Trying to beat the clock against the impending downpour, the fourth race of the 2016 Atlanta Motorsports Park Kart Championship Series was fairly fast-paced. In the name of time efficiency, many classes that were close in speed were combined in the afternoon, providing the drivers with the added challenge of more karts on the racetrack than usual. This change forced the even the fastest drivers to put their racecraft to the test in order to claim the top step of the podium.
Bryce Sanders (Maverick / IAME) has been the driver to beat in the TaG Rookie class for 2016. He has taken all three race wins thus far in the season and set himself up for another victory in the fourth round of the championship in qualifying. He did just that by taking the pole with a near three second margin over the rest of the field, with his next closest challenger being Christian Foster (Birel / Rotax). Foster’s speed increased throughout the day, but after a DNF in the Pre Final his hopes of winning were dashed away in a bad crash late in the Final. This left Cooper Van Wingerden (DR / Rotax), Gianlucca Tiberia (FA Kart / IAME), and Vincent Capitillo (Tony Kart / IAME) then battled for the runner-up spot, with Tiberia’s quiet consistency allowing him to slip onto the second step of the podium. Van Wingerden was able to hold off Capitillo at the end for third.
Just as with Bryce Sanders in TaG Rookie, Raiden Nicol (Tony Kart / IAME) has been unstoppable in the TaG Cadet division. He qualified on pole over returning AMP racer Brooke Shambo (Tony Kart / IAME). Shambo would increase her pace throughout the day to rival Nicol in lap times, but Nicol’s experience and flawless drive in the Final put him through to victory by nearly fifteen seconds. Shambo finished the day in second while Nicholas Daniell (OK1 / IAME) rounded out the podium.
Being the only entry in the class due to the threat of rain, Nicholas Pearson (DR / IAME) scored his highest point total yet in the TaG Junior class. By doing so, Pearson has been able to throw his name into the championship pool to try and contend for his first AMP Kart Championship Series Title.
After three consecutive podium finishes in 2016, it appeared Brian Katz (Tony Kart / IAME) was finally ready to stake his claim at the top step of the podium on Saturday. His charge to the top spot began in qualifying where he took the pole by just under four tenths of a second over Mike Marmurowicz (Merlin / IAME). Marmurowicz got the jump off the start, though, as he led the first nine laps in the Pre Final. However, Katz remained on his tail and struck on the final lap to take the win and the pole for the main event.
Fighting mechanical woes early, Marmurowicz fell into the grasp of the rest of the pack before retiring on as the group approached the halfway point in the Final. Second place then went to Aidan Johnson (DR / IAME) before he was forced to DNF as well, surrendering the silver medal to Brent Brooks (Birel / Rotax). Round 3 winner Mike Bruce (Arrow / Rotax) methodically clawed his way back up the order after a DNF in the Pre Final to finish in third.
Todd Shambo (Arrow / IAME) made a statement in qualifying for the TaG Master class, putting his Arrow chassis on the pole by over six and a half tenths of a second over Lon Washburn (Top Kart / IAME). Another second back found third place Donald Davis (Arrow / Rotax), who struggled a bit to keep up with the two leaders in the Pre Final. Both gaps closed slightly in the Pre Final-turned-Final, but there was no change in position as Shambo cruised to victory on his first start in the 2016 season. Washburn and Davis both closed the gap to Jose Garcia (DR / IAME) in the championship, although Garcia still holds the top spot.
LO206 Senior / LO206 Junior
In Senior qualifying, John Nichols (Margay) barely nabbed the pole away from Adam Phillips (Razor) with less than half of a tenth of a second separating the two for the top spoT. This led to a back and forth all-out duel in the rain-shortened afternoon, with the Pre Final being turned into the Final. Phillips eventually took the point on Lap 5 and, while Nichols did make numerous attempts to not only take but hold on to the lead, Phillips would lead every lap from then onto the finish to take his first win of the 2016 season. Nichols found himself the bridesmaid for the second race in a row, losing a few points of his lead to Phillips in the process. Jose Garcia (DR) rebounded from his troubles in TaG Master to take the third spot, just under a second behind the two leaders. Meanwhile in the Junior division, Spencer Bush’s (Ionic Edge) outright speed was not enough to avoid being plagued with a mechanical failure, as his retirement surrendered the class victory to Nicholas Pearson (Praga).
More about Karting at Atlanta Motorsports Park:
Atlanta Motorsports Park is a motorsports members’ club that hosts kart races open to the public once month throughout the year along with other scattered public events. The fifth round of the AMP Kart Championship Series will take place on August 20th, less than three weeks away.
For more information on kart racing at Atlanta Motorsports Park as well as registration for the second round of the AMP Kart Championship Series, click here.