OCALA GRAN PRIX TO SEND NINETEEN DRIVERS TO ANNUAL FLORIDA WINTER TOUR

“Nineteen drivers will do battle under the Ocala Gran Prix banner”

Ocala, Florida – January 10, 2013 – As the 2013 racing season takes the green flag, both the annually contested Florida Winter Tour and premiere Ocala Gran Prix race team do as well. With round one taking place at the ultra fast Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) in Jupiter, Florida, Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) will head south with a strong team of nineteen drivers. With at least one competitor in every Rotax Max class, OGP will be looking to close the series in March with multiple race wins, podium results and championships.

“We are ready for the 2013 season to get started,” explained Nate Grindell, Team Manager at Ocala Gran Prix. “After sending four drivers to the Rotax Grand Finals in 2012, we are looking to increase that number in 2013. We have assembled one of the strongest teams of drivers that Ocala Gran Prix has ever had and it’s only a matter of time before we are on the top step of the podium.”

With nineteen drivers under the team tent, six of them will do battle in the Rotax Senior ranks with multi-time champion and recent World Karting Association (WKA) Manufacturer’s Cup victor Nick Neri leading the way. Neri will be joined by Senior rookie and 2012 Rotax Junior Florida Winter Tour champion Oliver Askew, and WKA frontrunner Jonathon Kotyk. Making the switch to Ocala Gran Prix in 2013 will be Sam Beasley. Always a frontrunner in whatever he is racing, the two-time Team USA Rotax Grand Finals competitor will look to challenge for race wins, the championship and the elusive invitation to compete at the 2013 Grand Finals.

Alex Hornborg will return to the Ocala Gran Prix race team. Making the jump from the junior to senior ranks in the middle of 2012, Hornborg has achieved much success on the local level and will now look to do the same as a rookie at the 2013 edition of the Florida Winter Tour. Floridian Morgan Healy will also make the switch to the OGP squad, as she will compete in her first ever FWT event in only two weeks time.

A pair of competitors will see action in DD2 powered karts as Anthony Honeywell will battle in Rotax DD2 Masters and IndyCar Series frontrunner James Hinchcliffe will try his hand in DD2. While Honeywell comes from the enduro side of karting, the now turned sprint racer has competed in several events leading up to the FWT and will look to outdo the over-32 group of drivers this season.

Hinchcliffe, who is a perennial frontrunner in the IZOD IndyCar Series fro Andretti Autosport, will trade his GoDaddy.com sponsored Chevy in for an Ocala Gran Prix prepared Rotax DD2. A former karter back in the day, Hinchcliffe will return to his roots and battle with some of North America’s best. Recently completing a test at the Ocala Gran Prix facility in mid-December, Hinchcliffe will look to shake the rust off and find the speed to win when he hits the track in just under two weeks time.

Ocala Gran Prix will enter a strong eight competitors in the Rotax Junior ranks. Claiming a victory in the 2012 Florida Winter Tour, female pilot Ashley Rogero will look to up her game and battle for the title in 2013. Always a frontrunner, Rogero will forgo the TaG weekend of the series to fully prepare for the ultra-competitive Rotax weekends. Another new competitor to the Ocala Gran Prix squad and instant favorite for the championship will be 2012 TaG Junior FWT champion Kyle Kirkwood. Making the switch to Tony Kart has been done with ease, as a recent test in Ocala proved that Kirkwood has the speed and experience to challenge for another championship. Aaron Bass and Brian Lockwood will compete at the 2013 Florida Winter Tour as both have been honing their skills in regional action throughout the state of Florida. While Lockwood saw action in 2012, he is looking to improve on his results and show the country that he has what it takes to win. Bass, who is a FWT newcomer, has been competing with Ocala Gran Prix throughout the 2012 season but will now try his hand at the challenging Florida Winter Tour. Adding to the Rotax Junior field will be Tony Kart pilots Austin Garrison and Ryan Norberg as both will join Ocala Gran Prix for the 2013 season.

With ten drivers in Rotax Junior, some new faces will be present under the team tent as Jack Weprin and Gavin Reichelt will join the talented team. Both drivers have experience at the annual Florida Winter Tour program and both are ready to get down to the business of winning. Olivier Bellanger and Quentin De Boever will look to start their 2013 karting seasons off at the Florida Winter Tour. While both drivers have competed locally throughout Florida and in the North Florida Rotax Max Challenge program, Bellanger and de Boever are looking to make a name for themselves on the national scene.

