"Rotax Junior rookie shows speed in Indiana and will now focus onwards into 2013"
Article By: Race Tech Development
September 21, 2012 - Working his way through the Rotax Mini Max ranks and after claiming the 2012 Florida Winter Tour TaG Cadet championship, Deerfield Beach, Florida's Darren Keane made the jump to the stout Rotax Junior field. Running throughout the state of Florida to gain experience in a full-size chassis and to get used to the increased speed, Keane took on the Florida Karting Championship Series, North Florida Rotax Max Challenge and other select events to compete against some of the country's best.
Making the trek north to the Jet Karting of Michiana Raceway Park facility in South Bend, Indiana for the annual Rotax Summer Shootout in July, and then returning to the same facility in early August for the United States Rotax Grand Nationals, Keane showed true speed in the junior category and turned the heads of some of the industry's leading professionals.
After progressing through the three test days leading up to the first official action of the weekend, Keane utilized his experienced gained at the Summer Shootout to circuit the tricky northern Indiana facility, finding himself in the top ten in times. Back to the track on Thursday morning for official qualifying, the heavens would open, as rain would begin to fall. Making the switch to the wet weather Mojo tires, Keane would post the quickest time in the first group of Rotax Junior drivers. With more than 50 drivers in the class, the rookie would remain with the quickest time until halfway through group two. With a drying track and national champions attacking the course, Keane would eventually be classified in the fifth position.
With practice and qualifying now complete, wheel-to-wheel action would commence, as Keane would start each of his three heat races from inside row two. With rain continuing to fall, the Floridian took advantage of his wet weather prowess garnering a solid second place result.
Friday morning would begin with a warm-up session preceded by the final pair of heat races. Looking to keep the momentum going and have a good starting spot on Championship Saturday, Keane would take to the track for the second consecutive day in wet conditions. Holding station at the drop of the green flag for heat two, the young up and coming pilot would run in the third position for the majority of the heat. Falling back in the closing circuits, Keane would claim a sixth place finish and begin his preparations for heat three.
With a drying track and slick tires now fixed to his Tony Kart, the Keane Racing driver would continue his string of solid performances in the third and final heat race. Running inside the top five throughout the 14-lap race, the Florida Winter Tour champion would score another impressive result, crossing the line in the fifth position. With points now added and the grid set for Saturday morning's prefinal, Darren Keane would start in the third position.
Sunday would be a day to forget for Keane as a third place starting position turned into a 14th place result in the prefinal. Hoping for a rebound in the main event, Keane would suffer an unfortunate DNF as he pulled his Tony Kart to the sidelines on lap 19.
Darren Keane and his Keane Racing crew will be back on track this weekend for the Pan American Rotax Max Challenge at The Track at Centennial in Englewood, Colorado. Looking to claim the victory and accompanying berth to Team USA and the Rotax Grand Finals later this year in Portimao, Portugal, Keane will certainly be on his game as he takes on a field of international competitors.
For more information on Darren Keane or Keane Racing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.DarrenKeaneRacing.com or www.KeaneRacing.com.
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