Brooks, d'Olrando top Friday heat races to claim pre-final pole
The second day at the United States Rotax Grand Nationals in Sonoma, California, featured three rounds of heat-races for all classes with Christian Brooks and Michael d'Olrando leading in Senior and Junior classes after some action-packed racing, Cody Schindel reports.
New York’s d’Orlando dominated the heat races on Saturday winning all three, maintaining pole position for the Pre-final race.
Dylan Tavella challenged the BirelART driver in the first heat but d'Orlando broke free in in heats two and three controlling the proceedings.
Tavella secured three runner-up finishes meaning he will start on the front row with d’Orlando while Aidan Keel is ranked third, after finishing third in all the heats.
Behind the leading pack, some wild racing shuffled the pack bringing mixed results for almost every driver.
Rotax Senior pole-sitter Oliver Askew led the way in heat one, but when Jake Craig and Christian Brooks got racy for the lead in heat two, a melee broke out pushing Askew to eighth.
Along with his heat win in round two, Brooks had a pair of thirds, enough to lead the points tally and secure the pole-position for Saturday. Askew did win the third heat with Craig and Brooks challenging the Florida driver in the late stages but coming up short.
Kyle Dupell and Austin Garrison were tied for fourth, but Dupell’s better qualifying effort earned him the fourth spot.
Although he got snubbed for the SuperPole, Tyler Gonzalez won two of the three heat races in Mini-Max on Friday, the first by a large margin, and the second by a hair.
Polesitter Austin Torgerson built as the day went on, winning the third heat with a nifty crossover pass in the final corner. The two will once again line up on the front row, with Gonzalez on the inside pole for Saturday’s pre-final.
Jak Crawford scored a 5-5-3 to rank third with Ashton Torgerson fourth courtesy of a pair of fourth place runs. Billy Cleavelin started third for the Max Masters heat races but he came out on top in all of them with some eager driving.
John Bonanno ranks second after finishing 2-4-3 day, while Derek Wang rebounded from a bad eighth-place qualifying effort to rank third. SuperPole winner Scott Roberts had a rough day, eventually ranking sixth overall after a pair of penalties in heat one earned him tenth-place points.
It was status quo in Rotax DD2 as Christian Munoz easily won all three heats followed by Dev Gore and Michael McCarthy in the distance. Nathan Mauel ranks first in DD2 Masters after tight battles with Luis Schiavo and Luis Zervigon.
Finally, Diego LaRoque went unchallenged in Micro-Max, winning all three of his heat races. Behind LaRoque the Micro’s provided plenty of excitement and close racing where Carson Morgan finished the day second in points, followed closely by James Egozi, Torgerson, Branyon Tiner and Jeremy Fletcher.
It all comes down to Saturday now as each category will run a PreFinal race to set the grids for the Grand National Finals to determine this years National Champions and Team USA drivers for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Italy.
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