|SUPER SERIES ROUND 10: PREVIEW|
The penultimate round in the championship: Classico...
Classico brings out a love-hate emotion from drivers, and it is fitting that such a technical course is part of our symbolic final lap. The final four rounds are always the toughest, and most exciting in a season, with the added pressure of the points hanging over each driver’s head. Having run through Sportivo, and Grande, Classico mixes things up nicely in this final stretch, and is sure to be the perfect stage for the penultimate moves to the finish.
While not impossible, the chances for the championship to be clinched a round early are definitely a lot less probable than they were last year. This is echoed throughout the field in many of the fights for position, let alone the sub-category championships up for grabs. The second-to last race of 2013 looks to be more of a stage setter than a curtain call, and I for one can’t wait for the show to start…
A Look Back: Round #5, June 1st 2013…
When the Super Series made its first ‘stop’ on the Classico layout for 2013, the series was being led by the strong Masters duo of Jay Schreiber and Sergio Bravo, having won each of the previous two rounds heading in. The points chase was wide open with more than 10 strong contenders, a fact aided by a different winner in each event, and one of the most diverse group of front runners in recent memory.
As is always the case with the rarely raced Classico layout, eyes were on the track’s specialists. And once again it was one of these drivers that struck first, with Dave Messimer scoring pole position in qualifying. Sergio Bravo and KC Cook also scored some valuable bonus points via their 2nd and 3rd place qualy runs, in what was a very tight qualifying session that saw the top 6 separated by .089.
The heat races would see the wins spread out amongst seven different winners, with the single repeat winner being #3 qualifier Cook. With a pair of wins under his belt, and 23 drivers behind him in the A-Main, Cook led the field to the green, with Darren Mercer, Bill Kreig, Jerott King, and Taylor Hays all on his heels. Leading all 15 laps to the checkered, Cook took the win and with it the largest haul of points on the season, tying the record for most points earned in a single round with 405.
Top Drivers from the Summer Classico Race
KC Cook- 3 wins
Bill Kreig- 3 T3’s
Jerott King- 3 T3’s
Darren Mercer- 1 win, 1 T3, 1 T5
Taylor Hays- 1 win, T3
RD’s Spotlight: Who to watch for in Round #10
If you look at the History of the Classico layout, it will tell you to keep an eye out for guys like Taylor Hays, Dave Messimer, and Miles Calvin. If you look at the race this past June, it says put your money on KC Cook. I say all bets are off…
The big key to the Classico layout is the esses that lead on to the straight, and while it is the least-used layout in the CalSpeed repertoire, the esses recieved plenty of use this year during the Sport Kart Grands via the new layout used on Super Sunday. Needless to say, the esses aren’t as much a mystery as they used to be…
Still, while the above drivers have an affinity for this place, and that can’t be ignored, Classico also has a way of delivering first time wins, or career best finishes. Basically, it is a wildcard layout and with the point battles on the line, the unpredictability of this round could have very big ramifications in the standings.
But, it wouldn’t be much of a spotlight if I didn’t name one or two drivers specifically, so here goes:
I’ll be watching a couple of guys who had some very strong runs in the first Classico race this year, which at the time, were eyebrow-raising performances. Both Derek Esquibel and Andrew Lemons put in some stellar performances in June, and now with a lot more seat time under their belt, it will be interesting to see how they do the second time around.
I also am keeping an eye on Bill Kreig, who currently sits 7th in points, and is only 71 points out of the fifth and final awarded podium spot. The last time he came back from missing a round it was round #5, and on Classico. He finished 2nd…
The Overall Championship: All eyes on Cook; 5 others ready to pounce…
Heading into Saturday, things are looking pretty good for KC Cook: He is atop the point standings with a 51 point lead, is fresh off a win last round, and is returning to the course where he picked up his first career win and took home his biggest point haul ever. In fact, if Cook can extend his point lead by 30 points or more, he will clinch the title one round early, even with already missing a race this season…
Behind him is a pack of five of the best drivers in Sport Karting, all of whom are within striking distance, especially since not a single driver has a really strong throw out to fall back on. Case in point, Sergio Bravo: Point leader heading into last month, Bravo had a rough day and basically matched his best throw out, and in turn went from 15 points in the lead, to 51 astern and in second. A 66 point swing…
This scenario of course could play out for any of the drivers fighting for the title, and there isn’t a one of them that hasn’t already thought of that. Cook may have the lead, and the advantage heading in, but if this season has taught us anything, it is that anything can happen, and nobody can afford to rest on their laurels…
Overall Top 10 Heading Into Round #10
1. KC Cook 2665
2. Sergio Bravo -51
3. Logan Calvin -70
4. Darren Mercer -72
5. Taylor Hays -80
6. Miles Calvin -95
7. Bill Kreig -151
8. Jon Kimbrell -169
9. Jay Schreiber -187
10. Jerott King -279
The Masters Championship: Bravo can clinch; The battle for 3rd tightens up…
While Sergio Bravo sees himself as the challenger, and the one chasing the point lead in the overall standings, he is well out front in the Masters division, and has a shot at clinching the title on Saturday. Already holding a 136 point advantage over his rival Jay Schreiber, Bravo can leave CalSpeed on Saturday as the three time consecutive Masters Champion, regardless of what his competition does, if he scores 373 points or more, something he has done four times already this season…
That said, Schreiber is still in this thing mathematically, but he will need to have a pair of stellar rounds to do so, and will need the usually consistent Bravo to have more rounds like he did last month. His 300+ point advantage over 3rd place is a bit of a comfort however, and will allow him to focus only on attacking and gaining points, and not defending 2nd place.
