Round three of four of the ROK Cup USA Florida Championship is complete and now we have a chance to look back and see what we learned from the weekend. It was a hot and humid one, but the drivers handled the conditions like pros. For full reports of every category and full results visit our On Location page.
No Challengers for Kirkwood
For the past 18 or so months Ryan Norberg has been arguably the man to beat in ROK Senior Competition. This weekend he was joined by Kyle Kirkwood who after running the first few rounds in Shifter made the move back over to Senior competition. From the start of the weekend Kirkwood was on a different level and other than an exclusion in heat three he swept the weekend. Norberg on the other hand struggled all weekend to find the pace, yet going into the weekend he had a feeling this would be the case. After a disappointing run at the USPKS opener he found out his kart was severely bent and did not want to break out his new chassis yet. Lets see if things change in two weeks time at the final round.
A Quick Visit to the Stewards Office
We rarely get to see what goes on in the steward’s office, but as a former driver I have a good indication of how it goes. This weekend we were invited by the ROK Cup USA staff to setup our On Location inside the office. Other than the fact that in my opinion the penalties were fair and balanced for the most part, what impressed me the most was the focus on having conversations with the younger drivers even when no penalty was assessed. Both Morgan Healey and Zach Walters did an amazing job working with the younger drivers on helping them understand why a warning was given out. It was also nice to see just plain and simple common sense overturning penalties after speaking with both parties involved. Kudos to the ROK staff.
Mars Victorious in Debut
The Mini and Micro categories continue to deliver some of the best racing in the series and this weekend continued the same theme. The biggest story in Mini was Luca Mars joining Benik for the weekend. He captured pole position, but had a bit of trouble in heats two and three. After lining up 8th in the pre-final he was able to move up to a 4th place starting position in the final. At the start of the final he quickly moved into second position behind teammate Tyler Maxson. The two hooked up and started to pull a small gap on the rest of the field. On the final lap he made his move on Maxson to take the win. Now we understand this was possibly a one off, but who knows after this victory. I guess we will find out in two weeks time.
Keel Rebounds to win Junior
Similar to Luca Mars Aiden Keel had to bounce back after trouble in the heats. The Andersen Racing driver qualified pole, but after a technical DQ in one of the heats he had to battle back in a very tight field. In the final he made very deliberate passes and closed a 1.2 second lead that Arias Deukmedjian had built up early in the race. Arias kept him honest for the remainder of the race, although he could never get close enough to launch an attack.