Drivers to contest Rotax Micro, Mini, Junior and Senior MAX.
As the 2016 North American karting season reaches the midway point, several key events will set up championship chases for drivers in multiple different series. First on the docket, Team Koene USA will enter eight drivers in the second round of the Sofina Foods US Open in the hopes to secure valuable points towards tight championship battles. Taking place at the Utah Motorsports Campus (formally Miller Motorsports Park), Team Koene USA will have entrants in Rotax Mini Max, Junior Max and Senior MAX.
"At the first event in NOLA, we had a nine driver team but as it is in most championships, competitors who don't do well or choose to focus on other programs drop out," explained Koene USA Managing Director Mike Maurini. "We lost three drivers to this theory but picked up a few others and have a good group of guys that can challenge the front of the field week in and week out."
Joining Team Koene USA for the remaining Rotax events in 2016 is Utah resident Walker Hess. A consistent front runner in the talent-filled Rotax Senior class, Hess will look to take advantage of Team Koene USA's flourishing program including driver coaching, data support and solid team advice from one of the most experienced teams in the paddock.
"I am really looking forward to my debut with Koene USA," explained Hess. "At every event we go to they always seem to be at the front of the field. I know a few drivers under their tent that have greatly improved their race craft and I hope to do the same. I am looking forward to working with the other drivers to help elevate not only my own program, but the entire program of the team."
In the Rotax Junior division, Team Koene USA will enter Payton Durrant, Zoey Edenholm, Nathan Ratton and Alejandro Jaramillo. All four drivers have shown the speed it takes to run at the pointy end of the field and will look to Utah for their chance at a podium. Edenholm is fresh off a top-five finish at the SuperKarts! USA (SKUSA) Pro Tour in Phoenix, adding to her 2016 resume that includes Rotax Challenge of the Americas podiums and a Pro Kart Challenge victory. Durrant continues to show steady improvement each race weekend as he takes advantage of multiple different engine platforms. Competing with both Rotax and IAME engines, Durrant has top-ten speed as he showed at the final round of the Florida Winter Tour. Competing at his home track and one that he knows like the back of his hand, look for Durrant to be a major threat in Rotax Junior.
Jaramillo jumped back behind the wheel of a Team Koene USA kart in New Orleans and was quick out of the box. Qualifying ahead of all of his Koene USA teammates, Jaramillo scored a top-ten in his first event back. Traveling west to Phoenix for the SKUSA event, he repeated his efforts in a strong 43 kart field running in the top-fifteen throughout the weekend and eventually scoring 13th and 14th place results. Due to age regulations, Nathan Ratton was forced to run in the X30 Senior category and turned heads along the way. Working with a new Team Koene USA tuner, Ratton debuted in the Senior class with top-fifteen speed each and every on track session. With some experience racing in one of North America's top karting classes, look for his results in the Rotax Junior class to improve two fold.
Jak Crawford will return to the Koene USA lineup off his third place podium result at the opening round in NOLA. Shooting to climb two steps further up the box, Crawford will build on experience gained from his first event weekend with Koene USA as he, his new team and mechanic got to know each other a bit better.
Joining Team Koene USA in Utah will be the duo of Tuesday and Logan Calderwood. Tuesday will see action in the Rotax Micro MAX class while Logan will battle in the stout field of Mini MAX competitors. Fixtures in the Phoenix karting scene and at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas, the Calderwoods will make their first US Open appearance of the season after missing the opening round in New Orleans.
Maurini added, "Jak did well in his first event with Koene USA as it was an entirely new program for the youngster. Understanding each other on an all new level now, we are confident that we will be able to challenge for the race win in Utah. For the Calderwoods, it was a last minute decision to join Koene USA and we will look to familiarize them with the team and assist with coaching and tuning as we look to potentially build towards a program in the future."