2022 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour: Tropicana Field – Sunday Report
The 2022 Florida Winter Tour completed round two today at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg as the championship points battles become clearer. In another great day of wheel-to-wheel racing, the Florida Winter Tour is now two-thirds complete as ROKKERs will now look forward to the Orlando Kart Center in March for the finale round of the 24th annual FWT.
ROK VLR Junior – Nash Motorsportz
The first main event of the day rolled off the grid at 9:40am as the VLR Junior drivers took to the track for their final on track session of the weekend. Helio Meza (Iron Rock Motorsports) would lead the field to the green flag for the twenty lap main event as his Iron Rock Motorsports teammate Camryn Reed was to his right. Meza got the jump through the first complex of corners as Charlie Smith (Nash Motorsportz) was by Reed and into second. Starting deep in the field was Ayden Ingratta (Speed Concepts Racing) after a difficult prefinal yesterday and his luck would not change at the start of the main event as his progress towards the front was slowed by first corner contact. Meza controlled the pace after one quarter race distance setting fast lap after fast lap for the first five laps and opening a gap of 1.768 while Smith hung on to second, Reed in third, Christian Cameron (Speed Concepts Racing) fourth and Cooper Shipman in fifth who put three Iron Rock Motorsports drivers in the top-five. The field would remain static for the next few laps as Meza led by nearly three seconds at mid-race distance and Smith had opened more than half a second gap on Reed for second. The best battle on the track was between Cameron and Reed as Cameron was glued to the rear bumper of the driver in front and was working hard to get by. Smith was clear of the battle behind him for second, but Reed, Shipman and Cameron would fight it out until the end. Shipman and Cameron were both able to sneak by Reed on lap fifteen and continue their fight for the final podium position. Meza drove off into the distance to score the round two VLR Junior victory as Smith added another podium to his growing resume in second. Cameron was able to get by Shipman on lap eighteen to move into the third position as Shipman was able to return the favor a lap later. Meza completed the final on top with Smith in second ahead of Shipman, Cameron and Reed.
ROK VLR Senior – RTD Media
Jeremy Fletcher (Gary Willis Racing) and Ryan Norberg (RPG) went wheel-to-wheel into the first corner of lap one as the two drivers would battle for the lead. Losing momentum on the exit, Norberg fell back to third as Gracian Rzedzian (Tecno Kart USA) was able to slip by into P2 while Adam Ali (Racing Edge Motorsports) and Weston Duchak (RPG) moved into fourth and fifth respectively. Norberg would get around Rzedzian on lap four and set the fastest lap of the race as he set his sights on Fletcher who had opened a half a second gap. Lap five saw the RPG driver three tenths faster than Fletcher and by lap six, he was locked on to Fletcher’s rear bumper, making a move for the lead in turn four on lap seven. Defending into turn one on lap eight, the front pair’s lap time would slow bringing Ali, who had moved into the third position, into the mix. Fletcher would retake the lead on lap eight, with Norberg returning the favor on lap nine. Fletcher tried to get by Norberg on the start of lap ten as the two touched allowing Ali to slip by Fletcher for second. Fletcher was determined to get back to the front and slipped by Ali on lap eleven as Norberg had opened a three kart length gap. Duchak was able to get by Rzedzian for fourth as Rocco Pasquarella (CDR) was up three positions to sixth. Fletcher would go purple on lap twelve to close the gap to Norberg as they looked to be the duo that would battle for the win. Norberg began his defensive tactics on lap fourteen as Fletcher proved to have the pace. This allowed Ali and Duchak to enter the battle as Pasquarella moved to fifth and would also enter the fray. Lap after lap, Norberg put on a defensive clinic as Fletcher looked for a way by. Duchak disposed of Ali and lost touch with the leaders until Fletcher tried an outside move in turn one bringing the front five back together again. Fletcher was able to get by in the back section of the track on lap eighteen, opening a small gap and looked to have the race in hand as the white flag flew. Fletcher would take the win ahead of Norberg, Duchak, Ali, and Pasquarella. Following the race, Duchak was given a two position penalty elevating Ali to the podium.
