AUSTIN VERSTEEG IMPRESSES AT US ROTAX GRAND NATIONALS
August 16, 2012 – Continuing to impress during his rookie year in the junior karting ranks, Austin Versteeg would take on the 2012 Rotax Max Challenge United States Grand Nationals this past week at the Jet Karting of Michiana Raceway Park facility in South Bend, Indiana. After scoring podium finishes in both the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas series and the Superkarts! USA program this year, Versteeg would look to put his PSL Karting prepared CRG in contention for another podium finish in 2012.
A podium result during the Rotax Summer Shootout at the same Jet Karting facility a month prior had Versteeg primed and ready for the premier US Rotax event. Using the early week unofficial practice to get up to speed, Versteeg’s testing would become moot, as rain had moved into the area for Thursday’s official action. Posting the 13th fastest lap in his Group B qualifying session, Versteeg would be disappointed with a 21st overall qualifying position. Making up ground lost for the first of three heats, Versteeg would drive to a commendable third place finish in the first heat race, coming up from 11th on the grid.
Back to the track Friday for another rainy day, Versteeg would add two tenth place finishes in the remaining two heats. Showcasing the importance of heat race results, Versteeg’s combined points would move him up to the seventh place for the prefinal come Championship Saturday.
With rain falling just before the start of the Rotax Junior prefinal on Saturday, the pre-grid was in frenzy as tuners went to work changing from slicks to wets. Proving his prowess in the rain during the three heats, Versteeg moved up one position after the first flyer, and then jumped to fourth by lap two. By the halfway point, Versteeg made a pass for third and quickly went to work on the second place driver. Not able to make his way by, Versteeg crossed the stripe in the third position, setting himself up with an inside row two starting position for the final.
With the rain cleared out, the Sandy, Utah resident was finally set to run a race in the dry. A promising start to the final quickly came crashing down, as Versteeg was involved in a lap two incident as he entered turn eight. Dropping back to the tail of the 34 kart field, Versteeg came back to finish in the 23rd position despite being one of the fastest karts in the field.
Austin would like to thank the entire PSL Karting crew and his personal racing sponsors ULV race gear, Nola Motorsports Park and Activa Technology. Up next for Versteeg is a test session in Sonoma, California with his new 80cc shifter package followed by the Pan American Championship, set for September 21-23 at The Track at Centennial in Englewood, Colorado.
Versteeg will continue to utilize off weekends for testing and training at the brand new Nola Motorsports Park in New Orleans, Louisiana. As the newest and largest track in North America, the Nola Motorsports Park will offer full Rotax / CRG support for Versteeg as he builds his strength and race craft and continues to impress in the junior ranks in 2012.
Austin races with the generous support of PSL Karting / CRG, ULV race gear, Activa Technology and Nola Motorsports Park. For more information on Austin Versteeg, please visit www.AustinVersteeg.com.