Article by: championshipkartracing.com
With an unheard-of Prize Package, and ultra competitive racing, Championship Karting International put an exclamation point on their first Florida Cup this past weekend, crowning Champions in all Divisions in the CKI Florida Cup, presented by DeFrancesco Racing and Supertune USA, at the famous Homestead Karting Facility.
Promoting Driver Development, in all categories, CKI awarded all the Champions of the Rotax divisions with automatic transfers to the US Rotax Nationals, in a partnership with the USRMC, in addition to cash prizes for the Event podium winners, and a 2010 Mazda 3 to the Champion of the Rotax Senior Category. In both KF Categories, Champions were awarded with automatic entries into the WSK World Series Round this July at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, with a bonus award going to the KF2 Champion; a free weekend in the Bondurant Formula Mazda Series in 2010, provided by the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Finally, the TaG Senior Champion would be granted an entire season of entries in the 2010 WSK North American Series, by CKI. With Contingency Packages from Leatt Brace, T.D.C. Sprockets, Grand Products Top Kart, D.I.D. Chain, On Track Promotions, and TS Racing, CKI offered a total prize package worth over $130,000 for the three-event program.
Additional cash incentives for the Team with the most entries of $2,500, the Team with the most Event Podiums of $7,500, as well the Driver with the most Top10’s throughout the CKI Florida Cup of $2,500 were heating up and would be decided over the weekend.
Top Competitors from the around US and internationally ascended upon the Homestead Miami Speedway, for exciting action on the track throughout the event in all categories, adding to the story-lines of the weekend.
RDD Motorsports Rotax Junior
The Juniors started the weekend action Saturday with points leader Sebastian Ordonez taking the pole in Qualifying, with the Kosmic of Alessandra Madrigal second. In Saturday’s Pre-Final, the two led the field at the green; however Madrigal would get caught on the outside. With the field jamming through the first corner, Madrigal suffered a slight spin dropping her way back in the pack, allowing Ordonez to take an early lead that would never be relinquished. Top Kart Driver Mason Chelootz capitalized on the incident taking an early second that would only last a lap when the CRG of Nicholas Latifi took over the spot, bringing the CRG of Colin Daley with him to take third, dropping Chelootz to fourth. After falling to 11th in the first corner, Madrigal worked her way up to 4th at the half-way point, but another spin would take her back to finish the Pre-Final in seventh.
Saturday’s Final took two attempts to get the field under green, thus starting a thrilling opening lap. Ordonez barely took the point while the CRG Red Bull Driver Collin Daley followed, with Latifi and Madrigal in tow. During the opening lap, the five karts took chase to each other, attempting a heart-stopping 3-wide battle at Turn 11. Unfortunately, Latifi became a victim of the incident and retired, allowing Ordonez to stretch out his lead, never looking back. Daley assumed the second position, while the Alonso of Dore Chaponick took third. Behind them, a battle of the ladies ensued, as Madrigal and CRG Pilot Sabre Cook heated up their own fight in the final laps. At the checkered, Ordonez all but clinched the title in the RDD Motorsports Junior Rotax category with the win while Daley and Chaponick completed the podium.
Sunday, although Ordonez took the pole-position in Qualifying, his start at the pre-final was upset by Chaponick taking the point in turn one at the start. Chaponick would maintain the lead for four laps, but could not hold off the hard-charging Ordonez. With the points championship already in hand, Ordonez controlled the top spot in the pre-final. Chaponick later was penalized for a starting violation which dropped him to eighth, allowing Jesus Rios to graduate to second and Sabre Cook to third.
Sunday’s Final would pick up where the Pre-Final left off with Ordonez taking the point at a jam-packed turn one, followed by Rios and Cook. The crowd shuffled the hard charging Mason Chelootz to the outside, dropping him from fourth to seventh. As Ordonez stretched his lead from Rios, Madrigal caught Cook for a battle for third. Madrigal turned up the heat, taking Cook for third, then Rios for second on Lap 5 and setting her sights on Ordonez. Behind Madrigal, Cook had her hands full with an exciting four kart battle with Rios, Chaponick, and the Tony Kart of Pietro Fittipaldi for third. Eight laps in, Rios and Chaponick bobble entering turn 1, allowing Chelootz by and caught Cook for third. Chelootz and Cook tangle in Turn one two laps later allowing Fittipaldi to catch them. Chelootz benefited from the battle, catching Madrigal to challenge for second. With Ordonez solidly in first, two fought right down to the checkered, with Madrigal getting the second spot and Chelootz settling for third. Fittipaldi came home fourth with Cook scoring fifth.
