Race Report RD #3
Stephen J. Mallozzi
Upstate New York is a large, wide open and tranquil place. Somewhere amongst all that quiet, just along the Canadian border and St. Lawrence River, lies an incredible racing
spectacle: New York Race Complex. This karting gem provides some of the most beautiful scenery, and arguably the best racing in karting. The only caveat? You’ve got to get to the track
first. This past weekend (July 20th-21st), NYRC played host to Rounds 3 and 4 of the Gear-up F-series Challenge. Already tense championship battles further intensified, the racing was action packed, and the weather was perfect. The fans were ready, the officials were ready, and, perhaps most importantly, the drivers were ready to put on one hell of a show.
SATURDAY (ROUND #3)
Mini Rok was a perfect example of how a small field can provide phenomenal and competitive racing (That’s the first, but certainly not the last time you’ll be hearing that). Mini
contained six drivers who took the track for qually. Joe Launi, Jesse Coon, Lucas Szabo, and Daniel Binder would headline the field and provide an exciting qualifying session in which those four were separated by less than one tenth of a second. In the first heat, Szabo fell out of the draft of the front pack, and left Launi, Coon, and Binder to fight for the victory. In the end, after some serious battling, Joe Launi would prevail in the first heat race following an utterly brilliant last lap pass, with Coon and Binder rounding out the top three.
In Heat Two, we would see the fight for the lead drop another kart, as Jesse Coon struggled to keep up with the front two. Dan Binder stole the lead from Launi on lap two, and
managed to keep it the rest of the way, just fighting off Binder by one tenth of a second. Szabo would round out the top three. Thomas Christmas would DNF. It was a poor weekend for him, as he would struggle mechanically all weekend long in Mini Rok. Heat Three would see Joe Launi and Dan Binder switch the lead many times, with Launi
making a brilliant move on lap six to take the lead. He would win comfortably, taking home the checkered by over seven tenths of a second. Launi would win the day overall, with the Parolin
machine of Binder coming home second, and Jesse Coon would take third overall over Lucas Szabo by one point.
Cadet saw many familiar faces, as Binder, Coon, Szabo, and Thomas Chrisman all ran double duty. The seven kart field also included the likes of Daren Long, Holly Thiel, and Arman
Major. Binder dominated qually, putting in on pole by over a half a second. Coon and Long would round out the top three. Szabo really struggled in qually, ending up 1.5 seconds off the
pace in P6.All day long, Binder had a leg up on the field in Cadet, winning each heat race by over one half-second. Jesse Coon would be the bridesmaid all day, running second closely behind Binder, but could not quite figure out how to take home the checkered. Third place was a little more competitive, as three drivers would take home third across the three heat races. It ended up being the #9 of Daren Long that would eventually prevail and take home the final podium spot.
The top of the charts in Formula Shifter were filled up by the name of one man: Goose. just kidding. It was actually Kyle Apuzzo in the 403 who utterly dominated Formula shifter, in
what was an incredible drive. Apuzzo piloted his 403 Compkart to pole, the pre-final victory, and the final victory. Apuzzo would win the final by 8 seconds in the final, well ahead of the #26 GP Motorsports kart driven by Lucio Masini, and the #405 Birel driven by Owen Clark. Apuzzo, AKA “The Mustache Man”, did have to fight through some adversity in the final, as a terrible
start would send him back to sixth. By lap ten of twenty-five however, Apuzzo would reclaim the lead from. Lucio Masini and run away with the win. In the Iron Man class, Frank Rapisarda won by 15 seconds over Tim Armstrong. John Ciufo would come in third, but following a post race penalty, he would be scored behind Gunnar Vander Steur in fifth (15th overall). The final step on the podium would actually end up going to the #327 of Csaba Bujdoso.
Oh. My. Goodness. KZ Shifter was one hell of a race, and even that is an understatement. In qualifying it all started as the top six were all separated by less than two and a half tenths.
Alex Manglass in the #131 CRG put it on pole, with Apuzzo the Mustache Man in second, Stefano Lucente in third, Lucio Masini in fourth, Collin Daley in fifth, and the #7 of Jason
Henrique in sixth.Things would get mixed around big time in the Pre-Final. A mechanical failure would knock out Stefano Lucente early in the race, knocking him back to P8. For almost the entirety of the race, Alex Manglass did a fantastic job of maintaining his lead. But, unfortunately for Alex, only the last lap matters, and with two to go, Collin Daley would make his move and go through to the lead. Apuzzo would take advantage of this maneuver, and he would go to P2. Manglass would hold on to P3, with Masini and Henrique rounding out the top five. The field was set for the 25 lap monster final. Collin Daley ran a different line the entire race compared to everyone else, and boy did it make him wicked fast. Heading into the chicane at the end of the front straight, Collin smashed the curbing unlike any other of the 100 or so drivers scheduled to race at NYRC. Alex Manglass felt like he had something to prove because a certain announcer didn’t talk about him enough (Sorry Alex). Kyle Apuzzo was giving his all to go two for two on the day. This race, even though there were only eight drivers, had storylines left and right. Early in the final, after making it a five kart train for the lead, Stefano Lucente and Lucio Masini would make high speed contact and get airborne at the end of the straight heading into
that chicane. Lucente would get refired, but would be black flagged for mechanical reasons. That left three competitors to duke it out for the win: Apuzzo, Daley, and Manglass. All race long, the action was tight, with the front three being nearly bumper to bumper. With only two laps to go, Manglass was running third and falling a little behind. However, and this minute, Collin Daley and Apuzzo got aggressive. They starting jostling for position, and before you knew it, Manglass was back in P1. Daley and “Mustache Man” made somewhat significant contact into turn two, and Manglass flew right by to reclaim the lead. Manglass would take home the win with Daley second and Apuzzo third, after an action packed race.
