Daily Report by ROK Cup USA
Photos by: Canadian Karting News
What a weekend! We crowned ten ROK Vegas Champions. We saw tears and cheers but the 2021 ROK Cup USA ROK Vegas event is complete. Congratulation to our winners…read the full report below!
MoSport Karting Centre ROK VLR Junior
Courtesy of his OMP Pole Position in qualifying and two heat race wins, Ayden Ingratta (Speed Concepts Racing) occupied the inside of the front row and to his outside was Parker Delong (Ryan Perry Motorsports) who won the two heats that Ingratta did not. Chase Hand (Rolison Performance Group) lined up on the inside of row two next to Jesus Vasquez (Nash Motorsportz) as Jeremy Fletcher (Team Felon) and G3 Argyros (Speed Concepts Racing) occupied row three.
Green on the first time by, Ingratta was your leader as Fletcher made an aggressive first corner move to go from fifth to second, but it was short lived as Vasquez, Hand and Stephen Eisert (Speedsense Motorsports) pushed him back to fifth by the time the first lap came to a close. Ingratta controlled the pace early but was being pushed hard by Vasquez who was eventually overtaken by Hand at the start of lap four. Ingratta opened a bit of a gap as five drivers battled behind him. Once everything settled down, it was a five-kart breakaway at the front as Delong began to work his way forward and slotted into the third position. Ingratta opened an almost seven tenth gap by the end of lap six but the drivers behind him were getting organized to push back to the front. In one lap, the gap was down to less than three tenths of a second as Hand led the train back to Ingratta and took the lead on lap eight. Delong, Ingratta and Vasquez worked together to stay close to Hand as they began to pull a gap on the fifth-place runner of Eisert. At the half race distance, it was a four-kart pack that looked to be in contention for the win as drivers just ran nose to tail biding their time.
Delong tried to get by Hand on lap thirteen in turn three as the duo made light contact, but continued unscathed and later that lap both Hand and Delong were able to dispose of Ingratta back to third. Some hard racing allowed Hand to open the biggest lead of the race with five laps remaining, but it was Delong and Ingratta who turned lap times faster than Hand when the lap ended. Fletcher, who was running sixth, had minor impact with the wall on lap sixteen and fell down the running order as Delong went purple to claim the fastest race lap and find the bumper of Hand with three laps remaining. Hand went into defense mode backing Delong up into Ingratta as the front four were back together again, but it was to no avail as he was able to get by Hand on the start of the penultimate lap bringing Ingratta with him. Ingratta got into the back of Delong at the start of the final lap sending him wide in the first corner and snuck by on the entry to turn three. The pair battled hard for the final few corners, but it was Ingratta who earned the win ahead of Vasquez, Delong, Hand and Eisert.
Following the race, Ingratta was issued a two position penalty for contact on the last lap that bumped him to third on the podium handing the victory to Jesus Vasquez and second place to Parker Delong.
Nash Motorsportz ROK VLR Senior
After qualifying seventh, Blake Nash (Nash Motorsportz) went four for four in the heat races to earn Championship Sunday’s pole position. Jacob Hoover (Alex Keyes Racing) was the best of the rest and would line up on the outside of the front row just ahead of Liam Letzsch (GFC), Race Liberante (RF / Deltasport) and Kyriakos Sioukas (Alex Keyes Racing).
Nash started his quest for ROK Vegas glory by leading the opening lap over Jacob Hoover and Race Liberante as Danny Formal (Leading Edge Motorsports) was up to fifth after starting deeper in the field. Lap two saw Formal and Sioukas move to third and fourth as Letzsch fell back to sixth. Formal was on a charge and moved to third a lap later as the top two had broken away. Hoover led from Nash on lap five as Formal was just a second behind the duo but ahead of Sioukas and Liberante as third through fifth were evenly spaced. Looking like a two-horse race up front, Hoover and Nash stayed nose to tail as they tried to pull away from Formal even more. Pushing hard on his own, Formal kept pace but was unable to close the gap and eventually fell back into the clutches of Sioukas as Colby Dubato (Mike Manning Karting) was able to get by Liberante and move into fifth.