ROK Mini – SpeedLab Racing
Courtesy of his heat race performance, Carson Weinberg (Speed Concepts) would start on the pole position alongside Sarah Bradley (Parolin USA). Jack Iliffe (Iron Rock) would begin his quest for a win from P3 with Isaac Malcuit (AKT) on the outside of row two in fourth. Weinberg would get the hole shot from the inside of the front row as Bradley was the biggest loser in the opening lap falling from second to fourth. Iliffe and Malcuit each gained one position into second and third while Ty Fisher (Speed Concepts) was up four positions on the opening lap into seventh. Bradley was able to get back by Malcuit on lap two as she proved to have the speed early on and was focused on getting back to the front of the field. Fisher was able to move into P5 on lap four while Iliffe was successful in his bid for the lead on lap six bringing Bradley with him and pushing Weinberg back to third. The front three remained locked nose to tail for the next few laps and by mid-race distance, had opened a gap of more than a second to the fourth place runner Malcuit. Bradley went purple on lap eight scoring the fastest race lap thus far as all the front three were in position to score the win. At three quarter race distance, the front three remained within .250 as positions remained unchanged. Bradley made her move to the point on lap fifteen as she controlled the pace at the front of the field, but Weinberg was searching hard for a way by. Iliffe and Weinberg were both able to get back by Bradley on the final circuit with Iliffe scoring the win ahead of Weinberg, Bradley, Malcuit and Fisher. Following the Mini ROK main event, Bradley was given a two position penalty and Iliffe was removed from the results giving Weinberg the win and moving Malcuit and Fisher to second and third.
ROK Shifter Master – PSL Karting
It was all Jordon Musser (PSL Karting) through qualifying, heat races and the prefinal as he would look to sweep the weekend starting from the inside of the front row for today’s main event. Rene Martinelli (TB Kart USA) lined up to his outside with Cole Mathewson (ANSA) and Juan Unigarro (San Antonio Karting) occupying row two. The hole shot would go to Musser as Martinelli made an aggressive move to slot in behind him and keep Mathewson in third. Lap one already saw Musser with a more than one second advantage as the top-five remained in the same positions they started with Nicolas Bedard (PSL Karting) in fifth. Daniel Dibos (ANSA) was able to gain one position on the start to hold onto the sixth spot as Scott Presti (TB Kart) and Farshad Bagheri (TB Kart) were sixth and seventh. On lap three, Mathewson was able to move by Martinelli and into second as Bedard spun and fell to the tail of the field. Musser continued to open the gap to greater than three seconds by lap six turning laps three to four tenths faster than any other competitor. Dibos and Unigarro made contact in turn four on lap nine with Dibos retiring and Unigarro falling down the running order. Musser continued to lead, now by 5.2 seconds over Mathewson, Martinelli, Presti and Bagheri as TB Karts occupied third through sixth on track. Martinelli closed the gap to Mathewson but with difficulty passing, was forced to just try and apply as much pressure as possible. Musser, in a league of his own, ran into lapped traffic but continued to open the gap as he drove unchallenged to the win. Mathewson would keep a fading Martinelli behind him to earn the second position wile Presti and Bagheri rounded out the top-five.
ROK Senior – Racing Edge Motorsports
After contact in the heat races and a rebound by some of the fastest Senior ROKKERs in the prefinal, it was Matheus Morgatto (AM Racing) who would start from the pole position with Diego Ramos (Racing Edge Motorsports) in P2. Marjin Kremers (PSL Karting) began his attack for the win from the inside of row three alongside Lucas Mendes (Racing Edge Motorsports) while Jeremy Fletcher (Gary Willis Racing) and Nolan Bower (Nolan Bower Motorsports) were in row three. Morgatto jumped out to the lead in a clean opening lap with Ramos in second, but it was all sorts of jumbled up behind them with Cameron Weinberg (Speed Concepts) climbing four places to third and Adam Ali (Racing Edge Motorsports) six places to fourth. By lap seven, Morgatto was out to a half second advantage over Ramos while Weinberg continued in third. Alessandro De Tullio (Parolin USA) was the driver on the move gaining ten positions to fourth as Kremers fell to fifth. As the front of the field remained equally spaced, there were no real battles as drivers were biding their time. By lap fifteen, De Tullio had closed onto the back of Weinberg as Weinberg lost a little pace in the latter stages of the race. Morgatto was comfortably out front with eight tenths of a second lead over Ramos and with three laps remaining, De Tullio and Kremers went by Weinberg for third and fourth respectively. Kremers tried to battle De Tullio on the final lap but to no avail as Morgatto secured the win over Ramos, De Tullio, Kremers and Weinberg.
