Pair of Canucks Eyeing Up a Challenge Championship This Weekend
Spring is here and the final stop of the 2023 Challenge of Americas is set to cap off another great winter of racing south of the border.
Western racers will converge on the beautiful Sonoma Raceway circuit in Sonoma, California for round three of the Challenge. We have a pair of Canucks entering the weekend with a championship on their mind, albeit they are both seeking the same title.
Gabriel Balog (The Race Lab) and Luca Popescu (Nash Motorsports) have controlled the Mini Rok division this winter. The pair have scored three of the four race wins and enter the weekend with Balog leading by 31 points over Brandon Wagner while Popescu is only 41 markers back.
The championship is determined by the best five of six events and when a drop is factored in, the gap between Balog and Popescu is only 29 points. Wagner will surely factor into this weekend’s finale, trying to keep the Canadians from the top of the podium but with more than 100 points available each race day, this title race is far from over.
The series finale is gearing up for additional entries in the OK-N category, including the addition of Canadian Kris Dinkov, who will be the first Canuck to compete in the new international category. CKN will be in touch with Kris throughout the weekend in Sonoma to get his thoughts on the new engine platform that is trying to commonize karting around the world. There are 12-14 OK-N entries expected this weekend, jumping up from the 10 at the first two events where Blake Nash has been the man on top in three of the four categories.
The 100cc Junior and Senior divisions have been the most popular during this year’s Challenge, featuring more than 30 entries in each at both events. They are geared up to cap off their championship chases with two more stacked fields and the points at the top are very close!
Rok Shifter and Shifter Masters round out the categories on track this weekend at Sonoma and are expecting a handful of extra entries from local racers.
Want to learn more about the Challenge of the Americas? Check out http://challengekarting.com and begin your plans for the 2024 winter season early.