Final round this weekend at Orlando Kart Center.
With the final round of the ROK Cup USA Florida Championship this weekend, entry numbers continue to flood in as a new era for the ROK program begins. From past race winners to multi-time champions to some of the biggest karting teams in in the United States will descend on the Orlando Kart Center facility in Central Florida this weekend, April 6-9. With championships on the line, competition will be high when the green flag flies Saturday morning for official qualifying.
"We have several big name drivers and teams entered for this weekend's ROK Cup USA Florida Finale," explained Garett Potter, Director of Operations for ROK Cup USA. "The event will provide great racing action with the Vortex ROK packages, but also be a fun and friendly-family atmosphere. We have champions to crown and ROK International Finals tickets to give away."
The Vortex Micro ROK category will see race winners and series frontrunners do battle as several key drivers have thrown their hats in the mix including Miguel Costa, Alex Powell, Paul Bocuse and Emmo Fittipaldi, son of two-time Formula One World Champion and Indianapolis 500 race winner, Emerson Fittipaldi. The racing action in the youngest category provided by ROK is one that always draws parents and spectators to the fence line and the same is expected in Orlando.
A stacked field of Mini ROK drivers will pilot their Vortex powered karts this weekend in the quest for victory. Florida Winter Tour Mini ROK Champion Luca Mars looks to continue his dominating season while frontrunners including Nakita Johnson, James Egozi, Ashton Chilton, Reece Gold, Jeremy Fletcher, Conner Zilisch as well as Fernando Barrichello, who will be one of three in the Barrichello family competing this weekend, will look to dethrone the multi-time victor.
Tyler Gonzalez will lead a stout field of ROK Junior drivers to the challenging Orlando circuit as he claimed a pair of championships over the winter months and a handful of big-time victories. Looking to steal the top step of the podium from him and foil his chance at a third championship this season will be the likes of Sebastian Montoya, son of Indianapolis 500 race winner Juan Pablo Montoya, Matheus Morgatto, Eduardo Barrichello, Dylan Gennaro and the always-speedy Arias Deukmejian.
Potter added, "The Mini and Junior ROK classes will be something this weekend. There are multiple drivers in each class that are capable of taking home the win. It will be a fun to watch for sure."
While the ROK Senior class is smaller in size, it does provide for a platform for some of the nation's best to showcase their talents. Ryan Norberg, Arthur Leist and Gabriel Paturle will look to battle for the win but the likes of Axel Cabrera and others can't be ruled out.
A talented group of ROK Shifter competitors will bang gears in Orlando as Formula One star and current Brazilian Stock Car frontrunner Rubens Barrichello enters the event as the most recent ROK Shifter race winner. AJ Myers, Antonio Serravalle, Jimmy Cabrera and Vincenzo Sarracino want to be a few of the many entered that say they have beaten a former Formula One driver, but they must prove their abilities on Sunday during the weekend's main events.
Gonzalo Aponte will look to put AKT on the top step of the podium in the ROK Masters division as the experienced driver and team owner will return to the seat while Farshard Bagheri enters the Orlando Kart Center event as the favorite in the ROK Shifter Masters division.
Potter continued, "Communication with the teams and drivers is one of my primary goals and will help with the future growth of the program. Anyone with suggestions or ideas, or anyone who would like to join the ROK family, please contact me. ROK Cup saw a large increase in numbers at the 2017 Florida Winter Tour from the previous year, and we are working hard to keep that trend going for the entire season. I am looking forward to getting back to the track this weekend and working with the ROK Cup USA teams and drivers as we move into the heart of the racing calendar."
With unofficial practice taking place Thursday, transponders will be mandatory for Friday's sessions before Saturday morning's timed qualifying. Saturday afternoon will see the first wheel-to-wheel combat with three heat races on the docket while Sunday morning will host the prefinals before Sunday afternoon's main events and the crowning of the ROK Cup USA Florida Champions. The full race schedule can be found HERE.