Championship sends NorCal driver to Rotax Grand Finals for first time
OAKDALE, CALIFORNIA (March 15, 2013) – NorCal driver Blaine Rocha earned a ticket to compete at the 2013 Rotax Grand Finals thanks to a dominating weekend in Fontana, clinching the Rotax Challenge of the Americas championship. The 14-year old swept the entire weekend of action at the CalSpeed Karting facility, located just outside the Auto Club Speedway, claiming two main event wins to secure the series championship. The prize for the effort put in by the Rolison Performance Group driver is a qualifying spot at the Rotax world championship event, set to be held at the NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans on November 13-16.
“Winning the Challenge championship and the ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals was my main goal for this year, and being able to accomplish that feels great,” stated Blaine Rocha. “The switch to RPG team was a great move for me, as I have learned a lot in the last couple months. I want to thank Mike Rolison and the whole Rolison Performance Group, my mechanic Erik Bartolero, RLV, David's Racing Products, MasRoc Farms, Valley Enterprise, Forbidden Motorsports and my Mom and Dad for all the support. I am really excited what this year has in store for me.”
Rocha was at the front of the field all weekend long. Beginning with the Saturday warm-up session, Blaine transferred that speed into qualifying where he posted a fast lap of 51.454 seconds to secure the pole position for the Prefinal race. The 17-lap event saw the RPG driver challenged early but fast laps toward the end of the race propelled him to a near three-second advantage for the win. Relinquishing the lead in the opening circuit of the 25-lap Final, Rocha returned to the lead and never looked back. Posting fast laps of the race, Rocha drove to a nine-second margin of victory for his third of the year.
The following day was very similar to the previous round, as Rocha dominated the events. Blaine gained another five bonus points for posting the quickest lap in qualifying, a 51.072-second lap to secure the pole position by just over two tenths of a second. Rocha led all 17 laps of the Prefinal, driving away to a seven-second lead by the checkered flag. He continued his blistering pace aboard the Kosmic chassis in the Final, going wire-to-wire to secure his fourth victory of the season by an astonishing 11 seconds.
The weekend sweep moved Rocha to the top of the championship standings to earn his first Junior Max title at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas series. With the championship, Blaine was awarded a ticket to compete at the Rotax Grand Finals, set to be contested for the first time on United States soil, in New Orleans this November. This will be Rocha’s first trip to the event, and will battle for the Rotax world championship against competitors from roughly 50 different countries.
Rocha’s busy 2013 season will continue in April as he will begin his campaign of the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour, competing in the TaG Junior category. Blaine will compete in the Rotax Can-Am ProKart Challenge regionally in Oregon and Canada, with the goal at winning the United States Rotax Grand Nationals in North Carolina come August and the Rotax Pan American Challenge event in New Orleans this October.
About Blaine Rocha:
From Oakdale, California, Blaine Rocha is among the next rising stars in United States motorsports. The soon to be 15-year old began racing karts in 2008 in the Northern California area, starting out at the club level and later expanding to regional and national level of the sport. Rocha is in his third year competing at the Junior level in the sport, competing with the Rolison Performance Group operation - based near Portland, Oregon - and already holds notable championships on his resume. His CV includes the 2010 Rotax Challenge of the Americas Mini Max title and the 2011 Superkarts! USA NorCal ProKart Challenge TaG Junior crown. Last season, Blaine won in his opening weekend aboard a Junior Max machine at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas round in Tucson, Arizona. To find out more about this talented young driver, visit www.blainerocharacing.com