Seven champions crowned as first four tickets for 2013 Rotax Grand Finals awarded
Article By: Rotax Challenge of the Americas
ORANGE, CA (March 13, 2013) – The Rotax Challenge of the Americas crowned its seven class champions at the series finale this past weekend (March 8-10) at the CalSpeed Karting facility in Fontana, California. Many of the best drivers from across the United States and Canada converged on the 3/4-mile course, situated outside the Auto Club Speedway. The premier west coast winter series awarded the first four tickets (Senior Max, DD2, DD2 Masters, and Junior Max) to the Rotax Grand Finals in November, in addition to three paid entries for the United States Rotax Grand Nationals to the other class champions.
Phillip Arscott entered the event leading the Buddy Rice Karting Senior Max point standings, and managed to keep the advantage throughout the event to earn his first Challenge title. The opening day of competition was dominated by the defending champion Phil DeLaO. The Phoenix driver was first in all on-track sessions, missing out of a perfect score as Arscott nipped the fast lap honors in the main event, placing second. Parker McKean earned his second podium of the season, placing third and keeping his name in the title chase heading into the final day. Arscott put all the challenges to rest as he managed to put in his own dominant performance. From qualifying to the last Final of the series, the Oregon driver was unbeatable as he clinched the title with a victory and earn his third trip to the Rotax Grand Finals, his first since 2009. DeLaO ran a strong second place with Senior rookie Jake Craig winning the battle for third. Louie Pagano finished second in the standings with McKean third.
Fritz Leesmann and Alan Rudolph were head of the class at all three events on the year in the DD2 categories. Leesmann earned his second straight Dallas Karting Complex DD2 championship, ending the series with a complete weekend sweep. Senior rookie Andrew Evans ran second to Leesmann both days to finish vice-champion while Bill Kann was third in both aspects. Rudolph won five of the six main events in the series, including two in Fontana to earn his first Billet Performance DD2 Masters championship. Canadian Daryle Redlin gave chase both days, but was not able to match the pace of the Arizona veteran. Redlin finished out the year second in the standings with Mike Jones third. Both Leesmann and Rudolph will be making their second straight trip to the Rotax Grand Finals as part of Team USA.
The Rolison Performance Group Junior Max class championship was projected to go down to the wire, but Blaine Rocha had other ideas. The NorCal driver was second in the standings with the Fontana rounds left to contest. The opening round was all Rocha, as he swept the day’s action from qualifying to the main event. The perfect score was Rocha’s third victory and put him in the driver’s seat for the title. Noah Grey finished second in the Final with Brenden Baker a hard-fought third. Rocha came back the following day with the same blistering pace to duplicate his previous performance, leading throughout the entire day. He drove away to an 11-second victory to secure his first Challenge title and first ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals. Championship contender Luke Selliken placed second in the race, and in the final championship standings. Christian Brooks captured his second podium finish of the series, placing third on Sunday, while Grey completed the championship podium in the same position.
The one championship that did go down to the wire was in the CRG-USA Masters Max category. Three drivers entered the finale weekend separated by just five points, with only one escaping with the title. That driver was Donald Durbin Jr. The NorCal pilot earned five podium finishes to clinch the championship over Ken Maxfield and Justin Peck, earning a paid entry to the US Rotax Grand Nationals. On-track, the event belonged to Tyler Brooks as he swept the entire weekend from start to finish. Brooks edged out 2012 series champion Paul Bonilla and 2012 DD2 Masters title winner John Crow on Saturday, and then outran two-time Tucson winner Diego Pelosi and Durbin on Sunday.
The HoleShot Drive Systems Mini Max title was won by Idaho driver Sting Ray Robb. A two-time winner heading into the final weekend, Robb scored victory on Saturday to help his championship chase, edging out Roy Fulmer IV and David Rafailov. Championship contender Horatio Fitz-Simon bounced back from a rough round five to score the victory on Sunday, outrunning Robb and Jacob Blue Hudson. For Robb, the runner-up finish was more than enough to secure the championship, earning a paid entry to the US Rotax Grand Nationals, and score the most points on the weekend for a ticket to the Micro & Mini Max Invitational, as part of the Rotax Grand Finals. Fitz-Simon finished second in the title chase with Rafailov placing third in the final standings.
Payton Durrant earned the championship in the Overdrive Motorsports Micro Max with two victories in Fontana. The Utah driver put in a solid performance all weekend. He was able to run away with the win Saturday by three seconds over Filip Niemkiewicz and Anthony Willis. Sunday was an even better performance in the main event, driving to a seven-second victory. Willis was second with Ellie Musgrave earning her first Challenge podium. With the title, Durrant won a paid entry to the US Rotax Grand Nationals, and as the top point earner on the weekend, was awarded a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals Micro & Mini Max Invitational this November. The championship standings saw Liam Letzsch finished second as Willis ended up in third.
The Rotax Challenge of the Americas would like to thank all the competitors who took part in the 2013 season, the many sponsors who helped provide the amazing prizes awarded all season long, and the entire staff for which none of it would have been possible. Plans for the 2014 Rotax Challenge of the Americas are already underway, with another exciting season scheduled to begin in January.
About Rotax Challenge of the Americas:
The Rotax Challenge of the Americas series is a growing international Rotax Max Challenge series that will host over 140 drivers each weekend from all across the United States, Canada, and other surrounding countries. The six-round championship takes place from January to March with three weekend events, taking drivers to Tucson, Phoenix and Fontana, California. Series champions will earn tickets to the 2013 Rotax Grand Finals and the United States Rotax Grand Nationals. Click over to www.rotaxchallenge.com for more information about the 2013 program.