Nash took the lead from Hoover as the top four continued to run two-by-two with four laps remaining. With two laps to go, Nash would begin to tighten up his line to keep Hoover behind him as Formal did the same with Sioukas. A slight bobble by Hoover gave Nash the gap he needed and entering corner eight, he opened a three-kart length advantage. Nash drove to the win with Hoover in second and Formal in third. Sioukas was able to earn a fourth-place finish with Dubato ahead of Ryan Vincent for sixth.
AM Engines ROK Mini
Diego Ardiles (Supertune) has been one of the drivers to beat in ROK Mini all weekend long and began his quest for the ROK Vegas title from the inside of the front row. Max Cristea (Checkered Racing) was the biggest mover in the heat races as after qualifying 23rd overall, he went seventh, fourth, fourth and third in the heat races to earn the outside front row starting spot. Javier Herrera (Orsolon Racing) and Luis Umana (Orsolon Racing) secured third and fourth place starting positions as Sarah Bradley (Parolin USA) was fifth. With two heat race wins, and one 42nd place result, Salvador Della Vecchia (AKT Racing) lined up seventh but would be one to watch in the main event.
Unlike many of the other classes on the schedule, the ROK Mini drivers were able to complete the opening lap without incident as Ardiles led the field to green. However, Della Vecchia had an astounding opening lap and drove to the point bringing Herrera with him and relegating Ardiles back to third. With lap three of eighteen in the books, the leading trio began to open a gap looking to stretch away from Sarah Bradley who had levelled up to the fourth position. Herrera led lap four, but Della Vecchia went by at the start of lap five bringing Ardiles with him as they entered the braking zone in corner one. With the front three battling, they let the fourth through ninth place drivers back in the mix as it was a train of karts battling for the top. Bradley made her move forward advancing to second as some hard racing behind her divided the lead group a bit.
Della Vecchia continued to turn fast lap after fast lap and opened his lead to nearly 1.8 seconds at the mid-race distance. Luis Umana passed Bradley for second as Kai Johnson (PSA Check) was by Ardiles for fourth on the same lap and a lap later passed Umana for third. With seven laps remining, the second and third place drivers would run nose to tail as they lapped quicker than Della Vecchia out front. Closing the gap from 1.8 to 1.5 to 1.1 seconds in three laps, the race was on for the ROK Mini Championship. Chopping another six tenths of a second out of the lead with four circuits remaining, Jack Iliffe and Johnson were in hot pursuit of the leader. The next lap, the duo would catch and pass Della Vecchia down the long front straight with Iliffe to the lead and Johnson to second. With two to go, Iliffe had opened a one second lead as Johnson and Della Vecchia battled behind him and because of that, he was able to cruise to victory in the final circuit. Iliffe claimed the ROK Vegas ROK Mini Championship with Johnson and Della Vecchia coming together on the final lap. Della Vecchia would hold on to second with Umana in third, Oscar Iliffe in fourth and Johnson in fifth. Della Vecchia would be handed a two position penalty for contact that happened on the track relegating him to fourth and promoting Umana to P2 and the second Iliffe, Oscar to the podium in P3 as he officially gained twenty positions in the main event.
Dallas Karting Complex ROK Shifter Master
There have been two drivers to beat for the past two seasons in ROK Shifter Master and those two were the only duo to score heat race wins on Friday and Saturday. Jordon Musser (PSL Karting) beat OMP Pole Position winner Ryan Kinnear (Phil Giebler Racing) in three of the four wheel-to-wheel races to take Championship Sunday’s premier starting position. Kinnear would like up to his left as John Crow (GFC) steadily worked his way forward to take the inside row two starting spot. Mike Beeny (Rolison Performance Group) edged Nicolas Bedard (PSL Karting) in heat race points to take the fourth-place grid position with Rene Martinelli (TB Kart USA) lining up sixth.
