“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.
“Team USA driver continues his winning ways”
Tequesta, Florida – April 24, 2012 – Taking to the Andersen Race Park facility on Palmetto, Florida, Ocala Gran Prix pilot Oliver Askew was back to his winning ways as the recent Florida Winter Tour champion was once again one of the drivers to beat. Seeing action in both the TaG Junior category aboard a Parilla Leopard powered Tony Kart and the Rotax Junior class, Askew was again at the top of the time charts scoring a race win on Saturday backed up by a solid second place podium result on Sunday.
Making the switch to a Russell Karting prepared IAME Parilla Leopard package, Askew showed dominance in the TaG Junior category. After pacing all drivers in Friday’s unofficial practice sessions, Askew continued his hot streak on Saturday morning by topping the morning warm-up session.
Back to the paddock to prepare for qualifying, Askew and his tuner Mike Maurini went to work to fine-tune his Tony Kart for the qualifying session.
With rain forecast throughout the day, every session would count, as track position was key on the tight and twisty racetrack. Scoring the pole position and setting a new track record in the process, Askew would be one of only two drivers below the 45 second barrier as he turned a blistering lap of 44.542.
Lining up on the inside of the front row for the prefinal, Askew quickly jumped into the lead and never looked back. Leading every circuit of the ten-lap prefinal, Askew went on to score the race win and pole position for the main event.
With rain on the horizon, the heavens would open before the TaG Junior pilots could get back on track. With high winds and a heavy downpour, officials deemed the racing surface impassable and were forced to cancel the rest of the day. With all classes completing at least their heat races, the day was deemed official and overall race results were awarded in the finishing order of the prefinal giving Askew another win to add to his resume.
Back to the track on Sunday, Askew would trade his Parilla Leopard engine package in for an Ocala Gran Prix prepared Rotax Junior motor. Completing no laps with a Rotax engine on the test day, Askew would hit the track fresh on Sunday morning as rain doused the facility. Qualifying on the outside of row four in the eighth position, the Team USA member would gain four positions in the red-flag shortened prefinal to cross the stripe in fourth.
Looking to get into a podium position and a possible race win in the main event, Askew’s chances were hindered as he fell back to seventh in the opening complex of corners. Working hard to move back towards the front of the field, Askew drove to a solid second place result en route to the fastest lap of the event.
Oliver Askew would like to thank all of his sponsors and supporters for their hard work and continued support. A special thanks to Ocala Gran Prix, Tony Kart, Koene Racing, Coastal Performance, K1 RaceGear, GO Designs, Race Tech Development and his tuner Mike Maurini.
For more information on Oliver Askew, please visit him online at www.OliverAskew.com.
“First event with OGP sees Bass score sixth place result in Mini Max”
April 23, 2012 – Making the move to the potent Tony Kart chassis with the championship winning Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) squad, Florida resident Aaron Bass looks to continue his development and become a front-runner in only his second year of competition. Having flip-flopped chassis, teams and tuners, Bass has found a new home with OGP and Tony Kart and has big plans for future success.
“This was my first big weekend with the Ocala Gran Prix team and I have to say, they are fantastic,” expressed the 11-year-old. “I have learned a lot about the Tony Kart as well, and their driver coaching and data analysis has helped me improve a lot. I am looking forward for podiums and race wins with OGP in the very near future.”
Competing in the North Florida Rotax Max Challenge program two weekends ago and back on track this past weekend for the Florida Karting Championship Series (FKCS), Bass has already improved leaps and bounds by working with tuner Alex Speed. Looking for solid results in the talent filled Rotax Mini Max class, Bass showed he has what it takes to run in the front half of the field and on tracks unfamiliar to him, he is on the verge of being one of the drivers to beat.
After qualifying in the seventh position, Bass improved one position in the pre-final to claim an outside third row starting position for the main event. With rain in the forecast and moving into the area quickly, officials worked hard to get the race started before the heavens opened. On the attempted start in dry conditions, Aaron was bumped from behind sending him wide and pushing him back to last position, completing only two circuits before the rain began to fall heavily, the Mini Max field was brought to a stop via the head flagman’s red flag as drivers were sent back to the paddock to prepare for wet weather competition.