The real fight in this category however, is between “The Daves”, specifically David Kelmenson and Dave Messimer, who right now are all but tied for the third spot in the class. Kelmenson holds a slim 2-point advantage heading into the penultimate round, and has been putting up solid numbers all season, especially lately when Messimer had been absent. For his part, Messimer has actually slightly outscored Kelmenson on most occasions, just not consistently enough to be the one in front at the moment. Heading into the round #10, it will be about keeping the other guy behind them, and if not, keeping them close by so as to not lose too many points, and a shot at it in the final round. These two are so close it is hard to see who has the upper hand, and it is truly an “any given Sunday” kind of battle…
Masters Top 5
1. Sergio Bravo 2614
2. Jay Schreiber -136
3. David Kelmenson -438
4. Dave Messimer -440
5. Ben Blank -571
The Rookie Championship: Starting to look like a two horse race…
While round #9 was definitely a telling one for many championship hopes, and battles throughout the standings, it may not have had a bigger impact then in the fight for Rookie Of The Year…
Steve Spring put up a decent round, and was able to stave off the charge from most of his challengers, with only one exception: Justin Tolman. Tolman was able to take out another 50+ points out of Spring’s lead, and now sits well within striking distance, especially if he can do more of the same here in round #10. This fight is one of the few that doesn’t have ‘possible clinch’ attached to it, and that makes it all the more exciting. Looking at the point totals from the top two contenders, it looks like a punch, counter punch fight to the end, with either one showing advantage at any given point throughout the year. It now truly looks to be a mano-e-mano fight to the end, with this Saturday being a true stage setter if there ever was one.
New for 2013 is the fact we will be awarding the top three in this class with trophies, not just the top rookie, and the fight for the 3rd and final podium spot in this class is a big one. Ian Enz currently sits in the third spot, but has a stellar group of talent behind him in Chalres Eichlin, Michael Wojdat, and Andrew Lemons. Each one of these guys has shown to be the cream of the crop from one round to the next, and it really is anyone’s guess how it will turn out.
Top Rookie Contenders
1. Steve Spring 1775
2. Justin Tolman -72
3. Ian Enz -167
4. Charles Eichlin -218 (-51)
5. Michael Wojdat -221 (-54)
6. Andrew Lemons -249 (-82)
The Heavy Class: Jasinski vs Arnold; the epic title fight continues…
The knock-down, drag-out fight that is the Heavy Class Championship has entered the final two rounds with the narrowest of margins, as Mike Arnold leads Steve Jasinski now by a mere 15 points. This is one of the most exciting parts of the 2013 Super Series, which is quite interesting to say, given how the season progressed in this class. Like the other title fights, this one will also most likely come down to the last round, and this month may serve as the stage setter for an epic finale in three weeks time…
Position Battle Spotlight: Top 10 and Top 20
The fight for tenth swapped spots once again, as Jerott King retook the final top 10 spot after coming home 4th overall last month, and bringing in 355 points. This bodes well for King too, as he was on the podium when were last on Classico, and any padding in the points is a good thing in a position battle this close.
For Kirk Feldkamp this will be his first Classico appearance, as he was unable to attend the race in June. With only 24 points between the two, it will be the little things that separate these two, and every position on track will count to say the least…
The Top 20 has a little different look to it, as some drivers have missed rounds late in the season, and have slipped down the points. As this will most likely be happening again this round, the top 20 fight now sees Jose da Silva, Bruce Allen, Ben Morse, and rookie leader Steve Spring all within striking distance of a “top 20 finish”.
8. Jon Kimbrell +110
9. Jay Schreiber +92
10. Jerott King 2386
11. Kirk Feldkamp -24
12. David Kelmenson -210
19. Ben Blank +147
20. Nick Haye 1896
21. Jose da Silva -69
22. Bruce Allen -113
23. Ben Morse -118
24. Steve Spring -121
Spotlight: Top 15 Battle…
This thing is ridiculously close, and there really is nothing that I can predict here, other than it will be a blast to watch unfold. In this group we have a group of drivers that ranges from National Champions to the new and upcoming in the sport, and it has been a lot of fun to watch the progression throughout the season.
12. David Kelmenson +45
13. Dave Messimer +43
14. Jonathon Vitolo +35
15. Chris Huerta 2133
16. Henry Morse -52
17. Derek Esqui -55
18. Rene Hourian -61
19. Ben Blank -90
Spotlight: The top 35 Battle…
Being inside the top 35 in points means you are more often than not in the top half of the field, which in a field that’s talent pool is as deep as the Super Series, is saying something. As it is with these extremely close point battles, there is very little to predict here for this round, but I will be taking an even closer look for the finale.
31. Jeff Latimer +93
32. Rodney Bryant +39
33. Mike Arnold +23
34. Steve Jasinski +8
35. Vince Burke 1433
36. Brian Starr -20
37. Cameron Rose -50
38. Chris Carter -68