Driver News: Michael d’Orlando Claims First Career Florida Winter Tour Victory
Younger brother Nicholas scores top ten finishes in TaG Cadet and Rotax Micro Max
Descending on the Ocala Gran Prix facility for the final round of the Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour (FWT), Team Koene USA and DRC Inc. supported pilots Michael and Nicholas d’Orlando would look to finish their winter karting campaign off on the right foot. With the season now in full swing, both drivers continued to show constant improvement with Michael d’Orlando standing atop the podium in the TaG Cadet class during the final round of the series.
“It was a great close to the Florida Winter Tour program,” explained Sherri d’Orlando. “We are really happy with both Michael and Nicholas’ progress and we have high hopes for them for the rest of the 2013 karting season.”
After qualifying in the fourth position for round five of the TaG Cadet program, Michael would have a pair of consistent heat race results. Crossing the line in fifth and third, the eldest of the d’Orlando pilots would line up third for the start of the main event. Quickly working his way forward during the opening few laps, Michael would slot himself into the second position turning fast and consistent race laps. Unable to keep pace with the leader, Michael would finish second, matching his best result of the season.
Younger brother Nicholas would also compete in the TaG Cadet class over the weekend but a poor run in qualifying would hurt the day’s overall results. Not being able to find a clear lap, the DRC Inc. pilot would qualify in the 20th position. Heat one would see the young gun be involved in a first corner incident and eventually be classified in 25th. Nicholas would not even get the chance to compete in heat two as a broken clutch would take him out of the race before the second pace lap had been completed.
Heading into the main event and starting near the tail of the field, Nicholas had nowhere to go but forward. Moving forward throughout the day’s main event, Nicholas would cross the line in the 19th position.
Back to the track on Sunday for the final round of the Formula Kart program, Michael would have a career day scoring his first career national level victory. After qualifying in the second position and claiming the win in the first heat race, the up-and-coming driver would dominate heat race two before receiving a penalty post race. Jumping the start slightly, Michael would receive three seconds on his overall race finish result relegating him back to sixth.
With his two results, Michael would line up for the day’s final on the inside of the front row. Looking to claim his first series victory, the Koene USA prepared machine would be in the front two positions for the majority of the race. Working hard with a fellow competitor to break away from the stout field of drivers, Michael would make his bid for the lead with three laps remaining and never look back.
Nicholas would also have a better day on Sunday as his morning qualifying effort set him up for a strong finish in a field of more than thirty competitors. After qualifying 11th and finishing his heat races in 11th and 12th, Nicholas showed his speed in the final and would run inside the top ten. Advancing forward as far as seventh, the future race winner would end the day in tenth.
With series points tabulated, Michael would end the Formula Kart Vortex TaG Cadet program as the Vice Champion while Nicholas would end up 15th overall out of a total of 49 drivers.
Back to the same Ocala Gran Prix facility the following weekend to close out the Rotax portion of the series, Nicholas would continue to run inside the top ten, this time in the Micro Max category. Saturday would see the young gun qualify in the 14th position and hold station throughout the day’s prefinal. On track later in the afternoon for the day’s main event, Nicholas would advance forward three positions to come home 11th.
With weather moving into the area on Sunday, Nicholas would run the entire day inside the top ten. Qualifying ninth and claiming stake to the fifth position in the prefinal, it looked as if the Rotax Micro Max driver would be on his way to a solid top five result. With the rain soaked final and slick conditions presenting themselves to the youngest drivers of the series, Nicholas took it all in stride and would run near the front half of the field. Falling back and moving forward throughout the main event, Nicholas would eventually finish his FWT campaign with a ninth place result.
Unfortunately, Michael d’Orlando would not be able to compete in the Rotax Mini Max class. After running inside the top three on Saturday and being taken out by an overly aggressive driver, Michael’s actions would see him removed from competition on Sunday.
“I am very sorry for what happened on track between me and the other driver,” explained Michael. “I know it was wrong and I will not let it happen again. I would like to thank the Florida Winter Tour staff and officials for a great series and I am looking forward to the remainder of the season and 2014.”
Michael and Nicholas, and DRC Inc., would like to give a special thanks to Mike Maurini and Martijn Koene of Team Koene USA, DRC Inc.’s Adam Johnson as well as Matt Long for his assistance during the weekend.
d’Orlando Racing enjoyed one weekend off before traveling to Kershaw, South Carolina and the Carolina Motorsports Park this week for the second round of the World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup program. Both drivers will see action in the Cadet and Yamaha Junior Sportsman divisions.
For more information on Michael or Nicholas d’Orlando, along with partnership opportunities, please visit http://www.dorlandoracing.com . Be sure to follow Michael and Nicholas on Facebook (Michael d’Orlando Racing or Nicholas d’Orlando Racing) and Twitter (@dorlandoracing) to stay up to date on news, information, photos and results.