ROK Cup New Castle: What We Learned
Another fantastic weekend of racing concludes under the ROK Cup USA banner.
The fantastic first season of Midwest ROK Cup action came to it’s final stop at New Castle Motorsports Park in the heart of Indiana this past weekend. Weather was a bit of a factor as we predicted, with rain and lightning during the opening heat races on Saturday, but held off for dry conditions when it really counted on Sunday. Six new champions were crowned and two others were able to back up their Florida championships from early summer, all receiving their ticket of entry to represent Team USA for the 2016 edition of the ROK Cup International Final at the South Garda Karting track in Lonato, Italy, October 19-22.
OGP and Gonzalez about swept the entire series in Junior ROK
Outside of heat three in New Castle where Maks Kowalski won aboard his Merlin, OGP and Tyler Gonzalez won every other meaningful session in the Midwest Championship on their Tony Kart’s. In addition to Gonzalez winning at both event finals, OGP swept the entire podium at both events in Junior ROK with Zachary Hollingshead and Dylan Gennaro helping to back up the team’s performance in Pittsburgh with another 1-2-3 finish in New Castle.
With Gonzalez’s 11 wins in 12 official sessions, he safely won the Junior ROK championship over teammate Dylan Gennaro and will have the opportunity to represent Team USA in Italy.
Zilisch edges Boos in Rousing Championship Chase in Senior ROK
Coming into the weekend, Bradley Zilisch had made it on our radar for drivers to watch in Senior ROK. The Team Felon pilot had a solid performance here for the SKUSA race just a month ago and settled in right away in his ROK Cup weekend, qualifying second and maintaining good pace through the heats with a 2-4-2 record. On Sunday, Zilisch would break through that second place barrier he reached three times, planting his flag at the top of the pre-final.
Zilisch’s main rival for the championship, Mark Boos, had been up front all weekend without a serious blemish and that made for an exciting final when these two rolled off the grid with the championship at stake. Boos led Zilisch by 10 points heading onto the circuit, but Zilisch remained poised and took advantage of his pole position, pulling away by 3-seconds at the finish. Boos would eventually fall to third on the final lap after pre-weekend favorite AJ Myers slipped by after starting the final ninth. Zilisch earned an extra 40 points over Boos in the final, giving him the championship and ticket to Italy by a mere 30 points.
Myers a Level Above the Rest in Senior Shifter
AJ Myers was able to take care of business in the Shifter category where he’s seemed most comfortable this season. When the rain came in Heat 1, Myers had mistakenly mounted his tires incorrectly which led to a disqualification after picking up the win. However, Myers benefited from qualifying pole which is where he would start the remaining heat races and he put his TB Kart on another level, winning each by comfortable margins.
Sunday came and in dry conditions, it was no different than the final two heats. The TB Kart USA pilot pushed out to a 6-second win in the pre-final, backed up by an almost 10-second win in the final. Myers’ closest competitor throughout the weekend was Pittsburgh winner, Andrew Budjoso (PCR/Checkered Motorsports). With the second place finish in the final, Budjoso sealed the championship and trip to Italy in Senior Shifter. Camilo Acosta joined his TB Kart USA teammate on the podium in third.
- Nikita Johnson (AKT Racing) (Florida Champion as well)
- Alex Powell
- Mateo Rubio-Luengo (DCTSpeedsport)
- Reece Gold (Benik)
- Nicholas Terlecki (TK Motorsports / Kart Kraft)
- Tyler Maxson (Benik)
- Tyler Gonzalez (OGP)
- Dylan Gennaro (OGP)
- Pedro Lopes (Zanella Racing)
- Bradley Zilisch (Team Felon)
- Mark Boos (Kaos Karts)
- Ryan Norberg (Orland Karting Center)
- Gonzalo Aponte (AKT Racing)
- Stephen Boyer (Trinity Karting Group)
- Paul Meise (Trinity Karting Group)
- Jett Noland (NRM)
- Christian Fristch (NRM)
- Andrew Budjoso (Checkered Motorsports)
- Ryan Rudolph (GP Karts USA)
- Tripp Gerrald (Trinity Karting Group)
- Guilherme Jacob (NRM) (Florida Champion as well)
- Kurt Matthewson (TB Kart USA)
- Farshad Bagheri (TB Kart USA)
With the inaugural Midwest Championship now wrapped up, we turn our attention to the ROK Cup USA Grand Nationals at Orlando Karting Center over the September 15-18 weekend. For the first time, ROK Cup will crown National Champions in the USA and you can tune into Kart360 for unprecedented On Location coverage.