2021 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour: Ocala Gran Prix RD3 – Sunday Report
Nash Motorsports VLR Senior
Entering Championship Sunday, Hallie Schroeder (Syntech) led Blake Nash in the point standings but would start her main event from P3. With Nash absent from the championship finale, the ball was in Schroeder’s court as the championship was hers to lose. With rain falling overnight and competitors using wet weather tires for morning warm up, one driver would select slick LeVantos for the main event.
Andres Ardiles (Zanella Racing) led early as he battled with Charlie Murphy (Rolison Performance Group) through the opening two laps, swapping the top position on a few occasions. Murphy emerged as the victor gaining four positions in the opening three laps as Cole Schroeder advanced forward five positions in the same amount of time. Rocco Pasquarella (JC Karting) spun on the opening lap but as the race went on, he was taking huge chunks of time out of the pack’s lead. Championship leader Hallie Schroeder settled into P3 on track as Grace Hemmerde (Rolison Performance Group) was fourth, just ahead of Ardiles. Charlie Murphy led by more than four seconds after only eight laps as he continued to dominate the VLR Senior main event.
Ruben Caceres (TB Kart USA) was the only driver on slick tires and set the fastest lap of the race on lap twelve, as he moved from sixth to fourth in his hunt for a podium. One lap later, Caceres moved to P3 and one lap later, advanced forward to second. With five laps remaining and Murphy out front by twelve seconds, Caceres was more than a second faster than the leader on lap fifteen and two seconds faster on lap sixteen. Closing the gap to less than six seconds with two laps remaining, Caceres ran out of time as Murphy scored the win. Ruben Caceres crossed the line in second ahead of Cole Schroeder, Hallie Schroeder and Grace Hemmerde.
Hallie Schroeder is your Florida Winter Tour VLR Senior Champion.
Utah Motorsports Campus VLR Master
Galo Barros (GB Racing) led the VLR Master points chase heading into the main event but after a disaster of a prefinal Saturday afternoon, he would need to come from the tail of the field. Laurentiu Mardan (Tecno Kart USA) was 42 points in arrears of Barros and had the luxury of starting from the pole position so it was anyone’s championship to win.
When the green flag flew, the top-five remained unchanged for the first five laps as Mardan led Juan Basco (SLA Kart), Cristian Vomir (Tecno Kart USA), Martin Stone (Goodwood Kartways) and Brad Danieli (Mike Doty Racing). Basco spun on lap three as he was forced to retire as did David Morris (Nadie) on the same lap. Mardan continued to lead as Vomir moved to P2 and Danieli took advantage of attrition to move into third. Martin Stone moved to third on lap six as he was quickly becoming the driver on the move. Making a bid for second in the tree corner, Stone and Vomir made contact with Stone moving to second and Vomir falling to fourth after going through the dirt. Benefiting from the contact, Mardan stretched his lead to over three seconds by mid-race distance.
With rain beginning to fall, Stone was able to close the gap to Mardan as Danieli spun. Galo Barros was the only driver on wet weather tires and on lap fourteen, was four seconds faster than the leaders as he closed the gap to less than ten seconds. Taking huge chunks of time out of the lead lap-after-lap, Barros was charging forward to save his championship. On lap sixteen, Barros was five seconds faster than the leader as Mardan and Stone tiptoed around the Ocala Gran Prix circuit. Barros moved to second on lap seventeen as Mardan crashed from the point entering the first corner giving a huge lead to Barros as Stone moved to second. Barros went on to take the win ahead of Stone, Mardan, Vomir and Danieli. Following on track penalties, Stone was moved to the rear of the results sheet courtesy of contact with Vomir on track elevating Tony Palo (Old Guys Racing) to a fifth-place result.
Galo Barros is your Florida Winter Tour VLR Master Champion.
