“A strong group of tuners coupled with talented drivers makes winning possible”
Ocala, Florida – July 24, 2012 – It has been a strong first half of 2012 for the Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) race team with multiple championships, race wins and podium results from the regional to the national level of the sport. With tuners jet setting across the country to help team drivers stand atop the podium, the guys that make sure their drivers at the front of the field work long hours and are often tired by the time the end of the weekend comes. With over 300 years of experience under the team tent, the knowledge in the OGP program is second to none and is proven with their on track results.
“These guys do all the hard work and are rarely commended for their efforts,” expressed Ocala Gran Prix President Jorge Arellano. “With such a great group of guys that work well together, they utilize their experience to make winning a common occurrence.”
There are several in house Ocala Gran Prix tuners and employees that make the day-to-dayoperations of the race team run smoothly. Alex Speed, Gary Carlton, Nate Grindell, Cody Johnson and Mario Ioffredo are on the shop floor prepping chassis and building potent Rotax power for drivers on all different brands of chassis. Semi full-time employee Mike Maurini makes countless trips to Ocala and events as well as tuners Tony Loniewski, John Russell, Wes Boswell, Phil Kirby, Jay McKeague and Marty Neri. Throughout 2011 and earlier in 2012, Ocala Gran Prix had the help from long time Tony Kart tuner and engine builder Martijn Koene and tuner Richard Hergink from Holland.
Arellano continued, “These are the main group of guys that helped us achieve multiple goals set so far this year. We have a few more goals to attain and are working hard to do so.”
With the upcoming United States Rotax Nationals at the Jet Karting facility at Michiana Raceway Park, a host of tuners will be helping the 22-kart team in Indiana. Along with the above-mentioned tuners, Scott Greniere, Cale Wyse, Neil Hodgson, Gary Willis and Austin Elliott will join the mix to help keep OGP at the top of their game.
With championships already garnered in the Florida Winter Tour, North Florida Rotax Max Challenge and Florida Karting Championship Series as well as a confirmed invitation to the Rotax Grand Finals later this year in Portugal, Ocala Gran Prix will look to continue their winning ways.
For more information on Ocala Grand Prix, OGP race team opportunities and info on how to get into karting, please visit Ocala Gran Prix online at www.OcalaGranPrix.com or contact them at 352.291.0600 or via e-mail to: Info@OcalaGranPrix.com.
“Class champions and vice-champions receive free entry to United States Rotax Grand Nationals”
Ocala, Florida – July 11, 2012 – Closing out the 2012 North Florida Rotax Max Challenge (NFRMC) program this past weekend, Ocala Gran Prix hosted a series banquet on Saturday evening, at the conclusion of the final round. Taking place on the grounds at Ocala Gran Prix in a huge air-conditioned tent, points were tabulated and championships were awarded to drivers in all classes. Additionally, eleven drivers received free entry into the 2012 United States Rotax Grand Nationals that will be held in August at the Jet Karting of Michiana Raceway Park facility near South Bend, Indiana.
“I like to help the karters and give back to the industry that has done so much for me and my business,” expressed Jorge Arellano, Owner of Ocala Gran Prix and President of the NFRMC. “Participation in our series has grown throughout the years making this season our highest registration numbers to date. Breaking records almost every race, we have bigger and better plans for our fall series as well as the 2013 edition of our program.”
When the final checkered flag had flown and points were tabulated, eleven drivers would be awarded free entry to this year’s national championship event. While award winners will still be responsible for getting themselves to Indiana as well as their lodging and crash damage, Ocala Gran Prix has taken some of the financial burden of the local competitors to assist in having a strong presence from the state of Florida and the North Florida Rotax Max Challenge.
Awards will include entry to the United States Rotax Grand Nationals, one driver pit pass, one tuner pit pass, one set of tires for Rotax Micro and Mini Max or two sets of tires for Junior, Senor, Masters, DD2 and DD2 masters, one bottle of XPS oil and ten gallons of fuel for the event held in South Bend, Indiana August 7-11, 2012. Award winners will be required to cover their own transport, lodging and crash damage for the event.
