EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XVII – Preview Program – TaG Master

Nienkotter carries hot hand into SuperNationals

SKUSA SuperNationals XVII logo

eKartingNews.com, the official online media partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the SKUSA SuperNationals XVII Preview Program. Over the coming days leading up to the November 20-24 event, EKN will preview each of the 11 categories that will close out the 2013 SKUSA Pro Tour while competing for a share of the prize package, worth well over $100,000.

For complete coverage of the SKUSA SuperNationals XVII, visit the EKN Event Page

TaG Master

Scott Falcone will look to lead the TaG Master field en route to the Pro Tour championship (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

Scott Falcone will look to lead the TaG Master field en route to the Pro Tour championship (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

It is incredibly difficult to claim any particular class to be superior over any other when it comes to the quality of racing at the SuperNationals. That said, if we can go out on a limb, the TaG Master category never disappoints when it comes to providing some of the best racing all week in Las Vegas. The 2012 version of the SuperNationals featured plenty of great racing and many exciting moments for the most seasoned TaG pilots. Through qualifying and all three heat races, no driver stood on top of the chart more than once.  Scott Falcone led the way in timed qualifying, while Billy Cleavelin, Robby Mott and Leonardo Nienkotter all took turns leading the field to the checker in the heat races. Come SuperSunday, it was a very determined Nienkotter who bested all other TaG Master challengers, the Brazilian scoring his third straight SuperNats victory, an unparalleled streak.

So far in 2013, here on American soil, three drivers have stood out in SKUSA Pro Tour competition, bagging wins.  Falcone (Arrow) has been the TaG Master driver to beat, as the Colorado pilot kicked things off at the SpringNationals in Tucson where he scored the win in the first race of the year. Back in his home state in July for the SummerNationals at Grand Junction, Falcone saw the checkers first again to record his second win of the season. The Pro Tour point lead is his reward for this consistency. SpringNats Round #2 race winner and reigning TaG Master Pro Tour champion Paul Bonilla (Tony Kart) sits second entering Vegas after following his victory with a pair of top-fives in Grand Junction. Pennsylvania’s Brian McHattie (Exprit) rounds out the top three in the championship chase on the strength of his win in round four, a second place at round three and a third place at round two. All three of these drivers will be gunning for the national #1 plate for 2014 and an invitation into SKUSA’s valuable Circle of Champions program.

Leonardo Nienkotter could make history as the first driver to win four straight years in a single class (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

Leonardo Nienkotter could make history as the first driver to win four straight years in a single class (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

Podium Predictions: After his impressive drive in 2013 to become the first driver ever to win three consecutive SuperNationals in the same class, Leonardo Nienkotter (Kosmic) is sure to be a threat for the win once again this year. The top three in Pro Tour point standings – Falcone, Bonilla and McHattie – will certainly be near the front once official timed sessions begin in Las Vegas. A pair of teammates worth keeping an eye on will be Russell Karting Specialties’ Jim Russell Jr and Chuck Gafrarar, the United States Pro Kart Series Leopard Masters champion. This duo is always in the hunt aboard their Parolin chassis. Phil Giebler Racing’s Ethan Wilson (FA), as well as karting veteran Billy Cleavelin (Aluminos) are more than capable of having their names called at the podium celebration Sunday night.

Wildcards: The TaG Masters class is filled just enough ‘wild cards’ to make podium picking for the class nearly impossible. Oklahoma’s Anthony Honeywell (Tony Kart) has looked good so far on the Pro Tour after narrowly missing out on a trip to the podium in round two in Tucson. Rotax Grand National podium finisher Diego Pelosi (FA) is a possible contender, along with two-time provisional SuperNationals winner Kip Foster (Arrow). Over two of the last three years, Foster has been the first to see the checkered flag, but has seen the win removed after he failed tech inspection. Announced earlier this year, Jason Bell (Tony Kart) will join Team Koene USA as he returns to the SuperNationals XVII.  Veteran Larry Fraser will also be present to shake things up and make life difficult for the typical frontrunners, running one of the new Aluminos chassis. Lastly, and interestingly, for SKUSA ProMoto Tour champion and Indy Lights driver Bobby Wilson will be coming to play once again in Las Vegas, making his TaG Master debut.

