|OREGON NATIVE ADAM KELLERMAN MAKES CALSPEED SUPER SERIES HISTORY, BECOMES FIRST NON-LOCAL DRIVER TO CLAIM VICTORY|
CalSpeed Karting’s 2013 Season continued this past weekend with yet another sold out show as 100 drivers took to the circuit in search of the top step of the podium. By day’s end, there would a major shakeup in the championship points standings, and a handful of out-of-towners making a strong impression in an epic A-Main battle for the win. It would ultimately be Portland hotshoe Adam Kellerman edging the likes of KC Cook and Darren Mercer to claim the first ever A-Main win by a travel-in driver in series history.
The day would kick off with a series of practice sessions as all drivers had a chance to sort out the rare Grande Counter-Clockwise track configuration in place for Round 2 action. The combination of decreasing radius corners, heavy braking zones, and high speed sections make the Grande CCW layout a drivers favorite at CalSpeed. With practice sessions complete, the drivers would then gear up for their second attempt at green-white-checkered qualifying this season. Heading into the final qualifying group, two-time Series Champion Jon Kimbrell would be the man to beat as his 1:03.8 sat at the top of the charts with 75 of 100 racers down. With the final 25 karts on track, only one driver would be able to top Kimbrell, as Darren Mercer would lay down a screamer, posting a 1:03.5 en route to the Round 2 pole position, with Masters contender Jay Schreiber claiming the last of the qualifying bonus points for himself with a P3 overall effort.
With qualifying complete, the day would then transition into the first round of heat racing action. Mercer would be first up in Group A, attempting to defend his pole position grid spot, but would find much resistance from the likes of Luis Arrieta, Matt Widner, and Bill Kreig. Mercer would do all he could to defend, but it would be Arrieta finding some daylight and sneaking past to take the lead. Mercer would apply max pressure, but would not have a chance to retake the lead before time ran out, giving Arrieta the first heat win of the day. In Group B it would be Jon Kimbrell and KC Cook dueling for most of the session. Kimbrell would successfully defend his p1 grid position as he edged Cook by just 0.052s at the line for the win at the conclusion of the 10 lap affair. Defending series champion Logan Calvin would bounce back from an uncharacteristic sub-par qualifying effort in Group C, as he would quickly make his way to the point, moving past the likes of NorCal’s Jerott King and defending Masters Champion Sergio Bravo. Calvin would build a nearly 2.5 second lead as King and Bravo duked it out for P2 just behind. Calvin would cruise to victory as King bested Bravo to finish the session. Group D would close out the first round of heat racing with a great back and forth battle between Taylor Hays and Oregon’s Adam Kellerman. Kellerman’s overtaking attempt in the center hairpin section of the track looked all but done, but he would leave Hays just enough room on the outside to regain the position in the very next corner. Hays would hold Kellerman off to the stripe, taking the win in a hard fought session.
Heat round 2 would continue to produce some intense on track action as Group A would see Masters championship hopeful Jay Schreiber use every bit of his experience to make his way around Darren Mercer. Mercer would make a last gasp run at Schreiber as the two came to the stripe, but would come up just short, giving him a couple of P2 finishes on the day heading into the Main. Group B would be all about Northern California, as Jerott King and Alex Herndon would both find a way past Arrieta after his earlier heat win. King would not falter at the point, earning his first career heat win on the CalSpeed circuit. As Group C geared up for action, Adam Kellerman would not outdone by King’s accomplishment, as this time he got the better or Hays, and a charging Matt Widner, to claim his first Super Series heat victory as well. With the final heat group up, it would be another Masters driver rising to the occasion as Sergio Bravo would make his way past Logan Calvin with KC Cook also in tow. Bravo and Cook would pull out a slight gap over Calvin and then the gloves would come off on the final lap. Cook would search hard for an opening, but it never came as Bravo held him off at the stripe by just 0.055s for the win as the day would then transition in the Main Event round.
The D-Main would be first to the grid, as the winner of the session would not only earn a podium appearance for their effort, but also the opportunity to join the C-Main as the 26th kart in the field. In his series debut, and on his birthday no less, K1 Carlsbad hotshoe Charles Eichlin would jump out to a quick lead over the rest of the field. Both Aaron Frankel and Doug Lewen would do all they could to keep within striking distance, but a consistent run from Eichlin would ultimately deny them the opportunity. Lewen would best Frankel for P2, capping a tough day overall as he would have the best view of Eichlin, a former RedBull Kart Fight finalist, taking the checkers and the C-Main transfer spot.