Musser took advantage of his inside front row starting position to have the preferred line entering turn one and maintained his lead. Kinnear slotted into the second position as Beeny was able to get by Crow before the apex of corner one to grab third. Contact in turn eight on the opening circuit forced a few drivers to retire early as the race was on up front. The front five were within one second after five laps with Crow getting by Beeny in turn five to take over third. Kinnear was showing his pace on the new LeVanto tires keeping Musser honest and sticking right to his rear bumper as Nicolas Bedard ran fifth and Ryan Yop advanced to sixth. Crow would run down the leaders to make it a three-kart battle for the lead on lap nine as Kinnear was able to slip by Musser at the mid-race point to assume the lead. With the front three running nose to tail, Kinner drove the next lap defensive to try and entice a battle behind him as Musser looked for a way back by. Yop was able to dispose of Bedard for fifth on lap thirteen as Neil Joseph (GFC) climbed his way up the running order to sixth. Kinnear and Musser would break away from Crow with five laps remining as a three-kart lead group turned to two. Beeny and Yop would go wheel-to-wheel at the start of lap 22 with Beeny holding his rival at bay as Kinnear looked to do the same with Musser but could not hold him back. Musser would sneak by in the braking zone in turn five as he came to the double sticks and two laps to go. With one last effort, Kinnear would close on to the back bumper of Musser but was unable to make the move. Musser would score the 2021 ROK Vegas Shifter Master title ahead of Kinnear and Crow with Beeny and Yop rounding out the top-five.
Rolison Performance Group ROK Senior
With heat two and three victories accompanied with second and fourth place finishes in heats one and four, Alessandro De Tullio (Parolin USA) took the ROK Senior pole position. Ryan Norberg (Rolison Performance Group) was consistent through his four heat races to secure the second place starting spot as heat four winner Cole Morgan (Ryan Perry Motorsports) slotted into third. OMP Pole Position winner and heat one victor Jack Jeffers (Speed Concepts Racing) would begin his first ROK Senior main event from P4 as Nathaniel Cicero (Rolison Performance Group) put two RPG drivers in the top-five.
It was contact filled first corner for the ROK Senior competitors as drivers battled hard for position and in turn three, several were out of the race with heavy barrier contact. De Tullio led from his pole position as Norberg slotted into second ahead of Cicero, Jeffers and Morgan. Jake Craig (APM Racing) was able to get by Samuel Lupien (PSL Karting) for sixth on the start of lap three, as the front quintet broke away from the field. De Tullio stretched his lead by nearly a second as Jeffers turned the fastest lap of the race so far on lap five to move to second. Resetting the fastest lap one lap later, Jeffers had his head down to catch the leader as he looked to give Speed Concepts Racing a ROK Vegas win. A lap later he did it again taking three tenths of a second out of De Tullio’s lead as the top-eighteen maintained their positions.
On lap nine, Jeffers had closed to the rear bumper of De Tullio and took the lead in the back section of the track in his first ROK Senior race. Stretching away from his combatants, Jeffers opened a half second lead by the mid-race distance as De Tullio fell into the clutches of Cicero. Out front, Jeffers continued to turn the fastest race laps as his radiator brackets broke and cooling device began to bounce off his left rear tire. On lap fifteen of twenty-five, Cicero would get by De Tullio for second as he matched Jeffers pace. Norberg would get by De Tullio to put a pair of RPG drivers in podium positions with Cicero closing the gap ever so slightly on Jeffers until lap twenty when he took a big chuck out of his lead. Cicero had momentum on his side as Jeffers would struggle with the cooling on his #331 entry and with two laps remaining, the duo would run nose to tail. De Tullio fell way off the pace as Morgan was able to advance forward to the fourth position, but it was a two-horse race upfront. Jeffers felt the pressure of Cicero on the penultimate lap and began his victory defense. Cicero had a chance at the exit of turn eight, but Jeffers held him behind and the pair went side by side through the last corner with Cicero gaining the inside advantage and eventual lead driving to the win. Jeffers would hang on to second with Norberg, Morgan and De Tullio rounding out the top-five.
