WKA: IRL SoK: Robert Stout Shawano summary
Robert Stout just misses a pair of podium finishes at the Stars of Karting event from USA International Raceway. The Lucas Oil sponsored HotLicks ...
Robert Stout just misses a pair of podium finishes at the Stars of Karting event from USA International Raceway. The Lucas Oil sponsored HotLicks #457 MKP Birel was good all weekend. Robert said "We knew we had a shot at the top 5 at the end of Friday. We were at the top of the time sheet at the end of the practice day so we just needed to chase the track from that point".
Stout qualified the Torco Race Fuels #457 12th and would start the Prefinal on the outside of the sixth row, 14 laps later he had picked up six positions and earned a starting spot for the feature from the outside of the 3rd row.
At the start of the 18 lap A feature Stout immediately moved from 6th place to 4th and was in a dog fight with Matt Codalata. "We had a great race, I passed him three times and every time he passed me back. The amazing part was how close we were, Matt always races clean so I wanted to return the favor".
At one point there were four karts battling nose to tail for 3rd place, it was the best race on the track. With two laps to go the #429 kart had passed Stout while Stout had made an attempt to pass for 3rd. That put Stout back in 5th. On the last lap the 429 kart made contact with Codalata knocking both karts off the track and bumping Stout back into 3rd. It looked like Stout would bring home his second Stars podium finish until the last turn of the last lap. Cale Wyse had closed the gap and was right on the back bumper of Stout and over drove the last turn. Wyse hit Stout in the side pod knocking him into the grass and off the podium. Eventually Stout crossed the line in a disappointing 12th.
"I can say I've never been so let down. Cale is a great driver and is generally regarded as one of the good guys out here but he made a big mistake that cost both of us big time today". Stout was right, he had a shot at finishing in the top 3 in the Stars of Karting East division points and now could only hope for a top 5. It would also cost him valuable national driver ranking points. Wyse had to pay a big price as the Stars of Karting penalized him back to 13th position even though he crossed the line in 3rd.
Sunday would be a new day for both drivers and another chance.
Day two threw everyone a curve ball in qualifying. After two practice sessions in the dry Mother Nature opened up just enough to wet the track for qualifying. "My mechanic Todd Bellew worked his magic in the Parc Ferme. He completely changed the kart for a wet setup and it worked". Stout was on and off the pole during the session a number of times. The irony of the situation was, he was working with Cale Wyse the entire session. "12 hours ago I despised the guy for taking me out and after the qualifying session today we were laughing about how well we worked together in the session. What an emotional rollercoaster ride". Stout started the pre final in 6th and finished in 3rd.
For the A feature on Sunday Stout lined up next to good friend Zach Beard who was on the outside of the 2nd row. "I've been racing with Zach since my first year and he has turned into one of the toughest guys in the division and he always has big power courtesy of Adkins Speed Center". The fight for 3rd was on again this time between Stout and Beard. "Man I was all over him through the turns, we had a much better car than he did and at one point I was able to pass him but I couldn't run down the straightaway with him. He would pull me by three or four kart lengths and that is just straight up horsepower". Stout brought home 4th place at one of the toughest tracks in the country.
"I have to thank so many people, Lucas Oil Products has been with me since day one so I'm glad I finally came through for them. Motorama Kart Parts put us on their team. NeWave Television Productions has been very instrumental along with Dennis (Hoot) Gibson who owns the Hot Licks Top Fuel Hydro Drag Boat team, they jumped in with some cash this year and that always helps. Torco Race Fuels has also supported our entire team for the past two years. Thanks goes out to Bill Simpson and Impact Race Products for keeping me safe. To my Mechanic Todd Bellew special thanks again without him I had no chance this weekend, he gave us a great car.
TODD YOU ARE THE MAN"!!!