For the Event Weekend, Ordonez scored the win and took home the $700 check for his efforts, while Madrigal was second and Chelootz third. Ordonez also clinched the Championship and the automatic birth into the 2010 US Rotax Nationals. Madrigal ended up second with Rios third overall.
Entering Round 3, Richard Benitez (Kosmic) was atop the points with Arie Ouimet (CRG) only 12-points back. Looking for that 2010 Mazda 3 grand prize, Benitez made a statement by capturing Saturday’s Pole, relegating the Top Kart of Phil DeLaO, who took the early provisional pole, to second. In a stacked field of Pro Drivers, Tony Kart’s Alex Speed came in third, with first-time Florida Cup driver and defending CKI KZ2 champion Gary Carlton (CRG) coming fourth in the order.
After a failed attempt at the start, Saturday’s Pre-Final saw Ouimet, Speed and Carlton follow Benitez through the first corner. Benitez immediately broke away from the field, while Speed and Carlton battled for second in their own fight to catch Benitez. DeLaO dropped to seventh, chasing Joey Wimsett (CRG) and Taylor Miinch (Top Kart). While this pack battled, allowing the Kosmic of Manuel Sanjinas to join the hunt, Carlton would catch Benitez to challenge for the lead. DeLaO worked his way up the field to Ouimet and challenge him for fourth, attempting a pass in Turn 9. Ouimet and DeLaO battled each other, side-by-side. With neither giving up position, Miinch, Wimsett, and Sanjines slipped by the two. Meanwhile, up front, Carlton passed Benitez for the Pre-Final win. Wimsett made a classic last corner pass on Sanjines for third, while Speed brought his ride home fifth.
At the green in Saturday’s Final, Wimsett took advantage of the official’s decision to invert the first two starting rows after two failed attempts at a green, starting on the pole when the race finally got under way with Sanjines starting second. Carrying his position through the first lap, Carlton would take back the lead on lap two, stretching out his lead. Speed and Benitez battled for second throughout much of the event, eventually overtaking Wimsett. Behind them, a huge fight between Ouimet, Chris Wehrheim (Top Kart), DeLaO, Miinch and Sanjines to place for fifth. In a surprise chain of events toward the finish, a gust of wind kicked a barrier immediately into the path of Carlton in the fifth corner, disabling his CRG and forcing him to retire. Speed assumed the lead and later the win. Benitez came home second and Wimsett rounded out the podium. Wehrheim was alone in fourth while DeLaO won the battle for fifth.
With the championship in his sights, Benitez came to the Qualifying grid focused on one thing; Pole Position. With the unique 10-minute Qualifying session where drivers take the track at their leisure, Benitez wisely let the entire field take the track so he could monitor lap times of his competition, and waited on the grid through the first few minutes of the session. While Benitez waited on grid, Carlton and DeLaO would take turns at the provisional pole, but only until Benitez took the track. One warm up lap and one hot lap, and that was all it took for Benitez to take the top spot by a tenth over Carlton.
In the Pre-Final Sunday, the field crowded the first turn. Benitez came out on top with DeLaO following him through the crowd. Speed ended up third through the shuffling with Carlton dropping to fourth and Ouimet fifth. As the field caught their rhythm, Carlton would go on a tear and pass Speed for third on lap three, then DeLaO for second on lap four, setting his sights on Benitez. At the half-way point, Carlton passed Benitez for the lead and broke away. The battle for third between Speed and DeLaO would see the later take the spot as the two caught Benitez, but diminishing laps would stop the fight. At the checkered, Carlton scored the win, Benitez second, DeLaO third, Speed fourth, and Wimsett fifth. Benitez’s second place would allow him to secure the CKI Florida Cup Championship and the 2010 Mazda 3.
