Levon Bates Jr. (14) along with Dillon Brock (16) and Elizabeth Runyan (15) teamed up to assault the RoboPong 200, a 200 mile endurance race, held at America’s premier karting facility, New Castle Motorsports Park, this past weekend. LBJ Racing is sponsored in part by Janet Theriac and Dr. Rebecca Anderson, founder of Anderson Clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Ninety-four teams entered the event competing for 70 starting spots. Fifty teams advanced to the feature through qualifying on Saturday afternoon, with an additional 20 teams that would make the race from a 75 lap Last Chance Qualifier race later that day.
After struggling through Friday and Saturday’s practice sessions, looking for more speed, Team LBJ qualified out of the top 50, a disappointing 75th. Saturday afternoon, in the Last Chance Qualifier, Team LBJ started 25th. During the LCQ, Team LBJ steadily picked up positions and were as high in the field as ninth before a broken throttle cable mid-race nearly dashed their chances for a starting spot in the 200. Through the efforts of the pit crew, the cable was quickly repaired. Upon re-entry, not to be denied, Team LBJ finished a miraculous 19th. They had made the show!
Entered in this year’s RoboPong 200 were several professional drivers like Vitor Meira, Mark Dismore Sr., Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon and Brian Gerster to mention a few.
Sunday morning, preparations continue, expectations high, details being sorted out, pit schedules decided, team meetings, last minute pep talks and finally its go time!
Starting 69th, it’s a long way to the front and quite intimidating, but one of the youngest teams in the field showed a lot of heart and determination by steadily charging forward, picking up position after position and finished in the money, at a very respectable 17th. They also received the Best Improved Position Award by advancing 52 spots. “We were very fortunate to not have any mechanical failures. I’m really proud of the kids, they did a great job today,” stated Janet Theriac, Levon’s Grand Mother.
A big thank you to Janet Theriac and Dr. Rebecca Anderson for their support and Scott Hamble from 2ndIInone Racing for all his hard work and advice. Also a big thank you to Don Hudson, Mark Brock, Dennis Runyan, Chris Kruse and Miranda Stoner all of who played a big part in the outcome. A Special thanks goes out to the crew at New Castle Motorsports Park and Mark Dismore Sr. for providing us all with a world class venue and a very exciting event. What a place!