Florida Winter Tour Ends for Brueckner in Orlando
Double duty weekend sees mixed bag of results at series finale
Young Nicholas Brueckner has had a busy opening months of the 2014 season, contesting multiple winter series as the Texan begins his first season at the Junior level. The MRP Motorsport/Birel America pilot is gaining invaluable experience racing against strong international fields around challenging circuits. Nick completed the final weekend of the Rotax Max Challenge championship of the Florida Winter Tour at the Orlando Kart Center this past weekend (March 21-23), contesting the Mini Max and Junior Max categories. The final three days of racing brought mixed results as the 12-year old continues to show the pace to compete against the best.
Nick kicked the final weekend off with strong qualifying performances in the Junior Max category. The timed session for Saturday’s round of action had Brueckner lay down the fourth fastest lap, and followed it up with a second place performance for Sunday to secure his best starting positions of the series.
Brueckner stayed within the top-five, racing among the leaders in the Round Five Prefinal en route to a fifth place finish. The Junior Max main event was another showcase of Nick’s strong race craft. Nick got after it early as he advanced to third on the opening lap. Brueckner ran in the top-three, harassing the leaders for a few laps until he was shuffled out and dropped back to outside the top-10. Eventually, Nick climbed his way forward and settled in for a seventh place finish, earning his best result of the series and first Junior Max top-10 at the Florida Winter Tour.
Sunday racing opened with the Prefinal as Nick started from outside row one. Typically a great position to be in, unfortunately for Brueckner it resulted in an opening lap wreck. He continued on, rejoining the race outside the top-30 and drove back to finish 24th with lap times comparable to that of the leaders. Trouble would find the young MRP Motorsport/Birel America driver once again in the opening laps of the Final, this time with heavy contact damaging his chassis and steering components. Nick put his ability on display, adapting to the damaged machine and zoned in on moving forward. When the checkered flag waved, Brueckner gained 10 positions to finish 26th. Brueckner finished the championship chase in the 17th position, confident in returning next winter for a top-5 result.
“It’s great to get a finish I’ve been trying for all series,” stated Brueckner back home in Texas. “I have a lot to learn in Junior level racing, but scoring my first top-10 finish at the Florida Winter Tour was what I needed. I had some issues over the past three months, but my goal is to keep improving as I move on this year.”
The final weekend of double-duty action commenced with Brueckner fighting strong in his Mini Max farewell. An issue in the morning warm-up placed Nick in the first group of qualifying, typically the slower of the two sessions. The Texan performed well, escaping both qualifying rounds as the quickest driver in his group, ending up eighth and ninth overall.
Saturday’s Round Five action began similar to that of his Junior Max races, with contact. Nick was involved in an incident on the first lap of the Prefinal that dropped him down the running order. Brueckner’s determination was unaffected as he stayed focused and kept his composure. Nick had regained most of the ground lost on the opening lap before his race ended three laps shy of the scheduled distance with a mechanical issue. Brueckner had another stellar return performance in progress during the main event, continuing to show that he had the pace to compete for race wins. Brueckner was on pace to recover the day with a top-10 finish until being collected in an incident with six laps to go.
Brueckner was on pace Sunday to end the Florida Winter Tour on a high note. Nick started the Prefinal in the eighth position and despite having the race restarted due to a red flag, worked his way up to fifth at one point until he settled into the sixth position. Unfortunately for Nick, the main event came to an end almost as quickly as it began. Brueckner had his nose cone ripped away while battling for position in the opening lap, and thus was forced to pull off-course due to safety standards. The final standings in the Mini Max championship classified Brueckner in the 10th position, ending his Cadet career.
“I was really hoping to be able to defend my title in Mini Max, but luck was not on my side this year,” added Nick. “The competition at the Florida Winter Tour is tough, and there is no room for any mistakes. I’m just going to take what I’ve learned in the Mini Max division, and hope to produce strong results as remainder of the season will be in Junior Max.”
Brueckner will now turn his focus toward the final race of the 2014 Rotax Challenge of the Americas, which will be contested at the SimracewayPerformanceKartingCenter in Sonoma, California on the April 4-6 weekend. Visiting the facility for the first time, Brueckner is encouraged on finishing the premier west coast winter series on a high note to build momentum toward the summer season. Be sure to follow Nick’s progression throughout the weekend live on the Internet. Tune into the eKartingNews.com broadcast for qualifying, Prefinal and Final action on Saturday and Sunday.
About Nicholas Brueckner:
Racing out of Hockley, Texas, Nicholas Brueckner is a name you will be hearing more throughout the karting ranks in the coming years. At 12 years of age, Nick has spent less than four years in the sport, and has racked up impressive results and experience. From winning the Micro Max class at the 2012 U.S Rotax Grand Nationals and Mini Max championship in the 2013 Florida Winter Tour, to racking up wins at home in the SKUSA Texas ProKart Challenge, Brueckner is climbing the ladder quickly. Nick’s talents are far from being limited to just behind the wheel, however, as he is excelling academically, earning straight-As along with showing great leadership and people skills. Supporting Nick in his racing endeavors is the MRP Motorsport/Birel America team, Jose Castro/CMW Engines, Oakley Sunglasses, Savage Design, RosehillChristianSchool, and Trackside Tutoring.