At the green in Sunday’s Final, Speed would make an amazing move up the inside line and take the field through the first corner. Carlton and Benitez fell into place behind Speed respectively, bringing Ouimet and DeLaO in tow. Two laps in, Carlton passed Speed for the lead while a battle ensued between Benitez, DeLaO, Ouimet and Wimsett for third. Benitez, with the championship already secured, was overtaken by Ouimet for third in the first corner of Lap 9. Wimsett would then pass Benitez for fourth with DeLaO in tow. DeLaO would take the points champion for fifth on the next lap. In the closing laps, Carlton was solidly in control with Speed a distant second. DeLaO worked by Ouimet for fourth, and caught Wimsett in third. Making a bid for the third spot in the final lap, DeLaO challenged Wimsett, but the checkered flew with Wimsett taking the final podium spot.
For the Event Weekend, Speed’s consistent performance placed him at the top of the podium, and the $700 check, while Carlton secured second for the weekend standings and Benitez third - who claimed the championship along with a free entry into the US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals, and the all important 2010 Mazda 3 car. Ouimet finished the championship in second with Speed third.
SSC East Rotax Mini:
Third group in the weekend order was the ultra-competitive Rotax Mini group which continued its impressive battles. The Alonso Kart of Kyle Kirkwood took the pole in Saturday’s Qualifying with point’s leader Dalton Sargeant (Kart Mini) second. Starting the Pre-Final Saturday, Kirkwood maintained his first position bringing Sargeant with him for second, as the two would battle, bringing the CRG of Jordan Perry into the fight. At the half-way point while battling for first with Sargeant, Kirkwood spun, allowing Sargeant to continue with Perry in tow. Perry would take the lead on the last lap, capturing the pre-final with Sargeant second. Logan Sargeant came home in third.
The Mini’s experienced two false attempts at their Final start, forcing the officials to invert the first two rows, bringing Logan Sargeant and Thomas Issa to the front row for a third attempt. At the first turn, Logan assumed the point while the field bunched together, causing minor contact. Sebastian Coulson and Dalton Sargeant become victims of the melee; with Coulson spinning and Dalton having to work his way back up the field. Perry worked his way forward and assumed the lead on lap 2 from Logan while Dalton charged his way back up the pack. With two laps remaining, Dalton caught Perry and the two ensued in drag races for the top spot. Dalton was leading at the white flag as Perry made an outside attempt in the final corner for the win. Dalton would win the drag race to the checkered to score the win over Perry. Logan Sargeant crossed the line third. Kirkwood worked his way up to fourth with the Alonso of Devlin DeFrancesco finishing fifth.
In a surprising chain of events in Sunday’s action, points leader Dalton Sargeant experienced a mechanical problem after his out lap in Qualifying; forcing him to sit track-side with a disabled kart as a spectator. The hard charging Alonso Kart of Kyle Kirkwood grabbed the pole from Jordan Perry with Logan Sargeant third.
At the Pre-Final start, Kirkwood grabbed the top spot with Perry in close pursuit, while Logan Sargeant maintained third. Dalton Sargeant, starting the Pre-Final at the back of the field, worked his way up to fifth at the half-way point, passing the Alonso Kart of DeFrancesco, who lost a chain in the process. At the front, Kirkwood and Perry would put on a heart-pounding fight for the lead, but at the checkered Kirkwood would take the Pre-Final win with Perry second and Dalton Sargeant passing his brother Logan for third.
In Sunday’s Final, the field bottled-up into turn 1, allowing Kirkwood to take advantage and immediately pull out to a 10-kart lead. Dalton Sargeant jumped up to second to set his sights on Kirkwood for the lead. Five laps in, Dalton caught Kirkwood and started a drag-race down the straight into turn one. The attempt would fail, however, as Sargeant entered the first corner with too much speed, causing him to slide into the outside barriers. This allowed Logan Sargeant by along with Perry, William Myers and Sebastian Coulson. Dalton recovered and caught the field, but Kirkwood was too far out and in command of the Final. With 5-laps remaining, Christopher Morrison’s Birel would flip in turn 3, bringing out a red flag and bunching up the field. Morrison walked away from the incident unharmed. The field was restarted in single-file formation, allowing Dalton Sargeant a chance to gain positions, continuing his work forward. With the 5-lap shoot-out, Kirkwood took the lead at the re-start with Logan Sargeant, Perry, and Dalton Sargeant in tow. Dalton passed Logan, then Perry with two laps remaining, to set up an exciting battle with Kirkwood right down to the checkered. Kirkwood would take the checkered first; however a post race technical penalty relating to his exhaust would remove the win, handing the victory to Dalton Sargeant. Logan Sargeant would move up to second and Perry to the third step of the podium.
