Four Victories for OTK USA Products at USPKS Indiana Grand Prix
Sweep for Junior and Senior single-speed categories at New Castle Motorsports Park
Austin Garrison drove to victory in the X30 Pro category, taking home the $5,000 payday (Photo: eKartingNews.com)
The success for the OTK USA teams and drivers on the 2023 season continues as the first half is completed following the United States Pro Kart Series Indiana Grand Prix. It was a series record event at the New Castle Motorsports Park with entries nearing the 300-mark for eight categories. Half of the victories on the weekend were claimed by OTK drivers and teams, highlighted by Austin Garrison and Cooper Shipman in the Senior divisions while Ernesto Rivera and Oliver Wheldon claimed wins in the Junior ranks.
The headline X30 Pro class featured several drivers in contention all weekend long. Among them was Austin Garrison (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed). Garrison qualified in the top-10 and drove to two top-three finishes in the heat races to keep himself in the hunt. Once the opening lap action settled down, Garrison put himself in the second spot, and eventually took over the lead enroute to a two-second advantage at the checkered flag. Two-time defending series champion Ryan Norberg (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) overcame early race contact to lay down the fast lap of the race, giving OTK a 1-2 finish. A total of five OTK drivers made up the top-10 with Ayden Ingratta (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed), Caleb Gafrarar (Mike Doty Racing / LN Racing Kart) and Pauly Massimino (Brandon Jarsocrak Racing / LN Racing Kart).
A last lap pass provided Cooper Shipman (Iron Rock Motorsports / Tony Kart) his first career victory in the KA100 Senior class. The Senior rookie put himself into the lead group after starting fifth. Patience throughout the first 17 laps of the race allowed for the opportunity to move from third to first on the final circuit, leading only the last lap to claim the victory. Mick Gabriel (AEM Karting / Kosmic) was involved in the lead group, managing to hang on to fourth after dropping a wheel on the last lap. Top qualifier Austin Jurs (Redspeed) had two heat race wins, but a DNF on during Saturday’s heat races dropped him down to 15th on the starting grid. Jurs fought back in the Final to end up fifth at the checkered flag. A total of five OTK drivers made up the top-10, including Peyton Phillips (Hi5 Performance / Tony Kart), Brandon Lemke (Franklin Motorsports / Exprit) and Henry Wheeler (Mike Doty Racing / LN Racing Kart).
Ernesto Rivera (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) extended his win streak to three in the X30 Junior division. Rivera qualified second and won two of the three heat races to earn the pole position for the main event. By the halfway point, Rivera established himself as the leader, driving away to a 1.2 second margin of victory. Canadian Anthony Martella (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) made it a OTK 1-2 in the Final. He and Rivera were able to sweep the category for OTK, with Martella claiming fast time in qualifying and winning the other heat race. Fighting for the lead in the Final, Martella settled for the runner-up spot for a second straight event. Oliver Wheldon (JC Karting / LN Racing Kart) started seventh and drove up to fourth with Jensen Burnett (Racing Edge Motorsports / Kosmic) making it two Canadians into the top-five.
A career first victory in the KA100 Junior class was earned by Oliver Wheldon (JC Karting / LN Racing Kart). It was a weekend of passing for the Florida driver, who struggled in qualifying and ended up 29th overall in the 59-driver field. Starting 15th in each heat race, he drove up to ninth, first and fifth to place himself inside row five of the main event. Wheldon continued moving forward throughout the Final and joined the top-three drivers on the last lap. He nearly reached the checkered flag first, placing provisionally second. Post-race penalties put Wheldon on the top of the podium, claiming his first Junior victory at USPKS. Ernesto Rivera (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) was vying for his third straight in the category and ended up crossing the line one thousandths behind Wheldon to be classified second. Junior rookie Isaac Malcuit (Gillard) was among the top contenders all weekend, ending up fifth in the Final. OTK earned fast time in qualifying with Fernando Luque (Supertune USA / Tony Kart) while picking up four of the six heat race wins thanks to Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon Racing / Tony Kart), Wheldon, Turner Brown (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) and Rivera.
Three drivers on OTK products stood on the podium for the KA100 Masters division. Two-time winner and championship leader Mike Rolison (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) came up just short in the main event after struggling in the heat races. Rolison came from sixth on the grid into the second spot, running out of time with the checkered flag waving to put him on the second step of the podium. Mario Barrios (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) recorded his second-straight third place finish with Miguel Mier (Orsolon Racing / Tony Kart) earning his best finish on the season in fourth.
The United States Pro Kart Series continues August 24-27 at the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati in Batavia, Ohio. Drivers looking to compete with the most popular kart brand in the world or purchase OTK karts and components can contact their local OTK USA dealer. Head to www.otkusa.com for a complete list of dealers and details on the entire brand roster.