The second ROK Festival of the season takes us to Cuddebackville, New York this weekend at the site of the historic Oakland Valley Race Park. The 12-turn, .75-mile circuit has a newly repaved surface, which was laid just days before ROK Cup Midwest invaded the circuit in mid-2017.
ROK Cup USA will look to improve on the numbers here last year, which turned out 52 competitors in their first trip to the north east region.
Mother nature could play a factor this weekend with the outlook of precipitation possible both Saturday and Sunday. It seems likely we'll see rain at some point, but will it come at a key moment? We'll have to wait and see.
What's on the line
There's quite a bit of motivation for the drivers here this weekend when it comes to awards. As we saw in New Orleans for the first Festival, each podium finisher will receive a free entry into the much anticipated ROK The Rio event later in October in Las Vegas. In addition, if you participated in NOLA and follow that up with victory in New York, you'll be the recipient of a ticket to Italy for the ROK International Final to join Team USA.
Key matchups to watch
James Egozi enters Mini ROK this weekend with the most momentum, having picked up a Rotax National Championship just two weeks ago in New Jersey. If you pair that accomplishment with the Florida Winter Tour Championship earlier this year, Egozi has one of the top resumes of the year and is likely the favorite to come out on top Sunday. Within striking distance will be NOLA Festival winner, Jace Park, Orsolon Racing's Jack Jeffers, and Miguel Costa who hops into the Parolin this weekend for the first time.
Junior ROK looks to be the largest class of the weekend, approaching 20 entries, but is wide open in determining the eventual winner. Aidan Fox is no stranger to this circuit, and his first season in Junior has had some ups and downs. Could this be his breakout win in the category to date? Last years highest returning finisher will be Rafe Abdulali. Abdulali too is well acquainted with this circuit and after his standout performance in NOLA, I think he's ready for the spotlight this weekend. Lastly on our radar is Alessandro De Tullio of AM Engines/Parolin. De Tullio is another young up and coming driver and will benefit from the experience in the AM racing tent.
It's a straightforward duel in Shifter ROK this weekend between Danny Formal and Rory Van Der Steur. The latter is an up and coming shifter driver in North America who has shown glimpses of greatness, while the former is one of the highest decorated karting drivers in the United States and the NOLA Festival winner looking for his spot on Team USA in Italy.
ROK Cup USA takes the reins starting Friday with free practice all day for all categories, beginning at 9am eastern time. Transponders will be mandatory starting at 1:30pm.
Saturday will host much of the racing action this weekend, with qualifying starting at 10:40am ET followed by three heat races for each category. That will take us into the evening hours when Bridgestone hosts the lively Welcome Party.
And lastly, Sunday holds all of the drama with the final heat race set to go at 10:20am ET followed by the Finals just after the lunch break at 1pm.
I've already fired up our event stream so you can bookmark the action for the weekend. Official coverage from Kart360 will begin Saturday with Qualifying. Stay tuned!