Showing their true diversity by having a driver in every racing division during the Rotax weekend, Mathias Ramirez will return to the OGP squad and see action in the Rotax Mini Max ranks. Claiming a podium result at the 2012 United States Rotax Grand Nationals last August, Ramirez is looking to carry his momentum into the 2013 Florida Winter Tour. Jordan Heffner will make her FWT debut in a few weeks time, as the young lady will compete in Rotax Micro Max. Running at the front of the field throughout the state of Florida, Jordan, daughter of 2012 Rotax Masters FWT Champion Jason Heffner, will look to follow in her fathers footsteps this season.

“My entire crew at OGP has done a great job in preparing for the Florida Winter Tour,” explained Jorge Arellano. “With some returning drivers and some new ones, the logistics of a program this size are tough. I have complete faith in my guys and know that we are in for a successful 2013 season.”

With a strong team of drivers, a talented crew of tuners is needed and that is exactly what OGP has put in place. With tuners from around the world with all levels of expertise, more than 300 years of experience can be found under the OGP Team tent. Tuning at all three Rotax rounds will be Gary Carlton, Alex Speed, John Russell, Mike Maurini, Tom Buckley, Tony Alvy, Austin Elliott, Wesley Boswell, Gary Willis, Arie Ouimet, Nate Grindell, Scott Gordinier, Cale Wyse, Mario Ioffredo, Jay McKeague, Kurt Folsom, Jim Rogero, Thomas Silva, Cody Johnson, Ben Beasley, Phil Kirby, Scott Grenier, Ismael Ramirez and Jason Heffner.

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.

Local Point 2012 Fall Winter

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Local Point Series 2012 Fall Winter

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2012 Club Kart Race Points Race 5

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OCALA GRAND PRIX LOCAL SERIES NIGHT RACE ACTION

“Race #2 provides excitement under the lights at OGP”

September 26, 2012 – The second event in the Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) fall local series was a barnburner of an affair as nearly 90 competitors would race under the lights in the first night race of the series. Kicking off the local program only two weeks ago, multiple national and international champions would be in attendance to battle the elements and look for their chance to stand atop the podium.

As the main events were kicked off with the playing of the national anthem and a fireworks display by Ocala Gran Prix’s own, Jorge Arellano, wheel-to-wheel action soon ensued as tight close racing highlighted the evening.

In the headline Rotax Senior class, multi-time United States National champion Nick Neri would take the top honors against current Rotax Senior US Grand National title holder and Team USA member Daniel Formal, OGP regular Jonathon Kotyk and Floridian AJ Myers. While all four competitors showed the speed to run at the front of the field, Neri pulled away from the other trio of drivers in the wee hours of the morning when the event finally concluded.

In the Rotax Junior ranks, it was Florida Winter Tour champion and Team USA Member Oliver Askew taking the pole position and prefinal win after choosing to start from the tail of the field. Crossing the line first in the main event, Askew was demoted to P2 after a late race penalty deemed Brian Lockwood as the victor. Olivier Bellanger, Ryan Norberg and Quentin De Bouver all showed the speed to run at the front of the 22-kart field throughout the evening.

“The local series is growing and we are trying to do more and more to help increase the participation,” expressed OGP President Jorge Arellano. ”

With multiple classes on the docket including TaG Masters, Rotax Masters, Cadet Junior Sportsman, Yamaha Junior Sportsman and Kid Karts, the Ocala Gran Prix local series will continue on October 6, 2012. With entry numbers increasing each and every season, series officials are anticipating race four to draw over 100 entries from in and around the Southeast United States.

Three races remain in the OGP Fall Local Program:

  • October 6, 2012 – Race #3
  • October 27, 2012 – Race #4 ** Night Race
  • November 10, 2012 – Race #5

For more information on the Ocala Grand Prix Local Fall Series or to reserve your pit spot, please contact Charlie Kramer via e-mail to Charlie@OcalaGranPrix.com or 352.291.0600.

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.

Club Kart Race Points

JUSTIN GORDON WINS IN SOUTH FLORIDA

“OGP used chassis and engine combination scores the victory”

Ocala, Florida – September 11, 2012 – In his first race out of the Sportsman ranks, Rotax Junior rookie Justin Gordon claimed a race win at the Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) Championship Series. Utilizing a used team chassis and motor combination purchased from Ocala Gran Prix in the week’s prior, Gordon went on to claim top honors against a small field of very talented competitors.

