2021 ROK Cup USA ROK Vegas – Saturday Report

(Photo: CKN)

Saturday provided ROKKERs the opportunity for heats three and four as they began to push the limits of man and machine at the temporary circuit just off The Strip. With the intensity picking up and Championship Sunday on the horizon, teams and drivers were pushing extra hard to put themselves in contention for the win. In an uncharacteristic way, the ROK Cup USA program ran behind schedule for the first time in countless years but the permanent lighting around the facility provided the opportunity for drivers to race into the later afternoon and early evening.

Heats 3 & 4

MoSport Karting Centre ROK VLR Junior
Ayden Ingratta (Speed Concepts Racing) led the field to green in heat three as the inside front row had an incredible start with Parker Delong (Ryan Perry Motorsports) and Jeremy Fletcher (Team Felon) disposing of Chase Hand (Rolison Performance Group) by the exit of corner one. Delong went by Ingratta later in the opening lap as the front two opened a two second gap on the field after three laps as Hand and Stephen Eisert (Speedsense Motorsports) pushed Fletcher back to fifth. Ingratta moved to the point on lap five as Hand was lapping quicker than the lead duo and closed the gap while Eisert had issues and retired from his top-five position promoting Steven Miller (CDR) to fifth. Delong went to the lead on lap ten with Hand following him through as he was able to cover off the final laps to keep the lead. Ingratta got by Hand on the last lap to steal second with Hand, Fletcher and Jesus Vasquez (Nash Motorsportz) rounding out the top-five.

A massive pileup of karts in turn two on the start of heat four saw carnage for several drivers but the front five were unscathed. Delong led over Vasquez, Ingratta, Hand and Fletcher as they seemed to be the class of the field all weekend long. Vasquez took the lead on lap three pushing Delong to second as the front four were separated by less than four tenths. Ingratta made the move to second on lap five as Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon Racing) moved into fifth with Fletcher falling to 11th. Ingratta took the lead on lap seven as Vasquez took it back a lap later and held on to earn his first heat race win of the weekend. Ingratta beat Delong for second as Hand was fourth and Joao Vergara (Orsolon Racing) fifth. Following the race, Vasquez was given a push back bumper penalty and dropped to the fourth position promoting Ingratta to the win.

Nash Motorsportz ROK VLR Senior
Blake Nash (Nash Motorsportz) and Danny Formal (Leading Edge Motorsports) would jump out to the front of the VLR Senior heat three as Colby Dubato (Mike Manning Karting) squeezed by Kyriakos Sioukas (Alex Keyes Racing) for third on lap two.  With no driver able to break away, a fifteen-kart lead pack was nose to tail after six laps. Formal would retake the lead as he and Nash aimed to get away, but that bid was derailed as Nash took the lead from Formal at the start of lap eight bringing Race Liberante (RF/Deltasport) with him to second. Formal moved back to second a lap later as the battle ensued for the win with Jacob Hoover making his way closer to the front. Nash would score the win over Hoover who was able to get by Formal on the fast lap with Sioukas in fourth and Dubato in fifth.

A red flag on the opening lap of VLR Senior sent the drivers back to the paddock for a repair period as their fourth heat was moved to the end of the day. Back on track and with the sun setting behind the Vegas skyline, an incident involving multi-time heat race winner Danny Formal sent him to the sidelines and opened the door for others. Blake Nash was able to take the win with Liam Letzsch (GFC) in second and Jacob Hoover in P3. Canadian Adam Ali (Racing Edge Motorsports) drove forward to earn his best result of the weekend in fourth, just ahead of Race Liberante.

AM Engines ROK Mini
Diego Ardiles (Supertune) had the pole position for the third Mini ROK heat of the weekend and took the lead early with Carson Weinberg (Team Nitro) in second. Max Cristea moved to P2 at the start of lap two pushing Weinberg back to third. Cristea would lead lap three, but Ardiles pushed back to the front during the start of lap four as Javier Herrera (Orsolon Racing) advanced to second with Luis Umana (Orsolon Racing) in third. Halfway through, the front five were separated by less than a second as Ardiles remained in control. Umana moved to the front on the penultimate lap only to have Ardiles take it back again two corners later. Ardiles claimed another heat race win ahead of Umana, Herrera, Oscar Iliffe (Iron Rock Raceway) and Max Cristea (Magik Kart USA) who crashed crossing the finish line with a hard hit into the inside barriers.

Ardiles jumped out to the lead early in heat four but was quickly disposed of by Iliffe and Salvador Della Vecchia (AKT) as the latter moved to the point three corners later. Looking to pull away from the field, Della Vecchia and Iliffe worked together as they opened a small gap, but that gap was closed a lap later by the hard charging Ardiles and Max Cristea. Ardiles scored his fastest lap of the race on lap six as Luis Umana found his way into the top-five and up to fourth. Iliffe went to the lead at the start of lap nine as Ardiles tried to follow him through, but Della Vecchia closed the door to only fall one position. With the white flag flying and the top seven running nose to tail, Della Vecchia made a move for the point that saw the top eight run side-by-side through turn six and onto the back straight. A massive shunt by a pair of the Mini ROK drivers jumbled the running order as Jack Iliffe, Umana, Max Cristea and Ardiles rounded out the top-five. After a brief delay, all drivers were cleared by medical and ok to continue during Championship Sunday. Umana received a post-race penalty that pushed him back to the fifth position.

