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February 18, 2013 News
Florida Winter Tour Homestead Doubleheader Ends with Exciting Races

After a Saturday of very competitive action at the Homestead Karting facility, the Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour was at it again for Round Four of the Formula Kart Racing program on Sunday (February 17). The day dawned clear and bright, with a chill in the air reminding the participants that this is the Florida WINTER Tour. By lunchtime, the Florida sunshine had sent the cold winds away and once again we were treated to a perfect day to be at the racetrack.

After dominating the TaG Cadet class on Saturday, Anthony Gangi Jr. (USA) signaled his intentions to do the same on Sunday with a fast qualifying lap of 52.653 seconds. Joining Gangi Jr. on the front-row for the heat races was his teammate, Giovanni Bromante, who qualified 0.106 of a second behind Gangi Jr. David Malukas was third fastest with a lap of 53.027. In the first TaG Cadet heat race, Gangi Jr. and Bromante ran nose-to-tail ahead of a battling pack of karts led initially by Malukas (USA) and Nick Brueckner (USA). At the front the GT7 Motorsport teammates worked together to pull away from those behind. Coming to the checkers, Bromante made a run for the lead, but came up just 0.097 of a second short at the line. New Yorker Michael d’Orlando came home third after a furious race long battle involving positions three through seven. TaG Cadet Heat two was again a show of domination by the pair from New York. However, behind Gangi Jr. and Bromante, d’Orlando (USA), Guilherme Romano (Brazil) and Brueckner had a tremendous duel for third, that eventually again went to d’Orlando. In the TaG Cadet Final, the large pack of karts accelerated towards turn one with Gangi Jr. maintaining the lead. However, this time it was d’Orlando getting the jump to slot into second. As those two ran nose-to-tail for the lead, Bromante had fallen back in the pack. However, Bromante hooked up with Malukas, and the two worked their way back up to battle for third. In the end, it was another win for Gangi Jr., but this time a second position on the podium for d’Orlando. Malukas finished third on the track, but a non-compliance issue in post-tech moved Bromante to third. This marked the second day in a row that three drivers from New York filling out the FWT TaG Cadet podium. It will be interesting to see if the Empire State can keep up their streak at Ocala Gran Prix in March.

Qualifying for Euro Motorsports TaG Masters had a south of the border feel to it, as Mexican Javier Gonzales set fast time over Venezuelan Juan J. Font. Gonzales toured the 7/10s of a mile Homestead Karting layout in 49.207 seconds to sit on pole with an average speed of 51.212 MPH. Third fastest was another Venezuelan, Christian Calvo on the revived Kali Kart. In the first heat race, Font made the most of his front-row starting spot to take the victory by 0.655 seconds over James Russell Jr. (USA). Nelson Canache (USA), fresh off his win in the Daytona 24 Hour race, came in third, just one second adrift of Russell. With the second heat race featuring an inverted starting order, it was the popular George Moss (USA) leading the field at the start. However, before the race was one-lap-old, Canache had taken a big lead that he stretched all the way to the checkers. Canache’s win by almost six seconds over Font was one of the most dominating performances seen all weekend. After engine problems on Saturday, Indianan Bryan Seward showed his true potential, coming to the line third. In the TaG Masters Final, Font and Canache started on the front-row, but, by the end of lap one it was Russell Jr. on Fonts bumper as the two dueled for the lead. By the midway point of the race, Calvo (Venezuela) joined the two to make it a three-way battle for the lead. With the laps winding down, Font was able to gap Calvo, who had gotten past Russell on the run to the inner hairpin. At the checkers it was Font, Calvo, and Russell, who stood atop the FWT podium and receive the coveted FWT Palms for their day’s work.

