Article by: championshipkartracing.com
From a hugely successful Round 1 in January, Championship Karting International descended on the Homestead Karting facility for Round 2 of the CKI Florida Cup, presented by DFR and Supertune USA. Under gorgeous skies for Friday Practice, followed by a complete steak dinner cookout for attendees hosted by Franklin Motorsports/Merlin USA, the drivers of the seven classes were poised and ready to start the racing action, vying for their share of over $130,000 in cash and prizes.
Drivers and teams from around the country came out to compete in CKI’s unique mix of Rotax, KF, and American TaG categories. The able staff at Homestead Karting offered their usual hospitality, pulling out all the stops to ensure all attendees were comfortable and well attended to. A special visit by Bryan Herta and his Indy Lights team driver Stefan Wilson allowed drivers mingle with IndyCar’s elite.
As part of an unheralded prize package, CKI had the 2010 Mazda 3 that will be awarded to the champion of Rotax Senior on hand for the Senior Drivers to revel. A Contingency Package that included cash and products from partners such as LEATT Brace, T.D.C. Sprockets, On Track Promotions, TS Racing, Grand Products and D.I.D Chain, in addition to the large prize package for the drivers, and incentive cash awards for the teams. Adding to the prize package with its recently announced partnership, CKI and the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving brought in a free race weekend in a Bondurant Formula Mazda, for the CKI Florida Cup Champion of the KF2 category.
RDD Motorsports Rotax Junior
Opening the weekend, the Rotax Junior Drivers continued their exciting Round 1 performances throughout the weekend, heating up the championship points battle. Saturday, Jesus Rios put his CRG on the pole late in the session, over-seating the Kosmic of Alessandra Madrigal by only 7 hundreds of a second in the closing minutes. With Round 1 winner Sebastian Ordonez slotting in third in Saturday Qualifying, the stage was set for the top three in points to lead the field into battle. At the drop of the Pre-Final Green, a great battle ensued between the three, bringing in the Collin Daley into a four kart battle for the opening laps. Half-way thru, Ordonez took the point and never looked back, leaving Madrigal, Rios, and Daley to fight it out. At the checkered, Ordonez took the win, with Rios second and madrigal third. In Saturday’s 20-lap Final, the day belonged to Ordonez, who led from flag to flag. Behind Ordonez, Rios, Madrigal, and Daley all settled in that order until the closing laps. The action farther back was intense as the Merlin of Shawn Sharkey was making his presence known with the Alonso of Dore Chaponick. As the two battled, they caught Daley, and the battle ensured. At the checkered, Chaponick captured fourth, Daley fifth, and Sharkey sixth.
Sunday’s action was just as exciting, with Rios again taking pole in Qualifying, with Ordonez second and Sharkey third. In the Pre-Final, while Rios remained out front, Sharkey made a textbook move to take over second at the start, over Ordonez, but it was short lived as Ordonez would recapture his second place position a lap later. Rios would take the Pre-Final with a flag-to-flag win, with Ordonez second, and Madrigal coming home third, from her fifth place starting position. Sunday’s Final was a true crowd-pleaser, where Rios, Ordonez and Madrigal would battle for the top spot the entire race. The three would finish in that order, with Sharkey fourth, and Chaponick fifth.
After Heading into the Round 2 Weekend, Madrigal held the points lead, but she was relegated to the third spot after Round 2 due to the performances of Ordonez and Rios. Ordonez took home the $700 in cash for his weekend efforts, and catapulted himself to the top of the points chase heading into the third and final round next weekend. Rios now sits second in points, while Madrigal holds the third spot. Chaponick and Daley are fourth and fifth respectively. Mathematically, with one round remaining, any of the top-5 are still in position to take the Championship and the direct transfer to the 2010 US Rotax Nationals.
Heading into Round 2, Arie Ouimet (CRG) held a comfortable lead in the championship points, that he would defend into Round 2. With a number of well known drivers, Rotax Senior provided phenomenal racing throughout the weekend, all looking for their chance to take home the series prize in the class, the 2010 Mazda3.
The weekend started off with an exciting Qualifying session on Saturday, with Richard Benitez, (Kosmic), Phil DeLaO, (Top Kart), and Andrew Hawkins knocking each other off pole throughout the second half of the session. At the checkered, Benitez would take the pole, but only by 7 thousands of a second over DeLaO, with Hawkins third, and the Tony Kart of Alex Speed fourth. In the Pre-Final on Saturday, Benitez would own the track, jumping out front at the start and never looking back. Midway through the race, Alex Speed would mix things up with the Intrepid of Angel Caban, Ouimet, and Hawkins, all battling for second the last half of the race, with Ouimet capturing second at the checkered, and Speed third. In Saturday’s Final, the top five did not let Benitez get another shot at a flag-to-flag victory, where Speed and Taylor Miinch, (Top Kart), challenged Benitez the first half of the Final. Once Speed took the point, he was then challenge by Miinch who was able to complete a last lap pass for the win. Speed ended up second with Benitez coming home third. Point leader Arie Ouimet was running fourth but with two laps to go, slipped too wide around turn 5, dropping him to ninth. In possibly the drive of the day, Phil DeLaO started the Final 15th and put on the show of the day, working all the way up to fifth at the checkered.
After a night of rest, the Seniors attacked Sunday with prominent action throughout. Benitez owned the day, taking Pole in Qualifying, the Pre-Final and the Final. Drivers looking to redeem themselves from Saturday’s action moved themselves up the order; Ouimet looking to maintain his points position came in second in the Final, with Joey Wimsett, aboard his CRG third.
