EKN Trackside: Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals – Preview Series – Part 1

S5 Junior Stock Moto, TaG Junior and TaG Cadet set the stage for this weekend in Tucson

The 2013 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour is primed to explode into the new year this coming weekend (April 12-14) as the fourth annual SpringNationals will take place at the Musselman Honda Circuit, located just outside Tucson, Arizona. A record number of drivers – 220 in eight categories – have registered to take part in this historic event, with an exciting mixture of returning drivers and new faces. A series-high $96,000 prize purse is to be awarded on the year, with up to $9,600 in cash available this weekend, as the journey to the SKUSA SuperNationals XVII in Las Vegas. The circuit hosting the opening two rounds of the SKUSA Pro Tour is the 8/10-mile replica of the famous Suzuka track in Japan. Built in 2005, the facility was site of the 2011 SpringNationals, which produced some of the best racing seen in recent years.

eKartingNews.com will once again be on site – from Friday to Sunday of the race weekend – providing the ‘EKN Trackside Live’ broadcast presented by Champion Racing at http://www.ekartingnews.com/live . Live play-by-play action, live timing and forum discussion is available all on one page, and a mobile audio link is available to those on the go.

EKN, the official media partner of Superkarts! USA, is set to provide a three-day preview program leading up to the SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals highlighting each of the eight classes. Below begins the series with S5 Junior, TaG Junior and TaG Cadet. Follow updates at the Official Discussion ThreadFacebookTwitter and now onInstagram.

S5 Junior Stock Moto

Jim McKinney is set to defend his S5 title this season (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

Jim McKinney is set to defend his S5 title this season
(Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

The S5 field is very diverse, featuring drivers from seven different states, including one driver from Mexico, along with three female competitors. The goal for many will be to replace the top three drivers from last year, who are all returning to run the SKUSA National Number plates. Jim McKinney (KGB) scored the series championship last year with consistent results early on, securing it at the SuperNationals in his first season competing in the category. Now with a full season and championship behind him, the Arizona driver will carry the coveted SKUSA #1 plate throughout the year while also contesting the TaG Junior class. Texan Patricio O’Ward was quick last season, making his debut at the SummerNationals in Utah. The Texas ProKart Challenge champ swept that event, and went on to score the SuperNationals victory. That boosted him into second in the point standings to carry the SKUSA #2 plate, now running for the 3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King operation aboard a Birel. Carter Williams (FA Kart) rounded out the championship podium in Vegas last year. The Phil Giebler Racing driver was runner-up to O’Ward in the final two races last year, and will continue running double duty as he contends the TaG Junior category as well.

Among the returning drivers, Erik Nelson (Kosmic) showed strong improvement as the season wore on. A podium at the SummerNationals translated into being in contention at the SuperNationals until losing his nose piece and ending his race early. At 15 years old, the DB Motorsports/Riverlake Racing driver could be a championship contender this year. Jarred Campbell (Intrepid) has started out the season as the driver to beat on the west coast. Two victories in the opening two rounds of the California ProKart Challenge over 2012 champion Williams puts the Leading Edge Motorsports drive among the contenders this year.

The S5 category is welcoming new names to the roster, as it has since its inception. Two to watch include Oklahoma’s Jesse Woodyard and NorCal’s Garrett Dixon. Woodyard (Champion Racing/Intrepid) kicked off the year with a victory at the Lone Star Grand Prix last month, and represented the USA at the Red Bull Kart Fight last year in Spain. Dixon (Iron Rock Motorsports/Energy) was a TaG Junior competitor a year ago, making the switch S5 for 2013 and has already earned two podium in California PKC competition. A number of others are expected to step up this season, making the 2013 season the biggest yet for the S5 program.

S5 Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis City State Country Age
1 Jim McKinney Ruthless Karting KGB Chandler AZ USA 15
2 Patricio O'Ward 3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King Birel San Antonio TX USA 13
3 Carter Williams Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Clovis CA USA 14
3t Andretta Young 3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King Birel Katy TX USA 13
7m Raul Guzman GP Texas GP Zapopan Jalisco MEX 13
17o Jesse Woodyard Champion Racing Intrepid McLoud OK USA 14
18t Nathan Adds Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA SodiKart Rowlett TX USA 14
27e Max Nufer Team Sydwaz Racing Tony Kart Wildwood MO USA 13
58d Evan Roshak CRG-USA CRG Arvada CO USA 12
63y Saundra Kirby Musgrave Racing Company Intrepid Las Vegas NV USA 14
91h Erik Nelson DB Motorsports / Riverlake Racing Kosmic Stillwater MN USA 15
94y Garrett Dixon Iron Rock Motorsports Energy Tahoe City CA USA 13
101t Derek Scott Jr. Derek Scott Motorsports Tony Kart Franklin TX USA 13
103y Jarred Campbell Leading Edge Motorsports Intrepid West Sacramento CA USA 15
168t Jacob Loomis Iron Rock Motorsports CRG Corinth TX USA 13
888c Hannah Grisham Musgrave Racing Company Arrow Glendora CA USA 13

