2014 Rotax Grand Finals – Team USA Profile – Senior Max

Veteran squad of racers looking to earn first world championship

eKartingNews.com is proud to present the profiles of the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals Team USA members, set to represent the United States at the Kartodromo Internacional Lucas Guerrero outside of Valencia, Spain on November 25-29, 2014. EKN, the official online media partner of the United States Rotax Max Challenge, will have complete coverage of the 21 drivers competing at the ‘Olympics of Karting’.

Full EKN Trackside coverage can be found at the EKN Event Page.

For the United States, the Senior category has been the pinnacle division of the Rotax Max Challenge since the introduction of the program in North America. A long list of impressive names fill the record books as national champions, but no one has yet to claim a world title in the previous 14 Rotax Grand Finals. A few drivers had flirted with the podium in the past, including Stepanova Nekeel, Daniel Formal and Joey Wimsett, all finishing in the top-five. An amazing drive from the back to the front by Oliver Askew gave Team USA its first podium in the competitive division last year, taking the United States to the next level on the world stage. Askew, along with three other returning drivers and two rookies, are set to give America its first victory in the category.

Oliver Askew (Photo: Studio52.us)

Oliver Askew
(Photo: Studio52.us)

Oliver Askew
Age: 17
Hometown:
Jupiter, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series:
North Florida Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ocala Gran Prix
Sponsors:
Ocala Gran Prix, Bell Helmets, Sparco USA, Swiftwick Socks, Studio52, Race Tech Development, Risk Placement Management, Racing Driver Management
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2011, 2012, 2013
Mechanic:
Mario Ioffredo

The driver who has the honor of recording the best result for Team USA at the Rotax Grand Finals is the 2014 Florida Winter Tour champion Oliver Askew. The 2013 US national champion’s performance was as dramatic as Juan Manuel Correa’s victory in Junior Max.  Oliver was in the hunt for the win all weekend until an error in the Prefinal pushed him into the gravel pit and left his kart undrivable. Starting 30th in the main, there was no where to go but forward, and that’s exactly what he did. Gaining 16 spots on the opening lap, Askew worked his way into the top-five and eventually to the third position on the final circuit. In 2011, Askew was the top Junior in Portugal, finishing 16th. Now a podium finisher, the target for the young American heading to Spain will be the outright race win.

“Having the opportunity to be part of Team USA is every ‘Rotaxians’ dream. I am extremely grateful to be representing my country for the fourth consecutive time this year and hopefully I can take all that I have learned thus far and turn it into a world title. Competing at the Rotax Grand Finals means that I will be racing against all of the top ROTAX drivers from nearly 60 different countries all around the world, and this is what makes the race so prestigious.”

Phillip Arscott (Photo: SeanBuur.com)

Phillip Arscott
(Photo: SeanBuur.com)

Phillip Arscott
Age: Newberg, Oregon
Hometown:
25
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: Rotax Can-Am ProKart Challenge
Rotax Service Center
: CMC
Sponsors:
Rolison Performance Group, CMC
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2008, 2009, 2013
Mechanic:
Wes Boswell

Experienced, calm, and precise. Those are three words to describe Phillip Arscott. The Oregon driver is making his fourth trip to the Rotax Grand Finals in the Senior category, and is five years ‘wiser’ than the next oldest Team USA driver thanks to his second-straight Rotax Challenge of the Americas championship. The 2009 edition was a battle from the LCQ into the main event, entering the event as the US national champion, finishing seventh overall to improve on his 28th from his first trip to the world championship. Last year was Phillip’s first time back to the event after four years, cbut he was caught up in a wreck on the opening circuit of the Final after starting 12th. He has spent this summer as part of the Oregon State University Formula SAE program and Global Formula Racing, and as a result, he brings a very unique and diverse skill set to the team.

“I’m excited to be attending the Rotax Grand Finals this year. Definitely looking forward to trading a week of Oregon rain for some strong competition under the Valencia sun. Every invite to this event is special and I’m honored to wear USA colors. I’m probably one of the most experienced team members this year so I hope to share my knowledge of the event with others and work together to defend the Nations Cup. As always, I’m going to win. I have an outstanding team alongside me this year. Mike Rolison will be helping me and fellow Rolison Performance Group driver Austin Versteeg. Wes Boswell will be my driver coach and tuner. As always, my Dad John will be there along with my Mom Janet.”

