The holy grail of Rotax racers is to represent their country in the annual invitation only Rotax World Finals. For Rotax racers in the United States, the Grand Nationals presents the opportunity to earn invitations to become a member of the prestigious “Team USA” to race in the World Finals.
The 2010 US Grand Nationals took place at the New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana during the week of July 11th. Over two hundred of the best Rotax drivers fought for eleven Team USA spots. Having consistently produced national champions and Team USA drivers over the past five years, Rolison Performance Group enters the event as one of the favorites to grab invitations to Italy with Mike Daniel (’09 Team USA), Joey Wimsett (’09 Team USA), and Derek Wang.
Derek Wang continued his impressive streak of DD2 performances by running near the front of the field through the heat races. His speed and consistency lead him to a win in one of the heat races and subsequently started on pole position for the pre-final. Having only been challenged by the reigning National Champion, Wang was unable to hang on for the pre-final win as Cody Hodgson drafted by on the penultimate lap.
Starting off pole for the final event, Wang hung on to Hodgson’s bumper for the majority of the race. However, his hopes of pay back and making a move during the latter stages of the championship race dissipated as Hodgson slowly pulled away. Wang eventually settled for second and earning his first Team USA invitation.
“I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to challenge for the National title at the end, but our goal this season was to go to the Worlds and I’m ecstatic that we were able to do it on my fourth DD2 race! This is a real testament to the program that Mike Rolison is able to put together.” Expressed Derek Wang after the weeklong event.
The race week started strong for Joey Wimsett in the Senior category but the 2009 Team USA driver struggled during the heat races. Having finished in the top 10 in the pre-final, Wimsett was involved in a first lap crash in the final event and ultimately climbed back to 17th. It was a weekend to forget for Wimsett as he will miss the opportunity to improve on his 4th place World Finals result in 2009.
Mike Daniel (Masters) entered the week as the defending Masters National Champion. Although the 2010 Grand Nationals did not offer a Team USA transfer for the Masters category, Daniel was still keen on defending his title. Starting inside the top 10 for the final event, Daniel was claimed by contact which instantly ended his title hopes.
The race season doesn’t end with the Grand Nationals as Team RPG’s Joey Wimsett will compete in the WSK North American and World Series in New Jersey in July and August.
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