ROK Master – Orsolon Racing
The first final following the lunch break and afternoon warmup sessions was the seventeen-kart strong ROK Masters category and it was a three way battle up front for the win. Renato David (Orsolon) led from the pole position early as William Isaias (International Motorsports) and Danillo Ramalho (Racing Edge Motorsports) kept him honest throughout the twenty lap main event. Federico Montoya (Alessandros Racing) slotted into the fourth position as the top four remained static. Danny Robertson (RPG) gained five positions by lap twelve to move into fifth with Lucas Iglesias (Alessandros Racing) gaining seven to run in sixth. With two laps remaining, Isaias made his bid for the lead after stalking David throughout the race and was successful in his attempt. Isaias would drive to the win by .253 over David as Ramalho would hang on to third. Montoya was able to finish where he started in fourth while Robertson finished fifth, just ahead of Iglesias, who gained seven positions and was the biggest mover of the race. Following the race, the winner Isaias would be hit with a two position penalty dropping him to third and giving Renato David the win ahead of Ramalho.
ROK Micro – Mosport Kart Centre
It was Canadian Rocco Simone (Parolin USA) who would lead the field to green in the Micro ROK main event as he would be flanked by another Canadian, Decklan Deonarine (Goodwood Kartways), who started second. Drew Walz (Mottazsport/RDX) started third and managed to maintain his position throughout the opening lap while Aleksandr Ratushnyy (U-Race) was by Tyrone Kemper (AKT) for fourth. Simone looked like the driver to beat early on as a purple lap on lap three and then again on lap four extended his advantage to half a second only one quarter of the way through the race. Ratushnyy ran into an issue on lap eight falling down the running order to fourteenth as Santiago Namnum (International Motorsport) made his presence felt in the top-five moving forward to fourth. The biggest mover of the race with six laps to go was David Zhao (Goodwood Kartways), who was up eleven spots in only ten laps while Santiago Diaz De La Vega (Alessandros Racing) had gained nine. Simone dominated the final leading flag-to-flag to take the win ahead of Deonarine. Namnum was able to sneak by Walz with two laps remaining to come home third with Matheus Ramalho (Racing Edge Motorsports) in fifth and Zhao in sixth. Unfortunately, following the race Deonarine was pushed back to fourth due to a penalty elevating Namnum and Walz to the podium.
ROK Junior – Rolison Performance Group
The inside row got a massive jump on the start of the ROK Junior main event as the first, third and fifth place starters closed the first lap one, two, three. Jorge Ortiz (Supertune) jumped to the early lead and was out front by nearly half a second at the end of lap two as Teddy Musella (RPG) slotted into second. Sebastian Wheldon (JC Karting) was making moves in the opening laps as he was up four spots to third while G3 Argyros (Speed Concepts) was up five positions to fourth. Michael Costello (Team Benik) slotted into fifth for the first three laps before Steven Miller (CDR) managed to take that over bringing Joao Vergara (Orsolon) with him. By lap seven Ortiz had stretched his gap to seventh tenths over Musella while Musella was 1.5 clear of Wheldon. Argyros continued to show great pace moving to fourth on lap eight and set his sights on Wheldon. Lap twelve saw G3 move to third but only one circuit later he was back to fifth behind Miller and Vergara as the battle intensified. Miller fell to seventh one lap later losing momentum after being passed by Argyros. Ortiz continued to pull away out front and his gap grew to 1.8 with five laps remaining. Musella continued in second with Vergara in third. Ortiz drove to an easy victory leading flag-to-flag with Musella and Vergara joining him on the podium in second and third. Wheldon battled hard to end his weekend in the fourth position, just ahead of Argyros in fifth. Argyros would elevate to fourth on the final results and Steven Miller to fifth after Wheldon was hit with a two-position post-race penalty.