TaG Junior

The top three in TaG Junior from 2012 return this season for another round of battles (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

The top three in TaG Junior from 2012 return this season for another round of battles
(Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

This season’s TaG Junior field is probably one of the most challenging yet in Pro Tour history. Nine of the top-10 from last year’s standings return – including the top three. Defending champion Luke Selliken (Kosmic) had a breakout season in 2012. Winning the opening two rounds in Phoenix at the SpringNationals, the Rolison Performance Group driver stood on the podium at both the SummerNats and the SuperNationals to claim the Pro Tour championship. Earning another vice-championship this winter, Selliken is primed for a title defence, however, school commitments will not allow him to arrive until Saturday night, so he take the first day of competition as his drop. He’ll need to come up to speed quickly and have a great day on Sunday to keep the door open to win another SKUSA title. Carter Williams (FA Kart) matched Selliken’s SpringNats performance at the SummerNationals in 2012, winning both main events, but fell just short in the championship chase. Williams, carrying two SKUSA plate numbers aboard his Phil Giebler Racing machines for his efforts in the 2012 Pro Tour, returns with the goal of making them both the #1 plate in Vegas. Brenden Baker rounded out the top-three in the championship a year ago. The SoCal driver had four podium finishes last year, with a tough SuperNationals finish keeping him third in the title chase. Now on-board with the new ART GP America operation and the current point leader in the California ProKart Challenge series, Baker is set for title contention in 2013.

Among the returning drivers from last year are Christian Brooks (Nash’s Motorsports/Tony Kart), Austin Versteeg (CRG-USA), Davey Manthei Jr. (KartSport North America/Arrow), Blaine Rocha (Rolison Performance Group/Kosmic), Noah Grey (Phil Giebler Racing/FA Kart) and Jake Preston (Phil Giebler Racing/FA Kart). All certainly have the chance at the title, as they have been racing all winter long already. Rocha is coming off an impressive title run in the Rotax Challenge of the Americas, signally that he is peaking as a Junior driver and could very well be one of the pilots to beat.

The field will have some East Coast flavor as well, as three drivers are making the trek to Tucson. Emerson Reed, Killian Keaveny and Emily Hurlbert will all be making their Pro Tour debuts. Reed (Top Kart USA) is in his first year in the Junior ranks after an impressive Cadet career on the East Coast in the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup series. Keaveny (Top Kart USA) is among the older drivers in the TaG Junior field, hailing from Minnesota, and is coming off good results this past weekend in WKA Manufacturers Cup series event South Carolina. Hurlbert (Franklin Motorsports/Merlin) makes up 1/2 of a sister team from Minnesota competing at their first Pro Tour event.

The 2013 season in TaG Junior appears to be unpredictable by simply reviewing the roster for the SpringNationals, and it won’t be until the official timed runs on Friday before anyone knows for sure who will be in the hunt.

TaG Junior Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis City State Country Age
1 Luke Selliken Rolison Performance Group Kosmic Portland OR USA 14
2 Carter Williams Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Clovis CA USA 14
3 Brenden Baker ART GP America ART GP Palmdale CA USA 14
10h Emily Hurlbert Franklin Motorsports Merlin Northfield MN USA 12
19k Jim McKinney Ruthless Karting KGB Chandler AZ USA 15
34c Christian Brooks Nash's Motorsports Tony Kart Santa Clarita CA USA 12
42z Davey Manthei Jr. KartSport North America Arrow Pasco WA USA 14
51z Jake Preston Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Renton WA USA 14
52y Zack Dante Leading Edge Motorsports Praga Davis CA USA 14
63u McKay Snow Rolison Performance Group Kosmic Pleasant Grove UT USA 14
67r Kale Kunicki Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme Surrey BC CAN 14
73y Sonny Cervelli CRG Benicia CA USA 15
77u Austin Versteeg CRG-USA CRG Sandy UT USA 13
81c Justice Lepe Nash's Motorsports Tony Kart San Diego CA USA 12
83c Nick Ramirez Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Riverside CA USA 16
88j Emerson Reed Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Mason OH USA 14
95a Yurik Carvalho Italian Motors USA / Italkart USA Italkart Sumas WA BRA 14
98y Phillippe Denes ART GP America ART GP Carmel CA USA 14
99y Scott Huffaker Energy Corse America Energy Menlo Park CA USA 13
141h Killian Keaveny Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Annandale MN USA 15
209y Blaine Rocha Rolison Performance Group Kosmic Oakdale CA USA 14
324x Noah Grey Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Dana Point CA USA 13

