Askew, d'Orlando lead qualifying at Sonoma
After qualifying day wrapped up at the United States Rotax Grand Nationals, it was Oliver Askew and Michael d’Orlando who led the way in Senior and Junior categories respectively. Cody Schindel reports.
Taking to the karting track at Sonoma Raceway, each category had a 10-minute preliminary qualifying session.
The top six drivers then advanced to a two-lap SuperPole session to determine the fastest drivers of the day. With qualifying setting the grids for three rounds of heats scheduled on Friday, the importance of qualifying was amped up.
Oliver Askew continued his impressive reign over the Rotax Senior Max category this year, as he paced the initial qualifying session. Then the Florida driver only needed one lap to earn SuperPole as no other one could better him.
Christian Brooks will line up alongside Askew for the heats, with Jake Craig, Matt Solarczyk and Kyle Dupell rounding out the top five, while Austin Garrison fell to sixth after initially posting the second fastest lap.
In Junior Max, New Yorker Michael d’Orlando set the pace and will lead the largest category on track this weekend in the heats. Taking a break from his European karting schedule, d’Orlando set the fastest time in SuperPole by almost half a second.
Dylan Tavella posted the second quickest time when it mattered with Yuven Sundaramoorthy advancing from sixth to third in the SuperPole session with Carter Herrera and Nick Brueckner closing out the fast five.
Florida’s Tyler Gonzalez set the initial pace in Rotax Mini-Max but it was Austin Torgerson who went fastest in SuperPole, with Jeremy Fairbairn third quickest, followed by Arias Deukmedjian, Jak Crawford and Ashton Torgerson – youngest brother to Austin.
Another driver to really step up in SuperPole was Diego LaRoque. The young driver from Oregon blistered off a lap in Micro-Max nearly half a second quicker than his competition to earn the pole-position. Josh Pierson wound up in P2 followed by Alex Powell, Carson Morgan and Branyon Tiner.
With a small turnout in Rotax DD2 and DD2 Masters this weekend, some who opted to skip the initial qualifying session played strategy.
However the short SuperPole session didn’t work out for Dev Gore and Michael McCarthy, who ended up posting the second and fourth quickest times with Florida’s Christian Munoz on the top of the timesheets. Lawson Nagel was third and Moises De La Vera fifth. Nathan Mauel was the fastest of the DD2 Masters.
Even though he dropped a wheel in the dirt rounding the final corner, Scott Roberts was fastest in Max Masters as he looks to defend his National title.
Carlos Calderon’s best was only 0.027sec slower, with Billy Cleavelin also within a tenth of pole in third. John Bonanno and John Breidinger completed the top five.
Three rounds of heat races are on tap for Friday where the total points earned will set the grids for Saturday morning’s PreFinal races before the all important Grand National final races on Saturday afternoon.
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