04 Jun Event Coverage: Ignite Series Race #3 Recap
After being off for over a month due to a rain cancelled race #2, competitors were anxious to get back on track. Unfortunately, race #3 was plagued by many of the same issues. After a brief shower, some quick decision making by the staff and some brooms racers were able to hit the track for their heat races.
SPIKE KOHLBECKER – IGNITE JUNIOR WINNER
The Ignite Junior class, which is stacked with new faces, was the first to take the track for their heat races. Spike Kohlbecker was able to navigate the slick conditions from pole position to take his first heat win in his first race of the year. Trevor Lovatto ran alone in second 1.226 second back from Kohlbecker, while Evan Stamer was able to work by Aidan Roosevans on lap 4 to round out the podium. Connor Skinner would finish his first race of the year in fifth. The second heat was ran on a drying track, which brought chassis set up into play. Ignite newcomer Hailey Todtenhaupt would lead the field to the green, followed closely by Stamer and Davis Worley. Kohlbecker jumped from fifth to third on the opening lap behind Stamer and Todtenhaupt. By lap 3, both Kohlbecker and Stamer made a pass on Todtenhaupt who fell all the way back to sixth. Stamer put a late pass on Kohlbecker on the final circuit to take the win, followed closely by Kohlbecker and Lovatto who came all the way from last on the starting grid. Roosevans finished in fourth and Todtenhaupt was able to work by Skinner for the fifth place spot. The final saw Kohlbecker lead the field to the green flag. The clouds began to open up and Kohlbecker used his wet weather experience to his advantage, taking an amazing 17 second victory over Roosevans. Lovatto rounded out the podium in his first race followed by Stamer and Skinner. This puts a twist in the championship chase, as 5-6 drivers have a legitimate shot at taking the title.
NOLAN BALTZ – IGNITE ROOKIE WINNER
The Ignite Rookie class took to the track for their first heat, where pole sitter Evan Zarbo escaped to the early lead. On lap 4, Nolan Baltz used his extensive track time to his advantage and passed Zarbo for the lead where he would remain unchallenged until the checkered flag. Zarbo trailed at the line by only 0.483 with Reid Sweeney rounding out the top three. The second heat, much like the first heat, saw pole sitter Reid Sweeney get the jump where he would cruise to a 3.865 second victory over Evan Zarbo. Hunter Pruitt was slotted in the third spot until Nolan Baltz was able to make the pass for the final podium spot on lap 7, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. Unfortunately, the final was cancelled due to rain, and points were awarded based on the starting grid. Baltz and Sweeney were tied for point, but the win was awarded to Baltz for setting a faster lap in the heats. Evan Zarbo was given the third place trophy and Hunter Pruitt received fourth place points.
NICK TODTENHAUPT – IGNITE SENIOR WINNER
The Ignite Seniors took the track, with many of the usual participants choosing not to compete due to the weather. This opened up the championship points chase for attending drivers to snag some valuable points. Heat one saw current points leader drive to an unchallenged, 3.236 second victory from his pole position starting position. Ryan Bettenhausen was able to get around newcomer Phillip Pennell on lap 1 where he would cruise home in second. Colten Dudici slotted into third on lap 2 and Pennell ended the race in fourth. Heat two was a different story. Bettenhausen started from the pole position this time, but gave up the lead on the first lap to Dudici. Todtenhaupt also got by Bettenhausen on lap 3 and set his sights on Dudici. Nick was able to make his pass for the lead a lap later, and Bettenhausen did the same on lap 5. The final result saw Todtenhaupt take the checkered by 2.940 seconds over Bettenhausen, Dudici and Pennell. Because the final was rained out, Todtenhaupt was awarded first place points, Bettenhausen second, Dudici third and Pennell fourth.
JON VERNIER – IGNITE MASTERS WINNER
The Ignite Masters showed up to play, as 7 drivers took to the track for their heat races. Much like many of the other races, newcomer Jon Vernier was able to use his first place starting position to lead the field for the first lap. Mike Lebrun ran close for the entire race but was never able to make a move on Vernier, eventually settling for second only 0.762 seconds back. Mark Hudspeth was able to make a pass on Robert Davis on lap 5 for third position which he would hold until the checkered flag. Royce Payton was slowly navigating the tough conditions from his fifth place starting spot, passing Davis on lap 8 for the fourth place spot. On the last lap, Jean Roux was also able to get around Davis rounding out the top five. The second heat was packed with action and racers knew that with the weather coming, heat race points were valuable. The race to the green flag saw pole sitter Royce Payton and Mike Lebrun make contact, forcing Lebrun to retire. This allowed Jean Roux to take the lead with Mark Hudspeth in toe. Jon Vernier made the move on Payton on lap 4, but the real challenge was at the front. Roux was able to hold off Hudspeth to capture his first heat race win by a narrow 0.149 seconds. Jon Vernier was trying to play catch up, setting the fastest lap of the race, but would settle for third place. This time is was Robert Davis making the late race pass on Payton on lap 9 who would round out the top five. As expected, the final race was cancelled due to rain, and points were awared to the starting grid positions. This put Jon Vernier at the top of the podium, followed by Jean Roux in second and Mark Hudspeth in third. Mike Lebrun was awarded fourth place points and Royce Payton rounded out the top five.
The next Ignite race is being raced under the lights on Saturday, June 6th with official practice beginning at 5:00pm. This race is a make-up race for the cancelled race #2 (rain).
ABOUT THE IGNITE SERIES
The Ignite program offers affordable entry into karting in an environment with a level playing field for all. Maximize track time and minimize maintenance and costs as you constantly improve your racing skills in an ultra-competitive environment. Factory sealed engines from Briggs Racing and a chassis developed by industry leader Margay Racing combine to provide a platform where the emphasis is solidly on driver development.
For more information on how to get involved in the Ignite Series, please call Keith Scharf at 618-219-8515