Articles Home » Club and Track Updates » NOLA Locals at the US Open - Report

Published By

Share It!

NOLA Locals at the US Open - Report

Published By Damon Cuccia     April 29, 2016    
Avondale, LA, United States - Get Directions


Round 1 of Maxspeed Entertainment's Sofina Foods US Open marked the return of national karting events to New Orleans's NOLA Motorsports Park. The track run for this event s a modified version of a similar course that was run for the 2013 Rotax Pan-American and Rotax Grand Finals. The difference would be the S section of turns 10 thru 13, adding a very tight and technical section to a fast course that would see the fastest karts, Shifter Senior, reach a minute flat lap times. Being the first national race held at the track in just under three year, you beat quite a few locals would try there hand at taking on the pro drivers of karting on the national stage. In total 21 drivers among 7 classes that race monthly at NOLA Motorsports Park raced in the US Open of New Orleans's field of 120 drivers total.

To kick off the weekend would be Rotax Senior Max, the field was deep with talent with last year's champion Oliver Askew returning to race with PSL Karting on a BirelArt, as well as drivers Austin Garrison on a Tony Kart from Ocala Grand Prix, Darren Keane on a Orsolon Racing prepared Tony Kart, Jake French on Dallas Karting Complex Sodi Kart and Trenton Estep on a Tony Kart out of the Koene USA tent. Two locals stepped up to run with the big dogs of the sport, Logan McDonough of M2 Race Team Tony Kart of Hahnville and Ellis Musso of Baton Rouge on his Rock Star Racing CRG. Both drivers in the stacked field came away with respectable finishes all weekend with McDonogh placing as high as eleventh in Friday's Heat Race 1. In the Final both drivers placed in the top 15 with both setting their fastest laps of the weekend in the Final.

Rotax Junior Max seen locals Bryce Boada on his Team Blacksheep Kosmic Kart and Tyler Bruno on a Tony Kart from Killian Racing compete in a strong and packed field of 23 karts, biggest class of the weekend. Headlining the class was 2016 Challenge of the America's champion Nicholas Bruckner on his Orsolon Racing Tony Kart and Dylan Tavella leading the charge for Iron Rock Motorsports on a Kosmic Kart. Knowing the challenge ahead Boada and Bruno stepped up to the occasion by qualifying a solid sixteenth and nineteenth and making up more places in the Friday Heat race. Saturday though brought trouble for Boada, as a result of a lap 1 incident and resulting DNF the kart was damaged and threw the setup of for the following heat races, but by the end of the day Boada's team managed to get the kart fully repaired by the last heat race and get the kart back to where they started the day setup wise. In the final both of the local Junior drivers hooked up and made their way from the back to place solidly in fourteenth and fifteenth place.

Hahnville driver Jesse Mitchell on a CRG, Peyton McDonough on his M2 Race Team Tony Kart, and Cole Killian with his Killian Racing Tony Kart signed up to take on the 15 kart field of Rotax Mini Max. Qualifying started off promising for Killian, qualifying in the fifth position, Mitchell eleventh, and McDonough in thirteenth. The first heat race of the weekend went all wrong for Killian though when contact with another kart caused a DNF while Mitchell moved up to sixth. As Saturday started, Mitchell and Killian struggled to break into the top 5 fighting handling issues and one point slipped out of the top 10 with McDonough running consistant learning as much as he can competing in his first national event. By the time of Sunday's final all three drivers had their karts dialed in with Mitchell and Killian hooking up to finish tenth and twelve after it was all said and done.

The Stock Honda Shifter category had the locals of Metairie's Stephen Lamana aboard his LMS Motorsports CRG, Blaine Cavin on a Sodi from Dallas Karting Complex, and Jeremy Lee on a factory Energy Kart in Shifter Senior. The weekend started out promising with Lamana turing times comparable to Energy Kart USA driver Sabré Cook and Champion Racing's Nick Neri aboard an Intrepid. Friday brought difficulties though by way of engine issues and a seventh place in qualifying in the 16 kart field. Saturday looked promising with the engine problems sorted till a big incident in turn 1 caused a DNF for Lamana and extensive enough repairs to be made that he missed Heat 3 all together. Lamana managed to patch the kart up for the Final to finish a respectable tenth in the 14 kart field. Cavin had a steady weekend finishing near or in the top ten, he would finish the Sunday's Final twelth in class. Lee stayed consistent the whole weekend, getting acclimated to the new kart as well as knocking off cobwebs from not being in the seat for a couple of year, Lee would go on to finish in the thirteenth position in class.

The combined DD2 and DD2 Masters run group seen a total of 5 locals among both classes. Everett Thomas competed in DD2 with his CompKart, J. Peter Licciardi entered the Masters class on his CRG. George Zarragoitia also entered Masters aboard his BirelArt as well as NOLA new comer Nicholas Pellerin competed in Masters with his Maddox Kart. 2015 US Open DD2 Masters Champion Luis Zervigon was also among the locals competing with PSL Karting on a BirelArt. Thomas from start was with the front runners of CanadianJeff Kingsley, Dev Gore, and Michael McCarthy all on BirelArt karts from PSL and Anderson Racing. Thomas would have a good showing in class finishing as high as second in Saturday's Heat race 2 and not falling out of the top 5 but once in all sessions. Thomas would battle hard with Dallas Karting Complex Sodi Kart driver Lawson Nagel in the final but would finish fourth behind Nagel when it was all said and done, to date this is Thomas best performance at a national event. Zervigon was the one to watch in DD2 Masters and one of few locals that had a shot at winning their home race, Zervigon's heat races started off with a DNF but consistent finishes put him a perfect place to for the final and placed very respectable second against Oklahoma's Nathan Mauel also on a PSL BirelArt kart. Licciardi and Zarragoitia would go back and forth for the final poduim spot with Licciardi taking the checkered flag, making the DD2 Masters poduim two thirds of a home track finish.

Closing out the event would be the Rotax Masters Max, this class was exceptionally exciting to watch on track with local racers taking up half of the 12 kart grid for this class. Seasoned driver John Robicheax on his Exprit kart had best shot at taking a poduim in class with Harahan driver Zach Rouse aboard a Tony Kart not far behind. Robicheaux qualified 4th and finished fifth in heat 1 at the end of Friday followed by Rouse in seventh, Brandon Abidin on a Sodi in ninth, Curtis Terry's Kosmic in tenth with James Kreihs FA Kart and James Dix's BirelArt kart involved in a turn 2 altercation on lap 1. Saturday brought an abundance of action, with Robicheaux rocketing from the start to get the lead by turn 4. The lead would not last long though when Seattle's Derek Wang aboard his BBR Karting FA Kart made the pass at the end of lap one into turn 17. Robicheaux would later get involved in incidents in two incidents through out the day, putting him in the back of the field with ground to make up. Rouse was the highest finisher of locals in the class with a second in heat race 2. In the Final Robicheaux battled back to finish forth behind the national caliper driver of Billy Clevelin on a Kosmic, Scott Roberts's Tony Kart, and Wang. Rouse would recover from a on track incident to finish sixth while the Dix, Kreihs, Abidin, and Terry rounded out the field.

At the end of the event, everyone involved from the promotion side as well as the racers and teams were exstatic with the track and event as a whole. Plans are already put into motion to bring this event back to NOLA in 2017 as well as other events put on by Maxspeed Entertainment. For the locals this was a learning experience as well, seeing how a national event is run and the caliper of driver that attract these events. Look forward to seeing more locals compete in more national events in the future, weather in be next year here at there local track or in the next couple of month when the US Open goes to Utah Motorsports Campus at the end of June.

FB Comments