With winds swirling and heavier rain on the horizon, Mini Max drivers were back on the slick track and battling hard to improve their positions. Â Aaron would quickly improve at the drop of the green flag fighting from the back and working his way through the traitorous conditions battling hard against the Mini-Max field. Â Bass would cross the stripe in P6 scoring another top ten result for the Ocala Gran Prix squad.
“I am happy with Aaron and his progress,” stated tuner and karting champion Alex Speed. “Aaron still has a lot to learn but he has loads of potential. I think being with the OGP team and having the leadership from junior and senior drivers, Aaron will improve greatly over the next six months.”
Looking onwards in Aaron Bass’ karting program, the talented British-born Floridian will compete in the remainder of the Florida Karting Championship Series and North Florida Rotax Max Challenge events. Preparing himself for the Rotax Summer Shootout and the United States Rotax Grand Nationals in Mini Max, Bass will make the switch to the 60cc Mini-Rok program for the annual Superkarts! USA (SKUSA) SuperNationals in Las Vegas this November. With Aaron continuing his Mini Max and Mini Rok development, the talented youngster will begin training in a full size junior kart to gain experience and get accustomed to the speed.
With 2013 plans all but confirmed, Bass will see action in the prestigious Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour as well as the WSK Masters Series and WSK Euro Series with a yet to be determined team.
With an ultimate goal of competing in Europe in karting and single seater formula cars, Bass will tailor his racing program towards future plans as they become more apparent.
“Champions and Vice-Champions receive free entries to US Grand Nationals”
April 18, 2012 – After a successful start to the 2012 racing season, the North Rotax Max Challenge (NFRMC) presented by Ocala Gran Prix continues to increase in size, experience and competition. With the most recent event held at the Ocala Gran Prix facility in Ocala, Florida, the series met a new high in entries with fierce on-track, wheel-to-wheel action taking place. When the final checkered flag had flown, race winners were awarded and competitors left the track with a smile.
“We were expecting a lot of entries in the opening events of 2012 but the participation has been overwhelming. Watching drivers and their families leave the facility with smiles on their faces is something we strive for,” expressed North Florida Rotax Max Challenge President Jorge Arellano. “Drivers in the North Florida Rotax Max Challenge program have something to shoot for as series champions and vice-champions in all Rotax classes will receive a free paid entry to the US Grand Nationals held in Indiana in July.”
If history has been any indicator, the NFRMC is set to explode into epic numbers as more and more racers get on board with the TaG-style Rotax Max program. With the NFRMC first event taking place in early 2006, a mere twenty entries would show up for action. With numbers increasing throughout the years, it looked as if the series had reached it peak in 2010. With sub-par participation, OGP’s Jorge Arellano would step up to the plate and look to grow the series even more. Offering champions free entries, race tires and fuel to the United States Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals, the 2011 race series numbers began to rise once again.
Enter 2012 and with the first event of the program preceding the world recognized Florida Winter Tour, series numbers grew to nearly 100 entries. With their biggest event in series history, officials were cautious to get to excited about the increased participation citing the upcoming national event.
Arellano added, “The first event grew to almost 100 competitors and we weren’t sure if it was because we had people here testing for the FWT. Cautiously approaching the second event this past weekend, we were hoping for the same kind of turnout.”
With very little promotion within the state of Florida and the karting community in general, the NFRMC program reached 96 entries on April 14th, their biggest event in the history of the series.
“I think it is safe to say that the series is here to stay,” continued Arellano
With Jorge Arellano and Ocala Gran Prix providing the prize package to the series, OGP Team drivers will not be eligible for championship incentives. This includes drivers Nick Neri, Oliver Askew, Andrew Evans, Jonathon Kotyk, Mathias Ramirez, Cody Hodgson, Annie Hayden and Brandon Salyer.
The North Florida program runs all the normal Rotax divisions including Mini Max, Junior, Senior, Masters, DD2 and DD2 Masters. Any drivers and teams planning on attending future events are urged to contact Ocala Gran prix for their pit spaces.
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 atÂ www.OcalaGranPrix.comÂ or contact them at352.291.0600Â or via e-mail to:Â Info@OcalaGranPrix.com.