For the combined Event Weekend results, Dalton Sargeant would take the top honor and the $300 check. Perry’s consistency secured him the second spot for the weekend with Logan Sargeant third in the final tally.
Dalton, having secured the CKI Florida Cup Championship earlier in the weekend, received his free entry into the US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals along with the crystal CKI Florida Cup. Similar to the weekend total, Perry and Logan Sargeant rounded out the top three in the final standings.
Grand Products KF3:
With a commanding lead in the championship hunt in KF3, Alessandra Madrigal, pulling double-duty aboard her Kosmic, picked up where she left off in Round 2 with a pole position on Saturday. Evan Komar in his Maranello found speed at the top of KF3, but would not be able to post a faster lap then Madrigal.
In the Pre-Final, Komar made a challenge for the lead in the early going, bringing the Intrepid of Broc Yocom with him. Komar made Madrigal work the entire Pre-Final, but was never able to make a bid for the win. Yocom finished third with the PCR of Andrew Bujdoso in fourth.
The Final in KF3 saw Komar continuing to improve his times on track, chasing Madrigal who took the lead from the start. Komar, setting the fast lap time of the race, caught Madrigal but could never make an attempt at the point. Yocom would break with three to go in the Final, graduating Bujdoso to the third and final podium spot.
With the championship already in her hands, Madrigal captured the pole in Sunday’s qualifying, but not without having to work for it as both Komar and Yocom would swap the provisional top spot, setting up a great pre-final.
Sunday’s Pre-Final action would see Madrigal take the early lead at the start. Yocom followed her into turn one for second with Komar third and Bujdoso fourth. Yocom and Komar would battle for the second spot, allowing Madrigal to pull away and never look back. Komar would take the second spot from Yocom at the half-way point, all the way to the checkered.
Sunday’s Final was not so easy for Madrigal as Komar and Yocom continued to find speed. Madrigal took the lead at the green, with Yocom again following her for second, as Komar was left outside and had to settle for third. Two-laps later, Komar caught and passed Yocom in a great battle, but set his sights on Madrigal. Turning the three fastest laps of the race to that point, Komar took his Maranello to Madrigal to challenge for the lead. Madrigal however would turn up the pace and maintain the top spot to the checkered, discounting Komar’s excellent effort the entire weekend.
For the Event Weekend standings, Madrigal would take the weekend and the $700 check with Komar and Yocom rounding out the top three. Madrigal, with her dominance in KF3, captured the CKI Florida Crystal Cup and the championship, along with a free berth into the WSK World Series event in July at New Jersey Motorsports Park to battle with the world’s best. Komar came home second in point chase with Camden Geise, who missed round 3, bringing home third.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving KF2:
Heading into Round 3 of the CKI Florida Cup, Alex Speed enjoyed a comfortable lead in the championship points, but in Saturday’s qualifying, his comfort would be disrupted in the likes of Phil DeLaO (Top Kart), who captured the pole on his third lap. Speed would be second in the final order with 2009 CKI KF2 Champion Arie Ouimet (CRG) third. Second in points and looking to make some ground up on Speed, Phillip Orcic (Kosmic) could only record the fourth fastest time in Qualifying.
