Taking on the temporary confines of the ROK Cup USA ROK the RIO event, Speed Concepts Racing put Luca Mars on the podium in the talent filled Junior ROK category. With seven Tony Kart drivers under the team tent for the final ROK event of the 2019 season, five scored top-ten results in the main event as all seven finished inside the top-18 this past weekend at the RIO All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“The ROK Cup USA program has taken a big step forward and that is proven by the quantity and quality of teams and drivers in Las Vegas,” explained Mike Speed. “It is difficult to win one of these events but to have more than 60% of our drivers finish in the top-ten is great. We will continue to push to ensure we are on the podium week in and week out.”
Leading the way for Speed Concepts Racing on the results board was once again Luca Mars. The Florida Winter Tour Junior ROK Champion was never outside the top-three taking a heat race win and the pole position for the main event. Always a threat for the top step of the podium, Mars led the final on Championship Saturday but came up just short finishing in the second position. Fellow Junior ROK Speed Concepts Racing driver Jace Park put together an impressive event to solidify a seventh place finish in the main event following an eighth place qualifying effort and heat races that saw him battle inside the top-ten.
With six drivers in the Junior field, four of them finished in the top-ten as Kyffin Simpson crossed the stripe in ninth. Showing great speed on Saturday, Simpson ran inside the top-three and looked poised to challenge for the ROK the RIO podium until the latter half of the main event. Battling hard for a top-five result, Simpson was engaged in an intense battle that saw passing lap after lap as he eventually scored a ninth place finish. Luke Lange also managed to put his Speed Concepts Racing machine in the top-ten with a tenth place finish. Showing the speed to compete with some of the best junior drivers in the world, Lange pushed hard all week long and consistently progressed his way up the running order.
After a disappointing result in heat race one that saw him outside the top-30, Paul Bocuse drove his way back forward in heats two through four finishing 16th, 15th and 17th. With pace to run inside the top-ten, the Junior ROK rookie closed his weekend with a 16th place result. Similar to Bocuse, Jack Jeffers had to overcome some heat race misfortune as he put his Speed Concepts Racing Tony Kart in P18, positioning all seven team drivers inside the top-20.
What a difference a year makes for the young Ayden Ingratta. Joining Speed Concepts Racing in late 2018, Ingratta has grown leaps and bounds along the way and earlier this year claimed the Mini ROK Canadian National Championship. Fast forward to ROK the RIO, Ingratta was the sole SCR driver in the division and held his own to finish seventh. Battling in the top-five throughout the heat races, heat one was the only blunder on his results sheet as he consistently battled at the front of the field. Showing great pace, patience and aggression when needed, Ingratta added another top-ten finish for the Florida based program.
Speed continued, “I am proud of all my drivers and team. A big thank you to ROK Cup USA for a great event, and we can’t wait to do it all over again next year!”
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