EKN Trackside: Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals – Preview Series – Part 2

Solid group of Semi-Pro and Masters drivers set to do battle in Tucson

SKUSA SpringNationals logo 2013

The 2013 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour is set to begin April 12-14 as the SpringNationals will take place at the Musselman Honda Circuit outside Tucson, Arizona. A record number of drivers – 220 in eight categories – have registered to take part in this historic event, a good mixture of returning drivers and new faces. A season 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. Follow updates at the Official Discussion ThreadFacebookTwitter and now on Instagram. The series continues with S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto, S4 Master Stock Moto, and TaG Master.


S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto

The Diede brothers - Troy and Cody - are among the top contenders returning in the growing S2 category (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

The Diede brothers – Troy and Cody – are among the top contenders returning in the growing S2 category
(Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

It was a historic season in the S2 category last year as SKUSA crowned its first female Pro Tour champion – Sabré Cook. The Colorado driver passed on defending her title to take her talent to the Pro level, leaving a gap at the top of the order in S2. This year’s field is a good mix of returning talent with a solid influx of new drivers – including a total of four female drivers racing in Tucson – all racing for a $1,000 purse at the end of the weekend.

The top driver returning is NorCal’s Cody Diede. The PSL CRG/Diede Racing pilot finished third in last year’s championship chase and elected to return for a bid at the title. A win at the SummerNationals last year put him in contention but mixed results the rest of the season show the need for more consistency to contend for the title. The most experienced driver in the field continues to be Ryan Kinnear. Two podiums in 2012, including a third at the SuperNationals, put the Champion Racing driver fourth in the standings. Now back aboard an Intrepid for 2013, Kinnear is a serious contender for the title.

Troy Diede (PSL CRG/Diede Racing) scored one more podium finish then his brother Cody, reaching the steps both days at the SummerNationals. He has shown the speed to be a consistent contender, as both he and Cody have worked well with two-time S1 champ Fritz Leesmann, but will need to avoid any issues if he intends to be on the championship podium in Vegas. Augie Lerch showed some sparks last season, including a victory at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix. The Arizona driver was just unable to translate that into solid results on the Pro Tour, finishing 11th in the standings. The Pure Karting/Tony Kart pilot will race at his home track, and could use that to his advantage this weekend to position himself as a title contender.

A couple key drivers have moved to new teams for 2013, looking for a boost up the standings this year. SummerNationals winner Christian Schureman is now running with CRG-USA, entering his third season in the S2 category and making steady improvements year after year, looking to add to the win column this year. Texan Connor Wagner switched to Phil Giebler Racing and the FA Kart for the 2013 season, and has found success early by winning at the California ProKart Challenge last month. Wagner, like the rest of the group, is sure to toss his name into the title chase as the season begins.

S2 Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis City State Country Age
3 Cody Diede PSL CRG / Diede Racing CRG Lodi CA USA 25
3t Ryan Kinnear Leading Edge Motorsports Intrepid Richmond TX GBR 27
9m Mariana Ramirez Leading Edge Motorsports Intrepid Coyacán DF MEX 20
10c Alan Michel Pure Karting Tony Kart Gilbert AZ USA 26
11t Ryan Belanger 3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King Birel Spring TX USA 18
12k Augie Lerch Pure Karting Tony Kart Tucson AZ USA 16
13t Miguel Lopez GP Texas GP Tyler TX USA 15
15t Connor Wagner Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Flower Mound TX USA 17
17d Christian Schureman CRG-USA CRG Golden CO USA 17
20t Luke Shanahan MJDrive Arrow Dallas TX USA 15
22c Chance Stephens DRT Racing DR Tucson AZ USA 17
25t Jerry Rhodes CRG-USA / RPM Motorsports CRG Bellville TX USA 26
38d Jack Bradley CRG-USA CRG Littleton CO USA 20
51h Jenna Grillo DB Motorsports / Riverlake Racing Exprit Lakeville MN USA 16
55d Ben Schermerhorn CRG-USA CRG Highlands Ranch CO USA 25
61t Allyn Hewitt 3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King Birel Angleton TX USA 15
66f Don Whittington Pure Karting Tony Kart Fort Lauderdale FL USA 27
72u Chris Neria MSquared Karting Tony Kart Salt Lake City UT USA 30
73c Micah Hendricks Innovative Karting Intrepid Glendale AZ USA 15
77j Colton Aldridge JD Byrider Racing Tony Kart Indianapolis IN USA 22
82z Kory Estell Rolison Performance Group CRG Kirkland WA USA 20
88x Kolton Griffin Pure Karting Tony Kart Anthem AZ USA 18
96z Dalton Egger Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme Canby OR USA 15
99r Kyoichi Tsutsui Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme Calgary AB CAN 17
100t Garrett Boone 3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King Birel Houston TX USA 23
111y Joshua De Losier Acceleration Karting CRG Las Vegas NV USA 18
177y Curtis Paul Jr. Tony Kart Stockton CA USA 13
221d Lindsay Brewer CRG-USA CRG Arvada CO USA 15
246d Mianna Wick DRT Racing DR Delta CO USA 16
441y Troy Diede PSL CRG / Diede Racing CRG Lodi CA USA 24
526o Tyler Fling Champion Racing Intrepid Edmond OK USA 22
727t Sky Finley DRT Racing / Pole Position Raceway DR Frisco TX USA 16