With Ocala Gran Prix sponsored drivers able to compete in the overall series championship, they were excluded from the opportunity to win the awards, thus opening a spot for fellow competitors. Devin Boutot and Harry Coulton claimed the first and second positions in the Rotax Micro Max standings while Olivier Bellanger and Tyler Lindberg garnered the second and third place results behind OGP team driver Mathias Ramirez in Rotax Mini Max and will receive the free entry awards. Oliver Askew claimed top honors in the Rotax Junior class but awards will be transferred to second and third place finishers in the championship, Austin Garrison and Brian Lockwood. With the top five drivers in the Rotax Senior title chase being members of the Ocala Gran Prix program, the sixth and seventh place drivers in the overall series points battle will receive the free entry award. With the opportunity to now compete in Indiana, Tim Venable and Michael Melancon will be the Rotax Senior award winners while Scott Roberts and Rob Maier will take Rotax Masters awards and Rene Martinelli the Rotax DD2 title and accompanying prize.
Arellano continued, “I hope that all the award winning drivers will take the opportunity to travel and compete in Indiana. The level of competition at the event is very high and the experience each one of you will gain is invaluable.”
For more information on Ocala Grand Prix, OGP race team opportunities and info on how to get into karting, please visit Ocala Gran Prix online at www.OcalaGranPrix.com or contact them at352.291.0600 or via e-mail to: Info@OcalaGranPrix.com.
“30 top five championship results among all classes”
Ocala, Florida – July 3, 2012 – With the goal of race wins, podium results and championships for Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) drivers heading into the 2012 Florida Karting Championship Series (FKCS) season, the feat was met after the final event weekend with multiple titles. With multiple drivers claiming thirty top five results in the overall title chase, Ocala Gran Prix also walked away with nine championships including three to multi-time champion Nick Neri, two to national level front runner Ashley Rogero and 2012 Florida Winter Tour Rotax Junior champion Oliver Askew as well one to both Mathias Ramirez and John Dalton.
“When you go to the track, you always want to leave a winner,” expressed Ocala Gran Prix President Jorge Arellano. “There weren’t that many times that we left an FKCS event without smiling faces. The entire team had a very successful regional season and now we will take aim on multiple Rotax national championships.”
Leading the way in the Senior ranks, Nick Neri would score championships in the Stock Moto, TaG Senior and Rotax Senior classes. Often using his Stock Moto powerplant to compete and outrun the faster Intercontinental C (ICC) drivers in the Open Shifter class, Neri would prove his prowess as he battled hard to the final checkered flag.
Leading a quintet of drivers in the TaG and Rotax Senior classes, Ocala Gran Prix drivers would sweep the first five championship positions in both classes. While both championships painted the same picture, Neri would lead the way with Andrew Evans, Jonathon Kotyk, Brandon Salyer and Annie Hayden rounding out the top five. As it was on most race weekends, Ocala Gran Prix drivers dominated the top half of the results in multiple senior level classes.
2012 Florida Winter Tour Rotax Junior Champion and Team USA member Oliver Askew added another pair of FKCS titles to his resume. As the dominant driver in the junior division, Askew claimed the championships in both the Rotax Junior and TaG Junior division. Joining him in the top five in the junior championships was fellow Ocala Gran Prix pilot Alex Hornborg with a third place effort in Rotax Junior backed up by a fourth place run in TaG Junior.
Ashley Rogero would also top the blocks in a pair of divisions, as she was the woman to beat in Yamaha Junior and KPP Junior in every race she attended. Missing the first event of the season, Rogero nearly went unbeaten throughout the year to claim her championships.
While Mathias Ramirez was one of the hottest young drivers on the FKCS scene, some bad racing luck and unfortunate penalties took him out of championship contention. After claiming a third place result in the TaG Cadet class, Ramirez went on to end his 2012 series with a second place result in Yamaha Sportsman Junior. Not letting all championships get away from him, Ramirez would claim the Rotax Mini Max crown and is a driver who will be one to watch for in 2013.
