Jan Heylen wins kart race at PRI Show
Belgium driver Jan Heylen proved victorious in the Red Bull Kart Fight powered by Rotax at the Performance Racing Industry Show in Orlando, Florida.
The race was held under lights in front of a standing-room-only crowd of more than 3,500 members of the racing industry, with Heylen winning the All-Star division race aboard a CRG kart for the CRG USA team.
Jay Howard drove an Arrow chassis for the KartSport-Arrow team to a second-place finish, while the UK’s Ben Cooper, fresh off his Senior Division win in the UAE at the 2011 Rotax Max Challenge Finals, charged from P16 to claim the final spot on the podium in an Intrepid chassis.
The Red Bull Kart Fight featured famed drivers from diverse series such as NASCAR Cup, X Games, IndyCar, ALMS, Grand-Am and the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. Heylen competed in Grand-Am in 2011, while Howard competed in IndyCar.
“It was an unbelievable and spectacular event! With Red Bull and Rotax as sponsors, the cooperation of the WKA and IKF, and all the great drivers, this was a great kart race!” exclaimed Steve Lewis, producer of the PRI Trade Show. “We’re so pleased to see karting so well presented before a standing-room-only crowd.”
The grandstand seating for 2500 was packed, and another 1000 people stood at the fence all the way around the race track, sometimes three people deep.
Drivers in the All-Star race included AJ Allmendinger, Tanner Foust, Cole Whitt, Ryan Briscoe (in an Australian-made Arrow kart), Alex Tagliani, Townsend Bell and more.
Heylen started in the pole position, but was soon overtaken by Howard, who started P2. Late in the race, Heylen took the lead in a bump-and-run, and kept it for the checkered flag. “I got a little lucky with the lapped traffic,” said a modest Heylen, who won the last big kart race held at the PRI Trade Show. “I’ll be back next year,” added Heylen.
“This is a fantastic event,” said Howard. “I’m looking forward to coming back next year.”
In a karters division packed with amazing talents, including the current world champion Jonathan Thonon, five-time world champion David Fore and last year’s world champion Bas Lammers, the winner was Daniel Formal in a Birel chassis for the MRP team.
Cooper finished second. Thonon finished third in the Karters division final, driving a CRG chassis for the CRG USA team. The top eight finishers competed in the All-Star division, starting at the back of the grid.
Red Bull also organized a series of qualifying races for amateurs throughout the US who then raced in the Amateurs division of the Red Bull Kart Fight. It was won by Brendan Johnson, with Jason Drescher taking second and Steve Troyer finishing third.
The races will be televised across America on the Fox Sports Net in two segments:
4:30 p.m., January 2-Amateur Race; Karter Division Broadcast
4:30 p.m., January 9-All-Star Broadcast.