Team KRS - 2011 Rock Island Grand Prix
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Rock Island Grand Prix 2011 logo

 
Rock Island, IL - The Rock Island Grand Prix held over Labor Day weekend is the biggest street race in the USA and was a success in 2011 for team KRS.

We arrived safely on Friday afternoon after having some trailer tire issues on the road to the Rock. DJ Ortiz owner-driver and mechanic Bob Schabel began the first practice on Saturday morning with the Tony Kart Yamaha engine package prepared by TCRE. Practice went well with the Yamaha. Second practice was the TAG Masters, (Tony Kart Rotax Engine package by TCRE) a class in which DJ Ortiz has been very successful in previous years setting the pole and track record in 2005 as a rookie driver at the Rock, and outside pole in 2007. Running consistently fast and improving on each lap within tenths of the track record on the first time out DJ kept on pushing for a faster lap. Approaching slower karts he was able to pass a handful of karts, but coming out of turn 5 DJ was passing a kart on the outside, when the driver moved right taking the racing line, and closing the door for the pass, ending on a crash damaging some front end parts. DJ missed the rest of the practice for both classes on Saturday using the time to repair the kart for afternoon qualifying.

When a storm moved into the area on Saturday the weather got really bad, flooded sections of the track and floating barriers forced the racing officials to suspend all qualifying for the rest of the day.

We made changes to the Yamaha package but were not able to gain much ground on the top runners during qualifying and came home with an 11th place. Good results considering running the Yamaha kart package for the first time at the Rock.

In the TAG Masters class we had a better chance for the win. Not having time to practice, that forced DJ and mechanic to make a smart guess on the set up for Sunday with only 3 practice laps total during the whole weekend before qualifying. Not knowing the kart or engine performance after the repair, keep us very wary of making any big changes. We decided to go with our original set up and make one or two minor changes for the race.

The kart was fast but lack some top end speed, handling and engine performance were perfect, allowing us to qualify 12th, a grid spot we are not familiar with at Rock Island. Changes were made for the final event and we improved by 7/10 tenths in traffic during the race coming out with a 5th place finish!

I would like to say thank you to all the fans, Specially Little Dylan and his family for their great fan support at the Rock. Also Bob Schabel (North Texas Karters), George Shear and Jere Shear (gokartracingengines.com ), Sheridan Odom and Ocala Grand Prix for their friendship and support. Could not have done it without you folks. Thank you!