Fellow Sportsman drivers Olivier Bellanger and Dylan Gennaro would also garner top five championship results when the series concluded last month. Bellanger, who was another one of the drivers to beat throughout the season, helped OGP to a 1-2 finish in the Rotax Mini Max championship by claiming the second position overall. Couple that result with his fifth place in the TaG Cadet championship, Bellanger will now shift his focus to the United States Rotax Grand Nationals in one month’s time. Gennaro would claim the third position in the Yamaha Junior Sportman category to add to OGP’s solid championship results.
In the Masters divisions, a trio of drivers would help Ocala Gran Prix claim another six results inside the top five of select championships. John Dalton would be the man to beat in the TaG Heavy class claiming multiple race wins as well as the end of the season title. Add his championship to his third place finish in Rotax Masters and fourth place result in TaG Masters, Dalton was at the pointy end of the field throughout the season. Jason Heffner would remain consistent throughout the season and would finish his 2012 FKCS campaign with a pair of second place results in TaG Masters and Rotax Masters. Karting rookie Jerry Brown would make the move to the regional karting scene very early in his late starting career. Learning each and every outing, Brown would claim a pair of top five championship results in Rotax Masters and TaG Heavy.
“Ramirez, Neri and Rogero bring OGP a few more victories”
Ocala, Florida – June 26, 2012 – Competing at the ultra fast 103rd Street Motorsports Complex in Jacksonville, Florida, the Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) race team closed out the final round of the Florida Karting Championship Series (FKCS) the same way they started it back in January. With a large contingent of drivers competing in nearly every class on the weekend, Ocala Gran Prix scored seven main event wins, fifteen podiums and secured multiple championships in the process.
It was a top four position sweep in the Rotax Senior class as Nick Neri would lead the way yet again. Fellow OGP teammates would follow suit, as Jonathon Kotyk would turn his pole position into a second place result at the end of the day while Annie Hayden and Andrew Evans would cross the stripe third and fourth. Brandon Salyer would run into some brake issues and would eventually be classified in the 11th position. Neri would also claim the top spot on the podium in the shifter division.
All five drivers would also see action in the TaG Senior division and again, it was Neri scoring the best results for the team with a third place effort. Salyer would rebound from his Rotax Senior issues to finish fourth while Evans would come home sixth. Jonathon Kotyk and Annie Hayden would both fall victim to on track incidents and finished down in the running order.
Ashley Rogero would score a pair of wins on the weekend as she dominated the TaG Junior category by taking the pole position, heat race win and main event victory. Florida Winter Tour Champion and Team USA member, Oliver Askew would finish in the 11th position after starting from the tail of the field while Alex Hornborg, Briand Lockwood and Quinten De Boever would cross the stripe 13th, 14th, and 17th.
Back for Sunday’s Rotax Junior class, Askew would win the prefinal but penalties sent him well down the running order. The same could be said for the main event, as Alex Hornborg looked liked he had scored his first career FKCS victory but a start line infraction had him relegated to the fourth position. Askew would come home in seventh while Lockwood would add another top ten result after coming from the tail of the field due to a first corner incident.
Following up with her TaG Junior victory, Ashley Rogero would stand atop the box in the KPP Junior class as she turned her pole position into another main event victory. In the Yamaha Junior class, a penalty would strip her of the win after crossing the stripe in the first position, as Rogero would be classified in P2.
Mathias Ramirez would score a pair of wins on the weekend as the young up and comer would score top honors in the Rotax Mini Max and Yamaha Rookie Sportsman classes. In Mini Max, Olivier Bellanger would come home third, while Mikey Hornborg and Aaron Bass would cross the line in fourth and fifth proving giving OGP four of the top five positions. With Ramirez also winning the Yamaha Rookie Sportsman class, Ocala’s Dylan Gennaro would come home in the fourth position.
