The first event of the 2015 karting season is officially here only two weeks into the New Year.
We have travelled to sunny Tucson, Arizona for the opening round of the Rotax Challenge of the Americas, the first of three on the west coast. The Rotax Max program features all six Rotax tiers from Micro-Max all the way up to Max Masters and Rotax DD2. Following Tucson, the series stops in Phoenix, Arizona in February and Sonoma, California in March.
Big prizes are up for grabs as five class champions will earn invitations to the 2015 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals with the location to be announced shortly, we hope.
The biggest change comes when we look at the Rotax Senior grid. Plenty of driver/team changes excite us for what should be a great weekend of racing at the Musselman Kart Circuit just south of Tucson. Notably, Louie Pagano has jumped to TonyKart with 2Wild Karting and Jake Craig has switched to the Formula K chassis with The RaceLab, both drivers were on the Rotax Senior championship podium a year ago and will for sure be championship threats again this year.
In addition to Pagano and Craig in Senior Max, there is a solid contingent of drivers vying for the title and the ticket. Mason Marotta (Ryan Perry Motorsport), Luke Selliken (RPG), Canadian Bryce Choquer (BBR), Christian Brooks (Nash Motorsports) and privateer Derek Wang are a few to name in the class that should creep up to 30 entries this weekend. Canadian Cedrik Lupien is making a one-off appearance this weekend as well with Ryan Perry Motorsport while Ryan Martin will make his Senior Max debut this weekend with RPG.
In Junior Max, Sting Ray Robb (BBR) is coming off of an excellent Rotax Grand Finals in Spain to lead the junior contingent. He will have his hands full with the likes of Canadian Jeff Fulham (RPG), David Ilavia (J3 Competition), Matt Keyes (KoeneUSA) and Nick Bruckner (KoeneUSA), among others. Kellen Ritter (BBR) and Jacob Astren (PSL West) complete the Canadian drivers in the category that will exceed 20 drivers in Tucson.
Marco Kacic (PSL West) and Griffin Dowler (Ryan Perry Motorsport) will continue their Mini-Max feud from a year ago. But this time they will have the likes of Filip Niemkiewicz, Jack Crawford (Nash Motorsports), Austin Torgerson (Ruthless) and Mexican Sebastien Alvarez (PSL West) to contend with. For Mini-Max, it will be the first race aboard the larger chassis than what has been allowed in years past for the category.
Micro-Max, Rotax DD2, Max Masters are a little smaller than we anticipated but should still provide some excellent action this weekend. DD2 features Matt Jaskol (PSL West), Michael Ilavia (J3 Competition) and Sabre Cook (CRG USA) which should create a good scrap.
Be sure to tune into CKN all weekend long as we provide on location news, results, photos and updates.