March 20, 2012

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After showing well in the first four rounds of the Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour (FWT), d'Orlando Racing drivers Michael and Nicholas d'Orlando would head to Ocala Gran Prix for the final round in the competitive Rotax Max Challenge program. While both drivers would see action in the Rotax Micro Max division, Michael would pull double duty behind the wheel and make his Mini Max debut.

Getting on track early in the week, both of the d'Orlando boys were looking to get up to speed with the short but very technical Ocala Gran Prix facility. While the track provides for some great racing action, two tight hairpin corners and a flat out first corner provide technical aspects that drivers must overcome.

With Friday setting the tone for the rest of the weekend, official timed practice would take place in the morning with a pair of qualifying sessions in the afternoon. With the first of two sessions providing the grid order for Sunday's prefinal, the second session would set the grid for Saturday's wheel-to-wheel action.

Michael would be on track four times on Friday afternoon, as he would need to set his grid position for both classes on both days of competition. With a strong field of 34 drivers in the Rotax Mini Max class, Michael would turn the 24th quickest lap in both sessions to line up outside row twelve in his Mini Max debut weekend. In a field of 36 competitors, Michael showed the speed in the Rotax Micro Max class to give himself the 11th best time in Saturday's qualifying effort and would start from the eighth position in Sunday's prefinal.

While one brother is ending his career in the class, another is just beginning, as Nicholas would complete his first full series of competition. Steadily improving throughout the program, Nicholas qualified one very close position behind his elder brother in 12th spot for Saturday's wheel-to-wheel action, but would be forced to come from deep in the field on Sunday, clocking the 20th best time. For Saturday's race action, in his first career Mini Max start, Michael managed to hold his own in the heat race garnering a 24th place result. Looking to improve in the main event, the talented youngster fell victim to an on track incident and was forced to retire from the event.

Back on track in the Micro Max class, Michael steadily improved throughout the day's competition. Michael progressed forward in the prefinal to claim a ninth place result and gained one more position in the main event to score yet another top ten result.

Continuing to improve and gain experience for a run at next year's FWT Micro Max championship, younger brother Nicholas would claim an 18th place finish in Saturday's prefinal, and his career best result to date in the FWT Rotax Micro Max class later that afternoon, with a solid 17th.

Back to the pristine Ocala Gran Prix facility on Sunday morning, both drivers would hope to improve on Saturday's results. With championships on the line, competition would be tough, as multiple battles would take place throughout the day.

Looking to gain experience in the Mini Max class, Michael would be back on track for only his second race day in the division. After qualifying 24th and moving forward to 18th in the prefinal, Michael would eventually finish his debut weekend in the class with a top 25 result, in a field of drivers up to two years elder.

"I really like the Mini Max class," expressed Michael. "I never knew what turbo was until I got it a few times this weekend. It is pretty cool and makes you go a lot faster at the end of the straightaway."

Hoping to complete his Micro Max career racing action on a strong note, Michael showed his true consistency on Sunday. After qualifying in the eighth position, Michael would cross the stripe in seventh during the prefinal and would manage to hold station in the main event, earning him ninth place result in the overall point standings for the Rotax Micro Max divison. This was Michael's second top ten FWT point's series finish after earning the sixth position overall in the Formula Mini Rok series last weekend.

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After scoring his best finish to date the previous day, Nicholas was back for more on the final day of the Florida Winter Tour. Though he would have a tough go in the prefinal with a damaged kart from an opening lap incident, Nicholas soldiered on to cross the stripe in 32nd. Driving like a seasoned veteran in the main event, the youngest d'Orlando would gain 16 positions before the checkered flag flew and would score his best result yet again with a solid 16th.

"Nicholas' progress throughout the Florida Winter Tour series has been tremendous," explains Sherri d'Orlando. "After taking last year off, he is back having a great time in the Micro Max class. The competition at this level is extremely high and thanks to the efforts of J3 Competition, Nicholas is very excited to have been able to participate in his first international series and looks forward to working his way up the Cadet ranks."

Next up for d'Orlando Racing will be the World Karting Association Manufacturer's Cup event in Kershaw, South Carolina. Taking place this coming weekend at the Carolina Motorsports Park, Nicholas will make his series debut in the Yamaha Rookie division while Michael will see action in Cadet Junior Sportsman and Yamaha Junior Sportsman. Coming off a solid performance earlier in the year at Daytona, Michael will look to improve on his top twenty results and garner as many championship points as possible.

Michael and Nicholas d'Orlando would like to thank mechanics Adam Johnson and Chris Wehrheim as well as Justin Stefani and everyone at J3 Competition.

For more information on Michael or Nicholas d'Orlando, please visit Also, be sure to follow Michael and Nicholas on Facebook to stay up to date on news, information, photos and results.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sherri or Michael d'Orlando via e-mail at