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Sep 23, 2002

Former 500cc World Champions At Play: Eddie Lawson Wins Kart Race, Wayne Rainey 5th

From a press release issued by series organizers: LAWSON WINS WORLD SUPERKART CHALLENGE

Photo by Jeff Deskins/
Yamaha driver sweeps heat and final at Laguna Seca

For Immediate Release – September 23, 2002

SALINAS, CA - Eddie Lawson proved that he was most definitely the man to beat at this year's World Superkart Challenge at Laguna Seca as he scored a decisive Formula E victory in Sunday's main event. With a strong field of both national and international competitors in the paddock, this annual event is fast becoming one of the most prestigious races on the world's Superkart calendar and it was one that Lawson has been focused on winning all year. Armed with monster Yamaha power and his new P1 chassis, Lawson took to the top step of the podium after a dominating victory over Californian Tom Woods and Australian Brian Stockman. It was the debut 250cc run for Woods and his performance turned many heads.

Ignition problems in Friday qualifying put Lawson behind the eight ball from the get-go but a focused effort by his crew gave him the car he needed to storm from 27th in the heat race to a last-lap win over an impressive Woods. Lawson got by the young driver on the inside of Turn #5 to complete his drive to the front, securing the pole position for the main event in the process. To follow-up this performance, a lap of 1:24.5 in the Sunday morning warm-up set the paddock abuzz as it was quick enough to outpace many of the American Le Mans Series entries that were the headline show at Laguna, including the entire GT field, all but one of the GTS cars (including both Corvette C5-R) and even one of the ultra-quick LMP675 machines.

At the start of the 30-minute final, Woods grabbed the holeshot from his outside front row starting position to lead into the first turn although by the end of the opening lap, Lawson had already assumed a lead that he would extend to over 15 seconds by the checkered flag. Woods and Stockman enjoyed similar cushions over their closest rivals as they drove to well-deserved podium positions.

The best race of the day was for fourth position and included a quartet of drivers that fought valiantly for the entire race distance. At the checker, Canadian Riley Will capped a tough weekend to take the position ahead of Wayne Rainey, Robert McMillan and Russ Warr. The Texan McMillan made an exciting charge from 15th after trouble in the heat race but began running out of fuel over the last two laps and as a result, he was unable to defend the determined attack of Rainey, who made a daring pass for fifth on the final circuit. McMillan ended up in sixth with Warr taking a satisfying seventh. Ryan Kurpiewski took eighth while Don Bootes and John Green rounded out the top ten.

In Victory Circle, Lawson was presented with a new perpetual award for the World Superkart Challenge – the Wayne Rainey Trophy. It was an emotional time for those involved with Laguna Seca and the World Superkart Challenge as Lawson and Rainey are the best of friends and hold a special place in the hearts of everyone at the track. For all those in this sport, there could have been no better winner.

SEPTEMBER 20-22, 2002

1. Eddie Lawson (USA), P1 chassis, Yamaha TZ250
2. Tom Woods (USA), P1, Yamaha TZ250
3. Brian Stockman (AUS), Stockman, Honda RS250
4. Riley Will (CAN), PVP, Rotax 256
5. Wayne Rainey (USA), P1, Yamaha TZ250