Daily Report by: ROK Cup USA
Photos by: Canadian Karting News
Heat One and Two
ROK VLR Junior
Jesus Vasquez (Nash Motorsportz) jumped to the lead at the start of the ROK VLR Junior heat one as he was able to control the pace early on. Pole position winner Ernesto Rivera (RPG) was hot on his heels in second as Caleb Gafrarar (RPG) held station in third. Gafrarar made the move to second on lap six disposing of Rivera as Christian Cameron (SCR) moved into fourth ahead of Stephen Eisert (Speedsense). Gafrarar hounded Vasquez as he turned the fastest race lap on lap eight with the front four within one second and made his bid for the lead on the final circuit to take the win. Eisert finished second ahead of Vasquez, Cameron, and Rivera.
Eisert led the field to green in the second wheel-to-wheel heat for the ROK VLR Junior, but it was short-lived as both Gafrarar and Vasquez snuck by before the end of lap two. Vasquez moved to the point a lap later and brought Eisert, Helio Meza (Iron Rock), and Max Taylor (RPG) with him as Gafrarar fell to fifth. As Gafrarar worked his way back forward, Vasquez held a slim margin over Eisert in second, but it was still anyone’s race. Vasquez took the win ahead of Eisert, Gafrarar, Meza, and Taylor.
ROK VLR Senior
Jeremy Fletcher (RPM) jumped to the early lead in the first ROK VLR Senior heat race, but Chase Jones (MPG) snuck by for the lead on lap four. Caleb Shrader (RPG) moved from to the point on lap five pushing Jones and Fletcher to second and third ahead of Chase Hand (RPG) and Alan Isambard (ANSA). At mid-race distance, the front four were separated by less than four-tenths of a second. It was a battle up front as the lead continued to change lap after lap. Hand regained the point with two laps remaining only to have Fletcher take it back. When the checkered flag flew, Fletcher scored the win ahead of Jones, Shrader, Liam Letzsch (GFC), and Isambard.
Chase Jones jumped to the early lead in ROK VLR Senior heat two, but it was Liam Letzsch who was on his bumper for the opening few laps before Caleb Shrader found his way by for second. Oliver Hodgson (Compkart) was making headway to the front as he moved into fourth and looked to battle for the win while Fletcher was back in the fifth position. Fletcher made it a two-for-one move on lap five jumping from fifth to third and went from third to first just a lap later to lead at the mid-race distance. Fletcher earned the win ahead of Shrader, Hand, Jones, and Hodgson.
Isaac Malcuit (MMR) led the Mini ROK field to the green flag and through the first lap as Carson Weinberg (SCR) was by Gage Korn (Race Factory) for second. As the front five remained unchanged until the mid-race distance, Turner Brown (SCR) and Tyrone Kemper Jr. (PSL Karting) slotted into fourth and fifth respectively. Malcuit led flag-to-flag to take the win over Weinberg, Korn, Brown, and Kemper in a very clean Mini ROK race.
Malcuit jumped to the lead at the start of heat two as Weinberg followed him into the second position. Korn ran in P3 just ahead of Australian Baxter Jarrett (Parolin USA) and OMP Pole Position winner Michael McGaughy. While Malcuit went purple with the fastest race lap on lap three, Korn stole that honor away a lap later only to have Malcuit steal it back on lap five. Turner Brown found his way back into the top-five on lap seven. Malcuit would drive to an easy win and retain his pole position for heat three as Korn passed Weinberg on the final lap for second. Weinberg finished third with Jarrett and Brown fourth and fifth.
ROK Master Shifter
Matthew Hamilton (Aluminos) led from perennial front-runner Jordon Musser (PSL Karting) in the ROK Master Shifter as opening lap contact took a pair of Ansa Karting drivers out of the race. Antonio Pizzonia (Orsolon) slotted into third and was one of the fastest drivers on track over the first half of the race. Alan Morte (Ron White Racing) and Neil Joseph (GFC) ran fourth and fifth but were falling behind the lead trio. Hamilton went purple on lap six opening a one-second gap and never looked back. Hamilton scored the heat one win over Musser, Pizzonia, Morte, and Neil Joseph.