Not done there, both Ramirez and Gennaro would join Jake Knepper in the Cadet Junior Sportsman class but would have issues finishing down in the order. After Ramirez crossed the line in the second position, a problem in post race technical inspection for rear wheel width would see him removed from the results. Knepper would eventually be classified in the ninth position while Gennaro would be just outside the top ten in twelfth.
Gennaro would rebound in the Rotax Micro Max class, as he would run near the front half of the field all weekend long. When the final checkered flag had flown, the youngster would come home sixth. Jake Knepper would add another top ten with a ninth place result and young Jordan Heffner would be 11th.
Competing in multiple classes, both Ramirez and Bellanger would be back in the Vortex TaG Cadet division. Looking to fight for the race win and possible championship, both drivers would finish inside the top ten as Ramirez would claim the fifth position while Bellanger would be in sixth.
Jason Heffner, John Dalton and Jerry Brown would all compete in the Masters classes with Dalton scoring a victory in TaG Heavy. Adding a third place result in Rotax Masters to his 2012 resume, Dalton would run into some trouble in the TaG Masters class and finish seventh. Heffner would compete in a pair of classes and would be consistent in both. After taking the pole position in TaG Masters, Heffner would fall to claim the second position in the main event. Looking to improve in the Rotax Masters class, Heffner would remain consistent scoring his second, second place result of the weekend.
Karting rookie Jerry Brown would be back behind the wheel in Jacksonville and managed to secure a pair of top five results. Crossing the stripe fourth in Rotax Masters, Brown would fall one position in the TaG Heavy class to finish fifth.
With championship points yet to be finalized, a future press release announcing all of Ocala Gran Prix drivers claiming championships will be forthcoming.
“Seven pole positions and fifteen podiums cap off a great weekend”
Ocala, Florida – May 30, 2012 – Venturing an hour southeast to the newly renovated and repaved Orlando Kart Center, the Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) race team would compete in the penultimate round of the Florida Karting Championship Series (FKCS). With championship battles taking shape, the second to last event in the 2012 season was a successful one as Ocala Gran Prix would take home seven pole positions, eight main event victories and grand total of fifteen podiums.
Just like in previous events, it was an OGP sweep of the podium in the ultra-competitive Rotax Senior class, as Alex Speed, subbing for a kidney infected Andrew Evans, would take top honors. Recent World Karting Association (WKA) Manufacturer’s Cup podium winner Jonathan Kotyk would score the pole position in Orlando but fall to second when the final checkered flag was flown. Nick Neri and Brandon Salyer would cross the line third and fourth respectively while OGP employee, Mario Ioffredo traded in his tools for a steering wheel and drove to a very impressive seventh place finish.
Looking to repeat in Sunday’s TaG Senior class, Ocala Gran Prix drivers scored four of the first five positions at the end of the day. After garnering his pole position early in the day, Alex Speed drove to a solid victory ahead of Neri and Kotyk, who would cross the stripe third and fourth. Ioffredo, who consistently improved throughout the race weekend, would come home fifth while Brandon Salyer would claim the seventh position.
Mathias Ramirez would be on a tear this past weekend, as he would score a pair of victories, three podiums as well as a top ten in the four classes he would do battle in. Leading the way in the Rotax Mini Max division, Ramirez claimed the pole position en route to a commanding victory. Ramirez would also claim the top spot in the TaG Cadet class. Looking for a 1-2 finish in Mini Max, OGP pilot Olivier Bellanger would claim the second position on track, but later be disqualified for failing post-race technical inspection. Mikey Hornborg would narrowly miss the top ten with an 11th place result.
Bellanger’s bad luck would continue in the TaG Cadet class. After qualifying third in the timed morning session, Bellanger would score the fastest lap in the main event but fail to finish.
A trio of Ocala Gran Prix drivers would enter the Cadet Junior Sportsman division, as Ramirez would join a host of other competitors including Jake Knepper and Dylan Gennaro. While Ramirez would be the only OGP driver in the top ten with an eighth place result, Knepper and Gennaro would finish their days in 12th and 14th. Knepper would be back in action in the Rotax Micro Max division and remained consistent with a 12th place finish.