Karting Cameo: Joining the usual crowd of TaG Master competitors will be a pair of professional motorsports stars in Will Power and Jamie McMurray. SuperNationals XVII will mark NASCAR star Jamie McMurray’s first start in the TaG Masters class, although this is certainly not the Daytona 500 champ’s first SuperNationals rodeo. IZOD IndyCar Series pilot Will Power will be making his SuperNats debut this year in Las Vegas. The Australian born racer is coming off a successful 2013 Indy Car season that saw him claim victory three times –including the season finale in California – while coming home fourth in the championship tally. Both drivers will run Arrow chassis out of the Kartsport North America tent.

Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine State Country
1 Paul Bonilla Ryan Perry Motorsports Tony Kart Vortex ROK TT CA USA
01 Bruno Fusaro Italian Motors USA / Italkart USA Italkart Leopard MG BRA
2 Scott Falcone Kartsport North America Arrow Rotax CO USA
3 Chuck Gafrarar Russell Karting Specialties Parolin Leopard NC USA
4f Brent Lyman Russell Karting Specialties Parolin Leopard FL USA
5 Will Power Kartsport North America Arrow Rotax NC AUS
07 Diego Camodeca Bordogna Racing OTK Leopard ARG
9a Hamish Leighton Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme Leopard VIC AUS
10c Jerry Henderson Baldozier Racing Tony Kart Vortex ROK TT CA USA
11 Jamie McMurray Kartsport North America FA Kart Leopard NC USA
12y Larry Fraser Aluminos Aluminos Motori 7 CA USA
15m Jesus Robles Texas Karts Tony Kart Vortex ROK TT TX MEX
16y Federico Aquini Italcorse America Italcorse Leopard NV ITA
18f Jason Bell Team Koene USA FA Kart Rotax FL USA
17 Bobby Wilson Team Koene USA FA Kart Rotax IN USA
19c Billy Cleavelin Mike Manning Karting CRG Motori 7 CA USA
20a Kip Foster Kartsport North America Arrow Vortex ROK TT WA AUS
21e Jim Russell Jr. Russell Karting Specialties Parolin Leopard MO USA
23k Kevin Manning Mike Manning Karting MMK Vortex ROK TT CA USA
24b David Barbosa Ron White Racing CRG Leopard BM USA
27q Don Guilbeault DRT Racing DR Leopard NH USA
28a Eric Andre Tony Kart Rotax SP BRA
31y Paul Hohlbein Energy Corse America Energy Vortex ROK TT NV USA
44a Markenson Marques J3 Competition Kosmic Vortex ROK TT PR BRA
45r Ron Hyde Italian Motors USA / Italkart USA Italkart Leopard BC CAN
22 Rodrigo Alenaz Bordogna Racing OTK Leopard ARG
41 Steve Schiewer Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Leopard IN USA
49y Ethan Wilson Phil Giebler Racing FA Kart Vortex ROK TT CA USA
51y Carl Freese Cambrian Go-Karts Birel Vortex ROK TT CA USA
53 Tino Donadeli Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Leopard PA ITA
63 Guido Badaloni Vemme Leopard ARG
69r Dave Kunicki Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme Rotax BC CAN
76o Anthony Honeywell DB Motorsports Tony Kart Vortex ROK TT OK USA
87 Sandrei Da Silva CRG-USA CRG Leopard BRA
93j Brian McHattie DB Motorsports Kosmic Vortex ROK TT OH USA
121 Leonardo Nienkotter J3 Competition Kosmic Vortex ROK TT SC BRA
321 Francisco Marques Tony Kart Motori 7 DF BRA
111m Salvador Bortoni Bortoni Motorsports CRG Rotax Monterrey MEX
127y Mirko Mizzoni Italcorse America Italcorse Leopard NV ITA
141z Kurt Fisher Italian Motors USA / Italkart USA Italkart Leopard WA USA
155p Hector Alvarez Champion Racing Intrepid Vortex ROK TT PR USA
199z Dave Lehmann Rolison Performance Group (RPG) Velox Motori 7 WA USA
492o Gary Butler Chanpion Racing Intrepid Vortex ROK TT OK USA
622c Diego Pelosi Orsolon Racing FA Kart Vortex ROK TT CA BRA
777n Tom Gerstner Mike Manning Karting CRG Vortex ROK TT NY USA

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