What To Watch For: ROK Cup Palmetto

Season Championships come to fruition in the final round

In their closing act, ROK Cup USA Florida heads south of Tampa Bay to Palmetto, home of Andersen RacePark. Through three rounds, drivers have positioned themselves in the championship chase and now look to put a stamp on their season in the best way possible.

Weather in round four looks unfortunately similar to round three. Temperatures will be hot, humid, and at times wet. With scattered showers being the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, drivers and mechanics will prove their worth this weekend.

With the ability to drop one round from your championship point total, we have calculated four category leaders have a lock on their championship. Tyler Maxson (Benik) in Mini ROK, Ryan Norberg (Orlando Karting Center / Tony Kart) in Senior ROK, Miguel Gransaull (TB Kart) in Master ROK, and Guilherme Jacob (Piquet Sports / Tony Kart) in Master Shifter have all sealed their fate after commanding the first three weekends.

Here are the four remaining championships that you should be watching this weekend:

Junior ROK

The most competitive class of the Florida Championship has been Junior ROK and thankfully the championship has yet to be determined. OGP driver, Zachary Hollingshead, took the main event win in the first two rounds which has put him in the driver’s seat, which we think is his to lose.

There are, however, two drivers who can spoil it for Hollingshead. Jeremy Fairbairn is one of them, who has been consistently at the front, but is looking for that first win. The young OGP driver will need to capture that elusive win this weekend if he wants to leap his teammate.

The real wild card comes in the form of Aiden Keel. The Andersen Racing team driver comes in sixth in the overall points at the moment, but if you factor in the one weekend drop he has a legitimate shot. The hometown kid at this home track needs a monster weekend to get it done and we can’t wait to watch.

Senior Shifter

The fastest category in ROK Cup USA comes down to two drivers, Jimmy Cabrera and Nicholas Hargraves. Hargraves currently trails Cabrera and will need to best Cabrera often if he wants to overtake the top spot. That could be a tall order, however, as Cabrera has topped Hargraves in each of the first three rounds.

Junior Shifter

Prior to the season, we would have said with certainty that Mathias Ramirez would run away with the championship in the Junior Shifter category. His years of experience and high level of skill certainly weighed heavily in that optimism. However, some mishaps early in the season cost him dearly in the points and now it comes down to the final weekend.

Four drivers ultimately have a shot thanks to the dropped weekend. Jett Noland currently leads before the drop, but Ramirez leads once you factor that in. Nicholas Sanchez and Michael Stevens also have a shot if they can pick up some wins in the heats and could make the leap if they can pick up the Main Event on Sunday.

Micro ROK

Micro ROK could be the most interesting race of the weekend when looking at the championship. Nikita Johnson led after the frist two rounds, but really stumbled in Homestead two weeks ago. Alex Powel took full advantage of the poor outing by Johnson and took over the points lead thanks for a very consistent weekend.

With that said, we look to fourth place kart, Miguel Costa, who won that weekend in Homestead. A very poor first round in West Palm Beach has allowed Costa no room for error, but he has come through each round since. If Costa can keep his BirelART kart at the front this weekend, it’s going to be ultra competitive for that season championship.