S4 Master Stock Moto

2012 S4 champ Eddie Olpin returns to defend his crown against a stout field in Tucson (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

2012 S4 champ Eddie Olpin returns to defend his crown against a stout field in Tucson
(Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

Familiar names make up the 34-driver field that will contest for the $1,000 in prize money this weekend in S4. Like the other categories on the Pro Tour, many of the same championship contenders will be back for more in 2013. The competition could be as tight as it was in 2012, which produced five different winners in five different rounds. Last year, it was a battle of the ‘young guns’ as the 30-something drivers conquered the top three positions in the championship battle.

Utah’s Eddie Olpin (Powers World Racing/Kosmic) ran to three straight podium finishes at the start of 2012 to push himself to the top of the title chase, placing fourth at the SuperNationals to secure his first SKUSA championship in his first full season of Pro Tour competition. Olpin was cool and calculated all season, exactly what a champion needs to be over the course of a season. Second and third in the title chase – Trevor McAlister and Jordon Musser – essentially took themselves out of the running during the opening weekend in Phoenix. McAlister had two damaging DNFs, but ended the year strong with a win in Utah and runner-up at the SuperNationals to recover nicely. The Leading Edge Motorsports driver has been running the S2 category on the regional side during the past two months to prepare himself for the upcoming season of hardcore S4 racing. Musser (3G Kart Racing/Team Burger King/Birel) is a multi-time Rock Island Grand Prix winner and Rotax Grand Nationals champion, so experience is not an issue. The Texan would like nothing more than to add a SKUSA Pro Tour title to his CV.

Curtis Cooksey is the third returning race winner from last year, as he was the round one winner from last year’s SpringNationals. Contact took him out of contention the following day, and a penalty took a win away at the SummerNationals. The Acceleration Karting/CRG pilot, a longtime national and international competitor, knows what it takes to run at the front and could once again find himself taking the checkered flag this season.

As you continue up and down the driver list for this weekend, it’s easy to point out a number of drivers who have what it takes to run up front. 2012 SKUSA SuperNationals pole sitter Brian Fisher, former #3 plate holder Lance Lane and former SuperNats winner Chris Jennings return to the Pro Tour, among the many drivers under the DRT Racing tent, all aboard the importer’s DR Racing Kart. Robert Marks, just one of the nine CRG-USA drivers in the field. Arizona drivers Nick Firestone (Zanardi America) – the 2011 vice-champion – and Chris Fosso (Pure Karting), California PKC winner Willy Musgrave (MRC/Tony Kart) and former S1 driver Don McGregor (Italian Motors USA/Italkart USA) highlight a field that features a multitude of potential winners. The chances of picking a winner this weekend are a crap shoot at best, considering the talent this this field holds.

