The Five: New Members of Team USA
After this weekend Team USA now has five new members that will represent the Red, White, and Blue in Portugal. Matt Solarczyk (Chi-Chi/FA Kart) with his second place finish in Senior Max won his ticket and Nathan Adds (Dallas Karting Complex/Sodi Kart) won his by winning the DD2 final. Anthony Gangi Jr. (AGR/Tony Kart) won the Junior Max final and a ticker, while Luis Schiavo (Intrepid) won the DD2 Masters category. Lastly, Scott Roberts (Ocala Gran Prix/Tony Kart) won Masters Max and will represent Team USA in DD2 Masters in Portugal.
It has been a hot minute since we have seen this kind of domination at a top national event in North America. The Floridian who races for Ocala Gran Prix was consistently three to four tenths clear of the field. That is over guys like Askew, Craig, and Marotta. Sometimes you will see this difference in pace early in the weekend, even in qualifying, but come pre-final and final time the majority of the top runners have caught up. This weekend that did not happen and many drivers are left scratching their heads on what was missing.
Matt Solarczyk is Going to Portugal
For the past year and a half Matt Solarczyk has slowly but steadily creeping his was up the grid and this weekend was his best result yet. Solarczyk has been racing for Chi-Chi racing for some time now, but on a BirelART and recently made the switch to FA Kart.
This weekend he started the weekend off by qualifying third and then fifth in Super Pole. In the heats he stayed consistent finishing 5-4-5, which gave him a great starting spot in the pre-final. He was able to keep clear of the first turn incident in the pre-final and come out in the lead, but would eventually finish in third due to tire strategy. Craig who won used his new tires. In the final he once again got off to a great start and moved into the lead, leading the first four laps until Kirkwood eventually made his way into the lead. From there he was able keep his head down and fend off pressure from the 2014 champ Jake Craig to win his ticket to the 2015 Grand Finals.
A Different Vibe
This past weekend had a different vibe around it than most US Rotax Grand Nationals that we are use to. Last year the Nationals had 196 entries, while the 2015 edition saw a 35% drop to 125 entries. It is no secret that there are growing frustrations with the new EVO upgrade kit in terms of cost and reliability. The unfortunate thing is that MAXSpeed cannot control a lot of this as they are not the manufacturer. They are trying their hardest to make it right. Time will only tell if and what Rotax will do to try to make things better.
Perfection is Something You Can Only Strive for
Unless you are Nicholas d’Orlando. He was the favorite going into the weekend and he delivered by winning every competitive session on track and very convincingly. The Koene USA driver also set a record by being the only siblings to win US Rotax Grand National Titles joining his brother Michael is also a Mini Max National Champ. Word is, that we could see Nicholas make his Junior debut this November at the SKUSA Supernationals.