ProKart Challenge West Coast Shootout Report

Jeff Smith continued his 2010 winning streak, scoring the victory in S4 in a come-from-behind fashion (Photo: Tony Leone - sixspeedphotos.com)Coming off a successful trip to the SKUSA SummerNationals in Wisconsin, the Aluminos operation returned home in California and set its sights on claiming titles at the ProKart Challenge West Coast Shootout. The second annual event brought together the two California-based regional programs as a North versus South battle-royal at the Santa Maria Karting Association facility. The team would go home carrying hardware once again as Jeff Smith (S4) and Fernando Diaz (G1) claim victory while Fritz Leesmann stood on the podium in the headline S1 category.

The Aluminos S4 Master Stock Moto contingent has been consistently fast throughout the season with four drivers carrying the colors in Santa Maria in a stacked field of 22 total drivers. Qualifying did not quite go as expected with clear track virtually unobtainable. Jonathan Allen led the way for the squad as his fastest lap put him eighth. Peter Workum, Phil Dunford and Smith were 11th thru 13th respectively. In the opening heat race, Workum retired following an incident which also slowed the pace of Allen in the first lap. Smith however was able to knife his way through unscathed, placing sixth in the end. Dunford followed through, placing ninth. Smith continued forward, gaining two more spots in the second moto while Dunford advanced to sixth in order. Both Allen and Workum recovered lost positions, placing 12th and 13th to line up for the main event.

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SKUSA West Coast Shootout Preview

Aluminos owner Rob Soares (l) has assembled a solid squad to support his operation, including star drivers Tom Dyer (c) and Fritz Leesmann (r) (Photo: Tony Leone - sixspeedphotos.com)In the racing business, there’s nothing like watching a well-formulated plan come together. Success in motorsports is primarily a team accomplishment and, at every stage of the sport from karting to Formula 1, the assembly of a racing squad is critical to its eventual performance. When Aluminos’ Rob Soares set about putting together his karting team he knew that he wanted to surround himself with the right people. The staff line-up that he has put together paid off big-time during the mid-July running of the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals, when the team scored eight podium finishes and a sweep of the S4 podium on Sunday. Fritz Leesmann (S1), Fernando Diaz (G1) and Peter Workum (S4) all scored main event victories during the competitive weekend. Together, they are now looking forward to this weekend’s ProKart Challenge West Coast Shootout in Santa Maria, CA.

“I’m thrilled for my guys and my team and I’m proud of what they’ve done to bring our group to this level,” Soares enthused following the weekend. “We’ve put together an incredible group of guys to support our customers and I know that they have been able to help our racers improve and find the success that they were looking for. Now we’re looking ahead to the West Coast Shootout at Santa Maria and ultimately, the SuperNationals in November.”

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ProKart Challenge South Buttonwillow Report

Phil Dunford earned his first S4 victory in ProKart Challenge competition (Photo: Tony Leone - sixspeedphotos.com)What has been an unprecedented season for the Northern California based Team Aluminos operation, the results from hard work and dedication continue to stream in. With a solid group of 10 drivers representing Team Aluminos, the squad went on attack at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park kart track for the fifth round of the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge South program. Coming away from the SoCal desert track was Aluminos with two victories and three other drivers standing on the podium at the end of the day.

The great story of the weekend for Team Aluminos was the victory by Phil Dunford. The S4 Master Stock Moto driver took on the largest field of the event (16) that included a number of top guns. Working with the Team Aluminos crew for a few years now, Dunford is challenging each and every weekend. After qualifying second, Dunford battled to third in the first heat and scored the victory in the second. After losing the lead for the opening lap of the feature, Dunford retook the lead and continued on to score the victory by nearly six-seconds along with the fast lap credit.

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ProKart Challenge North Round 4 Report

Jeff Smith extended his win streak to four in PKC North S4 competition with his victory this past weekend (Photo: Tony Leone - sixspeedphotos.com)As the 2010 season wears on, Team Aluminos continues to step up to the plate, knocking out home runs event after event. The fourth round of the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge North program was no different with two Team Aluminos drivers scoring victories at the June 12 event while two others recorded top-five results to keep their championship hopes alive. S4 driver Jeff Smith was on-point all event to score his fourth straight feature win in the series as he swept the day while shifterkart rookie Todd Wilson took his first checkered flags of his career in S3.

Smith has been nearly unstoppable in this Aluminos-prepared CRG Stock Honda package. After winning the championship last season in the PKC South region, Smith decided to run closer to home in 2010. Entering the fourth round, Smith was only 10 points shy of a perfect score minus the bonus points for top qualifier in round two. Running the same course Smith claimed two victories during the SKUSA SpringNationals in April, he would lead the way in the qualifying session with a 49.811-lap time to secure the pole position by a slim 25-thousandth of a second. Making some changes to the kart before the first heat, Smith was able to post faster times than his qualifying run to lead all eight laps of the race for the win. Still running times comparable to his qualifying mark, Smith cruised to another heat race win, this time by two-seconds. The Aluminos crew and Smith kept his machine running consistent throughout the day, still posting fast laps of the race en route to victory number four in the series and extending his championship lead.

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