Pro Karting - Giebler Racing's Kiel Spaulding Wins Feature In Gatorz Challenge
TUCSON, Feb. 6, 2012: Phil Giebler Racing’s Kiel Spaulding won the feature in Senior Rotax at the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas Sunday (Jan. 29) at the Musselman Honda Circuit.
Spaulding (above) led all 25 laps on the .75-mile track, winning by 1.882 seconds over Louie Pagano. The 15-year-old from Elk Grove, Calif., also had the fastest lap of the race, 51.541 seconds, an average speed of 52.385 mph.
Spaulding swept Sunday’s event. He was the fastest qualifier and won the pre-final, leading every lap.
“Sunday was perfect,” Spaulding said. “I was glad that we got another shot after what happened on Saturday.”
Spaulding was leading on the final lap in Saturday’s feature, but two corners from the checkered flag, Phil DeLaO attempted a high-risk pass and contact sent both karts off the track. Spaulding got his damaged kart back on the track and finished sixth. Spaulding was fourth fastest in qualifying and finished third in the pre-final. He took the lead at the start from polesitter DeLaO.
“Kiel had a fantastic debut weekend with our team,” Giebler said. “The combination was great. The FA Kart was on rails all weekend, the engine from OGP was very strong and Kiel drove the wheels off it. I think we made only two small adjustments on the chassis from Friday to Sunday.
“On Sunday, Kiel focused his frustrations from Saturday into a clinical display of perfection. We did our homework on Saturday night and came up with some solutions. We hit the track and it all came together Sunday.”
Teammate Mason Daughters, a Level 5 Motorsports development driver from Polo, Mo., finished 15th in Senior Rotax on Saturday and 19th on Sunday. Daughters was 23rd in qualifying and 30th in the pre-final Saturday and 23rd in qualifying and 22nd in the pre-final Sunday.
“Mason had and up-and-down weekend,” Giebler said. “He has been dropped into the deep end of the pool this year with the most competitive classes in the country, the Senior division, and its deep talent pool is going to push him all year. The Rotax Senior class was by far the most competitive class of the weekend.
“Mason had to start in the middle of the (33-kart fields) and that’s where you always have incidents. He got tangled up with another competitor after moving up to 15th in the Saturday pre-final and finished 30th. He came back strong in the 25-lap final to finish 15th. Sunday was also difficult, but in the final he got a great start to move up to 11th in the first three laps after starting 22nd. There was a very late attempt to pass him and the driver made contact and gave Mason a flat rear tire. He still managed to continue and finished 19th. Mason showed great determination in dealing with the tire problems.”
The Gatorz Challenge of the Americas is a three-round, six-event West Coast competition that is part of the path to qualifying for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. The next round is Feb. 24-26 in Phoenix, Ariz.