eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month: February 2022 – Caleb Gafrarar
Rolison Performance Group driver closes out SKUSA Winter Series with four wins in same weekend
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
The start to the 2022 karting season is well underway with the winter programs finally wrapping up this month. During February, the Superkarts! USA Winter Series hosted the second and final event of the championship program at the AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex presented by MG Tires on the February 11-13 weekend. Rounds Three and Four were contested at the Homestead, Florida in the clockwise direction. Rolison Performance Group driver Caleb Gafrarar was one of only a few to pull off running double duty in the Junior ranks, leaving South Florida with four wins in four main events.
Each round began with the KA100 Junior division on the track first, with Gafrarar showing speed all weekend long. He cleared the field in qualifying by over a tenth and then led all 12 laps for the on-track win in the Prefinal. A three-second penalty for scrubbing tires dropped him to second in the results, and the outside of the front row for the Final. Outside at the start was not the most optimal position to be, as Gafrarar fell to the seventh spot on the opening lap. He fought forward quickly and was into the lead by lap six. From there, he posted fast laps of the race to establish an eight-second advantage at the checkered flag for his second win of the series.
Gafrarar just missed out on the pole position for Round Three in the X30 Junior division, by a mere 54 thousandths to British driver Brandon Carr. Caleb fell to seventh at the start of the Prefinal, fighting back to fourth with fast lap of the race. Gafrarar advanced forward to the lead in the Final by lap three and led two laps before getting shuffled down to fifth. Once again, he drove back to the front, taking over the lead on lap 15. A red flag was display shortly after, with the race called as Gafrarar was leading to give him his first victory of the series in the category.
The following day was a similar end for Gafrarar. It began with wet track qualifying, as Caleb came 73 thousandths short of fast time in the KA100 Junior timed session for the pole position. He jumped out to the lead in the shorten wet track Prefinal, leading all eight laps for the win. Qualifying would be the only blemish as Gafrarar put in a dominant performance in the Final. On a dry track, Gafrarar led all 22 laps while establishing a 17-second advantage when taking the checkered flag, including recording the fast lap of the race. The third win in the four rounds gave Gafrarar the series championship, his first career title at the SKUSA Winter Series.
With three wins already on the weekend, the focus was earning a fourth to sweep the Junior categories on the weekend. Gafrarar was fourth after the wet qualifying session, however, made the wrong selection of tires on a drying track for the Prefinal. Caleb held on to eighth on wet tires as most of the field went to dry tires. With the track dry for the Final, Gafrarar was on the charge. He eventually reached the top spot by lap 17, working by leader Brandon Carr. They fought in the final laps, which allowed Max Garcia to close in. The trio battled hard on the final circuit, all leading at one point with Gafrarar able to make a move in the penultimate corner, holding through the final turn and reaching the checkered flag first to secure the victory. Caleb ended up third in the final championship standings.
Caleb was scheduled to compete at the ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour event in St. Petersburg the following weekend, however, an injury kept him off the track after one day of practice. Gafrarar came back for the opening event at the United States Pro Kart Series at the Orlando Kart Center the opening weekend of March. He was able to rack up a victory and runner-up in X30 Junior competition along with a third in KA100 Junior. Caleb then closed out the FWT with a victory in VLR Junior and third in Junior ROK.
After a busy winter season, Gafrarar is planning to return to Europe, as he was selected by USAC Karting and ACCUS to represent the United States of America at the FIA Academy Trophy program. Caleb took part in the program last year, finishing 11th in the championship standings. EKN will be sure to follow his progress once again in 2022.
Here in the USA, Gafrarar is slated to follow the USPKS, SKUSA Pro Tour championships for the summer months. Add in the FIA OKJ World Championships in September, IAME USA Grand Nationals along with ROK Vegas and SKUSA SuperNationals 25 to close out 2022.
February 2022 EKN Driver of the Month – Caleb Gafrarar
Born: June 12, 2008
Hometown: Midland, North Carolina
Parents: Jacqueline and Chuck Gafrarar
Height/Weight: 5’5” / 100 lbs.
Education: Ontrack school
Job: RPG Official Team Driver, 8th grade student
Engine/Engine Builder: AVP X30 / Comet KA100
Sponsors: OTK USA, Rolison Performance Group, Bell Racing, Minus 273, From The Ashes, CPI Security, Mom & Dad, Gram & Gramps
Series You Compete In: United States Pro Kart Series, ROK Cup USA, Superkarts! USA, WSK, FIA Academy Trophy
Years Karting: 7
How did you get started in karting? My Dad used to race and he never won any SKUSA races so he wanted me to try (laughing). No, for real, my Dad got me started in a Kid Kart when I was 3 1/2. I’m sure you’ve seen the video of my first time in a kart if you follow my Mom or Dad on Facebook…they share it every year!
What has been the high point in your racing career? Winning 4 for 4 at the SKUSA Winter Series, making the switch to RPG and OTK, and being selected to the FIA Academy. Sorry David, I still owe you the Sweden diary from last year.
What are your goals in racing? To race in F1
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? Aggressive, calm
Funniest moment at the race track? A trip to ‘Mac-ees’ (aka, McDonalds) while in Sweden with Danny Drew and Sam Fugett. Jumping the rental car through a round-a-bout and doing donuts around Danny in a gas station.
Favorite Track: La Conca, Italy
Favorite form of professional motorsports: F1
Favorite karting driver: Ryan Norberg
Favorite professional driver: George Russell
Favorite website: calebgracer.com
Favorite movie: Talladega Nights
Favorite actor/actress: Dwayne Johnson or Ryan Renolds
Favorite music/group: Rap and Country Music
Favorite vacation/activity spot: Beach
Favorite food: Noodles and broccoli, Lasagna
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? School and ride my dirt bike
What are your goals outside of karting? To become a professional racing driver
What app or game do you play right now? Call of Duty
What type of street car would you like to drive? Koenigsegg
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Drivers with no racecraft, people that voted for Biden
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? Direct drive engines
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? All the friends I have made
February 2022 Driver of the Month – Honorable Mention:
* Keelan Harvick: SKUSA Winter Series – 2 Wins (Mini Swift)
* Cason Hodge: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Micro ROK)
* Oliver Hodgson: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Senior 100cc)
* Gaston Irazu: RTX Rotax Winter Trophy – 2 Wins (Junior Max)
* Ian Koentges: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Masters 100cc)
* AJ Myers: SKUSA Winter Series – 2 Wins (Pro Shifter)
* Antonio Pizzonia: RTX Rotax Winter Trophy – 2 Wins (Master Max)
* Alessandro Truchot: SKUSA Winter Series – 2 Wins (Micro Swift)
* Derek Wang: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Masters ROK)
* Carson Weinberg: RTX Rotax Winter Trophy – 2 Wins (Mini Max)