The second round of the Sofina Foods US Open Karting Championship came to close Sunday, as eight race winners were determined at the Utah Motorsports Campus after a long week of competition. A few drivers continued to dominate their categories while Sunday also featured a few surprise victors and once again, hot temperatures were a factor.
Askew Untouchable in Rotax Senior as Garrison Charges to Second
Continuing his reign on the Rotax Senior category, Oliver Askew went flag-to-flag in Sunday’s US Open Final, building an early race gap and continuing to pull away until the checkers. With a late race charge, fellow Floridian Austin Garrison advanced up to second, overtaking Kellen Ritter and Luke Selliken with only a few laps remaining. The drive earned Garrison an invitation to the Rotax Grand Finals held later this year in Italy where he will join Askew as part of Team USA.
Late race excitement vaults Trisini to victory in Micro-Max
It was a four-kart battle in the Micro-Max Final as pole-sitter Diego LaRoque led a train the included Josh Pierson, Carson Morgan and Santiago Trisini. The leaders ran status quo until only three laps left when Morgan made his move to the lead inside corner one, shuffling LaRoque back to fourth. The battling from there and on the final lap when LaRoque was attempting to return to the point in corner 11. Erupting three wide as they approached corner 12, contact between all three allowed Trisini to slide underneath and grab the lead. Holding on through the final few corners, Trisini edged LaRoque at the line with Pearson completing the podium. The silver lining for LaRoque came through as he managed to hold the lead in the championship and earned the invitation to the Rotax Grand Finals.
Unexpected winner in Rotax Junior
Ryan MacDermid led the way at the start of the Rotax Junior Final as a melee in turn town saw fourth-place starter Matthew Latifi pointing the wrong direction. Battling early on, Nick Brueckner, Manuel Sulaiman and Jacob Gulick raced hard for second allowing MacDermid to pull away. But the group settled down and utilized the draft to close back in on leader. Sulaiman disposed of Brueckner just past halfway to take second place as Dylan Tavella was charging forward, moving past Hannah Greenemeier for fourth at the same time. Brueckner continued to fall as the laps wound down with a flat tire ending his chances at a podium.
Continuing to hit his marks, MacDermid maintained a gap of five kart lengths until two laps to go. Realizing it could be his only chance; Sulaiman dove to the inside of corner 11 and grabbed the lead. Macdermid tried to counter the move on the exit and the two made contact, spinning Macdermid across the front bumper and into the dirt, moving Tavella to the lead in the process and allowing Greenemeier and Mathias Ramirez to slide into second and third
Just after seeing the white flag, Greenemier tucked to the inside of Tavella in corner 1 and took the lead but only for a short second as she ran wide and Ramirez slid by both and into the lead. Holding on through the final lap, Ramirez scored the win just ahead of Tavella and Greenemeier and with it Ramirez vaulted to the championship lead and secured his position on Team USA for the Rotax Grand Finals.
Kingsley confirms Rotax Grand Finals ticket with dominating performance in Rotax DD2
He had to push a little harder than he expected but Jeff Kingsley completed the perfect weekend with his victory in Rotax DD2. Dev Gore worked by Alessandro Bizzotto on the opening lap for second place and closed in on Kingsley through the first five laps, but Kingsley took notice and put his head down, breaking free just past the halfway mark and then cruised to victory. Gore crossed two and a half seconds back at the line while Bizzotto was alone in third.
There was a great battle for fourth place, which featured two of the DD2 Masters drivers. Nathan Mauel showed that he had enough pace to run with the regulars and passed DD2 Senior driver Lawson Nagel for fourth and created a gap between himself and Luis Zervigon. Holding off Nagel to the line, Mauel secured his second US Open victory of the season and his invitation to the Rotax Grand Finals. Zervigon ranked second of the DD2 Masters followed by Joseph Licciardi, who was ninth overall, third of the Masters.
Another Convincing Victory for Tyler Gonzalez in Mini-Max
Tyler Gonzalez is proving that he is the best Mini-Max driver in America this year as he secured another dominating victory. Leading the field to green from the pole-position Gonzalez built up a big lead early and let his competitors battle behind him as he cruised to victory, his second at the US Open in 2016.
It was a great race for second featuring six drivers all trading rubber and position. The final two laps saw the group exchanging position where Jak Crawford arose with the second position, only two-tenths of a second ahead of Luca Mars and Jeremy Fairbairn. Unfortunately for Fairbairn he received a two-position penalty for contact, moving Arias Deukmedjian up to fourth and Joey Brienza fifth.
Glorious victory for Billy Cleavelin in Max Masters
Billy Cleavelin is two-for-two in US Open competition this year after taking home the checkers in a rather uneventful Max Masters Final. Cleavelin and pole-sitter Jeremie Charon exchanged the lead in the first three laps under Charon came under pressure from Mike Rolison for second. With the racing going on behind him, Cleavelin broke free and was off to the races, completing the 20-lap final just under five seconds ahead of Charon at the line. Derek Wang completed the podium, moving by Scott Roberts in the late stages of the race.
Kirkwood drives away with Shifter Senior win
It wasn’t an ideal start for the two drivers lining up on the front row for the Shifter Senior Final, but pole-sitter Kyle Kirkwood managed to arrive at the first corner still in the lead, but Nick Neri fell back to fourth. Holding on to the lead through the first lap was all Kirkwood needed as from there he simply just pulled away from Tyler Bennett, Sabre Cook and Neri, leaving them to race only for second. It took a while, but Cook finally made a move stick against Bennett, earning her the second step on the podium with Neri also taking advantage of a fading Bennett to finish third.
Racing within the Shifter Seniors, Ryan Kinnear held off Chris Jennings for all twenty laps to take the win with both drivers gasping for air at their podium celebration. Ryan Pool completed the podium.