Tuesday, September 6th kicked off the fall Adult Racing League at Mt Kisco’s Grand Prix NY. With 34 racers divided into 3 weight categories, this season is shaping up to be great. A new wrinkle this season is the reconfiguration of the various tracks after the addition of bowling lanes this summer. The format for this season is a 10 minute qualifying session followed by two 35 lap heats. The starting grid is inverted for the second heat and the top three finishers all add weight – 1st place adds 30lbs, 2nd place adds 20lbs and 3rd place adds 10lbs. In addition, the kart you draw at the beginning of the night is the one you have for the duration of the evening, except if you have mechanical issues. The three weight classes this season are GTU – 175lbs, GTO 205lbs and GTBB 245lbs.
First up this evening was the GTU group and with 12 drivers on the new tighter and more technical uptown track, a premium was placed on qualifying. That being said, it was difficult for the drivers to get a clean lap as there were only eight tenths separating 1st through 12th in the field. Grabbing pole was newcomer Jonathan Lally with a time of 24.549. Following him was Steve Eickelbeck who was just a tick off Lally’s time with a 24.580. At the drop of the green, Eickelbeck was able to slip past Lally to grab the point while behind them, Phil Paraggio and Gary Megennis battled back and forth for third position. With this configuration being so tight, penalties were sure to be handed out and David Lapham won the dubious distinction of being the first to earn a black flag on the 4th lap. At the end, Eickelbeck held off Lally by 1.43 seconds for the first victory of the season. Lally, however, grabbed fastest lap of the heat and a bonus point with a time of 24.141. In the second heat, Lapham started from pole with another newcomer, John Cappabianca second. In the second row were league veterans Roland Krainz and John Sweeney. When the green dropped Lapham was able to hold onto first while Cappabianca got sideways and dropped to fourth. Making the most of the mayhem was Mark Eickelbeck who rocketed up to second on lap one from his fifth starting position and was by Lapham to take the lead on lap two. He would never relent and took his first victory of the season. Behind him, Ross Pisarkiewicz was battling with Krainz for third and was able to get by him on lap 11. The next lap he slipped past Lapham with a slick outside move in the hairpin to take second. A few laps later Krainz was able to get third and that is how they would finish. Mark Eickelbeck also won the honors of fastest lap for GTU with a time of 24.140.
The next group to qualify was GTO and this group has a couple of GTU guys weighing up to mix it up in this class. Last season’s champion and runner up, Bobby Sayers and Ennis Bragg had a great battle for pole position which Ennis eventually earned with a time of 24.256. Splitting the two was Andrew Wood who was 3 tenths off of Bragg’s time and a tenth ahead of Sayers. At the start, Sayers quickly dispatched Wood and had Bragg in his sights. By the fifth lap he was right on his tail and hounded Bragg until a back marker opened up an opportunity for Sayers. Not to be outdone, Bragg slipped back past Sayers on the final lap to earn the victory. Sayers was able to take solace in setting the fastest lap and new track record in the process with a time of 24.053. The second heat had the top three weighted up and inverted the grid. That put newcomers Anthony Digrigo on pole and Patrick Bartosiwiecz second. Tom Caspar, coming from the second row was able to muscle his get into first place and held off a charging Alex Eickelbeck to take his first victory of the season. Michael Cohen rounded out the podium.
The final group this evening was GTBB. Returning veterans Cory Rossi and Rauert Peters were on the front row. Rossi’s pole winning time was a respectable 24.731. At this point in the evening Mother Nature would play a role as severe thunderstorms pounded the area. A small drip started in the second apex of the downhill corkscrew and made for to unexpectedly slippery conditions! At the start, Rossi and Peters both hit the wet patch and slid very wide as well as the rest of the field behind them. On the next lap Rossi again hit the patch and slid but Peters was able to straddle the spot and get past Rossi for the point. Behind them league vets Dave Harmon and Adrian Salageneau tried getting under Rossi as well, but Rossi held them off going into the hairpin to keep second place. Rossi, who was a tick faster than Peters, was not able to get by and Peters grabbed his first victory of the season. Harmon was able to hold off Salageneau for third. Rossi earned a point for setting fast lap with a time of 24.546. Heat two had newcomer David Mellor on pole with Gary Proft second. The second row was Michael Cohen and Adrian Salageneau. At the drop everyone tried to position themselves to avoid the water and that left open some passing opportunities. Proft was quickly be Mellor for point while Harmon got past
Salageneau and Cohen on lap one and was into second on lap 2. He tried chasing down Proft, but Proft motored away for a flag to flag victory and set fastest lap in the process with a time of 24.459.
Next week will be held on the new downtown configuration, which will offer new challenges as no one has had a chance to run it yet.
Written By: Dave Harmon