Race Report RD #4
Stephen J. Mallozzi
Following Saturday’s incredible racing, Sunday managed to bring in more jam-packed action. Sunday brought tales of a little guy who always seemed to be the bridesmaid, a slightly older teen who couldn’t manage to beat out an experience veteran with an extremely fitting first name, a man with a broken wrist who managed to dominate day two, the continuation of female dominance in JR, and, perhaps most importantly, the Mustache Man himself. Let’s dive into it.
Formula 125 lost it’s hero figure on Sunday, as Full Tilt’s Mike Politis dropped out of the race and would not participate in Round Four of the Gear-Up F-Series Challenge. This means everyone at the track on Sunday saw plenty of the 672 CompKart of John Bonnano out front. JB would run a nearly perfect weekend, putting it on pole by a half second, and leading every lap of every single race except for one. Bonnano’s competitors were spread out across the track in every race, with Runco, Carapellatti, Krol, and Pignataro being his biggest competition. In race one, the top five were all fairly spread out, with Krol coming home second, Nunes third, Piggy fourth, and the #511 of Carapellatti in fifth. Runco would wreck early, but would recover to finish P7. Heat two saw Bonnano run away again, clearing the field by nearly five seconds. As Keith Raffa likes to say, “It seems like I really enjoy talking about Bonanno”, but the fact is, Johnny B just runs flawlessly nearly every time he is on track. Runco would end up P2, with Krol and Carpellatti having an absolute drag race at the line for third. Ultimately, Krol would take the spot by two one-hundredths of a second. Phil Nguyen would manage a P5 in this second heat. Phil Pignataro would wreck early, and would only complete six of the ten scheduled laps. It’s almost like we should make JB race with two broken wrists instead of one, because he would win heat three by over two seconds over Frank Runco. Piggy would rebound to finish third, with Craig LaRue in fourth, and Ricardo Nunes in fifth. Bonanno would obviously win Sunday overall, with Runco in P2, and Dawid Krol snagging the final podium step even though he had an 11th place DNF in the third heat. Kim Carapellatti would win in Iron Man 125, with Piggy coming home second, and the #3 machine of Paul Montopoli grabbing third.
If you were expecting more of the Chambers-Rule show, unfortunately, you’ll be disappointed. It wasn’t that the racing across the field was bad, it was just that Chloe Chambers and Tony Lishak found something on her #888 TonyKart that but that machine on rails for Sunday. She would take the pole position by four tenths of a second, qualifying directly ahead of the TFR #702 driven by Thomas Annunziata, who would snag second over Annie Rhule by a half a tenth. Valentin Andrieux and Dylan DenHaese would round out your top five. Chambers would continue her dominance in the heat races, winning all three by over 2 seconds. Rhule and Annunziata would battle it out for the second position throughout the heat races. Rhule would take second in the third heat race, with Annunziata taking home P2 in the other two events of the day. Dylan DenHaese would be the third driver to cross the stripe in Junior Heat Two, but would eventually lose that position due to penalty. So, Chambers would take the day in Formula J, with Annunziata coming home second, and Annie Rhule in P3.
Formula Mini Rok saw what was arguably the best racing of the whole day. In qualifying, the top three were separated by under two tenths of a second. Joe Launi, Jesse Coon, and Lucas Szabo would be your top three respectively, with Dan Binder and Tom Christmas rounding out your small but extremely competitive Mini Rock field. Heat one saw some unbelievable action, as Launi and Coon duked it out for P1, and Binder and Szabo had their own battle for P3. In the fight for the win, Coon would wait patiently to make his move on the final lap, only to be thwarted by Launi. Launi would make a brilliant move and take the position back, winning by just over two tenths of a second at the line. Meanwhile, in the fight for third, Binder would hold off a late push by Lucas Szabo and maintain the position. Heat two saw more of the same, except now, Dan Binder wanted a piece of the action. He would join the fight for the lead, as the top three would end the race less than three tenths apart from one another. The main fight however, was again between Coon and Launi. These two would trade positions multiple times throughout the event. But, on the final lap, Coon would make his move, and this time it would stick. Coon would take the win at the line by just eight one hundredths of a second, with Launi second, Binder third, Szabo fourth, and Christmas rounding out your top five. Heat three would see controversy, as the sticks would be shown with one to go instead of the white flag. This was to no fault of the F-series staff, as it was a simple miscommunication aided in part by an issues with the timing system. But unfortunately, in such a competitive race, that has a huge impact. With Szabo dropping out due to engine issues, three of the remaining four karts were bumper to bumper through the course of the entire race. After a heat race loaded with battling, close running, and position changes, it was supposed to be the climax of the weekend for these three, but ended in disappointment for Coon and Binder, as they would come up just short as Launi would take the checkered. Launi would win the weekend, with Coon taking the second step on the podium, and Binder coming home third.
I expected much of the same in Formula Shifter class, and thought Apuzzo would easily win the days events. My prediction got off to a cold start, as it was actually the #554 of Josh Conquer taking home the pole position by just a hundredth of a second over Kyle Apuzzo. Lucio Masini would park his machine third on the grid, with Owen Clark and Steve Libretto rounding out the top five. The upset alert would not last long however, as Apuzzo would easily reclaim the lead from Josh Conquer in the pre-final, going on to win by almost three seconds. Conquer had five seconds on Masini in third, who had over two seconds on Clark in fourth. There was an awesome battle for fifth between Chris Matthew and Steve Libretto, with Libretto losing out on P5 by just over two tenths of a second. I know this is a massive surprise, but Apuzzo would go on to win the final by over five seconds on Josh Conquer. Lucio Masini would come home third, with Chris Matthew fourth and none other than Marco Oldhafer (Little Marco, not the Marco with a RIDICULOUS hat tan-line who also happens to be my boss and the F-Series promoter) came home P5. Owen Clark and his #405 Birel would break with just five laps to go while running P4. In our Iron Man class, Mike Rivera would take home the win, with John Ciufo coming home second, and Frank Rapisarda taking the final podium step.