With all his success, especially with three successive FWT TaG Senior wins of late, the smart bet would be to see Daniel Formal (USA) on pole in TaG Senior. However, races aren’t run on paper and when Sunday qualifying was over, TaG Senior rookie Dominic Tesoro (USA) used his new AM Kart to stand atop the time sheets and claim his first FWT pole of the year. In TaG Senior Heat 1, Jose Zanella (Venezuela) and Formal grabbed the top two spots on the first lap, leaving polesitter Tesoro to battle Roger Ralston, Jr. for third. After 14 laps of seriously hard racing, Zanella was able to hold off Formal by just under a half second to score the win, with Tesoro coming third. In Heat Race 2, the inverted field put the fastest qualifiers at the back of the pack. But, for drivers like Formal and Zanella, it doesn’t seem to matter where they start. After scorching drives through the pack, Formal and Zanella were able to work their way up to first and third respectively, sandwiching Kevin Barbesino (USA) who came in second. The TaG Senior Final saw Formal, Zanella and Ralston Jr. use their solid heat race results to start in the top three spots. As the field sped into turn one, Formal and Zanella once again assumed the top two spots. Behind them, Tesoro had his hands full holding off a determined Ralston Jr. Lap-after-lap Zanella and Formal put on a driving clinic at the front. After getting around Tesoro, Ralston Jr. put on a charge for the leaders. In the end, Formal won going away, and Zanella was just able to hold off a determined Ralston Jr. who continues to impress in his Team MDD Praga.

For those that love good close racing the Formula TaG Junior class almost never disappoints. These young drivers have skills that belie their ages and the lap times are always close. How close? For the day’s pole qualifying, Venezuelan Mauricio Baiz beat out Ecuadorian-turned-American Juan Manuel Correa by less than seven-thousandths of a second to secure the top spot. Saturday TaG Junior winner Jack Weprin was third. Going into the heat races, Baiz, the 2012 Easy Kart World Champion, looked to use his top starting spot to his advantage. In Heat 1 he did just that, as he was able to secure the victory over Christian Munoz (USA) by just over a second with Correa in third. In the second heat race the inverted field led to even more great racing, and in the end it was Poland’s Antoni Ptak who emerged victorious. It must be noted that Ptak’s victory did not come from him starting at the front from a poor qualifying time. Ptak’s win came from a mid pack start, signifying just how close the competition is in TaG Junior. Sometimes all someone needs is a little better track position to bring home a win. In the Tag Junior Final, Baiz took the early lead, but the top spot belonged to Correa by the end of the first lap. Ptak used his solid heat race results to secure a great starting spot in the final, but he got turned around in the first turn and fell down the order. Behind the top two, Gavin Reichelt (USA), Christian Munoz and Saturday’s winner Weprin (USA) began a heated battle for third. A little further back in the pack, Argentina’s Ignacio Salvucci was carving through some pretty fast competitors to work his way up to third. As the laps wore on, Baiz made several attempts to take the lead, but Correa wouldn't surrender. At the finish it was Correa taking the win by just 0.508 of a second over the Easy Kart world Champion. Behind them, Salvucci would solidify third to claim the last FWT Palm of the day.

With four rounds of the 2013 FWT Formula Kart Racing program now in the record books, leaders are emerging in the coveted championships for Nations, Manufacturer’s and Drivers. For those drivers attempting to win the Skip Barber Award ( http://www.floridawintertour.com/news/61-2013/366-skip-barber-fwt-22000-scholarship-awards.html ), almost nothing else matters. As evidence of this, during his podium celebration, Formal took time during his interview with Formula Kart Production’s President Bill Wright to discuss how much he wants to win the Skip Barber award. Last year, he won five of the six TaG Senior races, but it wasn’t enough. So, this year he’s staying focused on the first place prize that includes a 3-Day Racing School ($4000), plus one Advanced 2-Day Racing School ($3500), plus one guaranteed 2013 Karting Shootout Entry ($3000) for a total current retail value $10,500. But, rest assured, Daniel is not the only competitor with his eye on the Skip Barber award. In the coming races, the competition will only get hotter so stay tuned to see who the winners are.

For those that cannot attend in person, log on to http://www.FloridaWinterTour.com to catch all the race action live.
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