ROK VLR Master – ROK Cup Canada
Perfect throughout the weekend, Laurentiu Mardan (Tecno Kart USA) began his quest for the round two Florida Winter Tour victory from the inside of the front row. Flanked to his outside was fellow Tecno Kart USA driver Cristian Vomir while Aelex Dal Bon (Los Brothers) and Cayden Goodridge (Goodwood Kartways) would start in row two. Mardan’s main challenge would be to make it through the first complex of corners unscathed and he did just that, something his competitors were hoping would not happen. While Vomir went purple on lap four and looked to be the only guy that could challenge for the win, Mardan returned the favor one lap later besting the fastest race lap by two tenths thus far. Vomir challenged again on lap six by resetting the fast lap as the front two were more than 1.5 seconds clear of third. With the closest battle on track the lead duo, Goodridge had settled into third ahead of Dal Bon and Andrew Valenzano (Nolan Bower Motorsports). By lap ten, Mardan was beginning to show his consistent prowess opening the gap to nearly a second as he aimed to put an exclamation mark on his weekend. Mardan was untouchable all weekend and confirmed that with the main event win today. Vomir was as closer in the main event than he was throughout the heat races but was deemed the best of the rest in the end. Goodridge was the only driver in the top-five to gain a position moving from fourth to third, while Dal Bon and Valenzano rounded out the top-five.
ROK Shifter – PSL Karting
The final race of the weekend would be the headline ROK Shifter class and the three drivers that have been the class of North American shifterkart racing would start in the top three positions. AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA) would line up on the pole position ahead of Daniel Formal (Leading Edge Motorsports and Jake French (PSL Karting). Giano Taurino (Magik Kart USA) and Nathan Nicholson (Magik Kart USA) put three Magik Karts in the top-five for the final race start of the weekend. The holeshot went to Formal as he aggressively moved his way in front of Myers at the apex of turn one as French settled into third. Myers defended French on the opening lap allowing Formal to squeak away as Nicolson had contact and fell to the tail of the field. Once settled in, Myers was able to stretch away from French and set his sights on Formal, but the task would not be an easy one. Formal set purple laps on lap three and four to keep the gap around seven tenths of a second as French kept the pressure on Myers. Josh Conquer (Checkered Motorsports) moved his way into the top-five after six laps as Baylor Griffin (Orsolon) gained three positions to run sixth. Myers would steal the fastest race lap on lap six, but French would turn up the wick on lap seven as they all stared at the rear bumper of Formal. Closing the gap ever so slightly, Myers got within half a second of Formal on lap eight as Griffin moved his way to P5 on track. Feeling the pressure, Formal was able to put together a few solid laps and take the gap back to nearly a second as Myers was forced to worry about a charging French behind him. Vincenzo Sarracino was up ten positions but contact on lap twelve saw him spin and forced to restart his ROK Shifter package as he tumbled down the order. Michael Stevens (Stevens/Barbosa Racing) would get by Conquer for fifth as Formal continued to set sail out front opening the gap to 1.2 with four laps remaining. With two laps remaining, Myers failed to trip the timing line as French, Taurino, Stevens and Conquer would all level up one position. Formal would go on to score the win as Myers retired one lap from the end. French would celebrate on the podium in second with Taurino just ahead of Michael Stevens and Josh Conquer.
With round two now in the books, ROKKERs will shift their focus to the 2022 Florida Winter Tour finale in a few weeks’ time at the Orlando Kart Center.
For a complete set of weekend results, click HERE.
*All results unofficial at time of posting