REM VLR Junior
With his strong and consistent results heading into the final day of competition at the 2021 Florida Winter Tour, Chase Hand (Rolison Performance Group) had a large points lead but would look to close out his championship with a win. Starting from the second position alongside Cooper O’Clair (J3 Karting) Hand fell to fourth on lap one as Danny Dyszelski (Magik Kart USA) was the biggest winner gaining five positions on the opening lap. Beckham Jacir (Jacir Karting) spun in corner one as drivers took evasive action to avoid him as O’Clair rocketed away from the field. Paul Bocuse moved into second as he, Dyszelski and Hand went three wide on lap two for the second position.
Jacir began to march his way forward moving from tenth to eighth as O’Clair stretched his lead over Hand by 5.522 after only four laps. Hand pulled away from Dyszelski who did the same on Paul Bocuse (Parolin USA). Bocuse looked to keep Xander Reed (Parolin USA) behind him and focus forward on a podium result. Sebastian Wheldon (JC Karting) gained five positions by lap six to move to fifth while Jacir got by Reed to move to sixth. O’Clair’s lap times levelled out as Hand was able to go a few tenths quicker per lap while Wheldon was the fastest driver on the track during lap eight, a second faster than O’Clair. On lap nine, Wheldon moved into a podium position as he disposed of Dyszelski as he was now 1.5 seconds per lap faster than the leader. Both Hand and Wheldon were closing in on O’Clair as Bocuse ran fourth, trying to hold Jacir at bay as he advanced forward from the last position after a spin. Wheldon got by Hand at the start of lap fifteen and set his sights on the leader and looked to close the two second gap. After a prefinal crash, Wheldon was on a mission.
Wheldon got by O’Clair to take the point on lap seventeen as the pair went wheel-to-wheel for several corners in some of the cleanest racing of the weekend. Wheldon quickly opened a one second gap in one lap as there was nothing O’Clair could do but watch. Wheldon drove on to take the win as Chase Hand made a last lap last corner pass for second as O’Clair had to settle for third. Jack Jeffers (PSL Karting) gained seven positions to finish fourth as Bocuse claimed the fifth position on track. Following post-race technical inspection, Wheldon was removed from the results elevating Chase Hand to the victory.
Chase Hand earned the VLR Junior Florida Winter Tour Championship.
Leading Edge Motorsports Mini ROK
It was a two-driver race for the Mini ROK Championship as Oliver Wheldon (JC Karting) and Enzo Vidmontiene (Team Benik) were separated by 62 points, but more than 200 ahead of the third-place competitor. Wheldon began his quest for the title from the pole position courtesy of his prefinal win while Vidmontiene rolled off the grid from the inside of row two.
Looking to repeat his brother’s performance, Wheldon fell to second on the opening lap as Vidmontiene moved to the point on the opening lap. Wheldon lost one more position on lap two as Salvador Della Vecchia (San Antonio Karting) was able to get by as Diego Ardiles (Supertune) and Karsyn Walters (Supertune) ran fourth and fifth. Vidmontiene opened a big gap by lap four but his pace slowed compared to the drivers behind him.
Closing from 1.6 to .834 in just two laps, Della Vecchia and Wheldon were closing the gap at a feverish pace. Wheldon moved to second as he was on Vidmontiene’s bumper by the end of lap nine. The two drivers would go wheel-to-wheel for the championship in a winner take all final. Vidmontiene defended but Wheldon snuck by on lap ten in the famed showcase corner. The top-four could be covered by a blanket but Wheldon assumed control and began to stretch the gap with the championship on the line. Ardiles moved to third on lap eleven and second on lap thirteen as Vidmontiene would get back by at the start of lap fourteen. Wheldon stretched his lead to more than three seconds as five drivers would battle for second. Della Vecchia assumed P2 with two laps remaining but was hounded by Ardiles and Vidmontiene.
Oliver Wheldon took the win as Della Vecchia finished second. Steven Miller (CDR) earned his first Florida Winter Tour podium of the season as Vidmontiene finished fourth ahead of Ardiles. Following penalties, Wheldon kept the win as the top two positions remained unchanged. Cole Melancon (PSL Karting) scored his first career podium in third as Karsyn Walters was fourth ahead of Miller.
Oliver Wheldon is you Florida Winter Tour Mini ROK Champion.
