“Rotax Mini Max driver battles with country’s best to stand on the podium”

August 15, 2011 – Traveling from his home in Florida to the Jet Karting of Michiana Raceway Park facility near South Bend, Indiana, Ocala Gran Prix driver Mathias Ramirez would see action in the talent filled Rotax Mini Max division. Taking on the United States Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals and a host of drivers with much more experience and testing under their belts, Ramirez remained true to form in both wet and dry weather competition to come home in the second position, narrowly missing a national championship in his first year in the class.

Progressing through the unofficial test days leading up to the event, Ramirez proved to be very quick under the sunny Indiana skies. Running with the top dawgs of the Rotax Mini Max division, Ramirez and his Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) race team were very excited heading into Thursday morning’s qualifying efforts.

As the heavens opened Thursday morning, Ramirez and the rest of the competitors would make the switch to the wet weather Mojo rain tires to begin the official competition. With a track that was getting better with each passing lap, Ramirez would claim the third quickest time of the session, a scant .022 seconds from the elusive pole position.

Moving into the first wheel-to-wheel competition of the weekend, Ramirez and his OGP powered Tony Kart would look to improve on their third place qualifying run. With a light mist keeping the tricky facility damp, Mini Max drivers would continue to utilize their wet weather Mojo tires in the search for grip and results to set Championship Saturday’s grid.

Progressing through the three heat races with very little trouble, Ramirez would score a third place effort on Thursday afternoon before Friday’s second and fourth place results. Setting himself up for an outside front row starting position on Saturday morning’s prefinal, Ramirez was confident heading into the biggest event of his young career.

“I am happy to be doing so well here in Indiana,” explained Ramirez. “I need to thank the Ocala Gran Prix team and my Dad for all of their hard work and support. I am hoping I can come home with a win.”

Back to the track on Championship Saturday, Ramirez would line up on the outside of the front row for the all-important prefinal. With the rain slowing but a damp track still in play, Ramirez would struggle throughout the 14 lap event as he fell down the running order. Claiming the ninth position and inside row five starting position for the main event, Ramirez was extremely disappointed with his finish and would look to rebound in the final.

The afternoon would see the sun break through the clouds and the track dry just in time for the opening ceremonies and main events. Looking to rebound from his prefinal result, Ramirez quickly went to work on the field of Mini Max drivers as he marched his way forward. With some bold passes and flat out sheer speed, Ramirez drove to a podium result as he crossed the line in the second position.

Mathias would like to thank his sponsors and supporters for a successful 2012 racing season to date. A big thanks to Ocala Gran Prix and Jorge Arellano for his hard work and help, and a big thanks to Nate Grindell, Mario Ioffredo, Alex Speed and Gary Carlton from OGP.