Aussie driver Hamilton started from the pole position for heat two, but it was Musser who closed the first lap at the helm. Antonio Pizzonia moved into second as Hamilton fell to third ahead of Neil Joseph and Bud Grossenbacher (Racelab). Pizzonia moved to the point on lap three as the rest of the field settled in. From that point forward, the front five remained unchanged with Pizzonia scoring his first ROK Vegas heat race win.
Canadian Zachary Claman-DeMelo (REM) put his Kosmic at the front of the field in qualifying and would start on the inside of row one for heat one. DeMelo jumped to the lead but was quickly pushed to third on lap two as Frankie Mossman (Team Benik) took the point followed by Marijn Kremers (PSL), Diego Ramos (PSL), and Jack Jeffers (SCR). The front quintet was lock and step throughout the first half of the race as they all were thinking about finishing and setting themselves up for good positioning in the next one. Kremers was the first to make the move as he slipped by for the lead on lap nine and held on for the win. Mossman came home second ahead of DeMelo, Ramos, and Jeffers.
It was a tough go for a couple of the front-running ROK Senior drivers as Frankie Mossman and Matheus Morgatto (AM Racing) both had issues. Both drivers ran in the top three on occasion but failed to complete the full race distance. Kremers earned his second win of the day ahead of DeMelo and Jack Jeffers. Speed Concepts Racing put two in the top four with Cameron Weinberg in fourth while RPG’s Nate Cicero was able to close his day with a P5 result. Uncharacteristically, Ryan Norberg has had struggles throughout the weekend and finished heat two in eighth, just ahead of senior rookie Ayden Ingratta.
It was a rough start for David Laplante (Premiere Karting) and David Pergande (JH Motorsports) as contact with the barrier sent them down the running order. Newly crowned ROK Superfinal Champion Renato Jader (Orsolon) led Superfinal Vice-Champion Derek Wang (Ruthless Karting) during the opening lap. Eric Molinatti (Ron White Racing) was able to run behind Wang but lost touch with leaders to run on his own in third. William Isaias (International Motorsports) was able to get Molinatti for third and hold on for the rest of the twelve-lap heat race while Molinatti settled for fourth, just ahead of Mario Barros (REM) in fifth.
It was Renato Jader who went two-for-two in the daily heat races as he put his Orsolon Racing entry back on the top of the results sheets. Derek Wang ran second early before falling to third on lap five behind William Isaias. Martin Stone (REM) made his first appearance in the top-five as he ran fourth midway through the race while Joe Crupi (REM) was fifth. Billy Cleavelin was moving forward before contact with the barrier on lap seven forced him to retire as the front of the field remained unchanged. Behind Jader, Isaias beat Wang, Stone, and Crupi to the checkered flag.
Michael McGaughy earned the pole position but would finish heat one in second behind Ryan Perry Motorsports teammate Tristan Murphy. It was Royce Vega (Team Benik) who was able to run up front early and finish third ahead of the Parolin USA duo of Jaxon Porter and Canadian Rocco Simone. While the Micro ROK drivers were patient for heat one, things will heat up as the weekend rolls along.
It was a Ryan Perry Motorsports and Parolin Kart front row as Tristan Murphy and Michael McGaughy held their positions through the first lap with Royce Vega and Jaxon Porter just behind. Porter fell two positions a lap later as Ferguson and Simone snuck by. A lap later, Tristan Murphy was a victim of an onslaught of drivers as McGaughy moved to the point bringing Vega, Ferguson, and Simone with him. A lap later the two Benik drivers of Vega and Ferguson moved to first and second with Ferguson getting by his teammate at the midrace point for the lead. In a seven-kart battle for the win on the final lap it was Ferguson that took the win by .071 over McGaughy who was only .015 ahead of Vega. Murphy crossed the line in fourth with Alex Procune (FLC) with the front six drivers separated by .689.
