One of the largest karting events in the United States, the Rotax Grand Nationals, is one of the most competitive karting events in the country. Drivers and tuners spend over a week preparing to get their chassis, engines, and drivers perfectly set up for the main event – the culmination of three days of racing and multiple days of practice.
So it was all the more impressive that Christian Brooks, competing in the Rotax MiniMax class, nearly swept the weekend at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah in the Rotax Minimax class on his way to taking the national championship.Qualifying first in the competitive class, Brooks took two heat race wins before finishing second in the third one – putting him first in points after the heat races. Brooks took the pre-final before taking a flag-to-flag win in the main, finishing 2.5 seconds ahead of the next kart. His teammate, Flynn Lazier, finished eighth while Royal McKee was the victim of contact in both the pre-final as well as the main.
The team fielded three karts in the Rotax Senior class for Mason Marotta, John Wallace, and Kiel Spaulding. Spaulding was the strongest runner of the team throughout the weekend, qualifying tenth with Marotta 12th and Wallace in 27th. Spaulding would win his first heat race – beating NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger to the line – and finished eighth in the second heat before his title chances took a hit by finishing 22nd in the third heat, which meant he started 14th for the pre-final. He would rebound to finish fifth in the pre-final and a strong fourth in the main. Marotta finished in 11th and Wallace fell behind after early contact, finishing in 25th.
In Rotax Junior, John May kicked off his weekend by qualifying tenth. He would record strong finishes of sixth, eleventh, and tenth to be gridded 14th for the pre-main. May picked up two spots in the pre-final, but he got pushed off track in the main and missed out on his bid for a top-ten when he finished in 15th. His teammate, Nathan Seegrist, competing in his first national level kart race, advanced to the Junior Rotax LCQ where he finished in 9th place. In Rotax Masters, Jason Bell began the weekend by qualifying in fifth with teammate Larry Hayashigawa in 18th. Bell would continue his strong weekend after qualifying, with a worst finish of sixth in the second heat. Bell would ultimately finish in fourth, while Hayashigawa marched forward from the pre-final – where he started twelfth – to finish sixth in the main.
“I was really thrilled to get the win in Miller Motorsports Park at the Rotax Grand Nationals,” said Buddy Rice, owner of Tony Kart West. “Christian completely owned the Minimax class. At this event it is so hard to be ahead of everybody for one or two sessions, but he was consistently at the head of the Minimax field all week. He did a great job and we are really proud of him. Kiel, Mason, and John all did well in a very tough field, as did John and Nathan who drove well in his first national race. “ “Our Masters guys, Jason and Larry, were strong all week and Larry did great on the last day to make his way through the field. Everyone did a great job – all of our drivers and tuners – and I’m really proud of the effort everyone put in.”