Jake Craig (Photo: SeanBuur.com)

Jake Craig
(Photo: SeanBuur.com)

Jake Craig
Age: 17
Hometown:
Mission Viejo, California
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: So-Cal Rotax Challenge
Rotax Service Center
: TruTech Racing Engines
Sponsors:
TruTech Racing Engines, 2Wild Karting, Complete Trailers
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2011, 2013
Mechanic:
Kyle Kuntze

There is no mistaking it, the top driver in 2014 in the United States has been Jake Craig. As the current #1 in the EKN TaG Driver Rankings, the results speak for itself with three wins at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas, four at the Rotax Can-Am ProKart Challenge, and victory at the Cold Stone US Grand Nationals. Craig came just five points short of the Challenge title this winter, and locked up his ticket twice with the Grand Nationals win and the title in the Can-Am program. Engine issues plagued his Senior debut at the Rotax Grand Finals last year in New Orleans, and he missed the main event by one spot in the LCQ. In 2011, he finished 23rd for the best American result that year in Junior Max.

“Being on Team USA is one of the most exciting things you can earn in the United States. My outlook going into the race is to represent the United States to the best of my ability and to hopefully bring back a world title! I am very confident going in to this years event as I have had the opportunity to drive the kart we will be racing on.”

Mason Marotta (Photo: Studio52.us)

Mason Marotta
(Photo: Studio52.us)

Mason Marotta
Age: 20
Hometown:
Bakersfield, California
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: So-Cal Rotax Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ogden UK
Sponsors:
Parents and Grandmother
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic:
Ryan Perry

Mason Marotta has Jake Craig to thank for getting his first ever Rotax Grand Finals ticket. Craig’s championship at the Can-Am program relinquished the US Grand Nationals ticket to the third place finisher – who was Marotta. The dramatic last lap in Utah could have already been Marotta’s ticket until contact took him out of the second position. Thankfully, he recovered to be classified third after penalties were handed down. Marotta has always been one of the quickest drivers of the west, earning a number of pole positions and fast lap honors at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas.

“I’m very excited to be a part of Team USA this year for the Rotax Grand Finals. It feels very rewarding to compete in an event that all drivers in attendance had to qualify for and I’m looking forward too racing against some of the best in the world. Earlier in the year, I raced in France for the last round of the Rotax Euro Challenge so I have an idea of what to expect on and off the track in Spain. I will represent our country in the best manner and hope to come home with a good result.”

Dan Roeper (Photo: Studio52.us)

Dan Roeper
(Photo: Studio52.us)

Dan Roeper
Age: 17
Hometown: Delray Beach, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: South Florida Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ogden UK
Sponsors:
Oemetrix AAGM
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic:
Bryn Nuttall

In the sport for four years, Dan Roeper has developed quickly into a contender at the national and international level. A multi-time champion in South Florida, Roeper has been a regular challenger at the Florida Winter Tour. The only non-Tony Kart driver on the Team USA roster, Roeper piloted his Birel machine to a runner-up finish at the Cold Stone US Grand Nationals. The fast driver at the Rotax Pan American Challenge this October, he drove to another second place result, building his confidence as he readies for his first Rotax Grand Finals.

“I’m really looking forward to competing in the Rotax Grand Finals. Any chance to represent my country is always a really cool deal, and I’m hoping to be in contention all week long.”

Ashley Rogero (Photo: Studio52.us)

Ashley Rogero
(Photo: Studio52.us)

Ashley Rogero
Age: 17
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: GoPro Motorplex
Rotax Service Center: AM Racing Engines
Sponsors: Advance Automotive and friends
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances: 2010, 2012, 2013
Mechanic: Jim Rogero

Rogero is one of three Senior Max drivers making her fourth appearance at the Rotax Grand Finals. Taking the season off to focus her efforts on building a career in stock car racing, Rogero returned to the kart seat when the Pan American Challenge rolled into the GoPro Motorplex in October. Working alongside her dad Jim, the duo was back on form by the time Championship Sunday arrived, and Rogero drove her way to a third straight on-track Pan Am victory, earning a third straight trip to the Rotax Grand Finals. This will be her first as a Senior Max driver.

“I’m really excited to be representing Team USA for the fourth time later this month in Spain. Last year finishing 7th, I think we know what it takes to put it on the top of the podium!”

Birel RY 30 S6 EVO 1R

Birel RY 30 S6 EVO 1R

Chassis Specs

Birel RY 30 S6 EVO 1R
30mm frame
Hydraulic RR brakes
1045mm wheelbase
Freeline seat
75kg (with engine, seat, rims, tires minus fuel)
D2 Mojo Tires

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