It was a busy day at New Jersey Motorsports Park as racing continued at the US Open of New Jersey and US Rotax Grand Nationals. Drivers were challenged with heats two and three to set the grid for PreFinal races, which were also contested on Saturday afternoon.
After winning two of the three heat races, Michael d’Orlando led the way at the start of the PreFinal but he was jumped by Ryan MacDermid into the first corner and a slow exit for d’Orlando left him sitting duck as no less than five karts went by before the next corner.
MacDermid’s lead didn’t last too long from there as Luke Selliken came charging forward and into the lead early. As things in the PreFinal settled down out front, Selliken and MacDermid pulled away while d’Orlando recovered back to third by races end, overtaking PSL Karting teammates Ryan Norberg and Stephen Malozzi. Mathias Ramirez held the third spot for a few laps as well until d’Orlando arrived on the scene.
At the line, Selliken took the win over MacDermid, d’Orlando, Ramirez and Norberg.
The excitement in the Rotax Micro-Max class continued in the PreFinal with Jack Jeffers on the pole-position after a great run in the heats.
Immediately it was a four-kart battle for the lead featuring Jeffers, Brent Crews, James Egozi and Alex Powell.
Egozi pushed his way to the lead at a couple points of the race until Crews went to the front. With the last lap flag displayed, Jeffers opted to defend his second position and it allowed Crews to get away and win the PreFinal. Jeffers held on for second with Powell and Egozi in tow while Frankie Iadevaia won the race for fifth. Notably absent from the front was Miguel Costa who found himself in some trouble on the opening lap and had to recover to ninth.
Dylan Tavella continued to control the Rotax Junior class. He started the day off winning the two remaining heat races and the closed the day out by winning the PreFinal.
He was challenged by Tyler Gonzalez and Jeremy Fairbairn throughout the entire PreFinal, with the trio breaking away and trading the top spot but Tavella overtook Gonzalez on the final lap to remain unbeaten throughout the weekend. Fairbairn moved up to second on the final lap with Gonzalez further back in third. After challenging Tavella in heat three, Hannah Greenemeier could only manage a fourth-place effort in the PreFinal with Arias Duekmedjian fifth.
Rotax DD2/DD2 Masters
Davide Greco enjoyed an unchallenged day in Rotax DD2, easily cruising to win the remaining two heat races and the PreFinal.
Behind him, it’s been quite racy between Michael McCarthy and just about anyone that has come close to him. After crashing with McCarthy in the third heat, Ethan Simioni finally had a smooth run in the PreFinal to advance up to second and lap in similar times to Greco. Hopefully the two will be able to put on a show Sunday.
Australian DD2 Master driver Scott Howard enjoyed a run to third to lead the Masters contingent with McCarthy recovering to take fourth. Rafita Moro-Loco was the second highest Masters driver, crossing in fifth.
Great racing is on display in Mini-Max with many drivers challenging for the victory. Josh Pierson has done a great job to maintain the top spot throughout the weekend but it’s come with some hard work.
After starting the PreFinal on the pole-position, Pierson was under attack all race long by Diego Contecha and Connor Zilisch while Santiago Trisini was within arms length of the leaders all race long.
Back and forth they traded the top spot until Pierson made a great lunge into the hard right handed turn eleven to get by Contecha. The pass allowed Zilisch and Trisini to follow through and that’s how they finished at the line. Fifth went to Aidan Fox who was also closing in on the leaders in the closing laps.
Rotax Masters Max
In an exciting Prefinal, Renato David came out on top in Max Masters after leader John Bonanno found himself run off track. Adam Pettit wound up second after penalties moved Derek Wang and Salvatore Sparacio down the finishing order. Luis Schiavo was third followed by Wang and Billy Cleavelin.
The racing will resume on Sunday morning with the Championship Finals set to hit the track at 10:25AM EST.