Orsolon Racing ROK Master
Sixty-year-old Billy Cleavelin (Rolison Performance Group) scored the second and fourth heat race wins along with third place finishes in heats one and three to earn the ROK Master Pole Position for Championship Sunday. OMP Pole Position Winner and heat one winner Derek Wang (Full Throttle Karting) edged Scott Roberts (Speed Concepts Racing) by one point in the heat races to start outside row one with Roberts lining up next to Martin Pierce (Forward Direction Motorsports) in row two. Row three would see William Isaias (International Motorsports) start alongside perennial front-runner and multi-time ROK race winner Renato Jader-David (Orsolon Racing).
With the first start waved off, the ROK Master field would go green the second lap around as Cleavelin went wide on the entry of the first corner allowing Roberts to sneak by for the lead. Falling back to third due to his outside front row starting spot, Derek Wang settled in front of Pierce and Isaias. Roberts stretched his lead to nearly one second by the close of lap two and extended that even more in lap three as Wang was able to get by Cleavelin for second and Renato Jader-David was by Pierce for fourth. Roberts had stretched his lead to more than two seconds by lap eight with Wang and Jader-David running two to three tenths slower per lap behind him before Jader-David moved to the second position on lap nine.
By mid-race distance, the gap was stationary at 2.1 seconds as Jader-David could not close in on Roberts. Plus or minus a tenth or two a lap, it was Roberts race to lose with ten laps to go. On lap sixteen, Cleavelin was able to get back by Wang to put himself in a podium position with Danny Roberts advancing forward into the top-ten. A look over his shoulder on lap nineteen reaffirmed the gap for Roberts but Jader-David put in a monster circuit on lap twenty to bring the gap down to 1.6 seconds and the race for the win was on. At the end of lap twenty-two, Jader-David had Roberts in his crosshairs as his Orsolon Racing entry was chasing down the leader. From 1.6 to 1.2 to less than a second with the double sticks and two laps to go, Roberts could feel the pressure. Driving a mistake free final two laps, Roberts earned the ROK Master ROK Vegas title as Jader-David would come home second, Cleavelin looked to be poised for third but a last lap mistake let Wang by for the final step on the podium with Cleavelin in fourth and Martin Pierce in fifth.
ROK Sonoma ROK Micro
With three heat race wins, Tristan Murphy (Team Benik) was the top point getter in the ROK Micro field as he earned Championship Sunday’s pole position. OMP Pole Position winner Marco Romero (SLA Kart Racing) put a his Benik in second to put a pair of Benik Karts on the front row. Gianmatteo Rousseau would begin his quest for Vegas glory from the inside of row three ahead of Cason Hodge (Speedsense Motorsports) as Lucas Palacio (FDM) started fifth next to heat two race winner Keelan Harvick (Team Nitro).
Murphy jumped out to the opening lap lead as he looked to run and hide from the rest of the Micro ROKKERs, opening a pretty good gap on lap one as Romero ran second. Rousseau was able to level up to P2 at the start of lap two as Harvick did the same advancing from fifth to fourth. Working together, the six-kart train was able to run down Murphy by the end of lap four as seven karts ran bumper-to-bumper with fourteen laps remaining. Rousseau went by for the lead at the start of lap five as Harvick moved past Romero for fourth on the same lap. Cason Hodge would run fifth ahead of Palacio and Royce Vega (Team Benik).