After two rounds, the Championship Race for the 2010 Mazda 3 and a direct transfer to the 2010 US Rotax Nationals, Benitez’s perfect score Sunday moved him into the points lead, but by only 10-points over Ouimet, setting up a great battle for Round 3. Miinch, Speed and the CRG of Joey Wimsett will be ready to pounce as they are still close behind, third through fifth respectively.
SSC East Rotax Mini
The youngest of the CKI Florida Cup Drivers, Rotax Mini exhibited its usual exciting, close action all weekend long. Saturday, the Sargeant brothers, Logan and Dalton swopped out the top spot in their Kart Mini’s, with Dalton coming out on Pole over Logan with Kyle Kirkwood third. In the Pre-Final, spectators were treated to a five-kart battle at the front, bringing Jordan Perry and Sebastian Coulson in the mix. Kirkwood would take the Pre-Final win, with Logan Sargeant second and Coulson third. Saturday’s 16-lap Final saw Dalton Sargeant start his Kart Mini from his fourth place position, and fight all the way to the top for the win, working his way through the battle of Kirkwood and Jordan Perry, who came in second and third respectively.
Sunday’s qualifying, Dalton Sargeant would pick up where he left off the day before by capturing the pole. Perry found some speed from the day before to come in second, while Logan Sargeant came in third. Dalton Sargeant would carry his dominance through the Pre-Final Sunday, while a great fight ensured behind him between Logan Sargeant and Jordan Perry the entire race, with Logan taking the second spot, and Perry third. In Sunday’s Final, the day belonged to Dalton Sargeant who led flag-to-flag. Kirkwood jumped to the second spot early in the race, being challenged throughout the race by Perry, who finished third, while Logan Sargeant finished fourth and the Alonso Kart of Devlin DeFrancesco was fifth.
Dalton Sargeant’s double final win during the weekend shot him just past Perry in the points chase, dropping Perry to second. Kyle Kirkwood’s solid performance landed him in third in points and Logan Sargeant is now fourth. Mathematically, all four are capable of taking the CKI Florida Cup Championship, and the transfer to the US Rotax Nationals entry, which will make for a very exciting round 3 in Rotax Mini.
Grand Products KF3
The CRG of Camden Geise entered the weekend atop the points chase, with his consistency in Round 1, but would have trouble throughout Round 2 with his fellow drivers keeping his top spot with a DNF in Saturday’s Pre-Final. Alessandra Madrigal, (Kosmic), would have a dominant weekend in KF3, with the first perfect score of the CKI Florida Cup Series taking the Pole on both days, winning both the Pre-Finals and the Finals during the weekend. Jesse Lazare, (CRG), and Geise chased Madrigal all weekend long, to keep their championship hopes alive. Lazare had trouble from the Maranello of Evan Komar in Saturday’s Final, with Komar taking second and Lazare third. 2009 National #9 KF3 driver Broc Yocom (Intrepid) came to new life over the weekend with several moves to the top spots, but bad luck would sideline Yocom. Look for Yocom to make his stand in Round 3.
With her perfect score in Round 2, Madrigal took home $700 for her efforts and the lead in the championship points. Geise dropped to second in the points, while Lazare moved up to third. Komar advanced to fourth in points heading into Round 3.
Major heavy hitters in KF2 exhibited action throughout the weekend. CKI 2009 National Champion Arie Ouimet (CRG) made the first strike Saturday by taking the Pole in Qualifying over the Top Kart of Phil DeLaO and the Tony Kart of Alex Speed. Speed would not have any part of it though as he would take wins in both Pre-Finals and Finals during the weekend, but not without Ouimet giving him trouble on Saturday, who took second in both the Pre-Final and Final Saturday. The Kosmic of Phillip Orcic took third on Saturday, but found speed on Sunday for second behind Speed. DeLaO showed promise all weekend, taking third in Saturday’s Final, however bad luck would end his run in Sunday’s Final. Local talent Dominic Lamanna challenged for position all weekend, with enough rhythm to bring his Gillard home third in Sunday’s Final.
At the close of the weekend, Speed’s dominance kept him atop the championship points chase in KF2, as he took home the $1,500 check for his efforts, while Orcic took over the second spot from Ouimet heading into Round 3. The pilots are fighting for a free race weekend in the Bondurant Formula Mazda Series, and an entry to go up against the world’s best KF2 Drivers, at the WSK World Series event this August at the New Jersey Motorsports Park
Alex Speed's two wins in Round 2 have the rest of the KF2 field chasing him in the standings
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
CKI TaG Senior
With $1,000 on the line and a new prize of a $250 Gift Certificate of a winner on a Sonik, compliments of TS Racing, the Top Kart of Taylor Miinch and the Kosmic of Hunter Short, battled the entire weekend, splitting each day equally. Short took the day Saturday, while Miinch would take Sunday. Miinch’s performance shot him into first in the Championship Points, taking home the $1,000 check and the shot at the season prize of free entry into the entire 2010 WSK North American Series by CKI.
Homestead’s own Todd Ulmen (CRG) dominated the Rotax Masters field throughout the weekend. Round 1 challenger Eduardo Martins was present at the event, however did not run due to a business travel commitment Sunday, leaving the weekend to Ulmen. Rico Campos and Jamie Zuleta challenged Ulmen throughout the weekend but would have to settle for second and third places. New-comer James Hunnell (Top Kart) showed promise in only his first year of karting with a podium on Saturday. Ulmen’s dominance put him comfortably atop the points chase, and the $700 check for the weekend, with Campos coming in second in points heading into Round 3.
After a successful Round 2, CKI is completing the preparations for the final round, March 12-14. Entries are already being received, as drivers express their desire for over $130,000 in cash and prizes. Entries and updated information can be found at www.ChampionshipKartRacing.com