ANSA Motorsports Master Shifter ROK
Similar to the Mini ROK points chase, the Master Shifter ROK battle came down to two drivers. Jordon Musser (PSL Karting) scored both the rounds one and two wins while Rene Martinelli (TB Kart USA) joined him on the podium on both occasions. Martinelli got the best of the duo in Saturday’s prefinal to inch closer to Musser but that gap was nearly one hundred points entering Championship Sunday. With it all on the line, the pair lined up first and second with Musser getting the hole shot as he led the opening lap. Martinelli settled into the second position ahead of Michael Rivera (Rivera Racing), who was the only driver who gambled on slick tires. More than half a second faster than the leader on lap three, Rivera was praying that the mist would continue to dissipate and give him a shot at the win.
Peter Licciardi (TB Kart USA) gained five positions by the end of lap four as he moved to third and Rivera and Musser’s battle ensued at the front of the field. Rivera easily passed Musser on lap five and opened a two second gap in less than one lap. With a five second lead by the end of lap eight, Rivera was on cruise control out front as Musser look to hold on to second. Daniel Dibos (Dibos Racing) was the biggest gainer by the mid-race distance advancing eight positions to fourth as he trailed Licciardi by 5.568. Hugh Templeman (Magik Kart USA) was another driver who was marching forward as he moved to fourth on lap twelve, gaining ten positions since the drop of the green flag as Rivera had opened his lead gap to more than ten seconds.
Dibos retired from the race on lap fifteen with a flat rear tire while Templeman advanced forward to third as he looked for his first Florida Winter Tour podium of 2021. A lap later, Templeman disposed of Musser for second. Rivera would took the win ahead of Musser, Licciardi, Templeman and Martinelli.
Jordan Musser earned his second Master Shifter ROK championship in as many years.
Rolison Performance Group Senior ROK
Connor Zilisch and Ryan Norberg sat first and second in the Senior ROK points battle but entering Sunday, Norberg had the advantage of starting from the pole position as Zilisch lined up alongside. Norberg jumped to the lead early but Zilisch moved forward on lap two bringing Aaron Benoit with him to second. Thomas Annunziata advanced three spots to fourth by the end of lap three as Diego Ramos settled into fifth. By lap five, Zilisch had a lead of more than 1.2 seconds as Norberg got by Benoit for second.
Looking to chip away at the lead, Norberg was slightly faster than Zilisch on lap six and seven bringing the gap down to one second. Thomas Nepveu was a man on a mission advancing forward nine positions to tenth by the end of lap eight as Norberg continued to close on the leader. With the rest of the field remaining static, all eyes were on the front two as the gap was less than half a second just past the mid-race distance.
Arguably two of the best Senior drivers in the country it was Zilisch versus Norberg for the victory. Benoit sat in the third position hoping for some drama between the front two as he sat one second in arrears of the lead duo. Nepveu continued to move forward as he gained another spot to ninth as Norberg made a bid for the lead in turn four but failed to complete the pass. Alex Stanfield (Team Crosslink) was holding his own in fifth as the gap in front, and behind him remained unchanged.
Norberg passed Zilisch in turn five as Zilisch was able to get back by in turn one. Benoit closed the gap and passed Norberg for second as the front four when two-by-two and wheel-to-wheel for the final lap. With Zilisch leading, Norberg attempted a bump and run in the final corner but failed as Annunziata went around the outside moving from fourth to second. Norberg fell to third as Benoit crossed the line in fourth and Alex Stanfield in fifth.
Going three-for-three in events in 2021, Connor Zilisch is your Senior ROK Florida Winter Tour Champion.
Orsolon Racing Master ROK
Entering Sunday’s main event, Renato Jader David (Orsolon Racing) held a slight point advantage over a hard charging Scott Roberts (Speed Concepts Racing). A perfect weekend on the cards, Roberts was looking to close his Florida Winter Tour on a high. With a slight mist in the air and a damp track, Roberts jumped out to the lead as Jader David moved into second dropping Mario Barrios (Rolison Performance Group) to third. With most of the drivers on wet weather tires, Gonzalo Aponte (AKT Racing) chose the LeVanto slicks which were not the choice in the opening few laps.
