SKUSA: Reno: A. J. Allmendinger rocks the house
RENO, NV â€“ With only a handful of 125cc starts on his resume, the performance delivered by KLS Racingâ€™s A.J. Allmendinger in the Shift Kart Formula S1 class was quite impressive. Running in the Pro division for the first time in 2000, ...
RENO, NV – With only a handful of 125cc starts on his resume, the performance delivered by KLS Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger in the Shift Kart Formula S1 class was quite impressive. Running in the Pro division for the first time in 2000, the diminutive pilot was unstoppable in his MBA as he swept the entire second round of the Superkarts! USA North American ProMoto Tour Pacific Zone, qualifying on pole before winning all three heats and the 27-lap main event. Allmendinger joined the KLS Racing operation in late 1999 to pump up their Formula K1 crew and after winning the final two FK1races of the year and the first of 2000, team owner Scott Jeffrey made the decision to move his hotshoe to the headline class. Allmendinger did not disappoint and has already served notice that he will be gunning for the championship despite missing the first round of the series.
Trackmagic stars Oliver Rowen and Kyle Martin were on pace all weekend and looked to be the only drivers capable of running Allmendinger’s pace. When the Main went green, the three drivers pulled away with Martin slipping into second. A brake problem early in the race kept Martin from staying on the leader’s bumper and after dropping a wheel on the exit of turn four on lap three, Rowen slipped past to take up the chase. With Allmendinger all but out of touch enroute to a 2.996 sec. triumph, Rowen held his cushion over his teammate and cruised to his first FS1 podium finish in only his second 125cc race. Rowen was a top 80cc Formula K1 driver in 1999 and his graduation has been much heralded. Martin would hold on for a strong third place finish, a result that puts him very much among the hunt for the series title and the accompanying #1 plate.
The support races were just as exciting as all three winners took their first ProMoto Tour victories of the year, two of them recording their first career wins on the national circuit. In the CTS Formula K1 class, rookie senior Justin Burns (CRG) broke through to win in only his second class start, walking away from the pack after his main competitors on the weekend were forced out of the picture. Round #1 winner Brett Buckwalter (MBA) fell victim to a failed engine while polesitter Damon Meek (CTS) was forced to come from the tail of the field after he suffered a contact-induced spin while making a move for third. He would recover to take eighth. In the final tally, Curtis Ruth (KGB) turned in a fine result to grab second ahead of young Benny Moon (Emmick).
Travis Irving (Topkart) had hoped to campaign on the ProMoto Tour in 1999 but a packed schedule of events kept him from following the entire circuit. There was no mistaking his focus in 2000 and with the JM Racing Formula S2 championship as his main goal, Irving rebounded from a DNF at the opening round of the series in Phoenix to score his first career Tour victory. Irving was quick all weekend and was poised for a race-long battle with Paul Tracy’s Matt Jaskol before a flat tire put the polesitter on the sidelines. Irving went untouched for the remainder of the distance to score a 2.445 sec. margin over Tommy Contino (Tonykart), the class winner in Phoenix. Jason Bowles (Sodikart) made his first trip to the podium with an impressive run to third.
After an uncharacteristic performance in Phoenix that led to a disappointing 23rd, Traxx/Shift Kart driver Alex Speed (MBA) came back with a vengeance in Reno and smoked the KGB 80 Jr. field throughout the weekend to take a well-deserved victory. The reigning class champion was pressured in the late stages of their 23-lap main by a charging Michael Abbate (Birel), but held on to pull to a 0.921 sec. cushion at the checker. Third in the final tally went to Wade Van Hooser (Topkart), who was impressive in only his second race in the class after a development year in the 60cc Novice division.
The next round of the ProMoto Tour Pacific Zone is scheduled for June 23-25 in Santa Maria, CA. The Atlantic Zone competitors will be heading to their third race of the season first however, when they lock horns in Marshalltown, IA on June 2-4.
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