Harvick would dive-bomb Murphy in the first corner on lap seven as Hodge would get by Romero on the same circuit in turn eight. The seven-kart lead pack had now been separated into two groups with four up front and Romero leading the chase group from P5. Harvick moved to the point on lap eight bringing Murphy with him to second before Murphy would go by Harvick half a lap later. The leaders would continue their epic battle with Harvick again going to the front at the start of the tenth lap as Murphy returned the favor a lap later only to overshoot the corner and allow Rousseau to leapfrog him in the running order. The loss of the momentum for the front four brought eight karts back together for the win separated by only 1.329 seconds at the end of lap eleven. Lap thirteen saw Murphy jump back to the front as he looked to assume control in the high-speed chess match and did so by getting ahead of the battles behind him. Harvick and Hodge would get by Rousseau for second and third as Romero would do the same a lap later. Harvick and Hodge would work together to run down Murphy as the double sticks came out indicating two laps to go. Harvick took the lead at the start of lap seventeen. Harvick defended on Murphy and managed to hold on to score his first ROK Vegas title. Murphy would cross the line in second with Hodge in third.
Speed Concepts Racing ROK Junior
Chase Hand (Rolison Performance Group) earned two heat race wins along with a third and fourth to take the ROK Junior pole position. Sebastian Wheldon (JC Karting) remained consistent through his heat races to start second as Ayden Ingratta (Speed Concepts Racing) lined up third. Logan Toke (Ryan Perry Motorsports) slotted into fourth after four heat races with Jorge Ortiz (Supertune) starting fifth after his heat two victory.
Hand popped out of the first corner in the lead as Ingratta made an aggressive move into third and then dove in on Wheldon in corner two to take second. Logan Toke and Jorge Ortiz also gained on Wheldon who dropped to fifth by the close of the opening lap. Ingratta ran down Hand on lap two and made a bid for the lead entering the first corner of lap three as the two made contact. Hand lost momentum as Ingratta was able to sneak by and to the lead. Ingratta opened a one second gap on Hand who also had a one second gap on Ortiz, who had moved to the third position ahead of Caleb Gafrarar (Rolison Performance Group) in fourth. Gafrarar snuck by Ortiz on lap eight to put himself in a podium position as Ingratta went purple at the front of the field setting the fastest lap of the race. Wheldon was able to get by Ortiz a lap later as the two swapped positions for multiple corners. Ortiz was driving hard to the back as Fletcher went around him on lap eleven to move to fifth with Ingratta still turning fast lap after fast lap at the front.
In a league of his own, Ingratta was two to four tenths fastest than his closest rivals as he stretched the gap to nearly four seconds by the end of lap sixteen. Hand was still comfortably in the second position ahead of Gafrarar and a hard charging Fletcher. Jorge Ortiz found the speed he lost at the beginning of the race and after falling back to seventh, had advanced back up to fifth with eight laps to go. Fletcher and Ortiz would work together to close the gap on Gafrarar as the fight for the final step on the podium raged on. With five laps to go, both Fletcher and Ortiz would get by Gafrarar as a lap later Wheldon followed suit. Gafrarar muscled his way back by Wheldon on the start of lap twenty-two and brought Toke with him, but it was all Ingratta up front with a five second gap to Hand. The best battle on track was for the final podium spot as five drivers battled hard. Fletcher went on the defensive mode to keep Ortiz and Gafrarar behind him and was successful for half a lap until Ortiz found a way by. Fletcher then moved Ortiz a few corners later to regain the spot as Gafrarar and Toke followed him through. Ingratta scored a dominant victory ahead of Hand, Gafrarar, Toke and Wheldon as Ortiz dropped to P8 on the final lap.
Full Throttle Karting ROK VLR Master
OMP Pole Position winner of all four heat races, Laurentiu Mardan (Tecno USA) lined up on the pole position for the VLR Master main event. Mike Smith (VMI) turned his two second place heat race results into a P2 starting position ahead of Matt Johnson (Nash Motorsportz) in third. Adam Kasick (FDM) lined up in the fourth position just ahead of Miguel Mier (Team Crosslink) in fifth.
