The off-season momentum for OTK USA teams and drivers has continued through the end of April as they closed out the first third of the 2023 season with the running of the United States Pro Kart Series Texas Grand Prix at the Speedsportz Racing Park. The track welcomed its first major event, with many visiting the New Caney, Texas facility for the first time over the April 28-30 weekend. After recording five victories at the series opener in Orlando, OTK USA entries nearly matched that total with four more wins in the Lone Star State, including a staggering 24 top-five results.
Kosmic driver Ernesto Rivera (Rolison Performance Group) continued his reign over the Junior ranks in 2023, picking up two victories at the Texas Grand Prix. Rivera led the way all weekend in the X30 Junior division, sweeping the action from qualifying to the checkered flag in the Final. Anthony Martella (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) recorded his best USPKS result with runner-up finish while fellow Canadian Nathan Dupuis (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) won the battle for fourth to earn his best series finish over Jackson Wolny (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic), who completed the top-five. OTK karts scored four of the top-five positions in X30 Junior, dominating the on-track action.
It was a fight throughout the weekend in the KA100 Junior category between OTK USA drivers as five shared top qualifier honors, winning all six heat races over the first two days. The main event was a near sweep of the top-five, led by Rivera (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic). The Final went down to the wire with Rivera coming away as the winner for a second straight event in USPKS competition. Diego Guiot (Iron Rock Motorsports / Tony Kart) fought his way from 13th to second while Payton Westcott (Nash Motorsportz / EOS) recorded her best USPKS result with a fourth-place finish. Texan Landon Skinner (Speedsportz) put yet another Redspeed chassis up front, capping off the top-five.
The KA100 Masters division was another sweep of the top-five by OTK USA drivers in Texas. Mike Rolison (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) led the way, earning two heat race wins and earning the victory after a hard-fought battle in the main event for a second straight at USPKS. Privateer Adam Crepin (Gillard) made his first start in the category, earning fast time in qualifying and driving his way to a runner-up finish. Mario Barrios (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) bounced back from issues in qualifying and the heat races to earn the hard charger of the race, coming from 10th on the grid to third. Tommy Andersen (Hi5 Performance / Exprit) was in contention all weekend, finishing fourth while Texan Miguel Mier (Cruz Racing Development / LN Racing Kart) drove to fifth. In all, four OTK brands were represented in the top-five in this growing category.
It was a breakthrough weekend for Senior rookie Helio Meza (Iron Rock Motorsports / Tony Kart) as the Texan ran double duty on the weekend. It was in the KA100 Senior class where Meza shined all weekend, earning quick time in qualifying while winning two of his three heat races. In total, OTK won five of the six heat races in KA100 Senior at the hands of Meza, Josh Hotz (Hotz Driver Development / Exprit), defending series champion Alex Stanfield (GWR / Gillard), and former series title winner Brandon Lemke (Hi5 Performance / Exprit). Meza was able to break away in the main event, driving away to three-second margin of victory for his first career win in the category. Peyton Phillips (Hi5 Performance / Tony Kart) won the battle for second with Senior rookie Cooper Shipman (Iron Rock Motorsports / Tony Kart) in fourth. Canadian Ben Cooper (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) charged his way through the field, coming from 18th to fifth in the 20-lap main event.
The X30 Pro division was a battle all weekend long, led at the beginning by Meza (Iron Rock Motorsports / Tony Kart). The Senior rookie set fast time in qualifying and won two of the three heat races. Issues in the second heat dropped his grid position to fourth for the main event. The 20-lap race saw championship leader Brandon Carr (Ryan Perry Motorsport / Tony Kart) advance his way forward from seventh on the grid to earn the second spot on the podium for the British driver. Californian Blake Nash (Nash Motorsportz / EOS) recorded his best finish at USPKS with a fourth-place result, edging out Meza for the position to put three OTK USA drivers inside the top-five.
Danny Formal (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) carried the OTK banner in the Pro Shifter category once again. Formal led the way in qualifying to record fast time in the session, winning the opening heat race. He remained inside the top-three through the final two to end up second on the grid for the Final. Formal fought for the lead, taking over the top spot at one time before settling into the runner-up position to take over the championship lead. Alex Chandler (Iron Rock Motorsportz / Tony Kart) led the way for OTK drivers in the Micro Swift class. Chandler was among the leaders battling for the win, ending up fifth at the checkered flag.
The United States Pro Kart Series resumes on June 23-25 with the Indiana Grand Prix at the popular New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana. 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.