The first race of the 2015 season is in the books as the Rotax Challenge of the Americas has invaded the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizona. It was very windy and cool to start the weekend, but when it came time for the Finals on Saturday the sun was out and the wind faded away, it was time to get down to business.
Excellent racing a theme on track Saturday as for the main categories, the races went down to the wire.
There have been two Rotax Junior drivers since practice began Friday that have set themselves apart from the rest in Tucson. American’s Sting Ray Robb (BBR/Kosmic) and Nick Brueckner (Orsolon/TonyKart) have been blistering fast and that pace continued on Saturday as racing got underway.
Brueckner got the edge in qualifying and the PreFinal but Robb wasn’t letting him go that easily in the Final as the two sophomore Juniors went head to head.
The early racing by the front two allowed Canadian Kellen Ritter (BBR/Kosmic) to join the action as he continues to impress, but as the laps clicked away in the 25-lap final Ritter faded. Robb settled things down out front by midway, holding a slight advantage as Brueckner drove deep into every corner trying to make up the gap. Although he came within a couple kart lengths in the final two laps, it wasn’t enough as Robb claimed the win with Ritter finishing third all by himself.
An impressive drive by David Ilavia (J3/CompKart) featured him driving all the way back to finish fourth after an early off-track excursion forced him well down the running order. Trey Brown (TonyKart) was fifth followed by Michael Michoff (RPG/Kosmic), Canadian Jeff Fulham (RPG/Kosmic), Justice Lepe (TonyKart), Dante Yu (Nash Motorsports/TonyKart) and Mason Cohen (Kosmic) to round out the top-ten of 23 karts.
A scary accident in the PreFinal resulted in Canadian Jacob Astren taking a trip to the hospital under his own power for an evaluation. He should be back at the track on Sunday.