Quinlan Prepares for Florida Winter Tour with WKA action
Canadian karting standout tackles Daytona Kart Week in preparation of winter season
Maidstone, ON -- While many children his age spend their winter break's enjoying their holiday gifts and relaxing at home, Grant Quinlan spent the week after Christmas in sunny Daytona Beach, Florida, contending at the famed Daytona International Speedway in the annual WKA Daytona KartWeek festivities. Back aboard his familiar Birel chassis, Quinlan entered the Cadet Jr. Sportsman class and contended in the rare Sunday-Monday-Tuesday event to prepare for the upcoming Florida Winter Tour.
Alongside his father Todd, Grant had never seen the track in Daytona, or contended in the Cadet Jr. Sportsman class before. With the two struggling to figure out the new engine, the official event practice day passed with progress made and a positive attitude heading into race one on Monday.
Returning to the track Monday morning, near freezing temperatures challenged many of the drivers in the Cadet Jr. Sportsman class. In the unique three-lap qualifying session, Grant placed seventeenth after being held up on his fast-lap. Lining up on the inside of row nine for the eight-lap pre-final, Grant drove his way up into the top-ten, finishing ninth and set his sights on the leaders for the final. After being set back early in the final, Grant fought his up to an impressive sixth place finish, turning the heads of many drivers and parents in the class.
"I was very impressed with my result in race one," stated the ten-year old Quinlan, upon his return home. "Once I figured out the track, I knew I could be up front with the leaders."
With two days of experience under their belts, the duo felt very confident heading into the final day of action on Tuesday. Ensuring a clear lap in qualifying, Quinlan vaulted up the time charts and secured a front-row starting spot but just narrowly missed the pole position. Enrolling in a wheel-to-wheel battle, the 2009 Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship Rotax Mini-Max champion battled hard in the pre-final taking the checkered flag and the pole-position for the final. However, following the race, a miscommunication by an engine builder brought Quinlan back into post-race tech and eventually a disqualification. This heartbreak however only made the young Quinlan even more determined to prove himself. Lining up dead last for the fourteen-lap final, Grant picked off multiple karts a lap and even lapped quicker than the leaders in traffic. With only a handful of laps left, he broke into the top-ten, however ran out of time and had to settle for tenth.
"I am still confused as to why we were disqualified," exclaimed Todd from his Maidstone area home. "However with that aside, I am very impressed with how well Grant drove in the final after being moved from the front row to the last row."
The team now looks forward to the first event of the 2010 Florida Winter Tour at the new Orlando Karting Center on January 15-17. Grant will be back with Birel America aboard a Birel chassis in the ultra-competitive Rotax Mini-Max class. Following the event in Orlando, the series travels to Palm Beach International Speedway in February and Ocala Gran Prix in March.