190 competitors strap on the Vortex power plants in near perfect conditions

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190 competitors strap on the Vortex power plants in near perfect conditions
Feb 11, 2017, 6:38 PM

Kart360 is back in Florida this weekend in Jupiter, Florida at Palm Beach Karting

Ryan MacDermid
Rubens Barrichello
Gary Carlton
Austin Garrison
ROK Cup action
ROK Cup action
Crash action
Race action
Rubens Barrichello
Jonathan Thonon
Ready for the start
Jonathan Thonon

After a quick turnaround, Kart360 is back in Florida this weekend for round two of the VCI powered by AM Engines Florida Winter Tour presented by Fikse Wheels ROK Cup championship in Jupiter, Florida at Palm Beach Karting. The weather looks like it will cooperate this weekend, with highs in the upper 70’s and mostly sunny each day. 190 entries is the final count, which is only a slight drop-off from round one and should be very encouraging to MAXSpeed Entertainment.

Qualifying began yesterday at 1:30pm Eastern along with a heat race for each category later in the afternoon. Today, KART360 will have a full slate of heat races, followed by the Pre-final and Final on Sunday. You can tune-in as the events unfold, while also keeping up to date with results, photos, and any extra news that’s floating around the paddock.

With that said, here is KART360’s top list of storylines to watch for this weekend:

Carlton’s closest challengers

In ROK Shifter, many of the heavy hitters from round one are back, including Gary Carlton (Goodwood Kartways/Formula K), AJ Myers (TB Kart USA/TB Kart), Rubens Barrichello (OGP/Tony Kart), Jonathan Thonon (VCI/GP Kart), Danny Formal (DRT USA/DR Kart), and Juan Manuel Correa (Koene USA/Tony Kart). Thonon and Carlton are the likely favorites as they carry the flag for professional karting drivers, and Carlton will strive to extend his points lead after picking up the win in Homestead for round one.

Myers and Correa have our attention as potential spoilers this weekend. Correa, the top American in European Formula 4 competition, had a misstep in qualifying in round one that put him well back, which hindered his ability to get a top result. However, the former Rotax World Champion had made his way into the top five on Sunday, but an incident in the final put him on the sidelines despite a top-level pace. After the extra seat time this winter in a kart, Correa now should have a tremendous opportunity to win this weekend.

Myers too should have the goal of a win this weekend after his third place run in Homestead. The TB Kart USA driver had to come from 16th in the pre-final after two poor results in the heats. If the Floridian can keep it consistent in the heats, he should not have any issue with fighting for the win on Sunday.

Norberg, Leist, Garrison back for battle

The three standout drivers in round one in Senior ROK were Ryan Norberg (PSL Karting/Birel ART), Arthur Leist (RPG/Kosmic), and Austin Garrison (Compkart). Norberg had the category locked down from qualifying through the pre-final on Sunday, but in the Final the Birel ART backed up two positions to third and Garrison charged ahead for the victory. The incoming rookie in the Senior category, Leist, may have impressed the most, turning in a second place performance.

Joining that lead trio this weekend will be Floridian, Dustin Stross, and Englishman, Ben Barnicoat. Stross was a regular frontrunner in TaG competition on the eastern side of the US but has seen limited action over the last year or two. We’re excited to see his return to see if he has something for the regular front runners. Barnicoat makes a rather random appearance this weekend in United States karting, running with the Fullerton USA operation. Barnicoat, a European Formula 3 regular in 2016, was the CIK-FIA KF2 European Champion in 2012, so he has the pedigree in a kart to win if he can knock any rust off quickly.

Barrichello now the target in Junior ROK

After a breakthrough performance on Sunday in round one, Eduardo Barrichello now has the target on his back in Junior ROK; an unfamiliar role for the young Brazilian. The drive on Sunday for Barrichello was one of the more impressive drives of the weekend in Homestead as the son of the former F1 star, Rubens Barrichello, drove away from what everyone considered a field full of talent. Now playing the role of a leader, Barrichello must focus that much more to keep his OGP/Tony Kart ahead of the pack.
Tyler Gonzalez (Speed Racing Concepts/Tony Kart), Nicholas d’Orlando (Compkart), and Ryan MacDermid (PSL Karting/Birel ART) are going to be the drivers to watch with the experience to win this weekend. Derek Carmenate (Benik) had the best weekend of any rookie in Junior in round one and we’ll see if he can keep that going despite his lack of experience in the category.

Mars riding high into Palm Beach

After two solid weekends back-to-back in round 1 of ROK Cup and Rotax competition, Luca Mars rides into Palm Beach with the points lead in both weekends. This weekend, in Mini ROK, the Energy Corse North America driver leads the list of favorites in a 41-kart field -- the largest of the weekend. Behind him is a laundry list of who’s who in cadet racing in North America. Carson Morgan (Benik), Ashton Chilton (Tony Kart), James Egozi (Koene USA/Benik), and Reece Gold (Benik) are the go-to names for the win this weekend outside of Mars. With varying experience levels in these younger ranks, it’s always a puzzle who will come out on top at the end of the weekend, but we expect at least a half dozen drivers have a shot in Palm Beach.

MAXSpeed

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