Brad Dunford scored his fourth PKC victory on the year to earn his first regional title (Photo: dromophotos.com)
Created on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 08:00
Aluminos, a professional karting operation, tackled the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge West Coast Shootout over the August 12-13 weekend at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Southern California. Seven drivers flew the Aluminos in seven different categories with two coming home with gold. S1 Pro Stock Moto driver Brad Dunford continues to shine in 2011, adding a fourth regional victory on the year and clinching the series title. Master driver Peter Workum accumulated enough points at the Shootout event to score the G1 series championship.
Dunford positioned himself in the right position out of the trailer. One to find a solid qualifying lap throughout the year, Dunford posted the second quickest lap of the session (47.611), just 22-thousandths off the pole position time. Through the opening heat race, Dunford held his second position after a 10-lap run, matching pace with the polesitter lap after lap. At the start of heat two, Dunford grabbed the holeshot and battle for the lead till the end, coming up just short to finish second once again despite leading seven of the 10 laps. Once the main event began, Dunford set his eye on the prize. Leading all but the first lap, Dunford scored his fourth regional victory of the season to lock up his first regional title.
Peter Workum drove to championship in the G1 division (Photo: dromophotos.com)
Workum elected to move to the G1 category from S4 to take on a new challenge in the open engine category. Though entry numbers were not as expected, Workum and the Aluminos crew worked closely to continue the development of the race package and Peter’s skills behind the wheel. Workum put down a solid lap in qualifying and transferred that into two heat wins. Unfortunately, he was forced to miss the feature race due to a scheduling issue. However, Workum had earned enough points to clinch the series championship.
Making the trip from Colorado, SKUSA Pro Tour two-time winner Cory Milne joined the Aluminos squad in Buttonwillow to take on a strong S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto field. With a roster reflecting a small Pro Tour lineup, Milne was up to the challenge on-track. Hitting the course for qualifying, however, Milne misplaced his timing transponder and was unable to record a time despite having the pace to battle for the pole position. This placed him 17th on the grid for the opening heat race. A solid two opening laps to heat one put Milne inside the top-10 in class, eventually finishing sixth after 10 laps. He advanced further in heat two, putting down strong opening laps and moved to the second position on the penultimate lap to earn an outside row one starting position for the main event. Clean off the grid to start the feature, Milne settled into the second spot. In the runner-up spot for the majority of the race, he was tracked down by another competitor in the closing laps. Despite a valiant effort, Milne was pushed back to third in the final circuit to end up on the third step of the podium.
Colorado driver Cory Milne stood on the podium in the S2 category (Photo: dromophotos.com)
Carrying the Aluminos banner in the S4 Master Stock Moto category on the day was Phil Dunford. The SoCal driver was not happy with his early pace, posting the seventh fastest lap in qualifying. Once the racing action began, Dunford rose to the occasion. A great opening lap put Phil up to the fourth spot, where he would finish. Steady with his lap times, Dunford got another great star to begin heat two, holding on to finish fourth. Through the first half of the 20-lap main event, Dunford seized the fourth spot until engaging in a battle for the second half of the feature. At the checkered, Dunford would lose one spot to the newly-crowned class champion and held on to finish fifth.
TaG Master Pro Tour championship contender Larry Fraser once again stepped up to the plate, competing in the TaG Senior division to better his pace in preparations for the SuperNationals. Qualifying sixth, Fraser advanced to finish fifth in both heat races. A tight clash for the fourth spot included a number of drivers with Fraser right in the mix. After 20 laps of battle, Fraser ended up finishing seventh, besting two other Master drivers in the field.
Todd Wilson continued to make strides in the S3 Novice category. Running inside the top-five, a lagging rib injury took Wilson out of contention toward the end of the event. TaG Master driver Ryan Rush also showed well in Buttonwillow. After a poor qualifying run, Rush stepped up to advance through the heat races, placing 11th and seventh. When the main event rolled around, the over 100-degree heat took its toll on Rush as he eventually fell off the pace and retired early. The effort however was did not go un-noticed, in just his third karting event with the team.
Thanks to Aluminos, Phil Dunford has made strides each and every weekend on and off the track (Photo: dromophotos.com)Aluminos Driver Spotlight - Phil Dunford
The S4 Master Stock Moto division has flourished under the Aluminos tent and Phil Dunford is just one of those drivers. Getting his start in karting after visiting the Adams Kart Track, Dunford bought three karts at Christmas 2000 for him and his family. From there, the Dunford family was regular racers for four years until meeting Rob Soares of Aluminos. From that point, he and his son - Brad Dunford - began working with the experienced operation, taking on the regional and national level of competition.
Dunford has progressed from a regular club racer to a national contender at the Master level. He scored his first ProKart Challenge victory in 2010 at Buttonwillow and placed second at the 2010 SKUSA Pro Tour SummerNationals in Shawano, Wisconsin. For 2011, Dunford looked to place inside the top-three in the PKC South championship standings but came up just short, ending the year in fifth with a best finish of fifth (PKC West Coast Shootout). On the Pro Tour, he currently sits seventh in the championship chase with the SuperNationals left to run.
“Aluminos is to thank for the majority of my success over the last four years,” stated Dunford. “Time constraints this season have not allowed me to test more than I would like, making just one test session so far this season aside from race weekend practice sessions. Certainly with the level of competition in S4 this year, that’s not enough to compete for victories. While my results are not what I had hoped, I do believe my driving has improved and I look to take it to the next level with the help of Aluminos. I can’t thank Rob, George, Tom, Tony, Carlos and the entire Aluminos team for their professionalism and the great times we all have.”
Phil will end the season hoping to find more time to get to the track and test to ensure respectable finishes at the upcoming Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix in October and the SKUSA Pro Tour finale - SuperNationals XV in Las Vegas come November.