Jader David closed the gap on Roberts as the duo ran nose to tail on lap four while William Isaias (International Motorsports) moved to third. On lap five, Jader David was able to sneak by Roberts for the lead as Roberts attempted to retake the position in turn five. A loss of momentum for the leaders brought Isaias and Barrios into the mix as Isaias moved to second ahead of Roberts as Barrios did the same one lap later. With the top four separated by 1.05 at the end of lap seven, it was anyways race to win as Rob Maier (Rolison Performance Group) moved to fifth. Roberts moved back by Isaias on lap ten with a slick over under move as Barrios moved to the point on lap eleven with the top four still running nose to tail. Roberts was able to get by Jader David in turn four as Jader David returned the favor a lap later entering turn one. Jader David defended on Roberts giving Barrios a small cushion but Roberts was able to get by entering the showcase corner as he set his sights on the leader.
Roberts closed two tenths on lap fifteen and another four tenths on lap sixteen as the gap was less than a second with four laps remaining. With the championship on the line, Roberts needed to get by Barrios cleanly and did so on lap eighteen. Jader David followed him through to second as Barrios was able to go around the outside of turn one on a slick racetrack. With Roberts needing to win and a couple of other pieces to fall into place, Roberts did what he needed to do and scored the win ahead of Barrios, Jader David, Isaias and Michael Auriemma (Orsolon Racing). Following the main event, a host of penalties hurt the two racing for the title as Barrios was gifted the win ahead of Isaias. Roberts slotted into third on the results sheet, just ahead of Jader David and Auriemma.
Your 2021 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour champion is Renato Jader David.
Zanella Racing Micro ROK
Augustus Toniolo (Rolison Performance Group) and Max Cristea (Magik Kart USA) were separated by only four points heading into Championship Sunday as the pair battled for the series title. Lining up first and third for the main event, it was a winner take all final. Toniolo took the lead ahead of Cristea and Marco Romero (Zanella Racing) as Alessandro Truchot (Parolin USA) dropped eight positions on the opening lap.
As the front two opened a gap on the third-place driver, Romero was pushing hard to keep pace and catch the leaders. Cristea got a great drive off the last corner to move around Toniolo but Toniolo fought back to move to the point one lap later. Joao Pereira (Piquet Sport) and Marthin Ramirez (AKT Racing) ran fourth and fifth as Canadian Rocco Simone (Goodwood Kartways) and Matheus Ramalho (REM) moved forward to sixth and seventh. Simone gained another spot to move to P4 on lap eight as Ramalho advanced to sixth, gaining thirteen positions by midrace distance.
Toniolo began to stretch away from the field opening a gap of greater than one second with only four laps remaining as Cristea tried to keep Romero behind him. Toniolo went unchallenged to take the checkered flag, race win and championship as Cristea held on for second ahead of Romero. Simone earned his best career Florida Winter Tour result with a fourth-place effort as Pereira finished fifth.
Augustus Toniolo is your Florida Winter Tour Micro ROK Champion.
Speed Concepts Racing Junior ROK
With Noah Baker and Ayden Ingratta crashing in yesterday’s prefinal, Paul Bocuse entered Championship Sunday in the driver’s seat. Sixty points ahead of Ingratta, the top-four would be separated by only 89 markers.
Cameron Weinberg (WB Racing) started his main event from the pole position as Bocuse began his quest for the title from the outside of row two. With mist falling and all drivers on wet weather tires, the first start was aborted as drivers took advantage of an additional warmup lap. Weinberg held the point as Jeremy Fletcher was second, just ahead of Jorge Ortiz. Championship hopefuls Ayden Ingratta and Noah Baker each gained ten positions as Chase Hand advanced five to P4. Ingratta and Baker moved into the top-ten by the end of lap two as Bocuse fell to fifth as his championship started to slip away. Hand moved to third on lap three as Jake Walker (Mike Doty Racing) moved to seventh, gaining eleven positions in seven laps. Fletcher would go to the outside of Weinberg in the showcase and under cut him on the exit to take the lead as Bocuse was able to dispose of two drivers to move to third. The leaders went side by side in turn four and lost their momentum allowing Bocuse by and into the race and championship lead.
