RICHLAND -- It's not NASCAR, but you wouldn't know it witnessing the tenacity both on and off the track by competitors and fans during the 2010 International Karting Federation 4-Cycle Sprint and Shifter Grand Nationals at Horn Rapids ORV in Richland on Thursday.
The event, which had racers from under 10 years older to over 60, had some of the best kart racers in the nation travel to Tri-Cities to compete, with several races coming down to the final lap -- and even the final turn -- to decide a winner.
"Any time you get a chance to race against your best friends in the world it's great," said Chris Hatch of Dallas, Ore. "It's a rivalry, and you want to beat each other, but you don't mess with each other. It's a mutual respect."
Hatch won Thursday's final race, the 17-lap Senior World Formula Masters, after losing and regaining the lead from Michael Schorn of Banks, Ore., nearing the final laps of the race.
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The field opened up after pole winner and early leader Gabriel Kajdy of Calgary, Alberta bent an axle on his kart and was forced to leave the race after less than a lap.
Bryan Green of Portland took third in the race, while Luke Pasco of Calgary (fourth) and Scott Barlee of Surrey, British Columbia, (fifth) rounded out the podium.
In the 17-lap Senior F200 race, Brody Roa of Buena Park, Calif., regained an early lead after losing it to eventual runner-up Joey Miller of Richland.
Miller passed Roa late in the race on Turn 1 on the inside, but a resilient Roa took it right back on Turn 2 and never looked back the rest of the way.
"I love racing," Roa said after. "It was a good (race). I saw (Miller) creep up next to me. Joe came up under me and then I came back under him. I picked it up a little bit because I knew I had to get on it."
Tristen Orear of Yucaipa, Calif., took third, Cory Gwin of Rio Linda, Calif., took fourth and Matt Jones of Buena Park finished fifth.
In the Junior 2 World Formula Light race, West Richland's Artie Carpenter stole the show and was showered by water bottles of friends and family after, leading the race from start to finish despite a late surge by runner-up Colton Schultz of Spokane.
Myles Pederson of Meridian, Idaho, was third, while Payton Manthei of West Richland was fourth and Hailey Groff of Richland was fifth.
"It was amazing," Carpenter said of the win. "It was stressful. I thought, 'Don't worry and don't mess up.'"
Tim Lawrence of Nampa, Idaho, edged Terry Lawrence of Boise, Idaho, in a tight race in the Senior Animal Heavy division. Robert Towne of Red Bluff, Calif., finished third, Alan Cathey of Boise fourth and Brett Lucas of West Richland fifth.
In a family battle in the Senior World Formula Light race, Cathey and future brother-in-law Lucas went back and forth most of the race before Cathey pulled away for the win.
Lucas, meanwhile, fell to third after a failed inside move to take first, and his opportunistic uncle Burt Gasaway (of Green Acres, Wash.) stole second place. Orear took fourth.
In the Junior 1 Gas Animal Light division, Sting Ray Robb of Boise took first, while Tyler Brown of Kennewick was second, Davey Manthei Jr. of Pasco was third and Brittany Zamora of Kennewick was fourth.
All results were unofficial until post tech inspections were complete and any contested races were settled officially.
Races continue today and through the rest of the weekend, as more National Grand Champions will be crowned, with vintage kart exhibitions thrown in the mix.