eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month – March 2013 – Blaine Rocha
California driver puts in dominant performance to clinch Rotax Challenge of the Americas crown
Rocha swept the entire weekend at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas finale to claim the championship
(Photo: Sean Buur - Go Racing Magazine)
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
Northern California has produced a number of talented drivers within the sport of karting. These drivers have worked their way up the karting ranks and into the professional side of motorsports, be it NASCAR, IndyCar, Sports Car racing and other forms. A new name that may be added to that list a few years down the road is Oakdale’s Blaine Rocha. Into his third full season as a Junior driver, Rocha dominated the final weekend of the Rotax Challenge of the Americas program to clinch the series championship and earn his first ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals – earning him the honor of eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month for March 2013.
Rocha trailed in the Junior Max standings to fellow Rolison Performance Group teammate Luke Selliken after the two driver split the four main events leading into the series finale at CalSpeed Karting in Fontana, California. Selliken was the vice-champion in 2012, while Rocha placed outside the top-five. Things began positive for Rocha as he posted the fast lap in qualifying for the opening round of action on Saturday. Rocha was challenged early but as the lead group shuffled for position, Rocha came away with the lead and the win. After losing the lead early, he struck back to take the position away and drove off to a nine-second advantage for his third victory of the season. In the process, he earned maximum amount of points available, running the fast lap of the feature.
The following day was much of the same as the Junior drivers continued to chase the pace set by Rocha. He scored the pole position in qualifying for another bonus toward the championship chase. This time around, Blaine led the entire Prefinal race as he recorded a seven-second win. To make it a perfect weekend, rarely seen in the Junior ranks, the almost 15-year old laid down a beating in the Final. In 25 laps, Rocha pulled out to a 11-second advantage to sweep the entire weekend.
For his efforts, Blaine earned the Rotax Challenge of the Americas Junior Max title, and was awarded a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals, set for November at the NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans. This will be the first time he will be a member of the Team USA squad that will take on the best from around the world, held on US soil for the first time as well. Rocha also earned the cover of the Go Racing Magazine for the month March for his performance. He recently backed it up with a solid victory at the SKUSA Pro Tour season opener, the SpringNationals held this past weekend in Tucson, Arizona. Rocha will spend the summer contesting that series, as well as the Rotax Can-Am ProKart Challenge.
March 2013 EKN Driver of the Month – Blaine Rocha
Born: April 21, 1998
Hometown: Oakdale, CA
Parents: Doug & Nicole
Siblings: Fallon (Sister)
Height/Weight: 5’6” / 125lbs
Education: Freshman at Oakdale High School
Job: Work for my dad when I’m not racing
Engine/Engine Builder: RPG Rotax/ P1 TaG
Sponsors: Rolison Performance Group, Valley Enterprises, Masroc Farms, RLV, Forbidden Motorsports, Mom and Dad and my mechanic Erik Bartalero
Series You Compete In: Rotax Challenge of the Americas, SKUSA Pro Tour, Rotax Can-Am ProKart Challenge
Years Karting: 5
How did you get started in karting? My dad raced Legends and Late Models, so he got me out of dirt bikes into karts.
What has been the high point in your racing career? Winning Challenge of Americas and earning my spot on Team USA
What are your goals in racing? To be the best driver that I can be, and win a lot of course
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? Smooth and Aggressive
Funniest moment at the race track? Doing the RPG Harlem Shake at CalSpeed (http://youtu.be/YbDUMhEBLTw)
Favorite Track: New Castle Motorsports Park
Favorite form of professional motorsports: Formula 1
Favorite karting driver: Joey Wimsett
Favorite professional driver: Joey Hand
Favorite website: eKartingNews.com
Favorite movie: 21 Jump Street
Favorite actor/actress: Jessica Alba
Favorite music/group: Starting Six
Favorite vacation/activity spot: Hawaii
Favorite food: Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? Work for my dad and catch up on school work from missing school for racing.
What are your goals outside of karting? To start to drive my dad’s late model
What type of street car do you drive? NA What type of street car would you like to drive? BMW M3
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? When people smack their food
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? More national exposure
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? The close racing and traveling to new tracks
March 2013 Driver of the Month – Honorable Mention:
– Phillip Arscott: Rotax Challenge of the Americas – 1 win, 1 runner-up – Senior Max champion
– Tyler Brooks: Rotax Challenge of the Americas – 2 wins (Masters Max)
– Kyle Kirkwood: Florida Winter Tour – 1 win, 1 third (Junior Max)
– Nick Neri: Florida Winter Tour – 1 win, 1 runner-up (Senior Max)
– Connor Wagner: California ProKart Challenge – S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto sweep