In Saturday’s Pre-Final, the field charged the first corner. Speed came away with the point, followed by Ouimet, Orcic, Madeline Komar (Maranello), and Robert Bujdoso (PCR), dropping pole-sitter DeLaO to sixth. DeLaO, setting the fastest laps in the early going, worked his way back up to fourth, making short work of Komar and Bujdoso, to bring a classic battle with Ouimet and Orcic. Six laps in, the battle for second dropped to only Ouimet and Orcic, as DeLaO suffered a mechanical issue after turning the fastest lap of the race. Immediately following, Bujdoso spun on the straight in his battle with Komar, allowing the Gillard of Dominic Lamanna to join the chase with Komar. At the checkered, Speed comfortably won with Ouimet second and Orcic third. Lamanna took fourth over Komar. First time Florida Cup entrant Alexandre Humbert from France brought his Sodi home sixth.
With pole-sitter DeLaO starting last in the Final as a result of the mechanical in the Pre-Final, the hard charger would look to make up some ground. At the green, Speed captured the first spot with Ouimet and Orcic battling for second. Komar joined the chase after a couple laps with Bujdoso in tow. DeLaO continued his charge to the front, eventually catching Speed and challenging for the win, turning the fastest lap of the race in the process. With laps winding down, Speed charged at the front as DeLaO would loose a bit of ground to speed, later to be discovered that a cracked piston slowed his progress in the end. Speed would record the win over DeLaO and put the final stamp in the championship points. Orcic would win the battle for third with Ouimet fourth and Bujdoso fifth.
Sunday’s Qualifying of the Pros in the KF2 category was an exciting play of strategy. Speed completed only one warm up lap and two flyers to capture the pole and immediately shoot to the scales. Ouimet, proudly displaying his #1 panel, would end up just a tenth off Speed’s time to place second with DeLaO ending up third. At the technical inspections, however, Speed would receive a DQ for an airbox violation, handing the pole to Ouimet and bringing DeLaO to the front row for the Prefinal.
In Sunday’s Pre-Final, two false attempts at the start would force the Officials to invert the first two rows, allowing Orcic and Bujdoso to bring the field to the green. At the start, Ouimet would take the point back from Orcic, bringing DeLaO with him for second. Orcic however regained the second spot and was able to catch Ouimet to fight for the lead. In a bold move down the inside of turn-5, Orcic passed Ouimet for first. Behind the two, Speed had caught DeLaO to fight for third. Speed and DeLaO work together to catch Orcic and Ouimet to set up a great four-kart battle for the lead. While Speed took over third, Orcic started to pull away from the field. With two laps to go, Speed was able to reel in and put pressure on Ouimet. Running out of laps, Speed was unable to make the pass. Orcic crossed the line for the victory with Ouimet just ahead of Speed.
After a failed first attempt at the start in Sunday’s Final, Ouimet made an incredible move on Orcic on the outside of turn one for the lead. After completing the first lap, Speed was able to work his way to second ahead of Orcic while Ouimet stretched his lead to about five-kart lengths. Two laps later, Ouimet suddenly slowed, and eventually retired with an airbox dislodging, handing the lead to Speed. DeLaO, who was now up to second, moved Orcic back to third. Sixteen laps into the Final, Speed while leading, had a thrown chain, advancing DeLaO to the point with Orcic a distant second. The veteran Speed immediately jumped out and reattached the chain, rejoining the race. With laps winding down, Orcic turned the fast laps of the race to close in on DeLaO. Meanwhile, Speed went on a charge to catch the field and regain positions lost. At the white flag, the race was on between DeLaO and Orcic for the lead. In the fourth corner, Orcic would make a huge dive to the inside and take the top spot from DeLaO. Orcic takes the checkered/black combination with DeLaO a distant second from the incident, and Speed would have to settle for third. After review, the Officials would declare Orcic’s pass to be improper and return DeLaO to the win, placing Orcic into the second spot.
For the Event Weekend awards, consistency would hand the Weekend title to Alex Speed and the $1,500 cash award. Phil DeLaO scored second for the Event and $1,000 cash, and Phillip Orcic third and a $500 prize.
Speed takes the CKI Florida Cup Championship, earning the free berth into the WSK World Series Event at New Jersey Motorsports Park this July, to battle against the world in KF2 Competition.
