21 Jul Event Coverage: Ignite Race #5 Recap
The Ignite Series reach the penultimate race that marks the halfway mark on July 11th for round 5 of the 2015 points series. Championship battles have been taking shape over the last few rounds while some drivers are hoping to expand their lead and others are hoping to cut it down. For the second’s race in a row, competitors had the gift of sunny skies and warm temperatures, forcing the chassis set-ups from the first few round to need further dialing. Who would make the correct adjustments and land themselves on the podium and gain valuable points toward their championship chase?
REID SWEENY – IGNITE ROOKIE WINNER
Ignite Rookie took the track first with Nolan Baltz leading the field to the green. The first lap saw a jostle for positions where Reid Sweeny emerged as the point man, leading the field to their second lap. Evan Zarbo slotted into second and Baltz held on to third position. Sweeny didn’t have the fastest kart on track, clocking only a 36.530, but it was enough to hold on for a first heat victory over Zarbo by 0.775 seconds. Baltz retained the quickest lap of the race with a 36.322 despite having to settle for third. Heat 2 featured Sweeny starting from a familiar pol position. Zarbo got the holeshot and would assume the point for the field’s first lap, followed by Sweeny and Baltz. Sweeny was turning quick laps early and was able to make his move for the lead on lap 3, moving Zarbo back to second. Approaching the white flag, the lead two made contact in the back sections, allowing Baltz to assume the point, which he would hold until the end of the race. Sweeny would cross the line in second, but because of the contact, the officials placed him behind Zarbo in the final order. Tensions were high and points were on the line as Baltz lead the field to the green flag for their Final. As he always does, Sweeny got the jump off the line and assumed the lead for their first lap, with Baltz following close behind. Zarbo was on the move, setting the fastest lap of the race with a 36.195 and taking the second spot from Baltz on lap 5. Unfortunately, Sweeny was too much for the field, taking the victory over Zarbo by a narrow 0.398. Baltz would be forced to settle for the final podium position.
COLTEN DUDICI – IGNITE SENIOR WINNER
The Ignite Senior class was missing the two top contenders of Nick Todtenhaupt and Ryan Bettenhausen. The door was open, and the points were on the table. Heat 1 had Demarcus Furlow lead the field to their first green flag lap of the day. Round 4 winner Austin Blair was able to assume the point on the first lap, followed by Furlow and Phillip Pennel. Colten Dudici, currently 3rd in the championship, knew that there were points available, and he decided to make the most of them. Dudici started the race on the outside of row 1, but after some contact on lap 1 was relegated all the way into 6th position. Hard work and the proper set-up saw Dudici maintain the class of the field, moving up to second by lap 4. The race for victory was on, as Dudici made his move on Blair on lap 6, only to have Blair snatch it back on lap 8. Dudici used his Ignite experience to his advantage, securing the top spot back on lap 9 where he would hold on for the win by only 0.549 over Pennell. Blair was pushed back to third, followed by Ryan Rethy and Paul Fodde. Heat 2 had Paul Fodde and Ryan Rethy pace the field to the green flag. Blair got another monster start from row 2 and jumped into the lead position on lap one, followed by Fodde, Dudici and Rethy. Once again, Dudici was on the move, grabbing the point on lap 3 from Blair and was able to cruise to a 1.855 second win, setting the fastest lap of the race with a 35.518. Blair was the runner up followed by Rethy, Pennel and Fodde. Double wins in the heats and a pair of runner up finishes put Dudici and Blair on the front row for the final. Dudici snagged the holeshot and put on a fast lap clinic, setting quick times lap after lap until ultimately claiming his first Ignite series victory by a 3.383 second margin over Blair, who ran second all race. Phillip Pennel crossed the line in third, Rethy in fourth and Fodde rounding out the fast five. Demarcus Furlow set his fastest time of the season in sixth with a 36.173.
