Walking the Walk: RPG’s Mike Rolison Winning in 2023
Eponymous team owner returns to the seat in winning fashion
One of the great stories to start the 2023 season has been a consistent return to the seat for Rolison Performance Group team principal Mike Rolison. The 46-year-old has competed in a half-dozen race weekends in the KA100 Master category over the first half of the season and has recorded wins in both the SKUSA Winter Series and the United States Pro Kart Series. In fact, he’s currently leading the USPKS championship standings heading to the next event in Ohio in late August. As the owner of one of the sport’s strongest and well-run national operations, Rolison has an almost monomaniacal focus on success and perfection, and getting back behind the wheel has its definite purpose.
The Rolison Performance Group promotes itself heavily as being dedicated to driver development and, to that end, the team’s coaching staff is filled with national race winners and champions like Ryan Norberg, Danny Formal, Cedrik Lupien, and Ben Cooper. It’s an All-Star Team, for certain. Rolison’s personal career resume is stacked with success and includes multiple IKF Grand National Duffy trophies along with countless wins and titles in the Pacific Northwest, positioning him as the lead coach of his own operation. As is the case with everything that Mike does with RPG, getting back behind the wheel this season on a consistent basis is not without good reason, and the focus is all about improving his operation for his customers.
The move by numerous national organizations to change their Masters category from X30 to KA100 resulted in a bit of a learning curve for RPG’s drivers and, therefore, the team on the whole. Rolison saw this as a great opportunity to get back in the seat to better understand the team’s Kosmic Mercury chassis as it runs at 390-400 pounds, as well as the KA package for the Masters class. This also gave Mike the chance to closely interact with his Masters drivers and all their other drivers under the tent, as this year they’re traveling to multiple new race tracks on the national calendar, such as Speedsportz Racing Park. The opportunity to experience any new track from the driver’s seat is extremely valuable. When asked by EKN, Mike defaulted to the fact that he just loves kart racing and loves working with his drivers, which is the biggest reason for this consistent return to the seat.
When asked how many races we can expect to see him don his helmet, Rolison commented that he’d run “as many as I can do, but it’s tough when I’m juggling all the hats of my business and my family”. Mike continued, praising all of his competitors.
“So far, it’s been great,” the veteran added. “There are a bunch of very talented Masters drivers who have entered in the various events I’ve been able to race so far this year; too many name here. And I don’t think it’s going to get easier! Just as we are learning about the KA package for the Masters category, so is everyone else. I think the competition level is going to continue to climb over this summer and fall.”
With Superkarts! USA renewing the KA100 Master category for the SuperNationals, we also dropped the big question about Mike racing in Las Vegas, and his answer was quick and to the point.
“As much as I’d love to compete in the event, for me, the SuperNationals is all about providing the best possible experience I can for our customers. Our consistent success at that race is a point of pride for me, and we have numerous international drivers every year, so I know that I need to give them 100% of my focus.”
Look for Rolison to be back and suited up for the next round of the United States Pro Kart Series at the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati on the August 24-27 weekend.