S4 Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis City State Country Age
1 Eddie Olpin Powers World Racing Kosmic Pleasant Grove UT USA 32
2 Trevor McAlister Leading Edge Motorsports Praga Los Angeles CA USA 38
2c PP Mastro Italcorse America Italcorse Bakersfield CA USA 49
2t Steve McCaffery CRG-USA / RPM Motorsports CRG Katy TX GBR 35
3 Jordon Musser 3G Kart Racing / Team Burger King Birel Coppell TX USA 31
11b Jack Nelson Musselman Honda Circuit CRG Tucson AZ USA 45
21x Ken Schilling Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme Stanton CA USA 50
22d Jet Davis CRG-USA CRG Glenwood Springs CO USA 52
22z Ben Johnston CRG-USA CRG Salem OR USA 36
28c Todd Wilson Aluminos CRG Newport Beach CA USA 51
33d David Conyers Ruthless Karting KGB Golden CO USA 60
33x Rob Logan Kimball Williams Racing CRG Newport Beach CA USA 32
37d Rob Van Deren CRG-USA CRG Steamboat Springs CO USA 47
41t Mike Smith Texas Karts CRG San Antonio TX USA 49
41y Curtis Cooksey Acceleration Karting CRG Las Vegas NV USA 40
52t Michael Rhodes Jr. CRG-USA / RPM Motorsports CRG Bellville TX USA 31
53c Michael Potekhen Ruthless Karting KGB Scottsdale AZ USA 33
61x Chris Fosso Pure Karting Tony Kart Glendale AZ USA 50
65j Lance Lane DRT Racing DR Algonquin IL USA 47
66c Nick Firestone Zanardi America Zanardi Paradise Valley AZ USA 47
71r Don McGregor Italian Motors USA / Italkart USA Italkart Langley BC CAN 30
84d Mike McDonough Ruthless Karting KGB Lakewood CO USA 52
90g Brian Fisher DRT Racing DR Gray TN USA 33
102x Darrell Tunnell CRG-USA CRG Visalia CA USA 52
103x Robert Marks CRG-USA CRG Visalia CA USA 51
104x Levi Bennett CRG-USA CRG Visalia CA USA 46
121y Mike Sullivan Acceleration Karting CRG Las Vegas NV USA 45
164u Scott Clark MSquared Karting Tony Kart Salt Lake City UT USA 54
175t Chris Jennings DRT Racing DR Sachse TX USA 32
222c Greg Nelson Musgrave Racing Company Tony Kart Norco CA USA 53
249u Justin Peck MSquared Karting Tony Kart Riverton UT USA 39
324b Greg Brydle DRT Racing DR Marana AZ USA 39
422c Willy Musgrave Musgrave Racing Company Tony Kart Norco CA USA 49
823m Victor Jimenez CRG-USA CRG San Diego CA MEX 41


TaG Master

Paul Bonilla was the top TaG Masters driver in 2012, and is looking to repeat in 2013 (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

Paul Bonilla was the top TaG Masters driver in 2012, and is looking to repeat in 2013
(Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

The 2012 TaG Master title went down to the wire last year, with a head-to-head battle between Arrow drivers Paul Bonilla and Scott Falcone in Las Vegas. Both doubled up in the win column after the SpringNats and SummerNats, with Bonilla able to gain the most points after the SuperNationals to claim his first Pro Tour championship. The duo returns with a load of the same contenders from a year ago, in addition to some new names looking to add to the fun and excitement that has been the TaG Masters class over the past two season.

The top three will carry their SKUSA plates for the 2013 season, including third place finisher Chuck Gafrarar. All three have been busy this winter, racing in their respective programs and already finding the podium. Bonilla (Full Throttle Karting) opted for DD2 action at the Rotax Challenge of the Americas, Falcone (KartSport North America) found success at the Florida Winter Tour, while Gafrarar (Russell Karting Specialties/Parolin) has been competing at his new home track – Mooresville Motorplex against former top karters and current NASCAR drivers. One great talking points about the Masters category is the engine parity, as the top three from last year will begin 2013 on different engines – Vortex, Rotax and Parilla, respectively – with the rest of the driver roster on an assortment of powerplants.