EVAN STAMER – IGNITE JUNIOR WINNER
The Ignite Junior class was next on track, with point’s leader Evan Stamer leading the field to the green for Heat 1. On the opening circuit, Stamer was bested by Trevor Lovatto, who took control of the lead. The trio up front of Lovatto, Stamer and Roosevans ran nose to tail for the majority of the race, ultimately remaining unchanged with Lovatto grabbing the win. Davis Worley edged out Hailey Todtenhaupt for the fourth and fifth positions. Heat 2 saw Todtenhaupt and Gage Rucker lead the field to the green flag. Davis Worley was able to get a great jump and assume the point coming around to complete the first circuit, with Todtenhaupt and Roosevans in pursuit. Roosevans charged around Todtenhaupt and Worley on lap 4 to take the lead. Heat 2 winner Trevor Lovatto was forced to retire. Roosevans was able to claim the win a mere 0.151 seconds over Stamer, who worked his way up the field and too the back bumper of Roosevans only to come up a fraction short. Worley finished in third, Rucker in fourth and Todtenhaupt rounded out the fast five. The points were tallied and the field was set to do battle for the Final. Stamer brought the field to the green but it was Roosevans who claimed the lead for the opening lap. Lovatto bounced back from a DNF in the second heat to slot into the third position. As he has done many times already this season, Stamer remained patient for his opportunity. On lap 4, Stamer made a move for the lead and successfully lead his first lap of the Final. Stamer put his head down and the two karts behind began to fight for position, allowing him to open up a small gap. Lovatto worked by Roosevans on lap 8, but the margin to the lead was too large. Stamer claimed another victory, extending his points lead for the season. Lovatto put on a charge, setting fast lap with a 35.155 but was forced to settle for second. Roosevans wound up third, followed by Todtenhaupt and Worley.
ROD SCHARF – IGNITE MASTERS WINNER
The Ignite Masters was the last ground to take the course for their races. Tim Adcock led the field around for the green alongside Royce Payton. Payton was able to assume the point with Adcock, Mike Lebrun and Robert Davis in tow. Jean Roux was on the move early in the race, working byJon Vernier and Robert Davis to take over the fourth position by lap 3, which he then handed over to Rod Scharf on lap 4. Meanwhile at the front, Lebrun was able to work around Adcock on lap 8. The race would at the top would remain unchanged, with Payton claiming the win over Lebrun by a handy 3.547 seconds. Scharf worked by Adcock on the final circuit to claim the firth spot and Mark Hudspeth rounded outthe top five. Heat 2 had some big shoes to fill, as Rod Scharf and Mark Hudspeth lead the field down the starting lanes. Scharf grabbed the point with Hudspeth slotting into second. Roux would fall to Vernier on lap 1, but would regain the third position on lap 2. Adcock was up to forth from sixth on the grid. Heat 1 runner up Mike Lebrun was forced to retire after contact with another kart on lap 2. The front remained unchallenged, as Scharf lead wire to wire to claim his first heat victory by a 2.208 second margin over Hudspeth. Roux finished in third, followed by Payton and Vernier. The Final grid was set and Scharf and Payton lead the field to the line. After some contact, Scharf emerged with the lead followed by Hudspeth. Pole sitter Payton was pushed all the way back to seventh position. Roux worked by Hudspeth on lap 3 and set his sights on the Scharf. Payton was able to regain his composure and work his way up to third by lap 3. Scharf remained focused and in the end, unchallenged as his crossed the finish line in first position with a 2.213 second margin. Payton put the moves on Roux on the final lap, claiming the quickest circuit of the race with a 36.234. Roux settled for third, followed by Lebrun and Adcock.
Round 6 of the Ignite Series is set to take place on August 1st and marks the halfway point of the season.. Point’s battles are heating up, but with drop races it is still anyone’s race. New members are joining the scene which is sure to shake up championship fights all across the series. For more information on how to get involved with the Ignite Series, or to test drive and Ignite kart, please contact the Gateway Kartplex at 618-219-8515 or visit gatewaykartplex.com.