The Infineon Raceway kart track in Sonoma, CA hosted the final weekend of the 2010 Gatorz Challenge of the Americas championship. Championship winners were decided and awarded expense paid trips to the Rotax Grand Finals in Italy or the Grand Nationals in Indiana. Rolison Performance Group drivers Mike Daniel (Masters), Derek Wang (Senior & DD2), Alec Bergstrom (Mini Max), and Joey Wimsett (Senior) made the trip to the wine country for the event.
Entering the race weekend, Mike Daniel trailed Southern Californian Paul Bonilla by nearly thirty points in the Masters Championship. After a dominant day one of racing, Mike Daniel and Paul Bonilla were head to head in the championship race until the last lap of the series. After picking up pace overnight, Bonilla qualified second and went on to win the pre-final on Sunday. With a large lead over Daniel after a few laps of the main, Bonilla was set to win the series championship and a paid entry to the US Rotax Grand Nationals. Mike Daniel’s only remaining opportunity to win the championship was gain the five bonus points for fastest lap. As the 25 lap main went on, Bonilla and Daniels traded fastest lap multiple times while their pit crews waved their drivers on. As the white flag was waved, Bonilla held the provisional fastest lap as Mike Daniel went to work. Like a closing scene of a Hollywood blockbuster, Mike D crosses the line resetting fastest lap for the final time by .094 seconds and taking the championship by less than 5 points. Earning him a paid entry to the 2010 US Grand Nationals and the Gatorz Challenge of the Americans Masters Championship.
Suffering from a massive weight disadvantage, Alec Bergstrom worked up the field on Saturday to score a podium finish in Mini Max. The Bergstrom’s success in the series has put him on the watch list of other Mini and Junior Max competitors.
Coming off consecutive podium finishes at the CKI Florida Cup, Joey Wimsett joined Team RPG at the Sonoma Challenge of the Americas race for the first time in 2010. Mixing it up with championship contenders throughout the races, Wimsett emerged with the race win on Saturday and a hard fought 4th place on Sunday. Deemed as the “Ironman” for the weekend for running two classes, Derek Wang overcame poor qualifying performances and sliced through the field on both days to battle in the top five in the senior class.
In a surprising last minute move, Derek Wang does double duty by also entering the Rotax two speed shifter DD2 class. Having only driven a handful of laps in the DD2, Wang shocks the field by breaking the DD2 track record during the first official timed practice session and over 3/10ths quicker than the championship leader. An unfortunate transmission failure during Saturday qualifying forced him to sit out of the race sessions on Saturday. With a rented motor, Wang returned to the top by capturing pole position on Sunday. Having been roughed up in the pre-final and a small error in the main event cost Wang a podium finish in his first DD2 weekend. Nevertheless, Team RPG has added another class to its nationally competitive Rotax racing program.
With the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas championship wrapped up for 2010. Rolison Performance Group will compete in the CKI Series starting in April in New Castle, Indiana. The RPG Rotax racing program will also continue with the Pan American series starting in Houston, Texas in April.
Rolison Performance Group provides a range of services from complete race-weekend support to one-on-one driver development through instruction, on-track practice, testing, and training. Race weekend support packages and driver instruction days are available in 2010. For more information, please visit www.rolisonperformancegroup.com