Gennaro would be back in action in two more divisions throughout the weekend as claimed a solid ninth place finish in the Rotax Micro Max class and a top five result in Yamaha Junior Sportsman. Jordan Heffner would claim her first FKCS podium result with a third in Yamaha Junior Sportsman while she continued with another top ten in Micro Max. Mathias Ramirez would cross the line in second after scoring the pole position earlier that day.
Ashley Rogero would provide the Ocala Gran Prix squad with a pair of victories as she continues to dominate the Yamaha Junior and KPP Junior divisions. Narrowly missing the pole position in the Yamaha powered class, Rogero came back with a vengeance in the final to take the victory. Having an easier time in the KPP class, the young female was untouchable throughout the day dominating all on track sessions to take home another victory.
Only a pair of junior drivers would make the trek to the Orlando Kart Center as defending Rotax Junior Florida Winter Tour champion Oliver Askew and Alex Hornborg would do battle. Starting from the tail of the field during Saturday’s TaG Junior event, Askew claimed a fifth place result while Hornborg would come home seventh. Back on track Sunday in the Rotax Junior class, Askew would again start from the tail of the field driving forward to a second place finish while Hornborg would battle back from a first corner incident while running second to cross the line in eighth.
A trio of drivers would compete in the TaG Heavy, TaG Masters and Rotax Masters classes as Jason Heffner, John Dalton and Jerry Brown would all see action. While Heffner would go on to score two second place results in Rotax and TaG Masters, Dalton would claim the victory in TaG Heavy and added to his yearly podium total with a third in Rotax Masters. Brown would have some solid runs to come home sixth and eighth respectively in Rotax Masters and TaG Heavy.
Nick Neri would flex his muscles in the Open Shifter class as he stole the show throughout the day. Taking the pole position with his Stock Honda powerplant, Neri went on to take another main event victory and add to his 2012 win total.
“Success has motivated OGP to make program bigger and better”
Ocala, Florida – May 23, 2012 – Announcing their ‘Pit Stop’ program just over two months ago, Ocala Gran Prix has seen nothing but success in the effort to aid Tony Kart customers improve kart handling, speed and decrease lap time. Launching at the second round of the Florida Karting Championship Series (FKCS) and continuing at the North Florida Rotax Max Challenge (NFRMC) program, multiple drivers and families have taken advice from national level tuners and former karting champions.
“The program has had nothing but success in the first few weeks and all my guys have worked hard together to complete any work that is thrown their direction,” expressed Ocala Gran Prix’s Jorge Arellano. “Continuing to aid Tony Kart customers with kart setup, repair, maintenance and driver coaching, we would like to welcome any Tony Kart customer to visit our tent on any given race weekend and receive free advice.”
While the program took a little time to get off the ground, more and more competitors are seen wheeling their karts to OGP’s Pit Stop program. From complete kart rebuilds to simple advice, all customers leave smiling and with their money in their pockets.
Arellano continued, “Our program is completely free. No Tony Kart customer will be refused and you will not receive a bill for these services.”
Helping privateer drivers improve their race craft, competitors are urged to bring their My-Chron data to Ocala Gran Prix’s data center and receive a free analysis from multi-time karting champion Gary Carlton. With some driver coaching and reading off the data, a team of tuners can determine what changes are needed to make your Tony Kart better. Springing into action, the program becomes full circle when the work is completed quickly and professionally to ensure limited track time is missed.
“When Jorge brought this idea to the table, we all thought that not many people would take advantage of this,” expressed Team Manager Nate Grindell. “Every time I turn around, there is another happy customer leaving the tent. It is all about making frustrated families happy and help grow the sport.”
The Ocala Gran Prix Pit Stop program’s next event will be the Florida Karting Championship Series event at the new Orlando Kart Center May 25 – 27 weekend.