26 Aug Event Coverage: Ignite Race #7 Recap
The seventh round of the 2015 Ignite Series began the second half of the season and the championship race. Drivers who had a bad weekend or two were looking to rebound and remount a championship charge, while current points leaders were driving to extend their lead over their counterparts.
REID SWEENY – IGNITE ROOKIE WINNER
The first class to take the track was the Ignite Rookies. Nolan Baltz led the field to the line, hoping that pole position for the first heat would allow him the clean air he needed to cruise to victory. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as outside pole sitter Evan Zarbo would grab the point on the opening circuit, followed by Dan Sensel and Baltz. Reid Sweeny was able to move around Baltz on lap 2 to take over the third spot. Zarbo would remain unchallenged until lap 4, where Sensel would take over the lead. The order would remain unchanged with Sensel taking the win over Zarbo, followed by Sweeny, Baltz and Hunter Pruitt. Heat 2 saw Sweeny grab the hole shot from pole position, followed closely by Sensel and Baltz. The running order would remain unchanged for the next 9 laps with Sweeny taking the win over Sensel, Baltz, Zarbo and Pruitt. The Final featured Sensel leading the field to the green flag for lap one, only to be overtaken by Sweeny down the back straight. After losing ground on the opening laps, Zarbo would take the third position from Baltz by lap 4. Sweeny was unchallenged and claimed victory over Sensel by 0.381 at the line. Zarbo would settle for third, followed closely by Baltz and Pruitt.
NICK TODTENHAUPT – IGNITE SENIOR WINNER
The Ignite Senior class has had some new faces at the front over the past few weeks, but Nick Todtenhaupt looked to reassert himself at the top. Heat 1 would start as planned for Todtenhaupt, as he spun in the opening corner, leaving Ryan Bettenhausen at the front, leading Colten Dudici and Tyler Stamer. Todtenhaupt put his head down, taking over 4th position from Demarcus Furlow on lap 3 and third from Stamer on lap 4. Contact between Dudici and Bettenhausen on lap 7 helps close the gap further. On lap 8, Todtenhaupt again found the point over Dudici and Bettenhausen. It was no easy ride from there, as contact with Dudici handed the lead to Bettenhausen again. On the final lap, Todtenhaupt retook the lead over Bettenhause, followed by Fodde, Furlow and Dudici. Heat 2 would feature less fireworks, as Todtenhaupt gained the lead on the opening circuit and never look back. The win was not easily obtained, as Bettenhause trailed his bumper by only 0.183, setting the fasted lap of the race with a 35.115 in the process. Dudici ended in third followed by Furlow and Fodde. The Final would see Todtenhaupt gain the advantage on lap 1, where he would cruise to a 5.004 second victory. The fight behind wasn’t so easy. Bettenhausen would gain the second position ahead of Dudici on the start. Contact between the two would send them both down the order on lap 3, handing their positions to Stamer and Furlow respectively. Dudici would charge back up to second by lap 6, but Bettenhausen would be forced to retire on lap 8. Furlow would hold on for third, his first podium of the season, followed by Stamer.
EVAN STAMER – IGNITE JUNIOR WINNER
Hoping for less fireworks than their Senior co-racers, the Junior class took to the track for their first heats. Evan Stamer, in an effort to assert his dominance over his championship rivals, would make a run from the back of the field for the first heat. They crossed the line on lap 1 with Davis Worley leading, Stamer already up to second, Hailey Todtenhaupt third and Grant Palmer fourth. Stamer was able to gain the lead on lap 3, set down some blistering laps and run to a 5.337 second victory. Worley would cross the line in second, followed by Todtenhaupt and Palmer. Stamer had an easier second heat, leading wire to wire from pole position, ultimately ending with a 7.398 second victory over Todtenhaupt. Palmer took over third on the opening lap and remained unchallenged by Worley for the remainder of the race. The Final saw Stamer grab the point on lap 1 followed by Worley and Todtenhaupt. Palmer was forced to retire on lap 14, and the top 3 would remain unchanged, with Stamer claiming another victory and extending his championship lead.
MIKE LEBRUN – IGNITE MASTERS WINNER
The Ignite Masters have had the most diverse field of podium finishers so far this year, and they are definitely the class to watch. Heat 1 was a wild start to the night, with Jon Vernier taking the lead from Tim Adcock on lap1, followed by Mike Lebrun and Mark Hudspeth. Lebrun was on the move, taking second position from Adcock on lap 5 and the lead from Vernier on lap 8. Hudspeth followed suit, taking over third from Adcock on lap 7. They would end in that order, with Lebrun claiming the win over Vernier, Hudspeth, Jean Roux and Robert Davis. Heat 2 had Hudspeth grab the top spot on the opening circuit, with Royce Payton, Vernier, Roux and Adcock in tow. Payton made his move on lap 4 and never looked back, eventually claiming a narrow 0.689 second victory over Hudspeth. Vernier would settle for third, Lebrun for fourth and Roux for fifth. Many driver proved to have the speed, so the final was going to be a must watch. After the green flag dropped, pole sitter Mike Lebrun was off, followed closely be Hudspeth and Vernier. Payton would not be denied a podium result, as he moved past Vernier on lap 4 for third position. The lead two had built a gap, and Payton began setting purple times on his charge to the front. Ultimately, it was not enough, as Lebrun claimed the victory by a narrow 0.343 second margin over Hudspeth. Payton settled for third, followed by Vernier and Davis.
Round 8 of the Ignite Series is set to take place on August 29th. 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.