Anthony Gangi Jr., a member of the GT7 Motorsports kart racing team, will be glad to put Palm Beach International Raceway in his rear view mirror as he sets his sights on the next round of the Florida Winter Tour. A tough and challenging weekend of Mini Max racing had the former FWT Micro Max Champion looking for answers as he was hit with both technical problems and some sporting challenges. Looking to kick off his rookie campaign in Mini Max with solid results, Gangi Jr. will triple his efforts to get back some lost ground in the next double-header weekend taking place in four weeks time at the Homestead Karting Complex.
"It was definitely a tough weekend for Anthony and the crew. We fell behind early, loosing speed throughout Saturday. We found the problem and hoped to be better on Sunday," comments Anthony Gangi Sr. "I think getting behind had us all trying too hard and that created some additional challenges we brought on ourselves. The great thing about racing is that there is always another race to go to."
The opening weekend of the Rotax Max classes started off well with Friday qualifying producing a solid effort as Anthony Jr. went 12th quickest in both timed sessions among the 60-kart field. Heading straight to the prefinal and avoiding the LCQ was a great debut into the very stacked Rotax Mini Max field.
In Saturday round one racing action Gangi Jr. lost ground in the prefinal from his sixth row starting spot as he seemed to lack speed throughout the race. In the final Anthony Jr. again slipped backwards and finally retired several laps early, classified in 22nd place. The GT7 Motorsports team went to work deep into the evening hours and discovered a fuel delivery problem was the cause of the lost engine output. With new parts in place, the team was excited to make up lost ground on Sunday.
Sunday would see Anthony Jr. take to the prefinal from row six and look to move forward quickly. A brilliant start had the Rotax Mini Max rookie avoid the turn one melee and slip in the sixth spot to close out lap one. Working with the chase pack, Gangi Jr. would see the black flag on lap seven while running in sixth place. The result of the early retirement was a 32nd starting position for the final. In the final a very motivated Anthony Jr. again showed his speed by taking his Tony Kart up to 17th at the checkered flag. While not a great result, the tremendous move forward was what the GT7 Motorsports team needed to cap off the weekend.
"Saturday's engine problems really got us behind. We kept searching for the problem and changed stuff we probably didn't need to change. The team did an amazing job finding and fixing the problem," comments Gangi Jr. "Sunday was just me trying too hard. It's never fun talking to the officials about your driving. I was really happy with the run in the final. The kart was hooked and I just needed more laps to get into the top ten. I want to thank my mechanic Chris (Perez) for all of his hard work and my driver coach Garett (Grist) for his help. And also my dad and everyone at GT7 for supporting me all weekend long."
Another GT7 driver having a good run was Micro Max rookie pilot Michael Gangi. On Saturday 'Mikey' took ninth in the LCQ and grabbed sixth in the B Main. On Sunday a great drive from the back of the LCQ grid saw Michael finish fifth and earn a trip to the prefinal where he took an impressive 21st place in the 34-kart field in his first national level prefinal race. The final was another good run as the eight-year-old rookie cadet driver completed all the scheduled laps and crossed the stripe in 25th place.
Anthony Jr. will return to Florida Winter Tour action in February as the tour heads to the southern most regions of the Sunshine State and takes on the Homestead Karting Complex. Fellow GT7 Motorsports team driver Dylan Tavella will join Anthony Jr. as they both take on the Vortex TaG Cadet Class. That will be followed a week later as Gangi Jr. returns to Mini Max and Tavella continues his run in Micro Max.