The 2011 SpringNationals was the springboard for Brian McHattie’s championship season. Despite an up-and-down title defense, the DB Motorsports/Exprit driver ended the season strong and is set at returning to Tucson for more. The last two season, Jim Russell Jr. (Russell Karting Specialties/Parolin) has been on the edge of the championship podium. The veteran hit a road block early last year, and is hoping to start 2013 in the right direction as he finished 2012. This year’s field will include all three previous champions, something no other class can match, with 2010 title winner Ethan Wilson (Phil Giebler Racing/FA Kart) taking on the SpringNats. A year ago, Wilson was involved in a practice crash that resulted in a severely broken wrist. Victory at the Streets of Lancaster five months later signaled his return as a contender once again.

Other drivers to watch include the deadly Billy Cleavelin (Mike Manning Karting/CRG), who returns to the Pro Tour off two straight wins at the California PKC already this year. New in the mix will be Indiana’s John Dixon and Texan Mike Jones. Dixon (Top Kart USA/Grand Products) is two-time Rock Island Grand Prix winner and WKA champion making his Pro Tour debut, while Jones is also new to the TaG Master field. The Dallas Karting Complex/SodiKart USA pilot is a former S4 SuperNationals podium finisher and an experience veteran. If he can get up to speed quickly, he could mix it up with the TaG Master establishment in a hurry.

TaG Master Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine City State Country Age
1 Paul Bonilla Full Throttle Karting Arrow Vortex ROK TT Cypress CA USA 44
2 Scott Falcone KartSport North America Arrow Rotax Lone Tree CO USA 44
3 Chuck Gafrarar Russell Karting Specialties Parolin Leopard Midland NC USA 42
4f Brent Lyman Russell Karting Specialties Parolin Leopard Ocala FL USA 35
10c Jerry Henderson Mike Manning Karting CRG Rotax Fountain Valley CA USA 58
14c Will Jadiker Mike Manning Karting CRG Motori 7 Venice CA USA 48
16y Federico Aquini Italcorse America Italcorse Leopard Henderson NV ITA 40
19c Billy Cleavelin Mike Manning Karting CRG Motori 7 Covina CA USA 55
21e Jim Russell Jr. Russell Karting Specialties Parolin Leopard Raymore MO USA 40
23k Kevin Manning Team VemmeKart / Mike Manning Karting Vemme Vortex ROK TT Castaic CA USA 41
27q Don Guilbeault DRT Racing DR Leopard Hudson NH USA 53
31y Paul Hohlbein Energy Corse America Energy Vortex ROK TT Reno NV USA 44
45r Ron Hyde Italian Motors USA / Italkart USA Italkart Leopard Victoria BC CAN 47
49y Ethan Wilson Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Motori 7 Campbell CA USA 43
51c Andy Seesemann Full Throttle Karting Arrow Vortex ROK TT Orange CA USA 42
54c Steve Wiener ART GP America ART GP Vortex ROK TT Spring Valley CA USA 51
58c Wade Eastwood Mike Manning Karting CRG Leopard Marina Del Rey CA GBR 41
69r Dave Kunicki Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme Leopard Surrey BC CAN 54
76o Anthony Honeywell DB Motorsports Tony Kart Vortex ROK TT Tulsa OK USA 31
77j John Dixon Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Vortex ROK TT Evansville IN USA 44
77x Vatche Tatikian Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Vortex ROK TT Altadena CA ARM 31
93j Brian McHattie DB Motorsports Exprit Vortex ROK TT Youngstown OH USA 36
93t Chris Koster Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA SodiKart Vortex ROK TT McKinney TX USA 41
127y Mirko Mizzoni Italcorse America Italcorse Leopard Henderson NV ITA 29
141z Kurt Fisher 2J's Racing Tony Kart Motori 7 Richland WA USA 47
492o Gary Butler Champion Racing Intrepid Motori 7 Oklahoma City OK USA 49
504t Mike Jones Dallas Karting Complex / SodiKart USA SodiKart Vortex ROK TT Sachse TX USA 41
612y Corey Mitchell Snow Racing OK1 Leopard Sacramento CA USA 39
777n Tom Gerstner Mike Manning Karting CRG Vortex ROK TT Rochester NY USA 56

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