Disaster struck for Mardan as after claiming the pole position and a quartet of heat race wins, he failed to complete the opening lap of the main event and opened the door for the rest of the VLR Master drivers. Mike Smith assumed the point ahead of Matt Johnson and Adam Kasick as Miguel Mier was able to move into fourth and Martin Stone in fifth. The front four would begin to break away, especially Smith as the quartet battled behind him. Johnson signaled to Kasick to work together to keep the leader in check, but the opposite happened as Mier was able to get by both for second as Stone moved to fourth. Stone put two Team Crosslink drivers in podium contention on the start of lap seven as he moved by Kasick for third and was one of the fastest karts on track. A lap later, Stone passed Mier for second and set his sights on Smith who had over a one second advantage. Kasick and Mier would make contact on lap seven as both fell down the running order elevating Johnson to third. Stone then caught and made the move on Smith to assume the lead on lap nine as he looked to confirm his first ROK Vegas title. Smith ran alone in second as Johnson did the same in third, but Nick De Graaf (Vemme Kart) was trying to hold off the lines of Juan Basco (SLA Kart), Zach Woodsford (Nash Motorsportz), Mike Manning (Mike Manning Karting) and Andres Fonseca (PSL Karting) who were hot on his heels.
Johnson in third was pacing the same lap times as Stone out front as he was catching Smith for the second step on the podium heavily with six laps remaining. Basco and Fonseca had gotten by De Graaf to move to fourth and fifth as the battle for second heated up. Johnson would get by Smith at the start of lap eighteen as Woodsford and De Graaf would pass Basco to move to fifth and sixth. Stone had set sail out front and would drive to the victory as Johnson and Smith would join him on the podium. Fonseca crossed the line in fourth with De Graaf in fifth as Woodsford wrecked on the last lap while making his bid for a top-five.
PSL Karting ROK Shifter
Danny Formal (Leading Edge Motorsports) turned his second-place qualifying result into four heat race wins and accompanying main event pole position. OMP Pole Position winner Jake French (PSL Karting) will line up for the main event to Formal’s left as AJ Myers (Checkered Motorsports) slotted into the third position. Hunter Pickett (GFC) was fourth with Rolison Performance Group’s driver Austin Garrison.
Formal was out in front when the green flag flew as AJ Myers made an aggressive move past French on the first corner. Formal defended into turn five, and then again into turn eight to keep Myers behind him as contact ensued mid-pack. Hunter Pickett and Ron White were able to jump into fourth and fifth as Jacob Gulick moved to sixth. French was able to get by Myers on lap four to assume the second position as Formal had already opened a one second gap on the field. French immediately began to chip away on Formal’s lead as Myers fell into the clutches of Pickett. French was visibly closing on Formal lap after lap as Pickett got by Myers for third. White continued to run ahead of Gulick in fifth, but all eyes were at the front of the field. French, who proved his pace on new tires in qualifying, was looking to do the same in the main event as he took another tenth out of Formal’s lead and closed it down to three and a half tenths. Kyle Wick (GFC) was by Gulick for sixth on lap twelve with Ron White next on his hit list. Formal was able to find a few tenths and stretch the lead back out to three quarters of a second with Pickett and Myers battling tooth and nail for the final podium position.
With ten laps to go, French was back on the charge forward closing the gap to less than half a second as the rest of the top-ten remained steady. Lap seventeen saw Austin Garrison dispose of Gulick for the seventh position while Myers was able to get back around Pickett for third which allowed White to come back into play. Making a late race effort, French again found some pace on Formal to get to his rear bumper and begin to mount his challenge for victory. Formal would keep French behind him for lap twenty-one and twenty-two but with two laps remaining, French was as close as ever. Formal felt the pressure and immediately went on defense with success. Formal scored his second ROK Vegas Championship with French in second, Myers in third followed by White and Wick who got by Pickett on the last lap.
The 2021 ROK Vegas has now come to an end. We would like to thank all the competitors, teams, dealers, partners and supporters for making this the biggest ever ROK Cup USA event ever. We look forward to the 2022 race season. #DecemberSnowflakes
A complete set of session results can be found on the easy to navigate ROK Cup USA app or by clicking HERE.
*All results unofficial at time of posting