The 19th season for the California ProKart Challenge has been put to the test as the program enters the second half of the championship chase. What was scheduled as a three-day, two-round race weekend at the Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside, California over August 18-20 became a shortened two-day, one-round event. Hurricane Hilary hit the southern California region on Sunday, forcing Superkarts! USA to postpone the Round Five action scheduled for that day. Round Four was contested on Saturday, with dry weather greeting the competitors at the historic Riverside, California facility.
The only sweep of the day came in the 20-driver HRT Driver Development KA100 Senior class, performed by Jesus Vasquez Jr. The Round Three victor was able to set fast time in qualifying with a 45.061-lap to edge out Timothy Carel and Ryan Persing by less than 66 thousandths. Vasquez led all 14 laps of the Prefinal, driving away to the win by over two seconds to retain the pole position for the Final. Fast laps of the race midway through the main event allowed Vasquez to drive away early. He led the entire 22 laps and established a near five-second advantage for a second straight victory. Persing ended up second, with Aiden Kempf winning the battle for the third step of the podium over Carel and Alex Siragusa.
For a fourth straight event, Keagan Kaminski claimed the top step of the podium in the Speedsense Motorsports KA100 Junior division. Kaminski started the day fifth out of 24 drivers in qualifying after Jayden Johnson secured fast time in the timed session for the first time on the season, posting a 45.671-lap to clear Charlie Smith by 23 thousandths. The Prefinal was a race for first place, as Kaminski was able to secure the position late for the win ahead of Johnson. It was all Kaminski in the Final, as he led all 22 laps to claim his fourth victory on the season. Payton Westcott claimed a third podium finish on the season, placing runner-up ahead of Johnson – who placed on the podium for the first time in 2023. Shea Aldrich – who posted fast lap of the race – and Alexander Gonzalez completed the top-five.
The Superspeed Bearings Mini Swift category welcomed a third different winner on the season. Troy Ferguson earned fast time in qualifying for a second time in 2023, clearing the 12-driver field by over two tenths with a 48.516 lap. The field caught up with Ferguson’s pace in the Prefinal, as he slipped down to fourth in the end and Braydon Wagner claimed the race win over two-time winner McLaren Carroll and Daniel Ramirez. The 22-lap main event was one of patience, and Ferguson played it out perfectly. He stayed within the top-five and began advancing through the middle portion of the Final. By lap 16, Ferguson put himself into the lead and drove away to a 1.1-second advantage to claim his first victory of 2023. Ramirez drove to second, his first podium of the season, with Round Two winner Matthew Cagle climbing up six spots to third. Wagner ended up fourth with Tyren Scott placing fifth.
It was a last-to-first performance in the P1 Racing Engines Micro Swift division over the day. Two-time winner Drew Jensen set fast time in qualifying while Round One winner Aidan Go found himself last in the order, off the pace. Jensen continued up front, leading all 14 laps for the win in the Prefinal, as Go drove up to fifth. It was Jensen leading most of the main event. With two laps remaining, Nathan Ramirez took over the lead and went on to reach the checkered flag first. A three-second penalty for contact took away the provisional win, handing it to Go as he was able to slip past Jensen on the final lap. Go was awarded the victory while Jensen – who posted fast lap of the race – ended up second with Collins King placing third. The penalty put Ramirez back to fourth, with Matthew Paciulli ending up fifth.
For a third time on the year, Ronnie Swaim claimed the victory in the Empire Karts X30 Master class. Round Two victor Tony Rossetti set fast time in qualifying before Joshua Daley won the Prefinal. Swaim was second in the race to help fill out the front row for the Final. Daley led the first two thirds of the race before the championship leader Swaim took control. Swaim held on to earn a third victory of the season, with Daley landing on the podium for the first time. Rossetti – who had fast lap of the race – ended up third ahead of Robert Switzler and Scott Nealon. Brett Revetta ran uncontested in the X30 Senior division.
The Nash Motorsportz KA100 Master category welcomed a new winner on the season. Two-time winner Ronnie Swaim set fast time in qualifying and won the Prefinal. The main event, however, was controlled by Brett Harrelson. The former series race winner in his 2023 debut led all 22 laps to claim victory. Swaim settled for second with Craig Vasquez placing third. Ansel Baldovin won in his Factory Karts Pro Shifter division debut on the season. Baldovin won the Prefinal and Final with David De La Torre in second.
The Round Five event of the 2023 California ProKart Challenge will now be part of the series finale on September 22-24. The event, scheduled for the Adams Motorsports Park, has been expanded to a three-day, two-round weekend. The penultimate round action will be hosted on Saturday with Round Six contested on Sunday.
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