April 9, 2013

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"Victory, podium and four top-ten results in Kershaw, South Carolina"

Closing out the annual Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour (FWT) in late March, Michael d'Orlando would trade in his Vortex Mini Rok and Rotax engines in for Comer and Yamaha power plants and shift his focus to the World Karting Association (WKA) Manufacturers Cup program. With the first event already under wraps, d'Orlando and his Team Koene USA squad would head to Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina for round two of the series.

With cold and rainy conditions presenting themselves on Thursday's prep day, teams would finally hit the track Friday morning. High winds and temperatures below average would be the norm for the day, as drivers would look to get up to speed in their respective classes.

With two separate event days over the weekend, Michael d'Orlando would see action in both Cadet Junior Sportsman and Yamaha Junior Sportsman on Saturday and Sunday. With field sizes hovering around twenty drivers, attendance would be lower than normal but the top drivers of the series would see action.

Saturday would prove to be a difficult one for d'Orlando as he and the team would work on race craft and positioning throughout the day. Joining Team Koene USA only a few months ago, this would be the duo's first attempt at the WKA program together and speed and results greatly improved throughout the weekend.

After qualifying fifth in Saturday's Cadet Junior Sportsman class, Michael would fall to seventh in the prefinal before battling back to finish sixth in the day's main event. Similar results would present themselves in the Yamaha Junior Sportsman category as a tenth place qualifying effort would turn into an eighth place result by the time the final checkered flag would fly.

"On Saturday I learned a lot," explained Michael d'Orlando after the weekend was over. "I worked with my tuner and coach and he would teach me a lot about positioning throughout the race as well as challenge me to get up to speed early in the sessions."

Sunday would prove to be much better for the Hartsdale, New York resident as he started the day off right in both divisions. Having never scored a pole position in WKA competition, Michael went from zero to two in one day as he scored the fastest lap in both morning qualifying sessions.

Falling back slightly in the prefinals but never running outside the top five, Michael would battle a little bit of an ill handling kart but manage to salvage a fourth place effort in the Cadet class and a third place run in Yamaha. Working with Koene USA to get everything set up for the day's final, Michael would improve in both classes.

In what could be classified as one of the most exciting Cadet Junior Sportsman races of the season, eight karts would line up nose to tail and look to position themselves for a shot at the win. With multiple drivers leading at one point, the last lap would see Michael advance from fifth to second after contact was made by several drivers. Crossing the line in P2, Michael was elevated to the top step of the podium after a penalty by the officials for last lap contact would be assessed to the on track winner. Scoring his first WKA pole position and first WKA victory in the same day, d'Orlando would celebrate later that day on the podium.

The Yamaha Junior Sportsman final would see three karts break away from the field and fight it out for the victory. With all three taking turns leading at some point throughout the 14-lap final, d'Orlando would cross the stripe in the second position adding his second podium result of the weekend.

Michael d'Orlando and DRC Inc., would like to give a special thanks to Mike Maurini and Martijn Koene of Team Koene USA, DRC's Adam Johnson as well as Austin Miles for his assistance during this past weekend.

For more information on Michael or Nicholas d'Orlando, along with partnership opportunities, please visit Be sure to follow Michael and Nicholas on Facebook (Michael d'Orlando Racing or Nicholas d'Orlando Racing) and Twitter (@dorlandoracing) to stay up to date on news, information, photos and results.