“This is an incredible feeling,” expressed Eric Gordon, father of Justin. “We struggled a little in the Sportsman ranks but were coming into our own in the latter half of this season. Knowing that we would need to make the jump up to junior in 2013, we figured it was best to move up now and get some experience. To win in our first try is awesome. Can’t wait to see if we can carry the momentum forward for the rest of the season.”

After claiming the third position in the prefinal as well as tying for the fastest lap of the race, Gordon turned up the wick in the main event to come out on top. Scoring his first junior win in his first try, Justin was extremely excited post race, as was Jorge Arellano, Owner and President of Ocala Gran Prix.

“We always sell our equipment,” expressed Arellano. “There is a strong feeling that an outsider will not receive the same equipment as an OGP Team Driver, but I think this was proved with the results from this past weekend. Justin is a rookie in the class and utilizing OGP’s used chassis and an engine that is regularly maintained by OGP, he was able to claim his first victory.”

Ocala Gran Prix continues to offer a variety of used team chassis and engines that are available for sale. From gently used karts (with two to eight races) and freshly rebuilt team engines, the selection is endless. Please contact Nate Grindell to order yours today.

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.

OCALA GRAND PRIX LOCAL FALL SERIES KICKS OFF LABOR DAY WEEKEND

“One series closes and another one opens in North Central Florida”

August 29, 2012 – With some of North America’s national campaigns and largest races already winding down or complete, the Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) local fall program is set to kick off over the Labor Day weekend. With single race day events, allowing more family time on the weekends, race one will take place on Saturday, September 1, 2012. A total of five events will comprise the series and class champions will be crowned at the final event in early November with a banquet hosted trackside by Ocala Gran Prix.

“We had great success in the spring series and the North Florida Rotax Max Challenge,” expressed Series President Jorge Arellano. “We had record numbers and the highest kart counts in the series existence, and we thought it may be due to the fact that larger races were coming to our facility after these events. The numbers continued strong throughout the series and we are looking to continue this upward trend in the fall edition of the series.”

Looking to stay away from dates that would conflict with other events, Ocala Gran Prix officials did their best to schedule around national event weekends. Staying away from the World Karting Association Manufacturer’s Cup finale and the SuperKarts! USA SuperNationals, a flexible schedule also allowed the fall series to steer clear of the RoK Cup International Final in Italy as well as the Team USA Rotax Grand Finals test.

Arellano continued, “I always try and do what is best for the sport and staying off other event weekends was the best thing to do. Though we had to juggle our track schedule a little bit, we managed to get it done for the most part.”

“We would like to invite all competitors out to compete,” expressed Track Manager and Series Race Director Charlie Kramer. “Each year the events get larger and the competition gets even better. Also, there is no place that will give you a better deal on track time than us.”

Kicking off September 1, 2012, the complete Ocala Grand Prix Fall Local Series schedule is listed below:

  • September 1, 2012 – Race #1
  • September 22, 2012 – Race #2 ** Night Race
  • October 6, 2012 – Race #3
  • October 27, 2012 – Race #4 ** Night Race
  • November 10, 2012 – Race #5

For more information on the Ocala Grand Prix Local Fall Series or to reserve your pit spot, please contact Charlie Kramer via e-mail to Charlie@OcalaGranPrix.com or 352.291.0600.

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.

MATHIAS RAMIREZ SCORES PODIUM RESULT AT ROTAX GRAND NATIONALS

“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.

OCALA GRAN PRIX WILL SEND THREE DRIVERS TO ROTAX GRAND FINALS IN PORTUGAL

“Cody Hodgson and Bill Lester join Oliver Askew on Team USA”

Ocala, Florida – August 14, 2012 – With the weeklong event finally coming to a close, Ocala Gran Prix solidified another two drivers on Team USA to compete at the 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portimao, Portugal later this year. Rotax DD2 and DD2 Masters pilots Cody Hodgson and Bill Lester will join Rotax Junior standout Oliver Askew as members of Team USA courtesy of their podium results at this past weekend’s United States Rotax Grand Nationals that took place at the Jet Karting of Michiana Raceway Park facility near South Bend, Indiana.