It was a battle up front in ROK Junior as Caleb Gafrarar (RPG) led early with Jorge Ortiz (SCR) taking the point just past the halfway mark. Leonardo Escorpioni (Zanella) was holding Steven Miller (Chad Dokken Racing) at bay as Sebastian Wheldon (JC Karting) ran fifth. With three laps remaining, Miller was able to move to second as he was getting racy while Wheldon was pushed back to sixth by Ernesto Rivera (RPG). Ortiz took the win ahead of Gafrarar and Miller while Escorpioni and Rivera rounded out the top-five.
With heat two shortened to ten laps as darkness began to fall, Ortiz led the field to the green flag as he got his elbows out to maintain the point. Gafrarar was the biggest loser in the opening complex of corners falling back to third as Miller was able to get by and set his sights on Ortiz. Gafrarar was able to get back by for second on lap two, but Miller returned the favor a lap later as Ernesto Rivera and Escorpioni ran fourth and fifth. In the end, it was Ortiz who was the driver with a mission and proved that in heat two by taking a three-second win over Rivera who gained a few positions on the last lap disposing of Miller. Gafrarar dropped out of the race on the final lap opening the door for Sebastian Wheldon and Escorpioni to finish fourth and fifth.
ROK VLR Master
With a delay due to a sprinkler flooding water across the track, the ROK VLR Master drivers pushed back to the paddock after sitting on the grid while the track cleanup proceeded. When racing did get underway, Ben Cooper (RPG) maintained the lead early on before Laurentiu Mardan (Tecno Kart USA) and Adam Kasick (FDM) snuck by. A few laps later, Matt Johnson (Nash Motorsportz) disposed of Cooper for third as Charlie Fonseca (AM Engines) hounded him from the fifth position. Mardan would soldier on to score the win ahead of Cooper as he was able to get by Kasick and Johnson late in the race. Johnson would finish third, Kasick fourth, and Mike Smith (VMI) in fifth.
Mardan jumped to the early lead, but it was Ben Cooper who worked his way to the front of the heat two running order on lap three while Matt Johnson ran third. Mike Smith (VMI) got by Adam Kasick for fourth in the same lap as the ten-lap race had five down and five to go. Smith moved back to third a lap later and brought Ian Koentges (FDM) with him who had got by Kasick earlier that lap. Mardan moved back by Cooper for the lead on the sixth circuit as Johnson was back to fourth. The action was fast and furious as darkness came but it was Ben Cooper who ended the second heat on top ahead of Mardan, Smith, Koentges, and Matt Johnson.
It took three attempts to get the first ROK Shifter heat underway but when they were rolling, the pace was fast. AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA) was able to lead early with Billy Musgrave (Factory Karts) on his bumper in second. Remo Ruscitti (Catalyst Driver Development) slotted into third ahead of a trio of PSL Karting drivers in Davide Grecko, Jake French, and Hunter Pickett. The race was red-flagged on lap five for a scary incident that involved several karts. While Musgrave challenged for the lead, he was eventually overtaken by Ruscitti on lap nine which allowed Myers to open a comfortable one-second gap. Musgrave went purple with the fastest race lap on lap eleven, but it was all Myers upfront. AJ Myers scored the heat one win ahead of Ruscitti, Musgrave, Greco, and French.
With darkness falling, the ROK Cup USA moved the second ROK Shifter heat of the day to Saturday morning as they will take to the track first and run three heat races while all other classes will complete their second and third heats. An updated event schedule can be downloaded HERE.
The first day of wheel-to-wheel racing concluded with a ROK Cup USA Welcome Social Hour as well as the LeVanto Tire Changing Competition
All results unofficial at time of posting.