With Eichlin pulling up to join the rear of the field for the C-Main start, it would be his fellow K1 Carlsbad alum, Justin Tolman, at the front end of the grid hoping to earn himself a transfer spot win of his own. Tolman would have to earn it however, as fellow series rookie Adam Nagao had other plans in mind. The battle would rage as Tolman and Nagao would trade time at the point throughout the session. It would ultimately be Tolman leading the lap that counts most, as he would cross the stripe just 0.118s ahead of his rival. Tolman, having won the D-Main in his debut appearance in Round 1, would now add a C-Main win to his credit in Round 2 signaling that he could indeed become a force with continued experience on the .7 mile CalSpeed circuit.
A Super Series B-Main rarely disappoints, as every driver that takes the green flag is well aware that they are just 12 laps and a win away from scoring the final transfer spot onto the coveted A-Main grid. Round 2’s B-Main would be no different as it quickly became a three-horse race to the finish as Northern California Spec E-30 Series standout Michael Shawhan would duel with both Heavy Class points leader Mike Arnold and Rookie Championship challenger Jeremy Aldridge for much of the session. Shawhan would spend considerable time leading the race as Arnold made it tough on the rest of the field in P2, while simultaneously keeping Shawhan within his grasp. Arnold would make the move with time running down and would find himself leading the field as he crossed the stripe with the white flag in the air. He would go defensive into what drivers had dubbed the ‘Short Beach’ corner, or Turn 1 on the CCW circuit. Shawhan would swing wide and carry enough momentum to shoot underneath Arnold heading into the following corner. He would take the lead and not look back, claiming a wild win to advance to the day’s A-Main. Arnold and Aldridge would settle for P2 and P3 respectively, a pair of finishes that would help their Heavy and Rookie championship hopes considerably to end the day.
With 26 karts rolling down the front straight in two-by-two formation, lead by a front row comprised of a couple of the nation’s best in Jerott King and Adam Kellerman, the Round 2 A-Main appeared more like a Sport Kart Grands SuperFinal than anything else. With the green flag high in the air, it would take only one corner for disaster to strike as defending Series Champion Logan Calvin would have his day ended prematurely, suffering a broken tie rod after being caught up in Luis Arrieta’s Turn 1 shunt. With Miles Calvin and Aaron Downs both absent in Round 2, and Logan Calvin now on the wrecker, that meant the top three in the points championship were all now non-factors in Round 2’s finish… and several championship hopefuls would leap at the opportunity to take advantage. Up front it would be King leading much of the early going, as he would hold Mercer, Hays, and Kellerman at bay off his back bumper by a matter of inches. Finally, Kellerman would make the move on King for the lead heading into the Contino Carousel, a move that would see King freight-trained by the rest of the lead pack dropping him out of contention on an overall brilliant day behind the wheel. Moving forward to join the lead group as well would be Matt Widner, KC Cook, and ‘Kansas-by-way-of NorCal’ notable Alex Herndon. The group would come to the white flag with Kellerman holding serve at the point, with Hays and Cook side by side for P2. Cook would grab the position into Turn 1, with an opportunistic Mercer following him thru. The position swapping by this trio would allow Kellerman some breathing room up ahead with just a handful of corners to go, and Hays desperately looking for daylight back in P4. With the sun setting in the distance, there would not be enough daylight for Hays to make that move, and he would slam the steering wheel while crossing the stripe in P4, just off the podium after having a potential race win slip from his grasp on the final lap. Without the agony of defeat there can be no thrill of victory, and that was just the emotion that Adam Kellerman displayed as he took checkers, becoming the first non-local driver in series history to do so.
An elated Kellerman would receive congratulations from several of his rivals on the cool down lap, and would breeze thru the post race weigh out en route to the top step of the podium. He would be joined there by 2012 Rookie of the Year KC Cook finishing P2, as well as new championship point leader Darren Mercer finishing P3. Both would shower the top step with freshly cracked beers before Kellerman could even get the champagne uncorked. With the win, Kellerman moves squarely into the top ten in the season points standings as he continues to plan a permanent relocation to the Southern California area, a relocation that may not come with as much welcome after this past weekend for many who’ll have to race against him on a regular basis if and when that happens.