“It was a great week of racing,” expressed Team Manager Nate Grindell. “We had some ups and downs throughout the week but as a team, we all pulled together and worked hard to have our drivers at the front of the pack. Though we did not come out of the weekend with any race wins, we did show that we had the speed from multiple drivers to challenge for podium and top ten results.”

In the Rotax DD2 class, Cody Hodgson would claim the second step on the podium and accompanying Team USA berth later this year. After showing speed throughout the unofficial test days and qualifying in the second position, Hodgson would battle the stout field of drivers and the changing weather conditions to stand atop the podium. Disappointed that he was not able to challenge for the victory, Hodgson was relieved to be back on Team USA after a one-year hiatus from the karting ranks.

Rotax DD2 Masters pilot Bill Lester worked hard in the final to close the weekend in the third and final podium position. Struggling through the heat races with some incidents and not accustomed to racing in the rain, Lester turned up the wick in the all-important final as he sliced his way through the field to come home third.

Having one of his best weekend’s of racing competition, the up and coming Mathias Ramirez impressed all with a second place run in the Rotax Mini Max class. Racing against drivers with much more experience, Ramirez battled hard to stay at the front of the field for the heat races, setting up a solid starting position on Championship Saturday. Falling back from the leader early, Ramirez would utilize his natural skills and abilities to move back into the second position and hold off the advances of his fellow pilots.

Aaron Bass would show improvement in the Mini Max final to cross the stripe in the 17th position while Mikey Hornborg and Vincenzo Sarracino would run into trouble just past the halfway mark and claim the 30th and 31st place results respectively.

A pair of drivers would finish in the top ten in Rotax Senior as Nick Neri narrowly missed the podium and accompanying Team USA invitation. Running in the second and third position for the majority of the race, Neri was passed in the late stages but would hang on for a solid fourth place result. Floridian Jonathon Kotyk would be the next Ocala Gran prix driver to cross the line as he did so in the eighth position, a great improvement from last year’s Rotax Grand Nationals in Utah.

Filling out the rest of the Rotax Senior field, Andrew Evans would claim the 14th position while Brandon Salyer and Annie Hayden would come home 24th and 27th. Not able to complete a lap in the main event, Timothy Venable would be classified in 33rd.

After a solid run in the prefinal, Rotax Micro Max pilot Dylan Gennaro would run into a mechanical failure in the main event. Working through the rain soaked heat races, Gennaro would improve on Saturday claiming an 11th place finish in the heat race, before having an axle failure in the main event to come home 21st. In his first Rotax Grand Nationals ever, Gennaro gained some valuable experience that he will look to utilize in the years to come.

A pair of Ocala Gran Prix drivers would finish Saturday’s Rotax Junior main event in the top five as Oliver Askew and Austin Garrison would be at the pointy end of the field. Askew, already a member of Team USA through his championship at the Florida Winter Tour, would claim the third and final podium position while Austin Garrison showed he has what it takes to run with the top junior drivers in the country as he came home fifth.

Coming from the 34th and last spot on the grid in the main event, female pilot Ashley Rogero would cross the line in 11th while Brian Lockwood, who ran inside the top ten in the main event, would fall to 29th after a broken chain took him out of contention. Floridian pilot Alex Hornborg had a trying weekend as wet weather competition wreaked havoc on his results. Showing that he had the speed to run inside the top ten throughout the dry test session, Alex was disappointed to see weather move into the area for the official competition.

A trio of drivers would compete in the Rotax Masters class as Jerry Brown, Scott Roberts and Rob Maier would all see action. Maier, who crashed hard in testing and chose to sit out Wednesday’s official practice day, would score the Master’s class highest result, as he would claim the seventh position when the checkered flag flew. Roberts, who led a pair of heat races and was in the running for a top five result in Saturday’s main event ran into trouble mid race as he would claim the 17th position.

Karting rookie and 55-year-old Jerry Brown would show his wet weather skills in Thursday’s qualifying effort as he battled hard to turn the seventh quickest lap of the session. Saturday would see the weather turn back to dry for the main event and Brown would come home 16th.

“I think this 2012 Rotax grand nationals was the best showing of Florida drivers I have ever seen. At the same time, it was amazing to see every one under the OGP tent work so well together in such a short period of time. I would like to personally congratulate all the drivers that will be part of this year’s Team USA,” expressed Jorge Arellano. “We will have another team test in Ocala later this year and I look forward to seeing you all there.”

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.