Formula Tag started off with a reverse in the front row, as White would narrowly edge out Race Liberante for the top spot on the starting grid. Amelia Cangialosi would start third for the first heat race, with Sutter Gabel and Matt Goddard rounding out your top five. In the first heat race, White would hang on to the lead for almost the entirety of the event. But, Liberante was too much for the young Senior driver to handle, as with just four to go Liberante would muscle the lead away from White. Liberate would be ahead at the line by just five one hundredths of a second. In third, it would be Julian Peacock, as Cangialosi spun early on the exit of the final corner and spent all race recovering to finish P7. It’s a shame too, because Cangialosi found something over the course of these last few races, and began churning lap times as fast (if not faster than) our two CompKart leaders. Matt Goddard spent most the race in the top five, but would suffer from a spin himself, and would end up an unfortunate P11 in heat one. Liberante lead flag to flag in heat two, but yet again, only nudged White out at the line by just under a half tenth of a second. Peacock and Cangialosi spent a large portion of the race fighting for P3, and had their own drag race at the line, with Peacock stealing the position by four one hundredths of a second. Sutter Gabel would end up nudging out Matt Goddard for P5. Heat three would see an almost identical story line as heat two. Liberate lead flag to flag, but only won by an incredibly small margin. However, this race Cangialosi would steal P3 and would be within a second of the front runners for the first time all weekend, and turned the fastest lap. Julian Peacock would end up P4, with Sutter Gabel P5. In the end, Liberante and White would obviously stand 1/2 on the podium, but it would be Julian Peacock taking home P3, capping a Rotax Engine 1-2-3 podium.
Jesse Coon is always in the fight for the lead, yet he always seems to come up just short. Coon finished P2 or P3 more times than I could count this weekend, but was always up front. Unfortunately for young Jesse, a lot of the same remained true in Tag Cadet, with Coon coming up just short at the hands of the #73 Parolin of Daniel Binder. It started off in Qually, with Coon missing out on pole by .019. Szabo would end up third, with Daren Long fourth, and Holly Thiel rounding out your top five. Heat one was perhaps young Jesse’s most heartbreaking loss yet. Jesse took the lead from Binder on lap two, only to give it up on lap five. Coon then took instructions from his driving coach Race Liberante, and waited patiently for his opportunity. On the last lap, at the end of the straightaway, Coon made his move. Coon had one corner to defend, and did it. But somehow, Dan Binder set up his exit beautifully, getting an utterly massive run on Coon, and beat out Coon at the line by a hair… .015 of a second to be exact. The same drag race style finish happened in P3, with Szabo edging out Long by just over a half tenth. Tom Christmas rounded out the top five. Holly Thiel was running P3 for the entire time she was on track, but retired from heat one on lap six. Heat two could not quite match the action of heat one. Binder would lead flag to flag and would take the victory by over two tenths of a second. Meanwhile, Holly Thiel would rebound to finish P3 in the second heat, with Daren Long and Lucas Szabo rounding out the top five. Thomas Chrisman’s tough week continued as he finished P6. Chrisman, a driver who is usually a front runner, struggled with his engine all week and just didn’t show his usual speed all weekend long. Arman Major rounded out the field in seventh. In Heat three, Szabo would drop out for the same reason listed above, and Thiel would again retire on lap six, this time running P4. But, as the story line mentions, Jesse Coon’s tough trend of being runner-up continued. Coon took the lead early on lap one and lead the entire race, until there were just two corners to go. Dan Binder would reclaim the lead and pull off his Tag Cadet sweep. If two maneuvers had gone slightly differently, we could have gone from talking about Binder’s weekend sweep to discussing Coon’s Sunday victory. But, unfortunately for Coon, luck simply wasn’t on his side. Chrisman would rebound to finish P3, with Long P4, and Major P5. Binder and Coon would be your top two on the podium, with Daren Long taking the final step.
KZ Shifter was the cream of the crop on an action packed Saturday of racing. It is my solemn duty to inform you, however, that was not the case on Sunday. Sunday was dominated by Colin Daley. Daley would drive unbelievably all day long. He put it on pole, won the pre-final, and dominated the final. The likes of Stefano Lucente, Lucio Masini, “Mustache Man”, and Alex “I’m not talked about enough” Manglass simply didn’t have anything for the Jamaican shifter driver. Daley would win the final by over six and a half seconds. In the final, Kyle Apuzzo would suffer a failure on his #3 machine and would drop out on lap 22. Evan Polisky would also DNF, with his day ending on lap 15. There would be some action in the fight for second, as Lucente, Masini, and Manglass were all separated by three tenths of a second. In the end though, Lucente would earn the title of runner-up, with Masini third, Manglass fourth, and Jason Henrique rounding out the top five.
RECAP: So, in all, an awesome weekend of racing for the Gear-Up F-series at NYRC. Crazy racing, incredible battles, and overall just a great experience. Not to mention, some of the best racing commentary I’ve ever heard. There are still two more race weekends ahead of these drivers to settle the championship races, one at PittRace in August, and a Doubleheader at New Jersey Motorsports in September. From everyone at the F-series, thanks for your support, and we hope o see you there!
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