TaG Cadet

Hunter Kelly will attempt to stay at the front of the TaG Cadet field in 2013 (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

Hunter Kelly will attempt to stay at the front of the TaG Cadet field in 2013
(Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

The numbers in the TaG Cadet category have doubled since last year’s SpringNationals, and with 30 drivers registered for the race, SKUSA’s youngest competitors will now race for $1,000 purse provided by Superkarts! USA. Many are new to the Pro Tour, although a handful making their return, while a few have advanced to TaG Junior. One factor remains the same, however, and that is that they will all be chasing Hunter Kelly (Tecno Kart). The NorCal driver scored a double podium weekend at last year’s SpringNats, and fought his way to the end to claim the championship. Sting Ray Robb (Tony Kart) and Roy Fulmer IV (Arrow) will be among the top contenders returning this season, as the field is filled with a number of Pro Tour rookies that we will learn more about throughout the SpringNationals. Among them is California ProKart Challenge point leader Ryan Schartau (Top Kart) and frontrunners Jackson Logsdon and Myles Farhan, as well as Challenge of the Americas stars Liam Letzsch (GP) and Chase Farley (Energy).

TaG Cadet Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis City State Country Age
1 Hunter Kelly Kelly Racing Tecno Kart Elk Grove CA USA 11
1e Nick Nufer Team Sydwaz Racing Tony Kart Wildwood MO USA 11
2d Derek Deslauriers Buddy Rice Karting Energy Littleton CO USA 11
3d Tristin MacLeod CRG-USA CRG Grand Junction CO USA 10
10d Filip Niemkiewicz Buddy Rice Karting Energy Breckenridge CO USA 10
12y Oliver Calvo Tony Kart Stockton CA USA 9
16c Gary Lyles Buddy Rice Karting Energy Bakersfield CA USA 11
17c Ryan Schartau Empire Karts Top Kart Montclair CA USA 10
21x Zoey Edenholm Pure Karting CRG Scottsdale AZ USA 12
21y Dezel West Smokin' Fast Motorsports Nevoso BA-1 Henderson NV USA 9
25c Joseph Daniele Mike Manning Karting DR Long Beach CA USA 9
32b Trenton Sparks Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Bakersfield CA USA 11
44x Dante Yu Buddy Rice Karting Energy El Monte CA USA 11
49c Jonathan Shone Mike Manning Karting / Top Kart USA Top Kart Fontana CA USA 12
53t Riley Dickinson Iron Rock Motorsports Tony Kart New Braunfels TX USA 10
58o Hayden LeFever Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA SodiKart Lindsay OK USA 7
73c Anthony Willis Nash's Motorsports DR Peoria AZ USA 9
74t Nick Brueckner MRP Motorsports Birel Hockley TX USA 11
88z Austin Torgerson Ruthless Karting KGB Eagle Point OR USA 10
98x Jagger Jones Pure Karting Tony Kart Scottsdale AZ USA 10
99c Jackson Logsdon Pure Karting Tony Kart Scottsdale AZ USA 11
100y Chase Farley Energy Corse America Energy Walnut Creek CA USA 12
108c Jace Denmark-Gessel Pure Karting Tony Kart Phoenix AZ USA 8
111c Colin Queen RBR Motorsports Tony Kart Coto De Caza CA USA 8
117c Jude Logsdon Pure Karting Tony Kart Scottsdale AZ USA 8
177d Liam Letzsch CB Motorsports GP Golden CO USA 9
186y Roy Fulmer IV Energy Corse America Arrow Placerville CA USA 11
198x Jace Jones Pure Karting Tony Kart Scottsdale AZ USA 8
316z Sting Ray Robb Rolison Performance Group Tony Kart Ontario OR USA 11
981x Myles Farhan Mike Manning Karting DR Upland CA USA 10

EKN Global Members Discussion:

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