EKN Trackside: 2014 Cold Stone US Grand Nationals – Event Preview

National championships to be decided at Miller Motorsports Park this weekend

This week is officially ‘Rotax Week’ in the United States as the racers from all across the country have traveled to the Miller Motorsports Park for the Cold Stone US Grand Nationals. The 14th annual event is set for the second time at the Tooele, Utah facility with close to 200 drivers battling over a three-day period (July 18-20). Drivers in seven Rotax Max Challenge categories will be competing for a chance to claim the only true national championship.

Miller Motorsports Park

Miller Motorsports Park

The Miller Motorsports Park complex is among the most state-of-the-art facilities in North America, featuring road racing, off-road, and of course a karting circuit. The layout will be exact to that featured during the 2011 edition of the Rotax Grand Nationals, held at MMP, utilizing the 9/10-mile ‘StarTrek’ course. The MMP facility was opened in 2006, and has been a great foundation for the growth of karting and the Rotax Max Challenge in the state of Utah, along with the surrounding Rocky Mountain region.

Competitors began traveling to Tooele over the weekend, setting up for unofficial practice held Tuesday and Wednesday, with official practice beginning Thursday, setting the stage for the remaining three days. Qualifying and the first round of heat races are held on Friday. Saturday is the final two rounds of heat races to set the stage for Championship Sunday. The final day will host a Prefinal, which sets the lineup for the main events to crown the seven national champions. This year’s event has moved one day later than typically seen, with the final day held on Sunday, rather than Saturday like in year’s past.

On the line, aside from the national titles, will be tickets to the 2014 Rotax Grand Finals, set for the new Kartodromo Internacional Lucas Guerrero in Valencia, Spain where racers from around the world will compete for the four world championship categories. The top two finishers in the Senior Max, DD2, DD2 Masters and Junior Max divisions will be awarded spots to the event, while the top Masters Max pilot also earns a ticket. All will become a member of Team USA, already featuring seven championship drivers from the Rotax Challenge of the Americas and the Florida Winter Tour.

Since MAXSpeed Group took over the USRMC program in 2011, this is the first year the event has featured a title sponsor. Cold Stone Creamery approached MAXSpeed, looking to support the grassroots level of motorsports. Their support is helping to bring this year’s US Grand Nationals to be one of the best in the 14 years of the event. One of the local branches will be on-site for Championship Sunday, providing free ice cream to registered drivers. Adding to the food fun is TacoTime, with the company on-site Saturday to had out free tacos to competitors.

One of the big announcements heading into the week is the announcement of Andersen Promotions and MAXSpeed Group forming a partnership. The Mazda Road to Indy is the most successful driver development program in the world, and is now futher into the grassroots levels with the USRMC program. Four rising Rotax drivers from the USRMC will be awarded a one-day test in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda during off-season testing, selected by a panel of experts. The Victory Group, creators of RoadToIndy.TV, will be producing an educational video detailing the process on how to become involved in racing – which will include information regarding karting and feature a number of former/current Rotax racers.

Nick Neri is among the returning winners and previous US Grand Nationals champions competing this weekend

Nick Neri is among the returning winners and previous US Grand Nationals champions competing this weekend

Another great addition to the Cold Stone US Grand Nationals includes representatives from the University of Miami Global Academy (UMGA) – an online middle school and high school. The program is focused around providing quality education around the busy competition and training schedule of athletes – including young Rotax racers. The seminar will take place Thursday, July 17 at 5:30pm.

The first full day of official on-track action has been labeled ‘Fast Friday’ with the qualifying and opening rounds of heat races to take place. Following the on-track action, the Super Pole Celebration BBQ presented by MRP Speed Schools will take place, honoring those drivers who were fastest in the KoeneUSA.com Super Pole sessions for Junior and Senior Max. Additional prizes and giveaways will be available for all attendees, including team members, competitors, mechanics and family members. A pine wood derby for Micro and Mini max competitors have also been organized with the free dinner, scheduled for the Miller Motorsports Park Clubhouse.

EKN will once again be providing the popular Trackside coverage. Be sure to follow the Official Discussion Thread for top-10 results of every on-track session as the event unfolds, and follow all the coverage through the EKN Event Page. Also, get updates through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Junior Max, Mini Max and Micro Max were previewed first on Monday, with DD2 Masters and Masters Max published on Tuesday while Senior Max and DD2 was presented on Wednesday.

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