Dallas Karting Complex ROK Shifter Master
It was P2 that got the holeshot again at the start of the ROK Shifter Master class as Ryan Kinnear (Phil Giebler Racing) beat Jordon Musser (PSL Karting) to corner one. Nicolas Bedard (PSL Karting) closed the first lap in third ahead of Mike Beeny (Rolison Performance Group) and Ryan Yop (Phil Giebler Racing). Kinnear opened a bit of a gap early but Musser closed that back down with some fast race laps on circuits three and four as the front five could be covered with a blanket. Musser threw it in on the inside of turn five and got by Kinnear on lap seven as John Crow (Formula Works) took advantage of some momentum loss by his rivals to jump from sixth to third on the same lap. A major incident halted the race on lap seven as a multi-kart impact on the main straight saw several karts blocking the track as one went upside with heavy impact. All drivers were ok after being checked out by medical, but the heat was officially over. Musser would be awarded the win ahead of Kinnear and Crow.

Musser rocketed to the lead at the start of the fourth and final heat race for the ROK Shifter Master as Kinnear came under heavy pressure from John Crow (GFC) for the second position followed Bud Grossenbacher (BGR Racing). Musser opened a gap by the end of lap three, but Kinnear found the way back to his rear bumper as Crow kept both the leaders honest. Mike Beeny held on to Grossenbacher while running in the fifth position as he would be unchallenged from behind. Musser drove to the victory ahead of Kinnear, Crow, Grossenbacher and Beeny.

Rolison Performance Group ROK Senior
After the slight delay and track cleanup, the ROK Senior drivers took to the track with Alessandro De Tullio (Parolin USA) and Ryan Norberg (Rolison Performance Group) leading the pack. The front four would break away as De Tullio and Norberg were followed closely by Cole Morgan (Ryan Perry Motorsports) and Nathaniel Cicero (Rolison Performance Group). De Tullio began pulling away from his challengers and by mid-race, he had opened more than half a second gap. Jake Craig (APM Racing) went around Jack Jeffers (Speed Concepts Racing) for fifth as John Burke (PSL Karting) followed him through. De Tullio made it a bore up front driving to the win with Norberg hanging on for second. Morgan completed the twelve laps with a P3 effort as Cicero was fourth and Craig in fifth. Following the race, Norberg was handed a two-position penalty and fell to fourth on the results sheet.

While De Tullio started from the pole for heat four, it did not last long as Norberg moved to the point ahead of Cole Morgan, Nathaniel Cicero and De Tullio. Jack Jeffers moved his way back into the top-five after starting in the fourth row. Norberg, who lacked a little speed down the main straight, defended on Morgan on lap five allowing the third through fifth place drivers to close the gap to the lead duo. Morgan was able to surprise Norberg in the back section of the track and jump to the lead and stretched the lead to half a second after just one lap. The RPG teammates of Norberg and Cicero lined up to see if they could work together to catch the leader, but it was to no avail. Morgan took the win ahead of Norberg and Jeffers, who moved to third in the final three laps as De Tullio and Cicero rounded out the top-five.

Orsolon Racing ROK Master
It was Scott Roberts (Speed Concepts Racing) who jumped to the front of the ROK Masters heat three as he moved to the point on the opening lap to control the pace. Renato Jader-David (Orsolon Racing) ran second just ahead of Derek Wang (Full Throttle Karting), Billy Cleavelin (Rolison Performance Group) and William Isaias (International Motorsports). Jader-David made a bid for the lead on Roberts in turn one of lap seven as the two made minor contact with Jader-David going around. With the rest of the top five taking evasive action, Roberts stretched the gap to nearly a second as Wang moved into second, Martin Perce (Forward Direction Motorsports) into third. The front five would remain equally spaced for the final five laps with Roberts taking the win.

Cleavelin was a man on a mission in the fourth and final heat race for ROK Master as he was able to get by Roberts to take the lead. Derek Wang was also to get by Roberts later in the race as he looked to close the gap to the leader. Martin Pierce and William Isaias slotted into fourth and fifth as the front half of the field remained constant. Cleavelin took the win ahead of Wang, Roberts, Pierce and Isaias.

ROK Sonoma ROK Micro
Keelan Harvick (Team Nitro) controlled the Micro ROK field but would come under heavy pressure in lap one as Marco Romero (SLA Kart Racing) challenged him for the lead in corner five. Romero was through bringing Team Benik’s Tristan Murphy with him to close lap one, but Harvick was back around both at the start of lap two. A lap later it was Romero back at the front with Murphy in second as the Micro ROKKERs were putting on a show. Gianmatteo Rousseau (Team Nitro) held onto fourth with Phaethon Saradpon (AKT Racing) as Murphy took the point on lap four. Murphy stretched the lead as the drivers battled behind him for position. Eventually settling in and running Murphy down, it was a four-kart battle for the win with Murphy hanging on ahead of Rousseau, Romero, Harvick and Lucas Palacio (Forward Direction Motorsports).

