After strong showings in the first two events of the 2023 ROK Cup USA Challenge of the Americas, the drivers and teams competing on OTK USA material headed to Sonoma, California in mid-April to contest the final two rounds of the series at the iconic Sonoma Raceway. Rounds Five and Six were held at the Sonoma, California facility during the April 14-16 weekend and the weather was typical with comfortable temperatures, some wind, and blue skies over the course of the three days of competition. The picturesque circuit is among the best layouts in the sport, providing exciting racing in each category. The weekend was highlighted for OTK USA by a first career series championship for Nixx Eggleston, who steered his Exprit chassis to the title, while four drivers recorded five victories for their respective teams and OTK brands. OTK is far and away the favored chassis manufacturer in the Challenge of the Americas, accounting for 42% of the paddock.
The Junior 100cc championship run for Eggleston (Ruthless Karting / Exprit) was fueled by his three victories over the first four rounds. This success helped drive a runner-up result in Round Five behind Max Altman (SpeedSense Motorsports / Exprit), who drove to his first series victory. Yana Kapoor (Leading Edge Motorsports / Tony Kart) turned in her career-best performance to make it an OTK 1-2-3 on the podium. Sunday's racing featured a wild main event with Turner Brown (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) leading the way for OTK USA with a fifth-place result. Eggleston secured the championship by only five points over Alexander Gonzalez (Nash Motorsportz / EOS) as OTK chassis locked out the top-two positions in the standings.
Masters 100cc driver Christopher Mann carried his winning momentum from Phoenix into Sonoma to extend his victory streak. Mann ran away with the main event victory on Saturday, securing the win by nearly five seconds. It was a near similar performance on Sunday, this time by over five seconds for a third straight victory to close out the series. It was, however, not quite enough to steal the championship, as Mann missed out by a mere two points over the six rounds of competition. David Pergande (JH Motorsports / LN Racing Kart) made a solid return to the Challenge, driving to two third-place podium finishes in his first 2023 start. Scott Formanek (SpeedSense Motorsports / Exprit) was fourth on Saturday while Ron Schoonover (JH Motorsports / LN Racing Kart) placed fifth on the same day.
Another driver on OTK USA product was able to secure his first class victory. Jesus Vasquez Jr. (Nash Motorsportz / EOS) got away from the intensely-competitive field late in the Final on Sunday to claim his first victory in Senior 100cc. Stephen Eisert (SpeedSense Motorsports / Exprit) was top contender all weekend long, placing third behind Vasquez to repeat the same result from Saturday's main event. Those two podium finishes provided Eisert with the points needed to secure second in the final championship standings. Velan Venkatesh (SpeedSense Motorsports / Exprit) put in his best performance at the Challenge, placing fourth in Round Five for his best career finish. Kade Martin (Nash Motorsportz / EOS) did the same, driving from the tail of the field to finish fifth. Timothy Carel (Ryan Perry Motorsport / Tony Kart) added a fifth-place performance of his own on Sunday.
The fifth victory of the weekend came from Blake Nash in the new OK-N category. A revised format for the weekend featured qualifying, three heat races, a Prefinal and Final. It was the same result at the front of the field, however, as Nash dominated the weekend aboard his Nash Motorsportz / EOS machine. For all but two laps of a heat race, Nash was the leader of every session, sweeping the weekend to earn a $500 payday. Veteran karter Derek Wang (Ruthless Karting / LN Racing Kart) made his class debut and drove to a fifth-place finish.
Two different drivers placed in the top-five of the quickest category of the ROK Cup USA program ROK Shifter. Championship contender Macy Williams (CB Motorsports / Gillard) had a best finish of fifth on the weekend in Round Five, helping her to secure the second spot in the series championship. Preston Lambert (SpeedSense Motorsports / Exprit) made his ROK Shifter debut on the weekend, improving his pace throughout the three days to end with a fifth-place result in Sunday's main event.
Drivers looking to compete with the most popular kart brand in the world or purchase OTK karts and components can contact their local OTK USA dealer. Head to www.otkusa.com for a complete list of dealers and details on the entire brand roster.