Fletcher moved back to the point on lap five as Bocuse fell to third and Weinberg snuck by. It did not last long as the top three changed positions before the next corner with Bocuse taking the lead again and at the head of the field on lap six. Fletcher fell back to third as Ingratta was able to move from ninth to seventh with his challengers running first and third. It was Ortiz’s chance next lap to come into the top three as he put Fletcher back to fourth while Hand went around the outside of turn one to put Fletcher back to fifth. Ingratta was able to also sneak by Fletcher by the end of the lap as Bocuse still led ahead of Weinberg, Ortiz and Hand with Marcello Paniccia (REM) in fifth.
Bocuse stretched his lead to more than a second at the halfway point as second through fifth battled hard. Hand moved to second as he looked to score his second win of the day as Ingratta was able to keep Fletcher behind him for the sixth position. With nine laps to go, it was the first lap that the top ten did not have a position change but of note, Hand was more than a second faster than the leader. Catching him on lap thirteen, Hand made a bid for the lead entering turn one as Bocuse went back by in turn four, only to have Hand go inside on the tree corner to take the lead. Ingratta gained another two positions that same lap to move to fourth and needing to beat Bocuse to the checkered flag, he was less than two seconds in arrears.
Bocuse began to lose pace as Ortiz squeaked by for second with three laps remaining. Ingratta could see Bocuse less than a second ahead and charged forward in an impressive drive to chase the championship. Hand was comfortably out front ahead of Ortiz as the top two drove away from the field. Ingratta would get to the bumper of Bocuse on the final circuit but ran out of time to finish on track in fourth ahead of Fletcher and Kekai Hauanio (OGP).
With his third-place result, Paul Bocuse claimed his first career Junior ROK Championship.
PSL Karting Shifter ROK
AJ Myers (Checkered Motorsports) has gone two-for-two in 2021 and entered Sunday with the pole position and a 239-point lead ahead of Mathias Ramirez (Speed Concepts Racing) and Jake French (PSL Karting). With a damp, yet drying track, the field of Shifter ROK drivers all chose the slick LeVanto tires as the last main event of the Florida Winter Tour went green at 2:30pm on Sunday.
Myers jumped off the line and immediately defended his position as Jimmy Cabrera (Kart Depot Motorsports) went hard into the outside wall in turn two. By the time the made it to turn five, Danny Formal (ANSA) had moved to the lead pushing Myers back to second. Austin Garrison (Rolison Performance Group) put Myers back another position the next lap as Zach Hollingshead (TB Kart) moved to fourth after starting sixth. Garrison showed great speed and closed more than half a second to Formal on lap three and a lap later was on the bumper of the leader. Starting lap six, Garrison had a head of steam and made a bid for the lead, completing the pass but slid on the damp track and smashed the barriers. Out of the race and the chance to win, Garrison was disgusted in his mistake as he slowly got out of his kart after the hard hit.
Garrison’s mistake benefited Jake French as he moved to second as Myers settled into third. Axel Cabrera passed Hollingshead for fourth, but it was all Formal upfront. Myers slipped by French on lap eight for second as the front five began to run similar times. At the halfway point Formal continued to lead by 4.3 over Myers, French, Cabrera and Mathias Ramirez.
On lap sixteen, the running order changed as French and Cabrera made contact elevating Ramirez to third ahead of Vincenzo Sarracino (ANSA Karting) and Hollingshead. Formal ran the race uncontested to the win as he finished ahead of series champion AJ Myers. Ramirez ended his FWT campaign in third ahead of Sarracino, Hollingshead and Steven Frank (DR Team).
AJ Myers wins the Shifter ROK championship for the second year in a row.
At time of posting, all results are unofficial
For complete weekend results, click HERE.