Formula Junior? More like Formula Female. Formula J was headlined by two incredibly talented young female drivers in MDR’s Chloe Chambers and Checkered Motorsport’s Annie
Rhule. In qualifying, Rhule, Chambers, and TFR’s Thomas Annuziata would be separated by less than one tenth of a second for the top three spots respectively. Dylan Flynn and Valentin
Andrieux would round out the top five. Heat one would see Annie Rhule and Chloe Chambers run away from the field and have an incredible battle, with Annie and Chloe swapping the lead
on the final lap. Rhule would come out on top by just over one half of a tenth of a second. Annuziata would come home third, 7.5 seconds back. In heat two, Chambers would get her revenge when she reclaimed the lead halfway through the session, and would never relinquish it. Rhule would come home second. Valentin Andrieux would be P3. Thomas Annuiziata would drop out of the race after lap two, and finish P11. Heat Three brought a one on one showdown for the overall victory. Chambers would get off to a terrible start, falling all the way back to P5, but would recover unbelievably quickly. She would go on to win by 2 seconds, after passing Rhule on lap three. Chambers would win the day, with Rhule coming home second. In third was the #26 of Valentin Andrieux, even though he finished sixth in the final heat, he had been consistent enough to earn the final podium spot.
Formula Tag was a two horse Compkart race between the 332 Justin White, and the 672 of Race Liberante. Amelia Cangialosi wasn’t too far behind, but didn’t quite share the pace of the
leaders. In qually, Race took the pole by seven hundredths of a second over White, with Cangialosi in third about a half second back. Matt Goddard was in P4, and the Full Tilt Racing
#5 of Julian Peacock rounded out the top five. In heat one, Liberante and White worked together to break away from the #212 of Cangialosi. Justin White did everything perfectly; He even waited until the very last lap to make his move. White completed the pass, getting around Liberante for the lead with only one real corner and a kink to go before the checkered. But all Race Libertante needed was one corner. He threw it on the inside into the next corner immediately after getting passed, and took back his rightful position, winning heat one by under one tenth of a second. Unfortunately for White, that was one of his best opportunities all weekend to win a heat race. The top four would remain the same throughout all three heat races: Liberante, White, Cangialosi, and Goddard. Liberante would end up with a perfect sweep on Saturday, with nothing more than some heavy pressure from Justin White and Justin White only.
F125 was unsurprisingly heavily focused on Johnny B himself, John Bonanno. JB would be racing with a broken wrist after falling off a cliff a few weeks back while climbing a waterfall.
However, similar to what we saw at Englishtown’s Raceway Park, JB wouldn’t walk away with it all day, as Full Tilt Racing tried it’s best to stop the dominant reign of Bonanno. This time
though, it wasn’t Frank Runco who would stop JB; it was none other than Runco’s mechanic, Mike Politis. John Bonanno put it on pole by by over six tenth’s of a second over Frank Runco. David Krowl in the #11 was third, with Politis and Monopoly rounding out the top five. Kim Carapellatti, Phil “Piggy” Pignataro, and Heinz Keller were your top three in the Iron Man class.
In Heat One, JB won by over two seconds over Mike Politis. Politis beat his teammate Frank Runco out, with Ricardo Tunes and Kim Carpellatti rounding out the top five. In Heat
Two, everything changed however, as now Politis was starting right next to that fluorescently colored 672 machine. Politis would put a load of pressure on JB, finishing just a tenth of a
second behind the leader. Politis was the fastest driver on track, but just didn’t have quite enough to find his way around Bonanno. Runco would come home P3, with Nunes P4 and Piggy P5.
Heat 3 would end JB’s perfect weekend, with Politis ending up a measly four one hundredths of a second ahead of the 672. Politis made a brilliant pass on Bonanno on lap seven,
and ran defensively the rest of the race to take home the heat three victory. Runco would come home third, with Krowl fourth, and Nunes fifth.
Overall, JB would still win the day, with Politis coming home second, and Runco grabbing that final step on the podium. In Formula 125 Iron Man, Carapellatti would win the day
in his 511, with Pignataro coming home second, and John Salsbury rounding out the top three.
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