US Open: Nepveu Battles Back for Victory
Thomas Nepveu (PSL/BirelART) was the second Canadian to secure a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals as he brought home the victory in Rotax Junior Max.
It was a very eventful Final that saw nearly a dozen drivers in position for a shot at the victory in the first half of the race. Nepveu led from the green flag but got caught up with Justin White (J3/CompKart) on lap three that saw them both run off track, moving Nepveu back to seventh and White to tenth in the process. Sneaking through was Australian Jaidan Pope (J3/CompKart) along with Matheus Morgatto (AM/Parolin) and Canadian Patrick Woods-Toth (RPG/Kosmic).
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The trio had a small lead, but as they challenged each other for position, the trailing pack was able to catch up. Positions constantly changed hands up front until lap fourteen. After taking the lead from Morgatto, Woods-Toth was under attack from the Brazilian and the two came together in the lower section. Nepveu, who was charging his way back forward after the early race excursion, slipped by both drivers as they got back up to speed and when the pack came around to the start/finish line, Nepveu had a big lead over Pope, Morgatto, and Woods-Toth.
Two clean laps later, Nepveu celebrated the victory. Woods-Toth moved Morgatto on the Final lap and got by Pope to initially finish second, with Tyler Gonzalez (CRG Nordam/CRG) third.
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However, Woods-Toth received a three-second penalty for avoidable contact with Morgatto on that Final lap, slipping him back to sixth in the results and moving hard charger Gonzalez, who was driving with a wrist injury this weekend, to second and Morgatto to third. Pope finished fourth while Luca Mars (Speed Concepts/TonyKart) was fifth. Gonzalez’s second place finish means he will return to the Rotax Grand Finals to represent Team USA.