A huge field of 31 Senior Champ karts came to the 3/8 mile paved oval of Punta Gorda Speedway on July 31 to take their shot at winning Race #2 of the 4th Annual Forida Triple Crown Series, sanctioned by the South East Champ Kart Series.
The race was named the ‘Ron Letourneau Tribute Race’ in honor of Ron Letourneau, who scored his career-best 2nd place finish with the SECKS Series at PGS, when the series last visited on April 3, 2010. However, his joy was short-lived, as Ron was diagnosed with cancer the week following that race.
The 4th Annual Florida Triple Crown is a four-race series, with one drop allowed (to accommodate racers who are chasing points with other series/tracks).
4th Annual Florida Triple Crown Series
April 18 – Citrus County Speedway, Inverness, FL
July 31 – Charlotte Cty Motorsports Park, Punta Gorda, FL
Oct. 9 – Auburndale Speedway, Winter Haven, FL
Dec. 11 – Orlando Speedworld, Orlando – Same night as Charity Truckers 200, – paying $500 to win!
In 2007, Ryan Williams was crowned the 1st Annual FL Triple Crown Champion.
Champion – Chase Fitzgerald
2nd Place – Tara Henderson
3rd Place – JD Cordon
4th Place – Ron Sanford
5th Place – Andy Leserra
In 2009, Dustin Chisholm was crowned the 3rd Annual FL Triple Crown Series Champion
The race was sponsored by:
2010 SECKS Series Sponsors:
VEGA Tires from http://www.TSRacing.com, and
IMPACT Racing Apparel and Products, at http://www.impactraceproducts.com/
J. Hite Exterminating at http://www.hiteexterminating.com,
PBS Sales and Service of Tampa at http://www.pbssalesandservice.com,
TOP DECK Concrete, Inc. of Riverview
National Semi-Trailer at http://www.nationalsemi.com/
MCKINNEY Powder Coating, at http://www.mckinneyracingproducts.com/powder.htm
BS POWERHOUSE Racing Engines at http://bspowerhouse.com/ AlleyCat GRAFIX
Four drivers made their debut with the series. They included Wesley Walker, Trevor Wilson, Drew Carter and Paul Lawson.
Two eight-lap heat races were held, with the odd pill draws running in the first heat, and the even pills in the second.
In the first heat race, Andy “Hot Shoe” Leserra claimed the win, besting a 16-kart field!
In the second heat, Kenner Brown III made his long trek to PGS from North Carolina worthwhile, as he claimed the heat win!
However, many people were watching the kart which started last in the second heat, the #96 kart, of Ron Letourneau. Since Ron is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he asked 3-time SECKS career feature winner Chase Fitzgerald to drive his champ kart. Chase recently sold all of his karting equipment to raise money to purchase a Legends Car, and was honored when Ron asked him if he would be willing to drive in his place. Despite drawing the worst pill at registration, and starting last, Chase raced through the pack, finishing 3rd in the heat.
After the heat races were over, series director Phil Harp met with the two heat race winners in front of his trailer. A dice was thrown to determine the number of rows that would be inverted in the feature. A ’1′ came up, meaning NO INVERSION for the feature!
The feature rolled out onto the track at approximately 7:45pm. The SECKS Series brought a huge contingent of racing family and crew into the pits last night, and many could be seen standing along the turn one fence, and in the main grandstand, standing and cheering as the field circled the track for it’s pace laps.
As a tribute to Ron, Chase pulled the #96 champ kart to the front of the pack, and led the field to the “one to go” signal.
When the green flag flew, the field quickly sorted itself out, as the fast karts began to migrate towards the front. With only one lap down, a multi-kart tangle ensued coming out of turn 4, collecting four karts in the mayhem.
On lap 7, another quick caution flew for a two-kart tangle. However, that would be the last caution the racers would see, as the race would go green to the checkered flag!
Six karts formed a strong lead group, and began to pull away from the pack. This group was a true collection of karting goliaths, and included the 2008 Desoto Super Speedway Late Model points champion Dustin Chisholm, 2-time FKA Champion Tara Henderson, SECKS Feature Winners Doug Schmidt and Kenner Brown III, all-time SECKS Feature Winner (8 wins) JD Cordon, and crowd favorite Chase Fitzgerald in the #96 champ kart.
The halfway leader was Dustin Chisholm, who pocketed a $50 CASH bonus from AlleyCat Grafix, that had been posted for the halfway leader!
As the flagman gave the 2-to-go signal, Dustin Chisholm held the lead, with JD Cordon and Doug Schmidt pushing hard from behind. However, Chase Fitzgerald was getting drafting help from Tara Henderson, and began to inch up alongside Dustin.
When the white flag flew, Chase Fitzgerald and Dustin Chisholm were even, as they moved down the back stretch. As they rounded turn four, Chase surged ahead, beating Dustin to the line by a foot! JD Cordon finished third, while Tara Henderson came home fourth, and Doug Schmidt claimed the 5th place spot.
Congratulations to Chase Fitzgerald for scoring his 4th-career SECKS Victory!
IN ADDITION to the feature winners glass trophy and winners payout of $550 CASH, Chase also collected a free bottle of Nascar Legend Junior Johnson’s LIGHTNING LEMONADE Moonshine, a FREE Vega Tire from TSRacing.com, and a FREE Powder Coating for a set of wheels from McKinneyRacingProducts.com
1) Chase Fitzgerald
2) Dustin Chisholm
3) JD Cordon
4) Tara Henderson
5) Doug Schmidt
6) Ed Brilhante
7) Mitchell Stevens
8 ) Ron Sanford
9) Andy Whah
10) Eric Garey
11) Billy Smith
12) Timmy Moore
13) Mark Clauss
14) Wesley Gonzales
15) Tim Simmons
16) Alan McKinney
17) David Harp
18) Rusty Chancey
19) Darin Coker
20) Drew Carter
21) Tim Ellis
22) Paul Letourneau
23) PJ Letourneau
24) Dennis Mace
25) Wesley Walker
26) Rich Ellis
27) Paul Lawson
28) Trevor Wilson
29) Kenner Brown III – DQ-Lite
30) Andy Leserra – DQ – Rough Driving
31) Chris Ellis – DQ – Rough Driving
If you have any questions about the series, please contact series director Phil Harp at 727-510-5401. Contingency and race sponsorships are always welcomed by Phil for each race. This group is very appreciative of all the race sponsors and supporters for the 2010 season!
Next Race: August 14 at Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, FL Pit Gates open at 2pm, Races Start at 6:00pm – Track Website: www.CitrusCountySpeedway.com
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