karting ComplexSodi KartArlingtonTX
427Andrew EvansRolison Performance GroupKosmicSammamishWA
461Fritz LeesmannPSL AtlanticCRGElk GroveCA
504Mike JonesDallas Karting ComplexSodi KartSachseTX
520Paul BonillaFull Throttle KartingArrowCypressCA
531John CrowBillet PerformanceArrowAnaheimCA
577Alan RudolphTeam WRS/PSL AtlanticCRGGilbertAZ
590Daryle RedlinTrue-North ZanardiZanardiAldergroveBC

200Josh KurtzUnser Racing/GphactoryKosmicHuntington BeachCA
202Coltin McCaughanCRG WestCRGCalgaryAB
203Luke SellikenRolison Performance GroupKosmicPortlandOR
208Lindsey FreierBillet PerformanceBirelArvadaCO
209Blaine RochaRolison Performance GroupKosmicOakdaleCA
210Ryan MartinRyan Perry MotorsportsTony KartEdmontonAB
212Stevie Pugsley Jr.Cambrian KartingBirelEagle PointOR
214Vincent CombretCRG WestCRGKaledenBC
216Brenden BakerART GP/D-PowerART GPPalmdaleCA
218Marco EakinsBuddy Rice KartingEnergyBeavertonOR
219Jim McKinneyOverdrive MotorsportsKGBChandlerAZ
221Lindsay BrewerCRG-USACRGArvadaCO
224Noah GreyPhil Giebler RacingFADana PointCA
226Jake BoyleCRGAnthemAZ
228Nathan AddsDallas Karting ComplexSodi KartRowlettTX
229Vincent DePalmaPure KartingTony KartGlendaleAZ
231Jeff FulhamLewis HamiltonWinnipegMB
243Jessica DezallPCROkotoksAB
251Jake PrestonPhil Giebler RacingFARentonWA
263McKay SnowRolison Performance GroupKosmicLehiUT
266Grant CoppleKosmicGoldenCO
277Austin KuehlRuthless RacingKGBCave CreekAZ
279Austin VersteegCRG-USACRGSandyUT
280Toni BreidingerRolison Performance GroupKosmicHillsboroughCA
288Annie BreidingerRolison Performance GroupKosmicHillsboroughCA
290Jordan RedlinTrue-North ZanardiZanardiAldergroveBC
291Sara HoustonMike Collins RacingBirelGlendaleAZ
298Phillippe Denes Buddy Rice KartingART GPCarmel CA
299Scott HuffakerSnow RacingEnergyMenlo ParkCA

616Randy StoverFull Throttle KartingArrowScottsdaleAZ
617Jacob ZamoraFull Throttle KartingArrowChino HillsCA
618Billy KannZanardiScottsdaleAZ
625George PattonFull Throttle KartingArrowAnaheimCA
641Larry HayashigawaBuddy Rice KartingEnergyDowney CA
649Justin PeckRolison Performance GroupTony KartSandyUT
654Steve WienerART GP AmericaART GPSpring ValleyCA
662Ken MaxfieldArrowMurrayUT
679Donald Durbin Jr. Cambrian Go KartsBirelCampbellCA

Mini Max
100Chase FarleyEnergyWalnut CreekCA
103Max FedlerUnser Racing/GPhactorySodi KartDenverCO
106Griffin DowlerEnergySherwood ParkAB
107Sting Ray RobbRolison Performance GroupTony KartOntarioOR
117Sophia PriceUtah ContingencyKosmicHeber CityUT
121Zoey EdenholmAZ Kart WerxCRGScottsdaleAZ
124Christina DezallPCROkotoksAB
128Dante YuEnergyEl MonteCA
132David IlaviaDallas Karting ComplexSodi KartHoustonTX
153Jacob Blue HudsonBuddy Rice KartingEnergyKeizerOR
156Horatio Fitz-SimonClayton Snow/Ricky LutherCRGPleasantonCA
176Everest FedlerUnser Racing/GPhactorySodi KartDenverCO
186yRoy Fulmer IVFull Throttle KartingArrowPlacervilleCA

Micro Max
3Sebastian DavisOverdrive MotorsportsKGBPhoenixAZ
5Marco KacicCRG WestCRGWest Kelowna BC
10Filip NiemkiewiczBuddy Rice KartingEnergyBreckenridgeCO
14Christian NewlandOverdrive MotorsportsItalkartNanaimoBC
17Liam LetzschKGBGoldenCO
19Cooper BecklinBlack Flag RacingEnergyMedfordOR
23Ellie Anna MusgraveCRG WestCRGSnohomishWA
25Max WrightEnergyDamascusOR
48Cole ThompsonSodi KartConiferCO
56Diego LaRoqueAZ Kart WerxCRGLaveenAZ
73Anthony WillisDRPeoria AZ
81Payton DurrantBirelLehiUT
88Austin TorgersonOverdrive MotorsportsKGBCentral PointOR
91Tanner HudspethBirelSan DiegoCA
99Joshua PiersonNRCTony KartOregonOR
78xPaden HallAZ Kart WerxCRGTucsonAZ
United States Quebec Ontario Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia New Brunswick Nova Scotia

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