July 28, 2011 - OGP Proves to be Strong in Utah

After staying out of the national karting scene since the end of the Florida Winter Tour in March, the Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) race team came back with a vengeance last weekend at the United States Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals. Taking place at the challenging Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, several OGP drivers could be seen at the front of the field taking pole positions, heat race wins and main event victories throughout the weeklong event.

Leading the way was multi-time national champion Nick Neri who was on fire in the Rotax Senior class. After scoring the elusive pole position, a heat race win and two other results in the top five, Neri would go on to claim a dominant race win in the main event leading from the drop of the green flag and never looking back.

"It is great to be a national champion yet again," expressed Neri. "I managed to win the Mini Max and Junior championships in previous years and now Senior. Next year I would like to try and make a sweep and score the DD2 title."

Fellow Senior Max drivers would be Floridian pilots Andrew Evans, Jonathon Kotyk, Anne Hayden and Brandon Salyer. While Hayden and Salyer ran into some bad racing luck in the heat races and did not advance to the final, Evans and Kotyk would battle in the front half of the field. After overcoming incidents and minor issues in the heats, Evans would score a solid 19th place result while Kotyk would come home 24th.

Two drivers dominated Rotax Junior all week long and one of them came from the OGP stable as Florida driver Oliver Askew was the only driver to out pace the eventual race winner. After qualifying in the second position and scoring two heat race wins, Askew was poised to attack for the national championship before deliberately being taken out in the first corner of the final. After dropping to the thirty-fourth position, Askew put on a clinic passing an astounding 27 karts in the 20 lap main. While going on to score the fastest lap of the event, Askew crossed the stripe with a very impressive seventh place result.

Fellow junior pilot Alex Hornborg also had his best weekend of national racing action to date. Consistently running in the top ten throughout the week, Hornborg began to turn heads as it looked as if he would challenge for a top five result in the main event. Only an on track incident could slow the young up and comer down as he would eventually be classified in the 25th position at the drop of the checkered flag.

Despite being nearly fifteen pounds overweight for the Micro Max class, Mathias Ramirez wouldchallenge for the race win from day one of official action. After qualifying a disappointing ninth, Ramirez moved forward in two of three heat races and eventually finished the main event in fifth. After battling with the lead karts until the mid race point, Ramirez would lose touch of the draft and race the gap for the remaining ten laps. Joining Ramirez in Micro Max was Lucas Sobczak in his first career race outside the state of Florida. After coming to grips with the track, Lucas would run consistently in the top twenty to score a solid 17th place finish.

Mini Max would see a pair of OGP front-runners struggle throughout the race week. After looking good in unofficial practice, both drivers would show signs of speed on race day but could not attain the elusive results. Oliver Bellanger would claim the 14th position in the main event while Sebastian Sierra would cross the stripe in 17th.

Texan pilot DJ Ortiz would battle in the Rotax DD2/DD2 Masters class scoring a solid 11th place result in the combined divisions. Racing against drivers nearly half his age, Ortiz ran in the top ten throughout the weekend and would score a solid top five in the Masters class.

Heading to Utah for a weekend of racing and fun is what OGP's Master's drivers had in store as Eddie Gennaro and Scott Kalb would compete in the over thirty-five class. Gennaro would claim the 21st place result while Kalb would head back to Florida being classified 28th.

"I am very happy with the entire team's results," expressed OGP Team Manager Nate Grindell. "Under the tent, every driver and tuner worked together to ensure they were getting the best out of their equipment."

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Florida Winter Tour
Ocala Gran Prix, FL
March 22-24, 2013

Class - Rotax Sr.
Final 1 - 1st
Final 2 - 2nd

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