Rotax Pan Am: Exciting Victory for Austin Versteeg in Rotax Junior
In the opening laps of the Rotax Junior Final at the Coldstone Creamery Rotax Pan American Challenge it was mayhem with karts and carnage all over the GoPro Motorplex facility.
Polesitter Nicholas Brueckner (Orsolon/TonyKart) and off-polesitter Darren Keane (Strawberry/TonyKart) clashed wheels entering the first corner, sending Keane wide and opening things up. This allowed Brueckner to gain a significant advantage and Matt Solarczyk (Birel) erupted in second place followed by Christian Brooks (TonyKart), Austin Versteeg (RPG/Kosmic), Canadian Samuel Lupien (SHR/FA Kart) and then Keane.
Versteeg made little work of Brooks and then worked with Solarczyk to track down Brueckner who seemed to struggle with the big lead.
The three traded the lead until Versteeg made a move in corner one with two laps to go on Brueckner. The Orsolon driver opted to take the curb over turn two, jumping into the air and over the grass and creating enough of a gap between the front three to call it a race. Versteeg scored the win, a very impressive comeback after qualifying 32nd and passing more than 50 karts through the heat races. Solarczyk crossed in second and Brueckner third while Lupien ran an uneventful race all alone in fourth, a strong effort before he travels to Spain for the Rotax Grand Finals as a member of Team Canada. Australian Jack Black (TonyKart) finished fifth.
The reminder of the top-ten was Brooks, Aiden Keel (Anderson/Birel), Keane, Mayo Livingston (TonyKart) and Andre Castro (FA Kart). Russell Boyle wound up 14th after running inside the top-ten while Kellen Ritter (BBR/Kosmic) was 28th.
With his victory, Versteeg secured a ticket to the 2015 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and is the first driver to qualify.