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CalSpeed Karting’s Club Series capped off its 8-race season this past weekend, with the championship fight coming down to the very last lap in dramatic fashion. In the end it was Jon Kimbrell earning his second win on the year, but it was Dave Messimer picking up the championship, via his second place finish over rival KC Cook in third.
Heading into the event, the championship was still very much up in the air, as Dave Messimer only held a mere 14 points over Cook, and with the way the points are calculated in the series, there was a myriad of possibilities for them to work out in either driver’s favor. Along with the title contenders, 8 other drivers were on the grid in what would be one of the most competitive fields of the whole season. Unfortunately, there was an obvious omission from the entry list, as Bill Myers was forced to miss the round, but the good news for him was he had already locked out the third place in the championship.
In the morning practice sessions both title contenders looked quite strong, with Kimbrell also right in the mix. Come qualifying however, it was KC Cook scoring his fifth pole position on the year, and with it five valuable bonus points. The gap was now only 9 points…
The drama would continue in the first heat race, as Kimbrell got the better start at the green, and led into the first set of corners, with Cook and Messimer in tow. All three drivers would stay nose to tail, running very equal lap times until lap 7, when things took a bad turn for Cook. Coming around turn #4, smoke began to pour from the left rear tire, as his kart suffered a mechanical issue, and was forced to pull off. He would be awarded points two positions back from where he was running, standard policy for a mechanical issue, but this saw the points gap lengthen to 16 points. Worse yet, he would have to start from the rear of the field in the second heat, which set the stage for one of the best runs seen all year…
The second heat saw Jon Kimbrell lead the field to the green via his win in heat #1, with Messimer along side, and Cook bringing up the rear. In between the title contenders was one of the closest matched groups of drivers seen all season, with 3rd through 8th within about half a second on the time charts. Experience won out at the start however, and Cook was able to leap a pair of drivers straight away, and then dive in deep into turn #4 for fourth. Cook wasn’t done there, getting around Dennis Kimbrell for 3rd just a couple laps later, setting his sights on the leaders. For their part, Messimer and Kimbrell were driving smart, not battling at all, in an attempt to build up a gap to the drivers behind. However, with Cook’s quick moves up to the 3rd spot, he was able to start putting pressure on the duo before they could build said gap, and that’s when Messimer made a move for the lead. He’d overshoot the attempt into turn #4 however, not only allowing Kimbrell to pull the over-under move, but also letting Cook along side. They stayed side by side through to the hairpin, where Cook finished the maneuver; inciting a frustrated nod from Messimer, knowing he had just given up 5 more points. Knowing he needed as many points as possible, Cook then set his sights on the lead, and with a little contact, made the pass stick through turn #4. Cook would hold on for the win, with Kimbrell second and Messimer third. The point’s gap was now just 6 points…
Heading into the 20-lap main, the point scenario was basically whoever beat the other guy would win, with one wrinkle. If Messimer finisher one spot behind Cook, but scored the 5 point bonus for fast lap, he would win by a single point…
From the drop of the green it was a knock-out, drag-out fight amongst the top 3, with Kimbrell pushing for the win, regardless of the championship implications. He would make it to the lead, pushing Cook back to second, with Messimer putting heavy pressure on his rival. On the sidelines, the tension was high, as everyone there was literally watching a mano-e-mano fight to the finish, with the victor taking the championship. After a year’s worth of racing, it was going to come down to this last battle…
Messimer would find his way around Cook for second, but would immediately come under heavy pressure from Cook, who attacked at every opportunity. To the inside of turn #4 he would get along side Messimer, contact, but Messimer would hold on. Then again next lap, this time into the hairpin, again more side to side contact... But Messimer held fast. It was one of the most raw battles seen at CalSpeed in some time; two drivers laying everything on the line, not giving an inch, yet not willing to wreck the other to win the title. It was the definition of hard racing. On the final lap KC tried it once more, throwing it to the inside going into the hairpin, with Dave holding strong to his line, resulting in the hardest contact in the battle. Dave Messimer would yet again hold on, carrying his speed to slot in just in front of KC Cook through the next corner, taking the second spot, and the championship by only 0.214 seconds at the line.
Congratulations to Dave Messimer for winning the 2013 CalSpeed Club Series Championship, KC Cook for taking 2nd, and Bill Myers for scoring a third place overall. Also, a huge thanks to everyone who came out to race the series throughout the year, putting on the best show every round at the Tri-C club races, and just being a great group of drivers to work with. Trophies and awards for the Club Series will be given out during the Season End Banquet Saturday, November 23rd after the Super Series Finale, at Auto Club Speedway.

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