Rousseau was able to jump to the point when the green flag flew but it was Murphy that was able to get back to the front at the start of lap two. Harvick was back out front for the start of lap three as the front few drivers continued to jockey for position. As the race wore on, drivers were able to scramble for track space as seven karts ran nose to tail for the win at the start of the penultimate lap but an incident between Harvick and Rousseau dropped them down the running order. Murphy would take the win ahead of Romero to make it a Benik Kart one – two finish as Cason Hodge (Speedsense Motorsports) beat Rhys Bowman (FDM) and Troy Ferguson (Team Benik) to the line.

Speed Concepts Racing ROK Junior
With the first start aborted for speed, the second attempt was a success with Jorge Ortiz (Supertune) leading over Caleb Gafrarar (Rolison Performance Group) and Sebastian Wheldon (JC Karting). Lap three saw the front five change as Wheldon moved to the lead ahead of Ayden Ingratta (Speed Concepts Racing) as Gafrarar fell to third after leading for a corner and Ortiz was back to fourth. Chase Hand (Rolison Performance Group) moved into P5 on lap four as Ingratta took the lead from Wheldon after starting fifth. Halfway through, Ingratta had opened the gap to more than a second over Wheldon and Gafrarar. Ingratta enjoyed his time out front as he drove to an easy victory over Wheldon. Gafrarar and Ortiz were involved in an incident on the final lap and failed to finish promoting Hand, Jeremy Fletcher (Team Felon) and Logan Toke (Ryan Perry Motorsports) to the top-five.

It was the pole position to the back of the grid for Ayden Ingratta as contact in the first corner from an aggressive Jeremy Fletcher saw Ingratta end up in the barriers. Fletcher led lap one ahead of Chase Hand and Sebastian Wheldon, Logan Toke and G3 Argyros (Speed Concepts Racing). Jake Walker ended up on his head on lap three but was ok as the race continued, but it was Jorge Ortiz who was rocketing up the running order. Sixth after two laps, fourth after three, Ortiz was with the lead trio as he rebounded from his heat three DNF. Logan Toke moved to the lead on lap five as Hand and Ortiz followed through moving Fletcher down to fourth. Ortiz moved to second a lap later as Gafrarar was following suit advancing forward from the back of the grid to third. Hand and Ortiz would open a gap on the rest of the field after eight of twelve laps as Gafrarar led the rest of the field. Hand scored the win with Ortiz and Gafrarar in second and third. Toke would close the fourth heat in P4 as Wheldon rounded out the top-five.

Full Throttle Karting ROK VLR Master
Laurentiu Mardan (Tecno Kart USA) continued where he left off yesterday as he jumped to the lead from the pole position followed by Mike Smith (VMI) and Matt Johnson (Nash Motorsportz). Johnson moved by Smith on lap three as Juan Basco (SLA Kart) and Adam Kasick (Forward Direction Motorsports) ran fourth and fifth. The front five broke away from the rest of the field as they were equally spaced through the first five circuits. Johnson closed the gap on Mardan as he consistently set fast lap after fast lap, but Mardan rebounded on lap six to turn his fastest lap so far. The gap between the front two remained at two tenths of a second for the next several laps as Johnson could not make a move for the top position. Mardan won ahead of Johnson, Smith, Kasick and Basco

Mardan continued his presence at the front of the VLR Master field as he opened a one second gap after only four laps. Matt Johnson settled into second for five laps until Mike Smith was able to get by for P2. Martin Stone was moving forward throughout the weekend and was in fourth by lap seven with the fastest lap of the race. Mardan continued to stretch his lead and drove to the checkered as Smith finished second while Stone passed Johnson on the final circuit for third and Kasick finished fifth.

PSL Karting ROK Shifter
It was all Danny Formal (Leading Edge Motorsports) in the third ROK Shifter heat as he converted his pole position into a holeshot and the eventual heat win. Jake French (PSL Karting), who challenged Formal in heats one and two, was left to defend from AJ Myers (Checkered Motorsports) who is slowly finding his groove on the temporary layout but was unable to keep him behind. Formal scored the win ahead of Myers and French with Hunter Pickett (GFC) and Nicholas Le Duc (The Karting Collective) fourth and fifth.

Formal continued his dominance in the ROK Shifter class as he handily drove to the ROK Shifter heat four win. AJ Myers was able to sneak by French to flex his muscles in the last heat as Pickett continued his presence in the top-five with another fourth-place result as Austin Garrison (Rolison Performance Group) worked his way into fifth. With more than fifty karts on the grid, the ROK Shifter class will be the one to watch in tomorrow’s main events.

A complete set of session results can be found on the easy to navigate ROK Cup USA app or by clicking HERE

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