TaG Senior & Rotax Masters
Once again combined, TaG Senior and Rotax Masters saw great battles in their categories all weekend. Starting off the weekend, Taylor Miinch (Top Kart) captured the pole in TaG Senior, but only by a slim margin over the Zanardi of Mark Pellegrini. Amazingly, Pellegrini was only 2-tenths back in his second time in the kart. Rotax Masters point leader Todd Ulmen (CRG) continued his dominance in the class by taking the pole over Rico Campos (Arrow).
In the combined Pre-Final Saturday, Miinch immediately took the point at the green, however Pellegrini kept pressure on Miinch the entire 18-laps as he dialed in his Zanardi chassis. Ulmen dominated the Rotax Masters division, all but clinching the series title in the category with Campos second. Rodrigo Ospina (PCR) and James Hunnell (Top Kart) had a fun battle all race farther back the pack in Rotax Masters, with Ospina taking third and Hunnell fourth behind Ulmen and Campos.
In the Final Saturday, while Todd Ulmen enjoyed a leisurely drive to the win in Rotax Masters, Taylor Miinch and Mark Pellegrini battled hard for the win in TaG Senior. The excitement was brought down to the final checkered flag, where the two drag-raced side-by-side to the finish with Miinch taking the win by only 0.127 seconds over Pellegrini.
Sunday’s Qualifying saw Taylor Miinch continue his work from Saturday by taking the pole, but only 0.182 seconds over Pellegrini’s Zanardi. Todd Ulmen, with the CKI Florida Cup Championship already in hand, continued to pace the Rotax Masters class by taking the pole from Rico Campos.
In the Pre-Final Sunday, Miinch took the first spot at the green, but not without constant pressure from Pellegrini. Ulmen took the point in Masters and never looked back. The TaG Senior battle continued as one of the best races of the weekend, swapping the top spot between Miinch and Pellegrini, which went right down to the white flag lap. In the final corner of the last lap, Pellegrini dove down the inside of Miinch to take the spot, however Miinch performed a classic switch back to the inside, setting up a drag race to the checkered that would go to Pellegrini.
Sunday’s Final was a continuation of the battle where Miinch and Pellegrini forced each other to work for the lead every lap. Masters Champion Todd Ulmen dominated the class with no challengers during the entire 25-laps Final. Miinch would come out on top of the Final, but had to work for it with Pellegrini putting on an impressive display the entire Final.
For the Event Weekend, Miinch took home a $1,000 check for his efforts with Pellegrini taking second and $500. Ulmen would again take the podium for the weekend in Rotax Masters and the $700 payday, with Ospina taking second and $300 cash, with Campos third and a prize of $200. Miinch enjoyed the CKI Florida Cup Championship in TaG Senior, granting him entry into the entire season of the WSK North American Championship by CKI for his efforts, while Ulmen captured a free entry into the US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals for his championship.
In a one-of-a-kind Incentive Award Package, Alessandra Madrigal captured the $2,500 cash payday for the driver with the most top-10 finishes during the course of the CKI Florida Cup. Turning double duty all series-long, along with her dominance of the KF3 category, pitted her in a 3-way tie for the prize with Arie Ouimet and Alex Speed. With ties going to the driver with the greatest number of victories, Madrigal was awarded the huge $2,500 check!
In the Team Incentive Awards, Homestead Karting/Playthings Racing/CRG awarded the never-been-done prize for the most entries during the CKI Florida Cup and a check for $2,500. J3 Competition Kosmic captured the most event podiums during the CKI Florida Cup and earned the amazing award of $7,500 cash, thanks to the efforts of Richard Benitez and Alessandra Madrigal with their performances throughout the CKI Florida Cup.
After an inaugural Florida series, Championship Karting International recognizes and thanks the drivers and teams for their participation throughout the Florida Cup. Special thanks also go out to the presenting sponsor, DeFrancesco Racing and Supertune USA for their dedication and support to Karting. Class Sponsors RDD Motorsports, SSC East, Grand Products, and the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving also brought special value to the categories for their participation. The series would have never been possible without the help of the fine folks at the Homestead Miami Speedway, and the Homestead Karting Staff.
Championship Karting International now sets its sights on the six-event WSK North American Series by CKI, which starts in one short month, April 9-11 at the famed New Castle Motorsports Park. Entry Forms, documents, and travel information is available at www.ChampionshipKartRacing.com